Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is on the verge of rapidly disrupting many industries. From the way computers understand images, voice, text and other forms of data, to the way information is processed and represented, AI may have its biggest impact on the beauty industry.

ModiFace has been leveraging AI to power 3D live video makeup and skin care simulation applications for the past decade. Augmented Reality requires the precise tracking of facial features, image lighting and visual image understanding, all of which require AI. For the past few years, ModiFace has also been pushing the boundary on hair color AR, through partnerships with renowned hair color brands such as L’Oréal, Matrix, Garnier, Clairol and Wella. However, due to the complexity of tracking and detecting hair, hair color simulation has always been limited to 2D photo-based simulation. But due to a recent AI breakthrough, this is about to change.

Developed as a new type of AI and a variant of deep neural networks, by leveraging deep neural networks where it’s warranted, and shallower networks in other areas were data is limited, ModiFace is able to achieve a hybrid neural network that is able to differentiate between a hair patch, a hair strand and background. And it can do this at any angle, in any lighting condition, for any skin tone or hair color. To achieve this, ModiFace spent six years collecting the world’s largest database of hair images, consisting of almost 220,000 individual faces. The result of this data and the hybrid neural network framework is the most realistic 360-degree live video hair color simulation ever created. It can be previewed here:

The results are impressive, realistic and almost indistinguishable from actually trying on new hair. What is more interesting is that the hybrid neural network understands hair in cases where it had never been trained, including hair on the back of the head, the top of the head, white hair, very short hair or no hair. ModiFace is now working on using a similar approach for hair style and hair texture simulation in live video.

The key takeaway is that AI is here, it is powerful, and if implemented correctly it will have a profound effect on every aspect of the beauty industry that could be digitized. This includes virtual AI beauty advisors, shopping aids and color matching experts, all of which could provide immediate personalized advice to shoppers. It also includes new types of visualization of beauty products, as well as diagnosis of skin conditions with levels of accuracy that would match, and in some cases surpass, that of medical experts. These advancements have usually been perceived to be decades away. Today, we know that their arrival will be measured in months, not years. And the impact of this for everyone in the beauty industry who is reading this will be very profound.