Plenty of brands have launched one-off apps in an attempt to get onboard with the emoji craze, but L'Oréal hopes to make emojis part of a longer-term discussion about beauty trends and culture.
The beauty giant is launching an emoji app called Beaumoji today with 130 custom decals and images it plans to update continuously based on input from consumers.
"We saw that there was a lack of authentic beauty creative within that space that L'Oréal could start to provide, both around our brands and emojis that were missing in the market," said Rachel Weiss, vp of innovation and entrepreneurship at L'Oreal USA. "We wanted it to be something that was really extensive and could grow, change and evolve as the tech grows and as we think about what creative people like and what they want over time."
One of the things L'Oréal noticed was missing with existing beauty emojis was trends. For example, there are images of women with ombré hair and an image of eyebrows with "on fleek" printed across the top. A handful of the images are twists on emojis that already exist. The popular "raised hands" emoji, for instance, features painted fingernails. And there are also a few pairs of big lips in bright colors.
"We wanted to be very contextual—not just our brands but how people talk about beauty," Weiss said. "We want to make sure that we have the right creative that people are asking for."
To that point, L'Oréal is also launching a contest today encouraging folks to submit their best designs via social media with the #BeaumojiContest hashtag. The brand will pick three of the winning ideas to be turned into emojis, and the creators will win a trip to New York and tickets to the Beautycon conference in October.
L'Oréal also designed custom emojis for its bigger brands including Maybelline, Lancôme and Urban Decay. For example, there's an emoji of a Maybelline mascara wand and a bottle of Lancôme perfume.
Roughly 78 of the emojis—or 60 percent—are unbranded, and 52 (40 percent) are tied to a L'Oréal product, Weiss said.
L'Oréal is initially launching the emojis as a stand-alone app, but Weiss said she imagines the project growing to include different types of creative—like shoppable, promotional specific or tutorials in the form of emojis—over time.
"We plan to update this with new creative all the time so that people can see what's new with our products, what's new with our brands, new with trends," Weiss said. "It's not just in the keyboard, it's within the whole experience of the way that we're observing that consumers interact with emojis, bitmojis and GIFs in general."
Check out all of L'Oréal's emojis by clicking on the image below: