Google is expanding its augmented reality (AR) shopping feature that allows people to virtually wear beauty products before purchasing — bringing the feature to mobile browsers and Google Shopping ads, alongside new tools for trying on foundation and hair dye colors.

The new hair color category will begin rolling out to Google AR Beauty this week, allowing users to see different shades of hair dye from L’Oréal on themselves or on one of the available models that best suits their look. Dye shades from other brands like Revlon and Splat will be “available to try on soon,” according to Google’s announcement. The foundation category is also being expanded — while you can still try out different shades on 148 diverse models, you’ll now be able to virtually try the foundation on yourself to help find your perfect match.

Users will additionally be able to access Google’s AR beauty tools outside of the Google app. When the hair and foundation categories roll out, they can then be accessed from any mobile browser in the US, with the eye and lip makeup categories expected to roll out “in the coming weeks.”

Lastly, brands can now use these AR beauty tools in place of the product image typically used in Google Shopping ads. This provides potential customers with a more inclusive experience instead of viewing ads that display cosmetics on a skin tone dissimilar from their own. But these Google AR Beauty ads display products on a selection of models and cannot be virtually worn by the user. Lip and eye products will be the first ad tools to launch, with foundation shades “coming soon.” YouTube started testing a similar AR ad feature back in 2019 that (as a fan of both cosmetics and beauty influencers) hasn’t been widely used.

You can’t test products on yourself within the Google Shopping ads, but it’s still helpful to select models with a similar skin tone.
Image: Google

AR beauty tools are still fairly niche, despite efforts from brands like L’Oréal and Maybelline to popularize the experience. Plenty of other notable cosmetics brands have already made their collections available to virtually try on using Google’s AR beauty tools since the feature was introduced in 2020, including CoverGirl, Dior Beauty, Fenty Beauty, Laura Mercier, and Makeup by Mario. Physical cosmetics stores like Sephora and Ultra have facilitated virtual makeup try-on experiences for years now, but it’s taken a while for the same features to take off online.


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