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An App Made for The Shade

Call it the makeup app for the selfie generation. Most women know the frustration that comes when they can’t locate a specific shade of makeup. The eye shadow that a favorite actress wore at the award show, the lipstick on that model in a magazine or even the blush on a friend’s face can be difficult to duplicate. Linda Smith has created an app she thinks can help. The founder and chief executive of FaceCake Marketing Technologies in Calabasas launched ShadeScout in April. The free app can find a makeup product to match any color, and allows consumers to try it on virtually. Just snap a photo of anything using the app – the blue from a favorite blouse, even the red from a can of Coca-Cola – and ShadeScout will search its library and find the brands that sell those exact colors in the product you’re looking for, including eye shadow, foundation, blush or lipstick. Then watch as that shade of eye shadow or lipstick is applied to your face via the virtual mirror. “It’s almost as if you have a makeup counter that goes with you wherever you are,” Smith said. “Anything that inspires you, you can scout it and find a match in any category. This allows you to go out and shop without having any product information.” The app has a library of more than 40 different brands – including Mac Cosmetics, Sephora USA Inc. and Covergirl from Procter & Gamble Co. – which account for about 10,000 various products for color matches. There are many apps to help consumers shop for makeup and clothes, including ModiFace which allows consumers to give themselves a digital makeover and L’Oreal Group’s Makeup Genius which allows customers to try on the brand’s makeup in real time. But ShadeScout advances the genre with its approach to help women find and purchase products in colors inspired by random objects. “The idea that you can virtualize is not new, but the way they’re doing it is,” said Steve Sleeper, executive director of the Professional Beauty Association in Scottsdale, Ariz. “I think women will look at anything and say ‘if this will make it easier and faster, it’s worth it.’” However, Sleeper said the biggest challenge is getting people to try a new app. FaceCake Marketing started in 2004. It launched the Swivel Virtual Dressing Room in 2012, which allows customers try on clothes, shoes and accessories without removing clothing. Swivel was temporarily picked up by Bloomingdale’s and several malls in Southern California, including the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach and The Promenade in Temecula. Smith plans to expand the market for ShadeScout by adding more brands and makeup categories. At present the company receives a percentage of sales from its partnering brands every time a product is purchased via the app. “We’re building this so that it’s a true shopping platform – an augmented reality shopping platform that is personalized,” Smith said. “This is something that can actually be a part of your regular shopping experience.” — Champaign Williams

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