Essie Launches On Hand Augmented Reality Try-On Tool — Interview

Essie On Hand is also unique in that, when launched on mobile, it lets users access their phone’s primary camera rather than limiting them to the front-facing one — a factor McDonald is quite proud of. “Virtual try-on in the beauty industry has been using that selfie camera, so for makeup you’re looking at yourself on your phone and you’re using that camera,” she explains. “But the technology shift that had to be done for Essie On-Hand to use the back camera makes it a much easier consumer experience to then look at how nail color would appear on your hand.” It makes sense — it’s far more comfortable to look down at your own hands rather than holding them up near your face. 

And don’t worry; Essie On Hand can also account for your unique lighting situation, skin tone, nail shape, and other factors. “Someone can choose to upload a photo of their hand, or if they don’t feel comfortable, they can select from model hands — but the user experience is designed to use your own hand because there’s so much shade nuance, and so that is the [best] reflection of what the colors look like on you,” McDonald explains. “That’s what makes it special and much more personalized.”

To start, this try-on feature will only let you preview Essie’s 75 Gel Couture shades. Sure, Essie has a lot more to offer than just those, but I think we can all agree that 75 is a lot of nail polishes to virtually swatch. Plus, as McDonald explains to me, the Gel Couture line has skyrocketed in popularity because folks want longer-lasting polishes during the pandemic. Nevertheless, the brand has big plans to add more shades to this experience down the line. “We’ll subsequently roll out to the Essie core lines and Expressie, as well,” McDonald teases. 

These types of virtual tools might not become our primary beauty shopping method any time soon, but we and McDonald alike can see them becoming far more commonplace as the years go on. So, if you haven’t hopped on the augmented reality bandwagon, this tool is a perfect place to start. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have some nail polishes to buy. 

Essie On Hand is now available to use on essie.com, from mobile or desktop.

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