Monday, February 3, 2014

Helpful Beauty Apps

According to Forbes, 56% of Americans have smart phones.  That's a lot!  So many great apps have been developed to help us choose products more wisely, find the lowest prices, and simply become more informed shoppers.  Other apps are just plain fun to play around with.  Here are some innovative beauty apps - fun and practical - to check out:

Healthy Beauty

1.  Skin Deep by Environmental Working Group
The EWG is a lobbyist group that advocates safe cosmetics.  They have created this free app that allows you to search various beauty and personal care products and see how hazardous the ingredients are.  You can search a product by typing in the name or scanning a bar code.  The app provides an overall health rating and gives a rating for the specific health concerns: risk for cancer, allergy, and reprotoxicity/development.  It's definitely a helpful tool that allows you to understand how healthy a product is without understanding all of the ingredients completely.  Just make sure that the ingredient list on which the rating is based is up to date.  I've found that sometimes on their website, they use outdated ones that aren't always accurate.  

2.  Think Dirty
This free app is similar to the Skin Deep app in giving products a health hazard rating and allowing you to compare them across products.  It also allows you to scan a bar code to search a product and view a description of each individual product ingredient.  One nice benefit of this app is that it recommends "cleaner" product options than the one that you searched/scanned.  So, before you purchase a product at the store, take a second to check it out on this app.

3.  GoodGuide 
GoodGuide is another free app that provides health ratings for products.  Building off the concepts of Skin Deep and Think Dirty, Good Guide also allows you to search categories like food and pet products.  You can also sort by more specific filters that are important to you like whether or not a product is fragrance-free, environmentally friendly, or organic to get more customized, relevant product information and ratings.

4.  Cosmetic Ingredients Maze
For those of you, who are really interested in learning more about cosmetic ingredients and safety, this is the app for you.  Unlike the other apps, this one is not free (costs $3.99).  It is more comprehensive than the apps because you can filter by skin conditions (allergies, acne, etc.), effects on the body (endocrine system, immune system, etc.), and where the ingredients are derived from (animals, minerals, plants, synthetic, etc.).  As someone, who finds this information really interesting, I happen to like this app a lot, but it definitely may be a little dense for those, who are looking for a quick health rating to inform their decision whether or not to buy a certain product.

Fashionable Beauty

1.  Nicole by OPI
This free app allows you to try different shades of Nicole by OPI nail polish on a virtual hand.  You can sort by collection as well as color families.  You can also save your favorites so that you remember which polishes you liked.  It's tough to envision what a nail polish shade will look like outside of the bottle.  This app will help you save cash you spend on nail polish shades that don't turn out how you hoped.

2.  Modiface Makeup 
This is probably my favorite beauty app.  First, you upload a photo.  Then, the fun begins.  You can try on different lipsticks, blushes, foundations, hair styles, eyeshadows, mascaras, and eyeliners to see what they would look like on you.  With thousands of shades to choose from, you have unlimited combinations to try and see which ones work best.  Afterwards, you can save the list of products you like and share the products with others to get their opinions.  And the best parts are that the app is free and doesn't require an Internet connection (the colors are all stored in a database).

3.  The Color Genius by L'Oreal Paris
Merging the fashion of clothing with the fashion of your makeup, this free app launched in November.  It allows you to upload a picture of you in an outfit and match products including L'Oreal nail polish, lip color, and eyeshadow with it.  You can also choose to "match," "blend," or "clash" your outfit as well as save favorite looks, create a lookboard, and virtually try on the looks.  Even if you don't feel like buying all of those L'Oreal products to go with your outfit, it will give you general color guidelines like taupe eyeshadow or red lipstick that you may already have to complete your look.
4.  Celebrity Makeup Looks
With their handy personal makeup artists, celebs always seem to have the most gorgeous makeup looks.  Now, you can more easily replicate the looks.  Choose from 27 step-by-step tutorials on popular makeup looks from celebrities including Miley Cyrus, Angelina Jolie, Hayden Panettierre, and Beyonce.  Even if you have different features than these figures, the looks can definitely inspire looks for yourself.

5.  MatchMaker by L'Oreal True Match
It is really difficult to find your perfect foundation shade.  Often drugstore brands do not have testers so it's even harder to ensure that you're buying the right shade for yourself.  This free app helps you determine your undertone, make a perfect True Match foundation shade match, and find a location that carries that particular product.  Much easier than trying on a bunch of shades or trying to match pantones to your skin color at the store.

In addition to these cool apps, most beauty brands have some type of mobile app that allows you to conveniently shop for their products and find stores locations near you.  Direct sales companies like Avon and Mary Kay have developed apps that allow for convenient communication with sales representatives.  I personally love the Sephora to Go app, which allows you to navigate all the parts of their website and order products really easily.  It also shows you their mobile offers, which I always appreciate :)

Do you have a favorite beauty app?

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