In the era of video conferencing, many people have felt the urge to disable their webcams on days when they don’t feel their best. Understanding this common concern, Microsoft has unveiled a new AI-powered beauty feature aimed at making video calls more pleasant. Partnering with cosmetics giant Maybelline, Microsoft Teams is introducing a set of “virtual makeup” filters that allow users to enhance their appearance with a variety of unique looks.

The Maybelline Beauty app, integrated into Microsoft Teams, will offer users 12 different makeup looks to choose from. These filters will include various blurring effects and digital makeup color options. Interestingly, each look will provide a detailed breakdown of the real-world Maybelline products and shades used in the filter, empowering users to recreate the makeup look in their daily lives.

Though virtual “try-on” experiences are commonly used by companies to promote their products, it’s somewhat unconventional to see Maybelline encouraging users to explore different makeup looks within a corporate workplace software like Microsoft Teams. The AI technology powering these virtual makeup filters is provided by Modiface, a renowned augmented reality company with a focus on the beauty industry. Modiface’s technology has been widely adopted by cosmetics companies such as Sephora and Estée Lauder, leading to its acquisition by L’Oreal, Maybelline’s parent company, in 2018.

To ensure inclusivity and diversity, the Geena Davis Institute collaborated in the development of the filters. This nonprofit organization, dedicated to improving representation in media, worked to ensure that the virtual makeup looks would cater to a broad and diverse population.

Trisha Ayyagari, the global brand president of Maybelline New York, expressed the importance of feeling good about oneself, whether in virtual or in-person interactions. She highlighted the convenience of the virtual makeup looks in helping users put their best foot forward, even on the busiest of days.

The new feature is being rolled out to Microsoft Teams Enterprise customers globally, accessible through the “Video Effects” tab in the Teams meeting settings. There is an inquiry about whether the filters will also be available to users on the free Microsoft Teams tier, with Microsoft expected to provide clarification soon.

While beauty filters might seem unusual in professional communication apps, they have garnered popularity in the work-related sphere. It is essential to be mindful of potential risks to self-esteem, as research indicates that filters can set unrealistic beauty standards, impacting mental health. Despite this, many individuals are intrigued by these beauty effects, and the Maybelline Beauty app in Teams, with its diverse options and customization, may become a favorite among users seeking to enhance their appearance naturally during video calls.

By Impact Lab