The WAH Nails Virtual Reality Designer
The WAH Nails Virtual Reality Designer

London-born nail art boutique, WAH Nails, is offering customers a VR experience in its new Soho salon in a push to engage even further with its hip millennial and Gen-Z audience.

Working with creative studio DVTK, the WAH Nails Virtual Reality Designer aims to help customers choose from over one thousand nail designs, which is often an overwhelming process.

Inspired by the Snapchat filters that overlay prints through augmented reality, WAH Nails founder, Sharmadean Reid MBE, wanted to develop something that allowed customers to preview nail art before they had them painted on. What they didn’t want to do, however, was merely create an app where you simply overlaid a colour render on a static image.

The WAH Nails Virtual Reality Designer
The WAH Nails Virtual Reality Designer

“We want to excite our WAH fans who may never have tried any immersive beauty tech before and we didn’t want to create something gimmicky,” she said. “Virtual reality is an amazing way for us to “gameify” the experience of getting your nails done in a visual language that our Gen-Z customers understand.”

Reid believes that the digital design experience is well suited to the brand’s deeply connected demographic, as many grew up with avatar-based games such as the Sims and, more recently, Kim Kardashian’s app. “I am really excited about the potential of VR in the beauty world and the customer insight we will gain from people using the experience in store,” she added.

For version one of the experience, being tested in-store for the next three months, WAH is using a Samsung Gear VR headset and Leap Motion. Customers must place their hands in front of the headset, and the Leap Motion device will follow them and match their movements within the app in real time. Customers can then select skin colour and play around with nine different designs.

The WAH Nails Virtual Reality Designer within the brand's new 'Salon of the Future'
The WAH Nails Virtual Reality Designer within the brand’s new ‘Salon of the Future’

A future iteration of the experience will allow the customer to print the design on a WAH Nail Printer, order nail polishes online, or send their nail design of choice directly to the nail artist.

The move follows significant investment by beauty brands within the digital and in-store tech space. We recently saw Charlotte Tilbury introduce an augmented reality mirror in its new Westfield London store for instance, while others including Sephora through to L’Oréal, Lancôme, Rimmel and Covergirl are also using AR for make-up try-ons via an app.