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Here's How 6 Beauty Apps Stack Up Against Each Other

Embrace a tech-savvy way to shop for beauty — and avoid questionable in-store testers.
Find your perfect red from the comfort of your iPhone. Photo: Getty Images

Find your perfect red from the comfort of your iPhone. Photo: Getty Images

Our phones are pretty great for a lot of things, including but not limited to: ordering food, chatting with friends and family, staying up-to-date with current events and finding the best happy hour deal within walking distance of your apartment.

Now, more and more women are reaching for their mobile devices to become better-informed beauty customers; with a couple of taps on your screen, you can shade-match your skin, find out what's in your face wash, virtually try on that fancy lipstick you've been dying to splurge on and then purchase aforementioned lipstick.

To find out whether these new technologies can actually make every beauty junkie's life easier, we tested some of the most buzzworthy (and free!) mobile apps available for download. Here is how they stack up.

YouCam Makeup

Users can toggle between "applying" specific products like eyeliner, blush and false lashes — even color contacts are an option — with a live camera functionality. However, my favorite way to have fun with the app is by trying on full makeup looks, such as "Dreamy," "Sunset Glow" and "Taylor Swift at the Met Gala," below.


Our verdict: A clean interface that actually works. 4/5. 
Download it on the App Store here.

Beautiful Me by Modiface

My personal favorite out of the bunch, Beautiful Me analyzes photos that you upload (or link from your Facebook account) and generates charts and line graphs that are easy to understand, in addition to recommending foundation, blush, lip color and eye shadow shades that complement your skin tone and undertone. 

beautiful me_2.jpg

Our verdict: It made deciphering graphs fun again. 5/5.
Download it on the App Store here.

Vice Lipstick by Urban Decay

To fête the launch of the brand's Vice lipstick range, Urban Decay rolled out an app that allows users to swipe through all of the shade options à la Tinder (yes, really). While the effect isn't the most realistic, it's a fun way to pass the time, aimlessly going through the choices (just like Tinder). It'll automatically save the shades you swipe right to, and essentially forget about the ones to which you swiped left. (Again, like Tinder!)


Our verdict: Pros: Cool, innovative way to experience the brand. Cons: Probably won't look the same IRL. 3/5.
Download it on the App Store here.

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Sephora to Go

If you're a true beauty obsessive, there's a 99.9 percent chance you already have this downloaded on your phone. While its Virtual Artist functionality (using a live-camera try-on method similar to YouCam) only offers lip shades, where this app shines is its seamless interface that allows you to shop the store, access your Beauty Insider account (gotta rack up those points!) and even scan bar codes to instantly read product reviews. 


Our verdict: Sephora is great. This app is, too. 4/5.

Download it on the App Store here.

Think Dirty

Not everyone is an expert at deciphering ingredient labels on beauty product packaging, and for that, Think Dirty exists. Scan the bar codes of your beauty stash and educate yourself on potentially toxic ingredients. Through the skin, your body absorbs the chemicals in makeup and skin-care products, so what's inside the bottle matters — a lot. As it turns out, Glossier knows what they're doing when it comes to formulation, and Cetaphil has some very questionable ingredients.


Our verdict: While the database is still not as comprehensive as I'd like it to be, this app does a great job illustrating the importance of knowing what goes into your beauty products. 5/5.

Download it on the App Store here.

Makeup by Modiface

One of the most popular options on the App Store, Modiface lets users try on popular celebrity beauty looks, in addition to basic photo retouching and switching up hair color and styles. Unlike the others, you have to manually outline facial features, so make sure your photo has enough lighting and the angle is straight-on. 

Are you tired of seeing my face yet?

Are you tired of seeing my face yet?

Our verdict: Not the most realistic, and requires a really good photo. But at least you can kind of see what you'd look like as a blonde. 2/5.

Download it on the App Store here.

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