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The Best Beauty Apps

posted by Elizabeth Harper on April 17, 2015

Getting a fresh new look doesn't necessarily mean hours of experimentation in front of the mirror. Now with the help of your smartphone — and a few smart apps — you can digitally try on new looks, find the right beauty products and even schedule that last-minute manicure to finish your look. 

We'll walk you through the best apps to help you find your perfect style.

Apps for perfect makeup

These apps not only help you find this season's hottest shades, they let you try them on, virtually and without any hassle, using your smartphone's camera. These two apps are our favorites.

Makeup Genius

This free app by L'Oreal Paris is geared towards helping you pick the right L'Oreal products, but whether you plan to buy or not it's a great way to try new looks. Just fire up Makeup Genius, let it scan your face and then select the styles or products you'd like to try. Each style will show up on a live photo of your face taken from your phone's camera, giving you a good impression of how each style will look.

The app also offers how-tos (although not many of them), and if you're looking to buy, it will point you toward where to get the exact products you've virtually tried out.

Price: Free on iTunes and Google Play


Trying to find the perfect color for your lipstick, blush or just about anything else? ShadeScout lets you pick a color using your phone's camera and then matches it to the nearest available product — perfect when you're trying to find the right shade to match that new dress. 

ShadeScout also lets you try on colors to see how they look on your face, but it's not as smart about it as Makeup Genius. The colors can appear in odd places on your face and don't move with your expression.

Price: Free on iTunes and Google Play

Hair StudioApps for perfect hair

Making big changes to your hair can cost you both time and money. Instead of finding out you don't like your new 'do after you've already done the deed, try one of these apps instead.

Hair Studio

Modiface's Hair Studio lets you experiment with different hair styles and colors, including highlights and lowlights, shown photo-realistically on your own photo. 

Price: Free on iTunes, but a $1.99 in-app purchase is required to unlock all features

Hair Color

If you're more interested in hair colors, then Modiface's Hair Color may be what you need. Though it doesn't offer the styling options of Hair Studio, it does offer more hair color options — plus it's available for Android as well as iPhone.

Price: Free on iTunes and Android, but a $2.49 in-app purchase is required to unlock all features

Schedule beauty services at home

You don't need to head to the salon to get the perfect look. With these apps, you can book appointments with beauty professionals who will come straight to your door. The downside? These apps only serve specific metro areas, and if you're not in a region they cover, you're out of luck.

The Glam App

If you're in the Los Angeles area and looking to have your hair, nails or makeup done, The Glam App is your one-stop shop. Simply select the service you want, name your price — less experienced stylists offer budget-friendly prices, while more experienced stylists can give you an all-out VIP experience — and pick the time and date of your appointment. Then all you have to do is wait for your stylist to show up!

Price: Free on iTunes, though appointments range in price depending on the service


For New York City and Washington, D.C. residents, Bella offers high-end salon services from five-star stylists in your own home, including hair, nails, and makeup. Just pick the service you want in the app, select a time and wait.

Price: Free on iTunes and Android, though appointments range in price depending on the service


Going beyond beauty, Priv offers hair, makeup, nails, fitness, massage and spray tan services in your own home, as long as you're in New York City, Los Angeles or London. Pick the service you want, browse beauty professionals in your area, and then pick a time the fits your schedule. 

Price: Free on iTunes and Android, though appointments range in price depending on the service

BeautifiedSchedule last-minute beauty services

Looking for beauty appointments at the last minute? There's an app for that, too. These apps will help you schedule the services you want even on the day you need them.


New York City residents can use Beautified to find last-minute appointments for hair, makeup, manicures, pedicures, massages, workouts, waxing or facials, making this a one-stop shop for all your beauty needs.

Price: Free on iTunes, though appointments range in price depending on the service


If you're looking for last-minute appointments for hair, nails or makeup or a massage in Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco or Washington, D.C., PrettyQuick will can set you up with the top salons in your area. The app also handles payments with charges handled through the app once your appointment is over, making the whole process simple. 

Price: Free on iTunes, though appointments range in price depending on the service

Find non-toxic beauty products

If you're looking to go green with your beauty products, apps can help you figure out just what's in the products you use and find better ones.

Think Dirty

This straightforward app lets you scan the bar codes of your products to see just what's hiding in the ingredient list. If your favorites have components you don't like, Think Dirty will also help you find alternatives.

Price: Free on iTunes, coming soon to Android


If you're looking for safe, healthy, green and ethical products, GoodGuide can help. Scan a product bar code or search for it by name to find what kind of impact it has on your health, the environment or social issues.

Price: Free on iTunes

Look in the mirror without a mirror


Don't have a compact handy? Your smartphone can do just as well with a mirror app, which uses your phone's camera to give you a look at yourself. Our favorite is the simply named Mirror app for iPhone and Android.

Price: Free on iTunes and Android, but the $0.99 in-app purchase to remove advertisements is well worth the cost.

[Woman with make-up brush image via Shutterstock]


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