My Crazy Adventure Using Makeup Apps

Want to waste time and feel bad about your face... without spending a dime? Why not try a makeover app!
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Nora Crotty
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Want to waste time and feel bad about your face... without spending a dime? Why not try a makeover app!

Am I pretty yet?

Am I pretty yet?

I'm not generally the type of girl to seek out and download makeover apps on my iPhone. But when Cheryl asked me to do just that, I jumped at the opportunity. After all, working on your watch tan and making friendship bracelets all summer-long does get a little boring after a while. (There, I said it).

So here I am, relaying my experiences with three of the most advanced makeover apps the universe has to offer, and taking things just a little farther than Alyssa did with photo-perfecting apps. All of them are free to download, though at least one cost me quite a bit of self esteem (and between the lot of them, some MAJAH self-respect. Ugh.). Things got weird. Things got creepy. Things like... my face shape, which, at one point, was digitally altered so drastically, I stopped recognizing myself -- and then decided that maybe I actually looked better with a tiny pointed chin and giant black eyeballs? But I digress.

Let's just put it this way: Something tells me these apps weren't EXACTLY what Courtney Love had in mind when she sang, "Oh, make me over."

(Warning: This post contains photos of my makeup-free face mere moments after waking up. Reader discretion is advised -- as is a cleansing Google image search of "Barbara Palvin.")

YouCam Makeup

This was the first of the apps I tried, so I went into it with very few expectations -- and came away at once impressed, confused, and thoroughly freaked out. 

YouCam isn't so much about trying on actual makeup looks as it is editing your selfies into oblivion. Results can range from subtle -- airbrushed skin, reduced shine, a bit of blush and lipstick -- to full-blown alien. I'm talking altered skintone ("foundation"), eye size, and face shape. If you've ever wondered what you'd look like as Tan Mom (who hasn't, really), this is the app for you. 

To get going, you're given the option of using your own camera, or a special one called "YouCam Perfect's Beauty Camera," which you have to download separately. You can also choose to use a "sample model" instead of your own face. 

My own photo library took on a special pink ombre background while I was searching for my pre-taken selfie, which was a nice touch. But things quickly took a turn from cute to cray. 

nora-makeup.jpg

I uploaded my ratchet photo and was immediately presented with an image of myself covered in dots (above) -- like you see in BTS footage of athletes filming their Nintendo games. Most of the dots appeared in their proper places, and those that weren't right on the corners and lines of my face were fairly easy to move around via dragging.

From there, I could choose to try on completed makeup looks with descriptive names like "Office Lady," "Bisque Doll," and "Dating" -- a particularly Cher Horowitz-esque option. Think lots of purple eyeshadow, frosty lips, and light purple blush. I chose to try one called "Cool," because looking like a Real Doll isn't usually a goal of mine.

Next up was skin. There's a “skin smoothener” (new word alert!), which blurred out all my dark areas, including my beloved freckles; shine and blemish removal; and most disturbing of all, foundation -- which completely changes your skin color with one swipe of a finger. Prospective mimes might find this tool useful before purchasing face paint. 

How great do I look?

How great do I look?

Throughout my (fortunately) digital makeover, I was also presented with several options involving blush, eyeshadow and liner, lashes, facial contouring, "nose enhancement" (which weirdly sort of defined my nose with a dark line down the side), and of course, the one thing no makeover is complete without: Face reshaping! Plastic surgeons should watch their backs because YouCam just might put them out of business one of these days. I never knew how much more beautiful I could look, if only the bottom of my head were a bit slimmer.

Oh, and I also enlarged my eyes because why the heck not. Weirdly, though, there was no option to change my eye color. #foreverbrown. Anyway, here's how I looked before my makeover and after: 

Guess which one is the "before"???

Guess which one is the "before"???

Immediately after closing out the app, I went into my bathroom to apply my actual makeup, looked in the mirror, and felt really bad about myself and my gross wide chin and small, beady eyes. Technology rules.

L'Oreal Paris Makeup Genius

As the name implies, this is an app put out by L'Oreal Paris -- meaning it's basically an interactive advertisement. But don't let that discourage you from using it because it RULES.

Initially, I was pissed that LPMG wouldn't allow me to upload my own, previously taken #nomakeupselfie, which was all set and ready to go in my photo album. But soon, I understood why. While holding your phone still in front of your face, the app "scans" your features and then kind of... remembers them, I guess? I'll try to explain more in a second.

As with YouCam, you're given options to try on individual products (all L'Oreal, obv) or complete "ready-to-wear" looks. Some of them were chosen by Billy B., L'Oreal's lead makeup artist, and others are named after the brand's spokesmodels. 

Good god. (Guest appearance by Steff's Instagram account.)

Good god. (Guest appearance by Steff's Instagram account.)

This is where things get good. Nay -- INCREDIBLE. You need to just embrace the madness and go with it. So after the app scans your face and you choose your look, you'll suddenly find that you're looking at a real-time image of yourself wearing cartoon-versions of eyeliner and lipstick. Meaning you can be moving your face around, and the “makeup” moves with you. Sometimes.

There were several occasions when my lipstick ended up looking like the Devil’s goatee on my chin, which was far more amusing to me than it probably should have been. What can I say, I was a little sleep deprived.

Is that me, or Doutzen Kroes? How about Smokey the Devil Bear at dusk?

Is that me, or Doutzen Kroes? How about Smokey the Devil Bear at dusk?

I didn't buy any L'Oreal makeup through the app, which you can do, but I genuinely APPRECIATE that this app exists -- and that's more than I can say about a lot of things. (I'm looking at YOU, "Ridiculousness.")

ModiFace Makeover

As soon as I opened this puppy up, I was immediately asked whether I wanted to download "114 new hairstyles!" which -- spoiler -- I most certainly DID NOT. Give me fake makeup or give me death! (That's what I always say, anyway.)

Thankfully, I was allowed to use my OG selfie, which was great because I was wearing a full face at the time of trying it. But I did notice one negative thing right off the bat: A lot of pop-up ads. Who wants to download the Best Buy app while you're busy trying on mascara?

Along with the ads comes some extra fancy language. "Would I like to save my photo such that I can skip the calibration step in the future?" ModiFace wanted to know, as if I understood what it's talking about. I was feeling defiant, so I clicked "no." Then came the moveable dot step -- and what followed next, I may never be able to un-see.

In the bottom right corner of my selfie, above yet another unrelated app ad, was a little wheel with options like "looks," "eyes," "lips," and "face." I chose "looks" first -- and before I knew it, my poor ole'  likeness was fitted with what was supposedly an entire Kim Kardashian beauty look -- including nude lips, crazy lashes, and swoopy dark brown hair. I looked TERRIFYING. Next came Lauren Conrad and her massive bun -- not much better. 

I'm sorry. Wait no I'm not.

I'm sorry. Wait no I'm not.

Things got a little better once I realized I could revert to my own features. This app gives you a CRAZY array of options as far as trying on beauty looks -- almost too many options. Each type of makeup has a corresponding color wheel with a billion choices. Towards the end of the wheel, there are some colors marked with stars. Those cost a whopping 99 cents to access (which I'm pretty sure is enough money to just go buy some actual Wet N Wild products at CVS). 

A tiny "back" button n the center of the wheel takes you again to all the product options -- though more often than not, I accidentally ended up clicking the moving "Game Of War" ad locate right below it.

Bleached out brows.

Bleached out brows.

One great thing ModiFace does offer that the other apps don't is an eyebrow pencil option that lets you realistically change the darkness of your brows. For someone like me who has on-and-off toyed with the idea of dying mine black or bleaching them out entirely, I actually found it rather useful. 

But overall, I didn't find it overly user-friendly. After trying to change the "mascara" I'd applied, I found myself presented with "false lash" options, which are different for some reason. And after I X-ed out of those, I couldn't figure out how to get back to regular mascara. As for trying on different hairstyles, don't even go there unless you want to have nightmares. And you'll need to pay 99 cents to see yourself with Reese Witherspoon's or Khloe Kardashian's 'dos. Kendall Jenner's is free, though.

Right before you quit, there are actually some kind of neat filter options, including a rainbow-y one, that might be fun to apply to your regular photos, too, if that's your thing. I think it might be mine. There's also an option to find the products you allegedly used at the "best price," which is thoughtful.

Before and after. If only I could purchase that rainbow to follow me everywhere...

Before and after. If only I could purchase that rainbow to follow me everywhere...

Do you have any makeover apps you actually use or find helpful? Let us know in the comments.