Oh Appy Day

Debra Brock’s crammed her iPhone full of beauty apps, so you don’t have to.

If there’s an app for everything, then there’s an app for everything beauty. And while I’m particularly  jonesing for an in-phone pal that’ll help me catalogue my modest nail polish collection (all right, all right, my infinite nail polish reference library) I’ve decided to go on a download spree and click install on absolutely everything that touts itself as a ‘beauty app’. In the process of testing them all, I’ve already made myself look like an extra from Avatar, scanned more bottles of nail lacquer than a Superdrug checkout girl, and created a mammoth wish list of products. Here are my favourite iPhone apps – do check for Android compatibility.


IMG_4114Ask Bobbi (free)

I have an induction process in my house. I come home from a beauty counter with a lovely bag of goodies and take time to carefully unwrap and coo over them, admiring products on my dressing table for a couple of days before actually using them.  A week later I’m on the internet, trying to remind myself what exactly the sales assistant said about how to apply the product, and what that other thing was that she said was really good.

The Ask Bobbi app offers a series of easy to follow tutorials on topics like Brows, Make-up for Glasses, Smokey Eye and Party Makeup. The app will also save product recommendations made to you on counter, so that you can shop for them later if you fancy adding more product in, or want to make a wish list.

There’s nothing complex here – no virtual makeovers – but it’s all simple, straightforward advice that would be useful for any product range.

_7132309Plum Perfect (free)

Get started here by taking a selfie, which the app then analyses to create a ‘colour signature’ of your skin, eyes, hair and lips. Tweak the selections by manually adjusting warmth, tone and so on, or by choosing from a wide range of images of different skin and hair tones.

The app then suggests a ton of foundations, blushers, eyeshadows and lip products that would suit you. Clearly, buying a spendy foundation at the whim of an algorithm would be utter madness but it’s fun looking at what the app thinks would work and might give you a starting point for things to look at on your next shopping trip. The eye and lip suggestions it gave me would definitely work with my colouring (I had a frightening number of them already, but we’ll gloss over that).

IMG_4116Hair Color / Modiface (free, in app purchases)

Blonde and toying with going brunette? Dying to unleash your inner redhead? Always been the teeniest bit Marge Simpson-curious? Upload a selfie and try a bunch of colours for free (additional colours and options are an in app purchase). The app does a better job with blonde, brunette and red than with what it calls ‘exotic’ colours like blue, purple and green. You can also ‘try on’ different glasses and if you’re really keen, hair bows and bands. I had more joy with the Hair Color version of this app than I did with the Makeover version. Let’s just say I won’t be going with their suggested makeover of white hair, electric blue eyeliner and red lipstick smeared over the lower half of my face at this point. That’s strictly my Autumn look.

screen568x568Beautyspotter. (free)

This app shows a stream of images uploaded by beauty pros that you can scroll through and use as a lookbook. Images are tagged with the salon and pro who created them, along with contact details (and for some salons, a ‘press to book’ link). There’s also a DIY channel for home users to upload images and shopping info. It’s an interesting idea (sort of a dedicated beauty Instagram with more info on who created the looks) and currently covers the UK and Ireland.

IMG_4115Wahanda (free)

The Wahanda app allows you to search for beauty appointments by type (hair, nails, facial, massage etc), date and location, including ‘near me’. You can book straight from the app or buy a voucher for the treatment, depending on the salon. If you’re in an unfamiliar town and want to book a gel polish for tomorrow morning, it’s a good way to find out about local salons, read reviews, and find available appointments.

154491020899And the one that I desperately wanted to work…

I so wanted to love the Indulge app, which says it’ll help you build a catalogue of your nail polishes along with images that you’ve taken of them on your nails. But I tried scanning loads of barcodes and searching for the polish names in the app and very few came up with a match. Still, every nail fail is an opportunity to build another spreadsheet, right?

Debra Brock

Debra Brock is co-founder of salihughesbeauty.com and a contributing writer.

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