How To Build An Augmented Reality Hairstyles App
Interested in building an augmented reality hairstyles app?
This is a rapidly growing software niche.
How important is AR in the beauty industry?
AR is now very important in the beauty industry. We can see this growing popularity surge over the past few years. Consider the following developments in this area:
- This technology uses face and skin mapping, therefore, consumers can see how products will look on them without visiting a beauty products store. Read “Global beauty and personal care products market 2018-2025 – increasing adoption of augmented reality in the beauty industry” to learn more about this AR use case in the beauty industry.
- Beauty coaching is emerging as a key application of AR in this industry. Back in May 2018, L’Oréal, the beauty giant, showcased an AR-powered solution to provide step-by-step beauty tutorial to consumers. You can read about this solution in “8 leading augmented reality innovations for beauty: L’Oréal’s latest efforts”.
- Other leading beauty brands like Maybelline, Yves Rocher, Smashbox, CoverGirl, and Rimmel London are also now offering AR beauty apps to their customers. You can read about this trend in “Is augmented reality the future of the beauty industry?”.
- Experts in the industry state that AR offers consumers the ability to discover beauty products, and virtually try them on for size, and this is proving to be a big plus in the beauty industry. Read “Virtual makeovers are better than ever. Beauty companies are trying to cash in” to learn more about this.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has restricted the movements of consumers, and this impacted the beauty industry. AR-powered virtual beauty consultations offer a solution. Perfect Corp and Bobbi Brown partnered to make this solution possible. Bobbi Brown is a famous cosmetics company, which is now owned by Estée Lauder. Perfect Corp is the company behind the YouCam virtual beauty apps.
Examples of Augmented Reality hairstyles apps:
As the first step toward creating any new software project, you need to look at a few popular AR hairstyle apps to get a clear picture of the marketplace. These augmented reality applications can also provide great templates and ideas for design.
A. Perfect365 Augmented Reality hairstyles App
Perfect365 is a well-known AR application. It’s available on both Android and iOS, something which allows it to reach the maximum number of users. This app offers the following features:
- It’s makeup as well as a hairstyle app that uses AR.
- Consumers can try different hairstyles and colors in real-time.
- The app enables users to experiment with brands, designers, influencers, and makeup artists.
- The app has both free and premium versions.
- It offers in-app purchases.
B. 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 hairstyles.
Use this app to check how a new hair complements your skin tone and whether it suits you. It’s available on Android and iOS.
C. 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 new hairstyles virtually. 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.
D. Style My Hair Pro from L’Oréal
Style My Hair Pro is for professional hairdressers. Hairstylists can use this app to provide a customizable representation of trending looks for their clients.
They can suggest new hair colors, styles, accessories, etc. This helps consumers to understand how the hair makeover will look once the hair salon is finished.
E. Hairstyle Makeover
Hairstyle Makeover is among popular augmented reality hairstyles 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.
F. 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 to 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.
Note: If you want to check out other examples of AR hairstyle apps then you can find a useful list in “The trick to never regretting a haircut or colour again”.
How to create an augmented reality hairstyles app
I will now explain the process to develop an augmented reality hairstyles app, which is as follows:
1. 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 the push notifications feature;
- It should allow in-app purchases, moreover, there should be a payment gateway integration.
- Launch the app in one geography or in multiple regions.
2. 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 you plan for?”.
3. 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” best practices, 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.
4. 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 to engage a development team with the required experience. Our guide “Freelance app development team vs. field expert software development teams” can help you to decide.
5. 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.
6. 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.
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7. 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 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:
Read more about its image recognition and AR capabilities in “Image Tracking Augmented Reality”.
- Visit the Wikitude SDK download page to find the Android and iOS SDKs.
- Check out the comprehensive Wikitude developer overview documentation, which helps you to get started.
You can find the Wikitude pricing plans here.
8. 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.
9. 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:
- Sign-up for “Braintree Direct”.
- Access the Braintree developer portal documentation to get started with it.
- Use the Braintree Android and iOS SDKs.
- Check out the Braintree Direct Overview.
- Review the Braintree tutorial.
10. 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 for such solutions, and you can take the following steps:
- Sign-up for the Twilio SMS service.
- Review the Twilio programmable messaging documentation.
- Check out the Twilio messaging services documentation for guidance.
Review the Twilio pricing plans and choose one that suits you.
11. Designing the UI for 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.
- Adobe and Smashing Magazine collaborated to create a good guide for the mobile app UI design. You can read it here in “A comprehensive guide to mobile app design”.
- There are several best practices for designing forms in a mobile app UI so that users can easily enter data while using the app. You should follow these best practices, and you can find key ones in “Best practices for mobile form design”.
- You can use market-leading tools like Adobe XD for designing your UI.
12. Android app development and testing
I recommend that you use Java for the 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.
13. 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.
14. Publish your augmented reality hairstyles mobile app into app stores
Now that you have coded and tested the Android and iOS 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:
- “Publish your app”, which is for the Android app;
- “Submit your iOS and iPadOS apps to the App Store”, which is for the iOS app.
15. 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 set 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 app 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
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 with the place where they are standing.
AR involves adding computer-generated images over the real-world environment. VR or virtual reality involves creating entirely new environments.
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.