It can be tempting to disable your webcam on a video call, especially on days when you look like a hot mess. For Teams users, Microsoft is introducing a new AI-powered beauty feature that’s designed to “make people’s lives a little easier.” On Wednesday, Microsoft announced a new set of “virtual makeup” filters — similar to the appearance-altering effects seen across social media platforms, like TikTok’s Bold Glamour feature — coming to Microsoft Teams, courtesy of the cosmetics giant Maybelline.
The Maybelline Beauty app will provide Teams users with 12 unique looks at launch, with options to select from various blurring effects and digital makeup color options. Each look will provide a breakdown of the real-world Maybelline products and shades being replicated by the filter so that users can recreate the makeup on their actual faces. Companies often use these virtual “try-on” experiences to promote their real-world products, but a corporate workplace software is an unusual place to see Maybelline encouraging users to get out their wallets and “explore different makeup looks.”
The AI tech powering the virtual makeup filters is provided by Modiface, an augmented reality company focused on the beauty industry. Modiface’s tech is one of the most popular offerings for virtual makeup “try-on” experiences and has been used by various cosmetics companies like Sephora and Estée Lauder. Maybellines’s parent company, L’Oreal, jumped on that popularity back in 2018, acquiring Modiface for an undisclosed sum.
The filters have also been developed in collaboration with the Geena Davis Institute — a nonprofit public data organization focused on improving inclusion and diversity within media — to ensure the virtual makeup looks will be suitable for a “broad and diverse population.”
“Whether you are working in-person or virtually, feeling good about yourself can help put your best foot forward,” said Trisha Ayyagari, global brand president of Maybelline New York, in Maybelline’s press release. “That’s why we partnered with Microsoft Teams to develop virtual makeup looks — now even on the busiest day, you can put makeup on with just a click.”
Enterprise users can find the new virtual makeup offerings under the “video effects” tab in Microsoft Teams
The new feature is rolling out to global Microsoft Teams Enterprise customers starting today and can be located under the “Video Effects” tab within the Teams meeting settings. We’ve asked Microsoft if the filters will also be available to users on the free Microsoft Teams tier and will update this story if we hear back.
It’s a little strange to think that beauty filters have a place in more professional communication apps outside of the social media sphere. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that filters designed to improve or otherwise manipulate your appearance may be harmful to mental health because of the unrealistic expectations they set for our body image. And while these AR / AI filter effects were once easily identifiable because they became distorted when the user’s face was obstructed, recent advancements like TikTok’s infamous “Bold Glamour” effect are much harder to detect.
The potential risk to our self-esteem hasn’t deterred folks from wanting to use these beauty filters in work-related applications, however. Other video conferencing platforms like Zoom already include some limited beauty effects, such as eyebrow and lipstick filters. The Maybelline Beauty app in Teams provides more options and customization, which may be more tempting to play around with — especially if they look natural enough to avoid standing out among your colleagues for all the wrong reasons.