With the rise of wearable NFTs and virtual makeup looks popping up in the metaverse, AR beauty tech companies are now making their way into space.
AI and AR beauty companies, including Perfect Corp. and PulpoAR, have recently developed metaverse and NFT capabilities as brands seek new ways to leverage these technologies. As NFTs expand beyond image and video formats for virtual makeup, the question now is how and where they can be used.
Brands’ participation in NFTs and the metaverse “is about marketing and creating buzz,” said Rayan Godoi, co-founder of beauty technology company AR PulpoAR, which is currently developing a metaverse AR app called MetaBeauty. He predicts that, in the future, the metaverse “will be a major sales channel” for beauty through virtual looks.
After announcing his plans for the metaverse at CES earlier this year, Perfect Corp. also revealed, at South by Southwest in March, the introduction of wearable NFTs. The company has launched four tricks, “Astral Queen”, “Cosmonaut”, “Mystical” and “Glitching”, on the NFT OpenSea platform. Shoppers who shop on OpenSea can access the looks in Perfect Corp.’s YouCam app, which is the only place they can be used.
Perfect Corp. has also introduced a service to digitize wearable NFTs for both fashion and beauty brands, using common trading platforms and NFT portfolio such as OpenSea. According to CEO Alice Chang, the company’s NFT wearable looks “will present beauty and fashion brands with new revenue stream opportunities, while providing customers with an interactive and personalized element that has not been possible in the NFT space until now.” .
PulpoAR first created a virtual trial app in 2019 and has partnered with beauty companies including Sephora, MAC, and Yves Rocher, among others, to create virtual trial tools. They included proof via the brands’ DTC sites and in-store mirrors.
PulpoAR’s MetaBeauty app it is developing is set to act as a hub where both brands and creators can create their own digital makeup looks and mint them in NFT. Users will be able to place limits on the number of uses for a look, allowing digital makeup items to run out just like a physical one would. The app will be launched this year.
“With NFTs, once the creator or beauty brand creates the asset, they can too [define] specific usability. For example, you can coin an NFT by saying that the SKU can only be used 20 times and thus creating scarcity, ”said Godoi.
The biggest challenge facing platforms right now is finding a way to translate the makeup look across multiple platforms. Perfect Corp. looks, for example, are available exclusively on YouCam. Social app and game companies should create and implement new technologies to enable NFTs of other platforms to be used on their platforms.
Godoi is trying to make it happen. His “long-term vision” for MetaBeauty is to one day allow brands to sell digital makeup products that can be used on social platforms such as filtering on Instagram, Snapchat, video chat platforms and others, he said. He said the company is currently in preliminary talks with major social media platforms in hopes of convincing them to allow this capability.
In five years, he expects NFTs to be incorporated into smart glasses, allowing people to “wear” different looks while showing themselves in someone else’s lenses.
Perfect Corp.’s first virtual makeup NFTs were colorful and fantasy-inspired, indicating a virtual makeup world arguably bolder and more colorful than real life.
Godoi said a big question his company has is, “When we talk about what beauty is going to be in the metaverse, will people try to reproduce exactly how they look in the real world, or will they try to look different?” He predicts that preferences will shift towards the latter.
“Beauty will change radically. People will express themselves in very different ways in the metaverse, ”she said.