Mar 20, 2018

L'Oreal buys an App with increased beauty

Makeup users, get ready. AI is ready to tell us that we look ugly.


The ModiFace app examines your skin type, showing what's wrong with your face, (e.g. has wrinkles here, a stitch there), and suggests cosmetics that may be able to repair or cover these flaws.

If you just think,  "Hey, making people feel insecure is a great way to get them to buy cosmetics " Well, you're not alone. The French cosmetic giant L'Oreal recently acquired the Canadian company for an undisclosed (but probably astronomical) sum.

In theory, the tool sounds like it's a wonderful thing. The company has published more than 200 scientific studies and holds 30 patents in the development of this technology, so there is reason to believe that it works better than some other makeup applications, already out here (ModiFace would probably become the Known application, since L'Oreal makes it omnipresent). And why an app, because it doesn't require so much investment in new equipment, like Amazon Smartmirror would.

Besides, it seems very convenient. Trying a new foundation without having to go to the store and covering my hand with poorly coloured products? Oh, yes, please.

But there is an obvious disadvantage to ModiFace: The app provides users with a limited definition of what it means to be beautiful.

This pattern is getting more and more limited over time, all thanks to social medias. Although there is some effort to expand the standards of beauty for people of different colors, shapes and sizes, the popularity of sites like Instagram and Snapchat make the same standards of old beauty seem attainable and immediate, the aerography and Photo Shopping seem less obvious.

 "We are on the verge of a very, very serious problem " Jane Cunningham, the author of, said The Guardian in 2015.  "The world of Vloggers and YouTubers created a wicked sense, homogenized of " Beauty  "distorted, without diversity or reality... Society is losing the whole perspective on the diversity of beauty and is contributing to alarming growth in dysmorphism.   "The recent scientific literature confirmed this evaluation ".

Consumers, especially females, do not need another faceless entity to identify every flaw they have on their faces. This is especially true for women of color, for whom facial recognition software can be inaccurate.

A tool like ModiFace can be useful for some users of makeup, or even convenient. But for others, it will be just another entity stating that they are not sufficiently young, that they are not white enough, are not beautiful enough.


by Lou Del Bello