Shoppers can use augmented reality through Pinterest's mobile app to try on various lipstick shades via the visual social media company’s Lens smart camera.

Pinterest has gone a step beyond offering makeup inspiration for cosmetics aficionados. Shoppers on the visual social media platform can now virtually try on lipstick shades via augmented reality.

The feature, available on the Pinterest mobile app, is called Try On and is powered by its Lens smart camera. Shoppers using the Pinterest mobile app can launch the Lens camera in search and click “Try On” to find shades of lipstick. Once a shopper has found a lipstick shade she likes and wants to purchase it, she swipes up to buy it from various cosmetics retailers like The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. (No. 49 in the 2019 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000), Sephora (owned by LVMH, No. 20), NYX Professional Makeup and L’Oréal S.A.-owned Urban Decay.

Shoppers can also access the try-on feature when searching terms on the Pinterest mobile app such as “red lips” or “matte lipstick.” Plus, as a shopper browses makeup looks on Pinterest and sees a lipstick she likes, she can click “see similar looks” to find similar shades and try those on. In addition, shoppers can take a picture of themselves wearing the lipstick shade to save as a Pin, Pinterest says.

“We’ve integrated Try On with our skin tone range feature, so Pinners can see similar lip shades on skin tones that match their own,” Pinterest wrote in announcing the feature.

The feature is rolling out to consumers in the U.S. who have the Pinterest mobile app on iOS and Android. The social media company also says there are more categories to come following lipstick that will use augmented reality to let shoppers virtually try on makeup products.


Virtual makeup on the rise

Pinterest is far from the only company adding AR try-on features.

Sephora’s Visual Artist allows shoppers to try on lipstick, eyeliner, foundation and more via their mobile devices or on the web; Ulta Beauty’s GLAMLab is a mobile app feature in which shoppers can try on different makeup looks; and Target Corp.’s Beauty Studio also offers virtual makeup try-on on and on its mobile website.

YouTube in early 2019 launched an AR Try-On feature, giving viewers the ability to try on makeup while watching makeup reviews and tutorials. However, the YouTube feature was not widely available; only brands that worked with YouTube’s FameBit division to market makeup through YouTube makeup influencers had access. In October 2019, YouTube expanded the feature so consumers using YouTube’s mobile app could try on makeup looks during ads from such makeup brands as MAC Cosmetics and NARS Cosmetics.

“Brands and retailers know that shoppers visit stores for the tactile experience. Leveraging virtual reality to help buyers get a sense of the product to make a better decision alleviates that need,” says Lauren Freedman, senior consumer insights analyst for Digital Commerce 360. “Additionally, many shoppers enjoy being able to test beauty products virtually, and it almost becomes sport for them.”


L’Oréal (No. 95) also offers lipstick try-on on via ModiFace technology. The cosmetics company in March 2018 acquired the AR platform ModiFace, which enables shoppers to try on makeup using their smartphone camera in Live Mode or to upload a photo and try on makeup on the static image.

L’Oréal is rolling out more features through an artificial intelligence-powered, at-home system called Perso that delivers on-the-spot, personalized skin care, foundation and lipstick. The device incorporates ModiFace technology and analyzes the shopper’s skin type, environmental factors and product needs on the Perso mobile app. After tallying the results, Perso dispenses a single dose of product—foundation, lipstick or skin care—at the top of the device.

As a consumer uses Perso more regularly, the AI component will be able to learn about the user’s preferences and skin type, automatically adapting its formulas for future use, the beauty brand says. Additionally, L’Oréal says Perso will be able to incorporate makeup trends and color-matching technology so consumers can design their own lipstick shades, such as producing a lipstick color to match an outfit.


Perso will launch to the public—alongside an unnamed L’Oréal skin care brand—in 2021, L’Oréal says. The cost of the device will be announced closer to the launch date.