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Augmented Reality Hairstyles App

How to Build an Augmented Reality Hairstyles App?

Estimated read time: 13 minutes
Aran Davies

Aran Davies

Software ExpertDeveloperWriterPhotographer

Interested in building an augmented reality hairstyles app?

This is a rapidly growing software niche.

L’Oréal, the beauty giant, launched an app called Makeup Genius that uses augmented reality to provide step-by-step beauty tutorials to consumers. Other leading beauty brands like Maybelline, Yves Rocher, Smashbox, CoverGirl, and Rimmel London are also now offering AR beauty apps to their customers.

Let’s see how you can create an AR-powered hairstyles app and make your mark in the growing market.

How to Create an Augmented Reality Hairstyles App?

augmented reality hairstyles app

I will now explain the process to develop an augmented reality hairstyles app, which is as follows:

1. Perform market research and analyze the available AR hairstyles apps

You should start by researching the current beauty industry dynamics and market trends. AR technology uses face and skin mapping, therefore, consumers can see how products will look on them without visiting a beauty products store.

Conduct target audience research and look into the popular AR hairstyles and haircut simulator apps to understand the features you need to offer according to end users’ preferences and paint points.

Popular AR hairstyle apps

The following augmented reality applications can also provide great templates and ideas for design.

A. Hair Color from ModiFace

ModiFace is a software development company owned by L’Oréal. It offers Hair Color, a popular augmented reality app for virtually trying out new hair colors and hairstyles. This helps consumers to understand how the hair makeover will look on them.

It’s available on Android and iOS.

B. Style My Hair from L’Oréal

L’Oréal offers Style My Hair, a popular virtual hairstyle makeover app. It has built this app in partnership with ModiFace.

Consumers can try different hairstyles virtually and check how new hair complements their skin tone and whether it suits them. You can use it on iPhones as well as Android devices.

The virtual hairstyle app allows users to try different colors and shades. These “virtual try” sessions even allow users to move around to get a full view of their new hair from every angle.

Once consumers decide on their new look, the app helps them to find a L’Oréal Professional Hair Salon. Users can share their new looks on social media even before they get it done.

C. Hairstyle Makeover

Hairstyle Makeover is among the popular augmented reality hairstyle apps. It’s available on iPhones and iPads. Users can virtually try new hairstyles. After a “virtual try” session, users can share their new look on social media.

This app helps users to try different styles of beards too. The app offers in-app purchases.

D. YouCam Makeup – Selfie Editor & Magic Makeover Cam

Perfect Corp offers the popular suite ‘YouCam virtual beauty apps’, which includes the YouCam Makeup app. It uses AR (Augmented Reality) as well as AI (Artificial Intelligence).

This app uses a technology called “Magic Mirror”. It combines AR, AI, and IoT (Internet of Things). This technology can do a great deal, including helping you determine if a new hairstyle suits your face shape, etc.

Note: Perfect Corp also offers YouCam Shop. This is an AR-based shopping app for cosmetics, skincare products, and hair products. You can find products from leading brands.

2. Project scoping:

You should begin by defining the following scope for this project:

  • iOS or Android app, or both.
  • Include the following features:
    • The app should allow consumers to try on various hairstyles using AR;
    • To engage users, the app should have a push notifications feature;
    • It should allow in-app purchases, moreover, there should be a payment gateway integration.
  • Launch the app in one geography or multiple regions.

3. Use the Agile SDLC model

The above-mentioned features provide a good starting point, and you can launch a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP). You can then enhance the app based on market feedback.

I suggest that you use the Agile SDLC model since it supports iterative development. Read more about this SDLC model in “What is software development life cycle and what do you plan for?”.

4. Formulate a development approach

I recommend the following development approach for this project:

  • Plan for future expansion into other geographies, therefore, use design and development best practices like keeping the content separate from the code. These are “app internationalization” practices, and you can learn more about them in “The ultimate guide to mobile app internationalization”.
  • Use a “Mobile Backend as a Service” (MBaaS) platform to expedite the project.
  • Improve your test coverage using an ML test automation aid.
  • Utilize “Software Development Kits” (SDKs) and “Application Programming Interfaces” (APIs) to aid the development.

Read “What is the best development approach to guarantee the success of your app?” to understand how this approach helps.

5. Build a “Scrum team”

“Scrum”, a popular technique to execute Agile projects can help you to build a top development team, and I recommend that you use it.

The project manager performs the “Scrum Master” role and builds small, cross-functional teams where developers work together with testers.

The team works on “Sprints”, i.e., iterations. You can learn about such teams in “How to build a scrum development team?”. You need the following roles in addition to the scrum master:

  • Business analysts;
  • UI designers;
  • AR developers;
  • Android developers;
  • iOS developers;

You might wonder whether to hire freelancers or engage a development team with the required experience.

Our guide “Freelance app development team vs. field expert software development teams” can help you decide.

6. Get an MBaaS platform

You need to use an MBaaS platform since these platforms offer the following advantages:

  • You don’t need to develop and manage the mobile backend, therefore, you don’t need mobile backend developers and infrastructure architects in your team.
  • MBaaS providers manage the cloud infrastructure and storage, moreover, you can easily integrate 3rd party APIs.
  • You can easily implement features like user management, security, and push notifications.
  • Scaling your app is easier with an MBaaS platform, moreover, you can easily manage the complexity arising from the wide range of mobile platforms and devices.

Read “How to choose the best mobile backend as a service (MBaaS)?” to learn more about these advantages, and sign-up for AWS Amplify, i.e., the MBaaS offering from AWS.

7. Sign-up for a test automation solution for effective testing

Your app must work on a wide range of mobile devices, which is hard to achieve with common open-source testing frameworks.

The team needs to test the app against all possible mobile devices, and pCloudy offers a mobile device lab on the cloud that allows you to do just that.

You can check out the following resources to learn more about it:

Review the pCloudy pricing plans and choose one that works for you.

8. Sign-up with an AR SDK/API provider

I recommend that you use an AR SDK/API provider to implement the core feature of allowing consumers to try on various hairstyles virtually. Wikitude is a robust choice since the company offers powerful AR SDKs.

Image recognition-based AR is a key capability of Wikitude, and you can implement this in your AR hairstyle app. You can implement Wikitude in the following way:

You can find the Wikitude pricing plans here.

9. Get an API solution to implement the in-app purchase feature

Since the app needs the in-app purchase feature, I recommend that you use an eCommerce API solution. Shopify is a good choice here, and you can use it as follows:

  • Access its eCommerce API on the Shopify developer portal.
  • You can review the extensive documentation offered by Shopify for its APIs.
  • Check out the Shopify developer portal for API reference documents.

10. Procure an API solution for payment gateway integration

At this point, you need to find an API solution for payment gateway integration. Braintree, a solution from PayPal, is a good choice for this, and you can use it as follows:

11. Use Twilio for bulk SMS

You will need to implement a push notifications feature in your AR hairstyle app, and a bulk SMS solution helps here. Twilio is a reputed provider of such solutions, and you can take the following steps:

Review the Twilio pricing plans and choose one that suits you.

12. Designing the UI for the augmented reality hairstyles application

The app needs an attractive yet user-friendly UI, therefore, I recommend that you take the following steps:

  • Read the “Material design” guidelines, which are important for Android mobile app UI design.
  • The UI design for an iOS app should follow the “Human Interface Guidelines”, therefore, follow these for the iOS app version.
  • There are several best practices for designing forms in a mobile app UI so that users can easily enter data while using the app, such as using minimal static defaults, automating actions, protecting user data, adopting suitable typography, etc.
  • You can use market-leading tools like Adobe XD for designing your UI.

13. Android app development and testing

I recommend that you use Java for Android app development, and take the following steps:

  • Use Android Studio, which is the “Integrated Development Environment” (IDE) that Android developers use.
  • Google offers guidance for developing an Android app with Java using Android Studio, and you can find it in “Build your first Android app in Java”.
  • Integrate SDKs/APIs for Wikitude, Shopify, Braintree, and Twilio in your Android Studio Java project.
  • Use Espresso for testing, and use the pCloudy mobile devices lab to test the app on a wide range of devices.

14. Coding and testing the iOS augmented reality hairstyles app

We recommend you use Swift to develop your iOS app. This modern and powerful language offers powerful features.

Programmers benefit from increased productivity while your app benefits from better security. iOS apps written in Swift are more likely to perform optimally, and developers can maintain them more easily too.

You need to take the following steps for the iOS app development:

  • Code the app using Xcode, the IDE that Apple champions for developing apps for its platforms.
  • You need to use XCTest to test the app, moreover, use the pCloudy mobile devices lab.
  • You need to integrate the API/SDK solutions for Wikitude, Shopify, Braintree, and Twilio into your app.

15. Publish your augmented reality hairstyles mobile app into app stores

Now that you have coded and tested the Android and iOS augmented reality apps, you need to publish them to the app stores.

Google and Apple have stringent guidelines for publishing apps, which developers need to follow. Find these guidelines in the below repositories:

16. Manage the development project

Let’s discuss a critical success factor in the success of any project. You need to ensure the maximum productivity of your team. We explained the importance of this in “10 biggest mobile app challenges in development”.

This requires a proactive approach to managing the project. An empowered scrum team works as follows:

  • A “Product owner” provides the requirements in a document called the “Product Backlog”.
  • The team estimates these requirements and discusses their priorities with the business stakeholders.
  • In an exercise called the “Sprint planning meeting”, the team slots these requirements into sprints.
  • During a sprint, the team has “Daily stand-up meetings” to discuss the project status.
  • The team needs to demonstrate the functioning app to the business stakeholders, and obtain their approval in “Sprint review meetings”.
  • At the end of a sprint, the team conducts “Sprint retrospective meetings”, which helps in learning lessons from the sprint.

The scrum master should use an effective project management tool to manage these diverse sets of activities, and I recommend Trello for this.

We, at DevTeam.Space, have designed and refined our own unique data-driven process to manage projects, which utilizes real-time dashboards to help both our project and account managers as well as client-side PMs to track the exact progress of their projects in real-time.

A Few Considerations When Building an Augmented Reality Hairstyles App

Keep the following aspects in mind when you develop an AR hairstyle app:

  • You need to offer an easy-to-use user interface. Follow the platform-specific UI design guidelines effectively.
  • Design a technical solution that offers great performance and scalability.
  • While you might use 3rd-party API solutions for some features, remember that they add external dependencies. Strike a balance. Develop your own APIs for the core features that you offer. Create RESTful APIs since REST (Representational State Transfer) is the de-facto standard for API development.  
  • Choose modern and scalable database solutions. You can use MySQL or PostgreSQL when you need SQL databases. Use MongoDB or Apache Cassandra if you need a NoSQL database.
  • An AR hairstyle app processes sensitive personal information. Design a robust application security solution. Proactively mitigate the top security vulnerabilities.

Planning to Launch an Augmented Reality Hairstyles App?

Note that the market for AR hairstyle apps is competitive, and a project to build a high-quality ar application could become complex. Cloud platforms and tools help, however, end-to-end project management is key to the success of this project.

If you find yourself lacking any of the skills or experience required to build your next AR solution then why not reach out to DevTeam.Space and let us know your project requirements via this form.

One of our dedicated account managers will get in touch to answer any questions you might have and to show you how our developers can help.

Frequently Asked Questions on Augmented Reality Hairstyles App

What is AR?

AR stands for augmented reality and involves supplementing real-world images with computer-generated ones. Examples include Pokémon Go and museum exhibits that take users back in time to the place where they are standing currently.

Is AR the same as VR?

AR involves adding computer-generated images to the real-world environment. VR or virtual reality involves creating entirely new environments.

Where to find AR developers?

If you are looking for world-class AR developers then you should head to DevTeam.Space. The platform’s community of developers includes experienced AR developers.


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