Skip to main content

ModiFace offers the ability to simulate trying on beauty products over live video.Handout

As the beauty industry experiments with new ways to incorporate technology into a very tactile product, one Canadian company is leading the charge.

ModiFace is an augmented reality outfit that creates tech specifically for beauty companies. Primarily, they’ve developed the ability to simulate trying on beauty products over live video. This technology is so in demand that, in March, cosmetics giant L’Oréal fully acquired ModiFace as part of its Digital Services Factory, which designs and develops new digital initiatives for L’Oréal’s 39 brands.

ModiFace was founded in 2007 by Parham Aarabi, an associate professor in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering at the University of Toronto. Aarabi was originally working on an application that could read lips when one of his colleagues suggested the technology could could have applications in the beauty world. “We created a website where you could replace your lips with Angelina Jolie’s, so you could get a sense of what different lips or different eyes might look like on you,” says Aarabi.

The website caught the attention of pharmaceutical company Allergan, which makes the dermal filler Juvederm, often used to plump lips. In the years to follow, ModiFace’s technology was employed by more than 80 brands, including Sephora, to give customers the ability to virtually try on makeup, skin care and hair care through websites, apps and in-store mirrors.

Although the company is now owned by France-based L’Oréal, Aarabi and the ModiFace team will continue to work in Toronto. “L’Oréal is a very innovative company,” he says. “There are a number of directions that we’re exploring and a number of ideas that maybe I didn’t have time or resources to explore. Now we’re doing it on a much larger scale.”

One of those ideas involves using data collected to better inform product development and micro-target recommendations on an individual level. Predicts Aarabi: “I think eventually that personalization will really be the future of the beauty industry.”

Aarabi never planned on going into the beauty industry, but the success of ModiFace has shown him that it’s a field with endless opportunities for tech innovation. “It’s very dynamic,” he says. “There’s a lot of opportunity for optimization. If you’re looking for an industry to make the biggest impact with technologies like AR and AI, beauty is almost as good as it gets.”

STYLE HAPPENINGS

Co-owner of Toronto boutique George C, Lisa Corbo, has launched a new eponymous jewellery collection. Contemporary and elegant, the line features 20 unique pieces, each made in Italy from hypoallergenic nickel-free brass plated in 18-karat gold. For more information, visit lisacorbo.com.

Louis Vuitton has teamed up with the 2018 FIFA World Cup and Adidas on three collaborations, including the World Cup Trophy Case and an official Match Ball Collection Trunk. There’s also the Louis Vuitton 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Official Licensed Product Collection, exclusive versions of the Keepall and Apollo bags, and a selection of smaller leather pieces created just for the occasion. For more information, visit louisvuitton.com.

Montreal’s Frank And Oak is celebrating Pride Month with two new gender-inclusive designs and the new “And“ collection, made by Petites-Mains, a Montreal-based organization that empowers women through education and employment. For more information, visit frankandoak.com.

From now until Oct. 14, visit Chanel at its temporary boutique in Capri. Located on the Via Camerelle, it promises a unique shopping experience, including ready-to-wear accessories and Les Eaux de Chanel, a new line of three eaux de toilette. For more information, visit chanel.com.

This Saturday, Vancouver lifestyle brand Herschel Supply opens its first stand-alone storefront in North America. Located at 347 Water Street in Gastown, the 5,000-square-foot space complements its bags, accessories, luggage and apparel with local art and a view of the North Shore mountains. For more information, visit herschel.ca.

From June 19 to 25, visit Prada’s Bloor Street store in Toronto for the latest instalment of the brand’s Made to Order pumps collection, which allows customers to order shoes customized with initials on the sole and other personal embellishments like charms and numbers. In addition to the signature flower, kiss and love prints, the collection includes comic motifs from the Spring 2018 runway presentation. For more information, visit prada.com.

Visit tgam.ca/newsletters to sign up for the Globe Style e-newsletter, your weekly digital guide to the players and trends influencing fashion, design and entertaining, plus shopping tips and inspiration for living well. And follow Globe Style on Instagram @globestyle.