Perfect Corp. is on a mission to transform the beauty industry through AR and AI innovation.
For Alice Chang, the CEO of the Taiwanese tech company, it all started when she realized the power of giving someone the tools to make themselves feel beautiful.
“I personally believe that the search for beauty is the fundamental demand of every human being, and especially for women,” said Chang. “I was taking a lot of photos using my smartphone, and my girlfriends were, too. We were taking a lot for ourselves, with our family, with the dogs, always during these good memories. But when we would take selfies, we always liked to make some edits to help us feel pretty, and share or keep the photos for ourselves. That’s when I realized there was an app we could do.”
Founded in 2014, the tech company has launched a series of AR apps, like YouCam Perfect, which uses a ‘beautify’ function and other photo editing software to help users craft the perfect selfie. Perfect Corp. has also partnered with brands and retailers, such as Ulta, to create an in-store, virtual try-on experience, so customers can interact with cosmetics before committing to a purchase.
On this week’s episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Chang to discuss how Perfect Corp. is marrying tech and beauty, how it’s individualizing in-store AR experiences for each brand, and how AI could revolutionize a consumer’s beauty experience. Edited highlights below.
Leveraging tech for beauty
“When we look at the mirror, we like to see beauty. A smartphone camera is just like a mirror in your hand. So when you turn on the camera and look at yourself, you can become instantly beautiful, and I think that’s a natural demand for everyone. We have the technology so that when you look at the camera, you already look beautiful. We started from natural beauty, which smoothed your skin, made some photo edits, and then I thought, ‘Wow, this is good, but how can we do it even better?’ That’s where beauty and makeup came in. As a beauty lover — I’m not from the beauty industry at all; my background is in technology — I realized I could leverage the technology we have and have every female see beauty when she looked in the mirror. I can make every female feel confident when they look at the camera, and they can share that. Makeup is the thing that makes everyone more confident, and that’s how we came up with the idea for the virtual makeup app.”
Creating AR experiences for brands
“[When we’re working with brands,] the technology platform is the same, but from luxury brands to mass brands, they have different user groups. They would, based on their own user group, design their own image, look and feel. So that part is a UI/UX change — to reflect the nature of the brand, their DNA. The technology platform is the same, but we have the flexibility for all of the different brands — from luxury, to mass, to department stores and retailers. They can base it on their user’s preferences or their own nature, to design the look and feel, and fit it into their stores.”
Using tech to revolutionize product discovery
“AI is really a game-changer, especially for beauty. AR is already great for virtual try-on, but the next step is, ‘Can you know me better? Can you know what fits me more?’ In my own experience, I never buy the right shades of foundation. It’s always too dark or too light. With AI, we can recognize skin tone, download that for each girl — we have over 89,000 shades of skin tones. We can then recognize which skin tone you are and work with beauty brands’ expertise to say, ‘We have all these shades of foundation, but according to your skin tone, I’d recommend these five shades for you.’ That’s something I’d love to have, and through AI, we can.”