If you've been thinking about changing your hairstyle or color, virtual tools allow you to experiment with lengths, textures, and hues without personal or financial trial and error. Just upload your photo to an online makeover or smartphone app to discover new looks that suit your face shape and hair type.
Are you wandering the beauty aisle of your local store wondering which hair coloring product and hue to choose? Download Clairol's My Shade app to your smartphone and instantly start trying on shades, like Natural Instincts Raspberry Creme or Sunflower. If you see a color you like that's not a Clairol product, go ahead and scan it - the app will find a matching shade made by Clairol. A chat assistant is available to answer color-related questions. If you find a color you love, you can share it with friends for feedback or even buy it in the app.
Upload your photo or use one of the models with InStyle's Hollywood Makeover online tool to immediately see how you would look with any one of over 380 celebrities' hairstyles. The tool walks you through tracing your facial features in case you want to adjust your lips and eyes to match a new hair color, then on to the numerous famous heads, with a "Top Celebrity Hair Try-Ons" slideshow at the bottom.
This virtual makeover has lots of features and you could spend hours playing around with different looks. Besides color and length, it lets you choose your hair type, like fine or thick, to better select hairstyles that will actually work for you. If you're changing hair color, it's a good idea to use InStyle's makeup tools to see how lipsticks, shadows, liners, makeup, and even colored contact lenses can complement a new look. Of course, you can share your new Hollywood makeovers on social media or save them to convince your hair stylist that a purple Katy Perry would look fabulous. An Apple iOS app is also available.
L'Oreal Style My Hair
An app available for Apple iOS and Android smartphones and an online tool, L'Oreal's Style My Hair enables you to take a selfie and try on various styles and colors, without creating an account. If choosing a new style, the tool guides you through selecting your face shape (be honest!), then offers try-on wig suggestions that are most flattering. From there, you choose from an array of colors, then apply effects, like highlights, ombre, and sombre.
"Get this Look" takes you to a summary with instructions on how you or your hairstylist can create the style using L'Oreal products. You can also create mood boards on the app and check out the looks of others in the community section for trends and real-world examples.
While known mostly for its skin care and makeup, Mary Kay's website provides a Virtual Makeover (you'll need to register for a free account) under Tips & Trends along with an Apple iOS and Android app that lets you try on about 35 hairstyles using one of their models or by uploading a photo. The tool provides helpful instructions for taking a good image of yourself, like removing accessories and using a white or light background.
After choosing a hair color, you can experiment with various combinations of highlights and lowlights. In addition to hairstyles, the tool lets you try on Mary Kay lipsticks, eyeshadows, makeup, and choose a frame for a totally new look that you can share on social media.
A trio of beauties with luxurious locks welcomes you to Matrix's online Color Lounge, where you upload a photo to instantly start testing various hues on your own head. When you make a selection, a pop up warns you that the color might not look "perfect" on your photo (which you pretty much figure with any app or tool). The first screen selects your hair and allows you to add to or remove the basic shape, letting you to be the virtual hairstylist if you want to go shorter or longer.
From there, you can play around with permanent and non-permanent Matrix shades and effects like highlights, ombre, and all-over color before making any major changes. Each color is identified by product line and number so you can choose just the right shade.
Ever wondered what you'd look like with Blake Lively's flowing blonde tresses or Jessica Chastain's ginger waves? The makeover tool at StyleCaster allows you to upload a photo or choose a model who resembles you to immediately try on makeup and female celebrity hairstyles. You can play around with color, too, like making Chastain's waves go silver, black, or other assorted shades. The tool also allows you to adjust a hairstyle in pretty much any direction, including reducing and enlarging, in case you desire "Big Scarlett Johansson Hair."
UK Hairdressers allows you to upload a photo or use one of their female or male heads, which you can use to try on assortment of "wigs" from a scrolling list that was curated from various international salons like Petra Měchurová and Brooks & Brooks. Ever wondered how you'd look with flowing hair extensions or a beard? This instant tool provides 56 women's and men's hairstyles (some with facial hair) and faces if you can't or don't feel like using your own. Color lips, eyes, and cheeks to enhance the hairdos.
For fun, you can use the Celebrity Virtual Hairstyler and see how Jennifer Lawrence or Rhianna look with any of the available wigs. Not surprisingly, they both look fabulous with even the more outrageous 'dos.
YouCam Makeup-Magic Selfie Cam
The idea behind this app is to change, correct, or enhance your look while taking the ever-important selfie. Besides getting lots of likes and new followers, YouCam is also a fun and instant way to try out new hairstyles. YouCam lets you virtually dye your hair, cut or lengthen it, and straighten it or add curls. Of course, you can also smooth out facial lines, blemishes, refresh your lipstick, etc.
It also offers beauty tips and tricks, along with frequent posts and updates on fashion trends. You can even try on outfits digitally with the Fashion Week Runway Supermodel option. Many users post photos, similar to most social media platforms like Instagram or Snapchat. YouCam requires an iPhone 4s or above.
Using Hair Makeover Apps and Tools
Most of the apps and tools recommend uploading a photo with your hair tied back to reveal your face, which provides a full view and a more accurate interpretation of what a certain style will look like on you. Some have features that allow you to reduce or enlarge your face to fit the "wigs," along with tilting positions.
Depending on whether you prefer working on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, most tools and apps are designed for specific devices and may have features you prefer over others, so test at least a few. The top selections listed alphabetically above are all free and include a mix of computer and smartphone virtual hairstyling tools.
Helpful and Fun
Remember that it's wisest to consult a professional hair stylist before making major changes, especially when using chemicals for color or texture. Experienced pros know what will happen if you want to dye your dark brown hair strawberry blonde and straighten it. You'll probably be happier if you make subtle changes rather than try something drastic and you want to avoid a do-it-yourself disaster that results in an emergency visit to the hairstylist.
Virtual apps and tools are especially useful and fun when you're planning a look for a special occasion and want to experiment with styles. These tools allow you to play around and share possibilities with your hairstylist for a stunning new look.