July 3, 2020 / 9:07 AM / a month ago

Through the looking glass: South Korean 'augmented reality' mirror allows touchless cosmetics shopping

SEOUL (Reuters) - An augmented reality (AR) mirror at the new Seoul flagship boutique of cosmetics powerhouse Amorepacific makes easy work of seeing if that scarlet shade of lipstick or long-lash mascara suits you - even if you’re wearing a face mask.

The mirror takes a photograph of the customer’s face and analyses it, recommending products based on skin texture, and addressing any blemishes, wrinkles or dark circles. Customers can then see a computer-generated image of what they would look like wearing a wide range of foundations, blush, eye products and lipsticks.

“Due to the coronavirus, it felt uncomfortable to test cosmetics after someone had used them,” said shopper Cho Yu-lim, 24, as she peered into the full-length mirror, which has “Find Your Makeup Look” written on it. “This is very convenient as I can see the actual colour on my face without even touching my face.”

In addition to social distancing, South Korean government guidelines recommend shoppers try out cosmetics on the backs of their hands, not on their faces.

“It was frustrating as I couldn’t try cosmetics on my face … but it was fun to find the product that suits me best through this AR device,” said 20-year-old student Song Da-hye after hours of testing products on her hands at other stores.

South Korea has been praised how it has handled COVID-19, but Asia’s fourth-largest economy has experienced persistent outbreaks in recent weeks, mostly in the capital.

To minimise human contact and limit the risk of virus spread, the shop has also put QR codes next to all products on display, so customers can check details with their mobile phones instead of talking to staff.

“It took very little time and I didn’t need to talk to anyone before I made my purchases,” Cho said.

Reporting by Minwoo Park; Editing by Karishma Singh and Gerry Doyle

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