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Il Makiage, the US tech-led beauty brand, is coming to the UK

Lauretta Roberts
11 May 2020

Il Makiage, the fast-growing tech-led beauty brand from the US, is launching its trailblazing website in the UK this week to take advantage of locked-down beauty consumers.

The brand, which is known for its maximalist approach to beauty and its shameless courting of high maintenance women, boasts that its website can match consumers to their perfect shade of foundation without ever seeing their face through its 90-second questionnaire, driven by its PowerMatch system.

While users take the questionnaire, they are presented with four faces and at each step select the one which most matches their skin tone, four more faces follow and the options continue to be narrowed down until its lands on the best match. The company claims a 94% success rate with the system, which is driven by hundreds of thousands of data points, 700 skin tone combinations and machine learning.

It clearly works as, since its launch, Il Makiage's Woke Up Like This foundation has become the US’ most-reviewed beauty product, with over 90,000 reviews, and almost every reviewer awards it five out of five stars.

As well as the AI-driven matching system, Il Makiage drives sales through the staging of influencer-led video tutorials, with a focus on bold looks. When the videos end, the customer is taken to a page showing them which products were used with the influencer getting a kick-back on any sales.

The company claims to have shifted many millions of Americans, primarily younger consumers, away from buying beauty in-store to buying online and believes it can do the same in the UK and get a head-start while non-essential stores are closed and customers are consuming more content.

Its UK site opens on Thursday and customers eager to get in on the act are being encouraged to register now to be able to shop as soon as the products drop.

The Il Makiage brand was first founded in New York in the 1970s and Israeli entrepreneur duo, brother and sister Oran Holtzman and Shiran Holtzman-Erel, acquired the name from receivers in 2013. In 2018 the brand was relaunched with its digital first approach having been backed by US investment firm L Catterton, which is a fund partly held by LVMH.

Last year the company acquired NeoWize, a Y Combinator Big Data Science startup, with the founders joining the beauty brand to help improve its algorithms.

Of launching in the UK in the middle of a pandemic, Oran Holtzman told Forbes: “We're growing dramatically. January was great, February was better, and March was insane, but think about it – most of the stores are closed. This is the time for online brands to gain market share." He added that the UK has the highest per-capita spend on beauty, beating even the US.

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