[Eleni speaking] The first time I tried contouring, I was getting ready for my first big party, and I was trying to re-create a look of a famous celebrity I saw online. I thought it was cool, that with contouring, you could change the way your face looks using just cosmetic products.

A big challenge was how to apply it because my face shape was different from the person whose youtube tutorial I was following. The suggested colors were too dark for my skin, and I didn’t know where to apply it.

Snapchat has millions of virtual face filters, but few offer real-world impact and value. Our goal was to bring imagination to reality, as part of Snapchat's “Create the Future Now” Lensathon.

What it does

Beauty Bar analyzes the user's face shape and skin color, then recommends a real highlighter and contouring product, as well as an application pattern specific to the user's face shape. From this recommended starting point, users can further explore different shades and application patterns. Once happy, Beauty Bar generates step-by-step instructions on how to apply the makeup to achieve the desired AR look. It’s just like drawing between the lines in a children's coloring book.

In the future, Beauty Bar will allow influencers to create similar step-by-step makeup tutorials for their fans, making it a one-stop solution for beauty tutorials and product recommendations. We are particularly excited by the monetization opportunities by using real products in AR filters. Beauty Bar is a good first prototype, but just the start of a massive opportunity for Snapchat in the “Try, Apply & Buy” space.

How we built it

Beauty Bar was created by a team of 3 developers using Snapchat's Lens Studio, with assets created and modified in Adobe Photoshop. Emphasis was given to replicating the look of real makeup on the user’s face.

We developed iteratively, taking time to show the lens to 14 potential users, and speaking to employees at Sephora to influence our design and functionality. We also paid attention to technical architecture quality and came up with a consistent way of state management in the lens.

Challenges we ran into

Developing a lens that provided the functionality of Beauty Bar with a simple UI was a major challenge. Initially, the colour picker was a pop-up modal which covered part of the screen but based on user feedback, we decided that you should always be able to see your face when using the lens. In total, we went through 3 major iterations of the UI.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of creating an AR experience that can help users enhance their natural beauty, using makeup as a tool. Having personally used the lens to apply contour, we were surprised by how easy it made the process - it’s really like colouring between the lines in a children's book! Beauty Bar's unique combination of a virtual try, the ability to project the tutorial on the user’s face, and using real makeup that can be purchased, set it apart from other beauty lenses.

What we learned

The process of developing Beauty Bar taught us about the potential of AR in the beauty industry, and how it can be leveraged to provide a better user experience.

What's next for Beauty Bar

With the foundation of the lens in place, we plan to add more features, such as allowing creators to create and share makeup tutorials, improving the accuracy of product recommendations and improving makeup realism in different lighting conditions. We are also exploring partnerships with leading beauty brands to see how the lens can be monetized.

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