Beauty is becoming more inclusive for consumers with disabilities. Brands are presenting products that harness the powers of AI to make life a little easier for the one billion people worldwide who live with a disability. A notable example of this is L'Oréal's HAPTA device, a handheld computerized makeup applicator created to support those with mobility issues. The most recent business to join L'Oréal in the mission for inclusivity is Estée Lauder Companies UK & Ireland (ELC), which has launched a Voice-Enabled Makeup Assistant (VMA)―an app created for those with visual impairments.
The VMA was developed as a result of the findings that two million people in the UK alone struggle with sight loss. The app uses smart mirror technology fueled by ELC's AR and AI capabilities to help consumers with their makeup and determine whether their lipstick, eyeshadow, or foundation has been correctly applied. The VMA assesses the boundaries of the user's face, analyzes the application to identify if products have been evenly blended, and instructs where more product may be needed. The device was developed through machine learning, with the help of visually impaired consumers, to ensure it caters correctly to the needs of those facing similar struggles.
"We are committed to building innovative technology solutions that make beauty truly inclusive to everyone. We are thrilled to bring the experience of independently applying makeup to the millions of visually impaired people," says Michael Smith, Chief Information Officer, Estée Lauder Companies. "Technology is a powerful tool to drive inclusion, and we are delighted to be first to market with this pioneering app."
The launch is only the app's first iteration, and ELC has noted that continuous optimization and improvements are planned for the near future. It is currently available on the Apple App Store and esteelauder.co.uk.The company has plans to launch VMA on the Google Play store, as well as across other ELC brands, sometime in 2023.
"As a company, we are deeply committed to playing our part in creating an inclusive beauty industry," adds Monica Rastogi, Executive Director, Corporate Cultural Relevancy and Inclusion and Diversity, The Estée Lauder Companies UK & Ireland. "The launch of our Voice-Enabled Makeup Assistant is an important step in our journey towards makeup accessibility for all by removing barriers to engaging with beauty products and services."
ELC also has stated that future app versions aim to include a broader range of services, including new features such as a lookbook that allows users to select styles of makeup they would like to apply. Makeup education tools created to help consumers understand ELC products better and learn new ways of applying them are also in the works
By providing technologies that assist with makeup, ELC presents an opportunity for those with sight problems to express themselves through color cosmetics and presents them with the tools to showcase their talent. Additionally, the company is continuing to widen the conversation surrounding beauty for the disabled, helping the industry to become more accepting and cater to all who desire to be involved. However, the only way beauty will actively become more accessible is if other brands follow in the footsteps of ELC and L'Oréal, creating products that anyone can utilize with ease. With two beauty launches already geared towards disabled people coming to market in 2023, hopefully this will be the year brands take extra steps to ensure every consumer―regardless of their background and ability―is able to access cosmetics effortlessly.
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