PARIS, France — When Jean-Paul Agon put on makeup at a L’Oreal SA board meeting last month, the biggest surprise wasn’t how the French company’s chairman looked in its lipstick, blush and eyeshadow. It was how easy it was to take it off.
Agon, 58, used L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius app on his iPhone to virtually don the cosmetics maker’s wares. The free software turns a mobile device into digital mirror, giving users a sense of what various products will look like on their faces. Women — and men — can try on cosmetics, share images on social media and order, all without leaving the sofa.
Makeup Genius, downloaded more than 1 million times since May, shows how the company is seeking to engage consumers amid slowing sales. The technology is the result of almost two years of research by L’Oreal to find ways to stand out in the cosmetics market, which it estimates will swell as much as 4 percent to about $250 billion this year.