Try on that new look before you commit

Posted on February 22nd, 2010 by Gina

If you are ready for a new hairdo, a new makeup look, or even some facial cosmetic surgery, there are Virtual Makeover (VMO) sites out there to help you “try on” a new look before saying yes to the hairdresser, doctor, or forking over a couple hundred bucks on a new makeup color scheme.  Some are free and some require a subscription, but all do just about the same – coloring and morphing pictures to reflect whatever change you had in mind.

Daily Makeover is a hair and makeup website that boasts 100 million impressions a month in 27 languages and claims to have a library of over 7300 hairstyles and 6500 product SKU’s.  That’s almost as many hairstyles as I have had, and about as many products as I have tried.  100 million impressions is a bit more traffic than LookinGood gets, too, so someone is using the tool.

All the websites, including Daily Makeover, use slick technology that works well when trying on new hairstyles.  You can upload a headshot of yourself, calibrate the system so that it recognizes the contours of your face – how far your eyes are away from each other, the shape of your mouth, the height of your forehead – and then select different looks.  Daily Makeover really does have a massive selection of celebrity hairstyles, as well as sketches of hairstyles that, while not actually photos, still generate a pretty realistic idea of what the hairstyle would look like on you.  Don’t have a headshot of yourself?  No problem.  You can choose from 15 different models on Daily Makeover, one of which is bound to have your shaped face.

Virtual makeup is a bit less effective simply because of browser technology.  Colors that a user might experiment with for lipstick, for instance, could look dramatically different on one computer than the next.  Nonetheless, Daily Makeover lists the top 50 brands in lipstick, foundation and eye makeup to try on, and the palettes are extensive.

Essence Magazine’s Makeover Magic is basically the same technology, but targets women of color, featuring products, hair and accessories specifically for ethnic consumers. The site is sponsored by Covergirl’s Queen Collection, but if you choose the color wheel option, you’ll get shades from Lancome, as well as Bobbi Brown, M.A.C, Nars and others that tailor palettes for women of color.  Again, you may choose a model or upload your own photo.

A few months ago we wrote about New Beauty’s Instant Makeover where you can upload your own face and give yourself a nose job, augment your lips, put filler in your cheeks, do your eyes, even lift up your neck.  Our favorite is the weight reduction tool, but of course, we wish we could upload a picture of our entire bodies so that we could put the enhanced photo on the refrigerator when we’re done.

They are all great fun, and we love anything that will help us test out a major change before we commit.

Other sites for “trying on” a look:

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A short history of cosmetics

150BC Romans use yellow eye shadow.

The Romans preferred to use gold-colored eye shadow which was made from saffron and painted onto the area around the sides and under their eyes. Then they used powdered wood ash to color their eyelids black. This gold color was quite significant at the time because they saw themselves as the rulers of the Mediterranean.