YouTube introduces AR makeup ‘try-on’ tool

19 Jun 2019

Image: © Michael spring/

YouTube’s platform, already hugely popular with makeup aficionados, will now offer fans a chance to try on products with AR.

Many of YouTube’s top creators have achieved success on the platform through their makeup tutorials and lucrative partnerships with major beauty brands. For the brands in turn, the platform has become majorly important in driving sales, particularly among the younger demographic.

Now, brands on the platform can use even more immersive tactics to attract more customers – namely, a new augmented reality (AR) ‘try-on’ makeup feature that will allow viewers to try out makeup while they are watching tutorials.

The launch comes after YouTube’s parent company Google announced a spate of AR roll-outs across Google features such as Google Search and an improvement upon its existing developer platform, ARCore.

“Thanks to machine learning and AR technology, it offers realistic, virtual product samples that work on a full range of skin tones,” said Aaron Luber, head of branded experiences for AR and VR at YouTube.

The feature will be available through FameBit, Google’s in-house branded content platform, and the first brand to step in to use the feature is MAC, which is offering viewers a lipstick try-on feature. This creates a split screen, with the tutorial continuing to play on top while viewers can flick through various lipstick shades in the bottom screen and trial colours of their choice.

YouTube said that it introduced the feature earlier this year with other brands and found that 30pc of users turned on the AR experience, spending an average of 80 seconds trying on lipstick.

YouTube is not the first brand to foray into beauty-related AR as various brands, both ‘drug-store’ and ‘high-end’, offer a similar service, including major beauty retailer Sephora.

With this release, Google also announced a new canvas tool for advertisers called Swirl, its first immersive display format.

“Swirl brings three-dimensional assets to display advertising on the mobile web, which can help educate consumers before making a purchase. They can directly zoom in and out, rotate a product or play an animation.” Swirl is available through Google’s Display & Video 360 marketing platform.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic