The virtual academy lets hairstylists learn the latest techniques to advance their education.
Unveiled Tuesday at the Fast Company Innovation Festival, L’Oréal’s Vice President of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Rachel Weiss, announced the roll out of their latest VR academy for stylists.
Part of L’Oréal’s “Matrix Academy,” an educational beauty program for hairstylists, the VR education program will allow stylists to learn new techniques just by popping on a VR headset like the HTC Vive. Even though there are currently 30 Matrix Academies in the U.S., often times traveling across the country to learn from new instructors can be a costly endeavor for many students. And sometimes those 2D tutorial videos we’ve grown used to from beauty vloggers on YouTube just don’t do the job when learning new techniques.
Nothing beats learning in person — but VR can provide a very compelling alternative.
Thanks to a partnership with Los-Angeles based volumetric capture studio 8i, L’Oréal’s first VR education experience features two photo-realistic humans—a stylist and a client—that you can watch from any angle. You can walk around in the virtual salon, getting closer to the client’s hair and feeling a sense of presence as if you were actually there. There is even an option to step into the hairdressers’ shoes to get a first-person perspective during the training as well. Once complete, a “before” and “after” hologram of the client appear next to each other for comparison. This is the future.
In comparison to computer generated VR animation that doesn’t properly translate the fine details of hair, 8i’s hologram technology captures and reconstructs photorealistic human details like hair quite effectively, making this a potentially scalable and viable solution for virtually training stylists.
This is not the first time L’Oréal has taken advantage of immersive technologies to bring products closer to consumers. Back in 2014, L’Oréal launched Makeup Genius, which converted the smartphone’s camera into a mirror and allowed you to try on L’Oreal products virtually — basically an augmented reality makeup app. You could then share a selfie on social and conveniently purchase the product if you were satisfied with the results.
The Matrix Academy will begin piloting the VR classes at 25 academies starting in 2017 with the hope of becoming a global program. And if the program proves successful, we could see the VR hair training made accessible to the millions of stylists Matrix trains every year. In 2015, Matrix trained more than 2 million hairdressers globally.