Pinterest's New Makeup Feature Lets You Try on 4,000 Different Eyeshadows

I want to live inside this augmented reality.

Pinterest AR Eyeshadow Try-On

Amanda Ross

Pinterest, the last wholesome app, can be many things to many people: a mood board, a vision board, a clothing catalogue, a first look at trends before they take off, and a place to stash ideas for big dreams like new homes and weddings and travel plans. And starting today, Jan. 22, we can add "makeup retailer" to the list, but that simple term doesn't quite do Pinterest's new feature justice.

If you've tried to step foot in a Sephora, Ulta, or other cosmetics retailer in the past 10 months, you (should) have been stopped at the door and asked if you were familiar with their COVID-19 safety policies which include a strict no-touching rule. That's no opening testers, no swatching, and certainly zero try-ons. Of course, it's fantastic for preventing the spread of germs and viruses but less conducive for actually buying makeup. Enter: Pinterest's new eyeshadow AR filter feature, a new augmented reality tool allowing users to virtually try on 4,000 shoppable shades of shadow from fan-favorite brands like NYX Cosmetics, Urban Decay, Pat McGrath Labs, and YSL.

If you feel like you've been hearing about AR a lot, it's because you are: it's the same technology that gives us Snapchat and Instagram's face filters but this version, powered by Google Lens, is higher quality and doesn't smooth or reshape your face to show authentic, accurate results. It also comes equipped to display shadow on a wide variety of skin tones, adjusting for each, while also displaying "inspiration looks" detailing similar shades as you try on.

Woman trying in blue eyeshadow screenshot


Shop, Try On, and Inspiration Looks

"Brands recognize their consumers are using multiple mediums, including Pinterest, to shop and are eager to create engaging experiences like AR Try on and use product tagging to resonate with those shopping behaviors," explains Aya Kanai, Pinterest’s Head of Content and Editorial Partnerships, to Byrdie. "Our goal is to make Pinterest as inspiring and ideas-driven as possible and gives brands tools they need to help shoppers discover, engage and shop their brand."

"Discovery" is the operative word over at Pinterest. Though it joins an existing AR Try On for lipstick that launched last year, the idea for virtual eyeshadow experimentation is partially due to recent massive spikes in searches for fun eyeshadow. According to Pinterest, searches for experimental shadow were outsized including pastel eyeshadow (12x), crazy eyeshadow (4x), sunset eyeshadow (4x) and butterfly eyeshadow (2x). The app has already proven its power in terms of platforming products and brands and turning those in actual sales, too. "In fact, 83 percent of weekly Pinners have made a purchase based on content they saw from brands on Pinterest," Kanai tells us.

Once you're ready to try it out for yourself, your first step is to make sure you have the latest version of the app. From there, hit the search tool (that's the lil magnifying glass at the bottom) and then tap the camera icon in the top right. Your AR Try On tool should immediately be visible once you switch to the front-facing camera, and allow you to toggle back and forth between eyeshadow and lipstick. Since I've been meaning to start experimenting with some bolder looks myself, I thought I'd take it for a spin and try a more experimental shade along with one I'm more comfortable and familiar with:

Woman wearing eyeshadow


woman wearing eyeshadow


For palettes, just tap the screen to jump between shades. The AR tool slid on far more seamlessly than I imagined, a far cry from the face filters I'm used to and was expecting, making the try-on experience feel very accurate. I feel comfortable that the peacock blue eyeshadow I tried on will look more or less the same on me in real life, and would use that to inform my buying decision. Though nothing will ever feel as good as getting your paws in all the testers and leaving the store with a hand so covered in swatches it could be a work of art, this is pretty damn close.

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