Real-time makeup simulation: How beauty brands use digital makeup to sell physical products


The beauty industry, a realm where artistry meets innovation, has now ventured into the digital domain, transforming how makeup is perceived, tried, and purchased.

This fusion of beauty and technology introduces digital makeup, a concept reshaping consumer interactions with makeup products.

In this article, we’ll delve into what digital makeup is, its applications, and how it’s changing the consumer experience. We’ll also explore how a digital makeup simulator, such as Arbelle’s hyper-realistic beauty AR, stands as a pioneering force in this digital evolution.

What is digital makeup?

Digital makeup, or makeup simulation, refers to the technology that allows users to try makeup virtually using augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI). In other words, it’s an interactive, virtual experience of applying makeup.

This technology overlays digital images of makeup products onto a user’s face, offering a realistic preview of how these products would look in real life.

Consumers can, therefore, see themselves with various makeup products applied without the hassle of physically testing and applying these products.

You can see it in action below:

➥ The technology behind the magic

Digital makeup technology, exemplified by Arbelle’s AI-powered virtual makeup try-on, operates through sophisticated face tracking and 3D rendering. It accurately detects over 150 facial points in real time, ensuring that virtual makeup, like eyeshadow or lipstick, stays precisely aligned with the user’s movements.

digital makeup-face tracking_Arbelle

This creates a mirror-like, interactive experience with minimal effort: users simply activate their camera on any device, and the technology displays real-time representations of makeup products. These representations faithfully mimic the products’ color shades, textures, finishes, and other key features, offering a realistic preview of how these cosmetics would look in actual use.


➥ To see it in action, read our case study here and discover how we helped City Lab Cosmetics create a bespoke virtual lipstick try-on experience.

Why brands are turning to digital makeup

Makeup simulation technology is a game changer for beauty brands. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that brands are increasingly integrating digital makeup into their strategies. And there are several compelling reasons for that.

  • Firstly, it provides a risk-free trial experience, letting customers experiment with various products virtually before making a purchase. This not only enhances customer satisfaction but also reduces product returns – by up to 64%, according to research.

Read our detailed guide on how to lower your return rates with beauty AI right here.

  • Secondly, it fosters greater personalization, empowering consumers to explore products that align with their unique features and preferences. For example, with Arbelle’s Shade Finder, your customers can now seamlessly find the perfect foundation shade that matches their skin tone. And research shows that 76% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when given personalized recommendations.

Here’s all you need to know about the importance of a personalized beauty shopping experienceRead it in our article.

  • Thirdly, digital makeup is not just a tool for virtual try-ons; it’s also a powerful marketing asset. Brands can use it to create interactive marketing campaigns, engage with customers on social media, and provide a personalized shopping experience online.  Research has shown that when advertising beauty products with AR and VTOs, your conversion rates can grow by up to 94%.

In this article, we uncover how you can leverage personalized virtual beauty experiences for superior cosmetics marketing.

  • Finally, with a digital makeup simulator, you can seamlessly integrate your online and offline shopping journeys, creating an omnichannel experience that will help your customers research and buy the best possible product for themselves. Why? Because 57% of beauty consumers like to research a product online before purchasing it offline.

This joined-up approach is known as phygital beauty, and we go into all the important details in this article.

Arbelle’s virtual makeup simulator: A case study in innovation

Arbelle’s technology is not just about simulating makeup; it’s about creating an experience. The simulator accurately mimics the texture, sheen, and color of makeup products, thanks to its advanced AR and AI capabilities.

digital makeup_real-vs-virtual-product_Arbelle

Users can see how a lipstick shade changes under different lighting conditions or how a foundation blends with their skin tone, providing a level of detail previously unattainable.

With features like real-time glossy lipstick application, shimmer effects, precise foundation matching, and many others, Arbelle’s technology provides an immersive and accurate virtual try-on experience.

Here are a couple of examples.

✧ Makeup simulation: Exploring textures and finishes

Arbelle’s makeup simulation is a testament to the simulator’s sophistication, and its versatility extends to various finishes and textures. Users can explore everything from matte and satin finishes to more unique options like a glitter finish, which adds an extra layer of excitement to the makeup experience. This feature not only wows customers but also encourages them to push the boundaries of their makeup game.

Moreover, the convenience of mixing and matching shades with a simple click or swipe broadens the scope of personal style experimentation.

This hygienic, quick, and hassle-free solution not only eliminates buyer’s remorse but also transforms the way customers purchase makeup, leading to a more confident and satisfying shopping experience.

✧ Foundation matching perfection

Another standout feature is the foundation matching capability. This technology is not just about finding the right shade. it’s a commitment to diversity, precision, and unmatched personalization, ensuring a seamless virtual match for every skin tone.

In a world where each customer’s needs are unique, the Monk Skin Tone Scale is integral to Arbelle’s virtual foundation shade finder. This scale is the cornerstone of our technology as it represents a wide and diverse array of skin tones.


The AI-driven foundation matching process is swift yet thorough, analyzing the customer’s skin tone within seconds. It then recommends the ideal product from an extensive foundation collection, catering to the individual’s specific skin tone and texture.

This approach transforms the way brands connect with a diverse clientele, ensuring that each recommendation is tailored to the individual’s unique complexion.

Discover the power of digital makeup today

All in all, it’s clear that digital makeup is not a fleeting trend but the future of the beauty industry. It represents a seamless blend of the digital and physical worlds, offering an enriched, personalized shopping experience.

And as pioneers in this domain, Arbelle continues to innovate, ensuring its virtual makeup simulator remains a paragon of elegance and technological sophistication.

So, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and experience the digital makeup revolution first-hand

Try digital makeup now

Dive into the digital beauty revolution with Arbelle’s digital makeup simulator. Experience the future of beauty technology today!