Contouring is an important part of many makeup looks. However, it is inaccessible to most people as it is very tricky to get right. If you try to follow makeup tutorials it is highly likely the makeup shade might not suit your skin tone and the way of applying is different for different face shapes. Our goal was to make a tool that makes contour application more accessible.

What it does

Empower Beauty 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, the app generates step-by-step instructions on how to apply the makeup to achieve the desired look. It’s just like drawing between the lines in a children's coloring book.

How we built it

Empower Beauty 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.

Challenges we ran into

Developing a lens that provided the functionality of Empower Beauty with a simple UI was a major challenge. Initially, the color picker was a pop-up modal that 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 app to apply contour, we were surprised by how easy it made the process - it’s really like coloring between the lines in a children's book! Empower Beauty'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 make it unique!

What we learned

The process of developing Empower Beauty 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 Empower Beauty

Adding more makeup techniques and tools to the app. We are particularly interested in making multi-step festive makeup looks and eye makeup more accessible.

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