Did you and your phone just become beauty best friends? Thanks to technology, long gone are the days of trying to match your hair to a swatch on a box or narrowing down a cosmetic shade based solely on a description, only to have to then go to a salon for expensive color-correction. Or adding yet another lipstick tube to the endless wasteland that is your discard drawer because the shade didn’t match its online images.
Now, with the help of a smartphone — and some serious advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) — you can order products, book services and try on looks in real time with the touch of a finger or sensor pen. After all, it is estimated that the average person spends around four hours a day tapped in. You might as well get the most of it.
From test-driving hair colors (now more realistic than ever) to the latest nail art trends, and a lot of fun and pampering to be had with filters, skin analysis and on-demand services in between, read on for seven prettifying apps that will allow you to experience beauty like never before. Not to mention the amount of hassle – and perhaps even money – you will save along the way.
Style My Hair
Developed by Modiface for L’Oreal (L’Oreal acquired the AI entity last year), the Style My Hair app uses custom 3D hair color technology to accurately capture and follow the live movement of your locks for realistic results, as well as a convenient split screen for comparing the before and after. Once you find ‘the one,’ you can book an appointment at the nearest L’Oreal salon right through the app. (Free)
This virtual try-on app allows you to test out a range of lip, face, brow and eye shadows from popular brands like Tarte Cosmetics, Stila, M.A.C, Charlotte Tilbury and more, along with various hair shades. There is also precision contouring for beginners and live makeup filters for on-location coverage. Like a product that you see? You can purchase it right from the app. (Free)
Similar to MakeupPlus, YouCam enables users to experiment with a variety of hair and makeup looks along with accessories, in real time. You can also get creative with different effects and — one of our favorite parts — take a selfie within the Skin Score feature for a skin analysis to assess overall health and any areas that could use some increased attention and adjusting your routine accordingly. Did we mention there is a new Hair Advisor feature that offers on-demand hair consultations via video chat? (Free to download; offers in-app purchases)
If you are looking to take your selfie game to the next level (note that you are perfect just the way you are), BeautyPlus has you covered with a range of editing options, including teeth whitening, and filters (we are currently loving mermaid hair and flower crowns). Complete your look with playful sticker and accessory add-ons. (Free to download; offers in-app purchases)
AR Nail Design
On the fence about a new nail hue or trend? Thanks to a little help from this AR app, you can test out different stock colors, patterns and combinations to get a sense of what looks good before you are in the actual hot seat, avoiding buyer’s remorse or having one of those tough conversations with your ambitious manicurist. (Free to download; offers in-app purchases)
The Glam App
If you would rather leave it to the pros, this service app allows you to review and book local hairstylists, makeup artists and nail technicians in a cinch. Just scroll to find the right service for you, choose a date and time, and they come right to your door (it is available in 23 cities), so you don’t even have to step outside — which is especially helpful for special occasions and busy schedules. (Free to download; services available for purchase)
For those looking for some extra TLC, there is beauty and wellness app PRIV, which, in addition to makeup, nail and hair styling (including cuts!), boasts on-demand massages, facials and personal training all in the comfort of your own home. Similar to The Glam App, you can book right on your phone. Last time we checked, the menu even listed spray tans and ear piercings! (Free to download; services available for purchase)
If you buy something through our links, Sunday Edit may earn an affiliate commission.