L'Oréal expands into tech with the acquisition of beauty AR and AI company

L'Oréal has acquired Canadian tech company ModiFace, a specialist in augmented reality and artificial intelligence applied to the beauty industry.

ModiFace has previously worked with L'Oréal-owned brand Vichy
ModiFace has previously worked with L'Oréal-owned brand Vichy

Founded by Parham Aarabi eleven years ago in Toronto, ModiFace has developed advanced technologies of 3D virtual make-up, colour and skin diagnosis services using proprietary tech which tracks facial features and colour. Its tech is used by nearly all the major beauty brands. 

ModiFace employs nearly 70 engineers, researchers and scientists who have submitted more than 200 scientific publications and registered over thirty patents.

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. 

"L'Oréal's acquisition of ModiFace provides an incredible opportunity to innovate on beauty augmented reality and artificial intelligence at an unprecedented scale, the results of which will shape the beauty industry for the decades to come," Aarabi said. "Our entire team and I are extremely excited to be joining the L'Oréal family, and look forward to the AR/AI-enabled future that we will create together."

According to the French cosmetics giant, this acquisition forms part of its strategy to digitally accelerate the group's 34 international brands.

L'Oréal has been using AR increasingly ever since the launch of its facemapping mobile app, Makeup Genius in 2014. 

It has also worked with Founders Factory to discover startups that tie in with its business. The group started working with Scandinavian influencer-platform, Tailify (discovered through this initiative) last year. 

"With its world-class team, technologies and sustained track record in terms of beauty tech innovations, ModiFace will support the reinvention of the beauty experience around innovative services to help our customers discover, try and chose products and brands,"  Lubomira Rochet, chief digital officer of L’Oréal, said. 

ModiFace will be part of L'Oréal's Digital Services Factory, a dedicated network created to design and develop new digital services for the group's brands.

It will work closely with L'Oréal's Advanced Research, and benefit from its century-old expertise in beauty. ModiFace will remain based in Toronto close to the university with which it has established many research partnerships.