The beauty business turns to augmented reality – Axios

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Beauty brands are hiring — or buying — technology companies that let customers virtually try on makeup, hair and skin care products.
Why it matters: With COVID keeping people away from cosmetics counters, the latest thing in "beauty tech" is the VTO — or virtual try-on. Customers love playing with these apps so much that companies see big revenue boosts after introducing them.
Driving the news: Hair, skin and makeup companies used to focus on acquiring smaller brands with cult followings, but now they're also chasing AI and AR firms that can help them develop personalized customer experiences.
What they're saying: "People don't necessarily want to travel to a store to just try stuff before you buy it," David Ripert, the CEO of Poplar Studio, told Futurism.com, a digital magazine.
Between the lines: With VTO, beauty companies are able to turn the sales experience into a form of entertainment, which lifts sales.
The bottom line: While virtual try-on technology is rapidly becoming table stakes for beauty brands, nothing can substitute for sampling a product in the flesh, where it may look very different on your non-virtual skin.
Companies are about to blast out a blizzard of quarterly profit and sales numbers over the next few weeks, as the carnival of Q4 corporate results kicks off.
Driving the news: Large banks will open the floodgates, issuing reports early Friday that mark the unofficial start of earnings season on Wall Street.
The shortage of workers in the U.S. has become a flywheel of doom, messing up our lives and society writ large. And many of the underlying problems that led to this breakdown are bigger than the pandemic.
The big picture: Millions of immigrants, older workers and mothers are missing from the labor force. Those labor shortages create problems like supply chain woes, school closures, and skyrocketing childcare costs — and some of those problems further exacerbate the worker shortages.
Shopping on New York's Upper East Side at Boisson, a store that exclusively sells alcohol-free beer, wine and spirits (and accessories). Photo: Jennifer A. Kingson/Axios
Interest in non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirits has been soaring and is expected to far outlast "Dry January," the month when people typically swear off booze.
Why it matters: Companies big and small are doubling down on the mocktail market, which is being pitched as a healthful alternative for social drinkers who want to take a day off from their nightcap.

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