Virtual makeovers are great tools. Keep in mind however that the model you choose, no matter how much you may think she looks like you, is not you. If you are able to upload your own photo, so much better. But, unless you take the photo and use it in the same day, then go straight to the store to get your products, changes in your face may affect the way real products look on you. In addition, though modern computers, software and monitors are great at replicating true-to-life color, nothing replaces trying products live.
Use virtual makeovers as a tool. The best way to use a virtual makeover is to use your own photo, then make a list of the products you think look the best. When you go to the makeup counter or salon, sample the colors you like. If they work for you, try other products in the same color family. If the rose pink lipstick that looked just right on the screen is a little too much in person, try a soft mauve instead. The same applies to hair color. You may find the ash blond you chose for your virtual model to be too much of a change for you. A light ash brown may in reality work better.
If you use virtual makeover software because you prefer to just go in and grab your makeup, make sure the company you purchase from has a liberal return policy. Most higher end lines give a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Do not be hesitant to return that tangerine lip gloss if it doesn't look as nice on you as it did on your virtual twin. Even if you use a popular price line, many stores like Walgreen's offer their own guarantees. Don't let another lipstick fall to the bottom of your purse and never get used--return it if you don't like it. Just make sure you keep the receipt and return the item within the alloted time. With the combination of a great virtual makeover and products, hair colors and cuts that really work for you, your look can always be just right.
When trying to choose a virtual makeover program online, you will want to choose a program that has several models, rather than just one representing each major ethnic group. A good program will have at least a couple dozen model faces for you to use. Even better, use a program that will allow you to upload your own photo.
If you are using the program to try on different cosmetic products, try to find the makeover program of a cosmetic company that you are comfortable shopping with. Virtual makeovers are also great ways to try new products. So if you are using a virtual makeover program to try a new line, keep a pen handy and write down the names and numbers of different products you like. Many programs will allow you to create a face you like, then print out the resulting picture and product codes. Keep in mind most programs will require you to register to use these more advanced features.
Be patient when loading your photo. Most programs require the picture to be in jpeg format, then require you to line the picture up with their presets. This may take a few tries and a little time, but the result will be worth it.
If you are using a virtual makeover program to choose a hairstyle and/or color, you may find programs offered by hair manufacturing product companies give you a more natural look when applying the hairstyles than cosmetic or other companies.
Regardless of the program you use, you will have more success if you take your time and look at it as a fun way to try a new look. Don't be disappointed if you don't get the result you were looking for the first time you try. As with everything worthwhile, practice makes perfect.
Virtual makeovers are all the rage. There are several virtual makeover programs available free on the web. To find them, just type "virtual makeover" or "free virtual makeover" into the search engine on your web browser. Here are some facts on the most commonly used free virtual makeover products on the web. All programs require at the minimum, the use of Flash. Most require you to turn off your pop up blocker.
Mary Kay http://www.marykay.com/whatsnew/virtualmakeover/default.aspx --Mary Kay's virtual makeover game utilizes preselected photos of models. You select the model whose look is closest to your own. PRO--it is very easy to find and use. CON--you cannot upload your own photo and as Mary Kay is a cosmetics company, you can only experiment with makeup, not hair.
Get Makeovers http://www.getmakeovers.com/ -- The virtual makeover program at getmakeovers.com offers you the ability to use one of their many models or upload your own photo. It is Covergirl cosmetics based. PRO--it is easy to find and the model photos are fairly numerous and easy to use. There are tons of options for your virtual model here, from hair and makeup to contacts, sunglasses and hats. CON--your own photos must be in jpeg format to work, even with a jpeg it may be difficult to load your photo correctly.
Makeover-O-Matic at iVillage http://makeover.ivillage.com/makeover/index.jsp -- This virtual makeover program also allows you to use a preselected model or upload your own photo. This program works with several different brands of cosmetics, which can be fun, but may cause some confusion. PRO--this is one of the most fun programs to work with. Easy to locate and use with many makeover options. The hairstyles look more natural in this program than many others. CON--most functions are off limits unless you sign up as a member. The many different product lines represented make a notepad necessary if you are planning on shopping based on your experience.
Instant Makeover http://www.beautyriot.com/instant_makeover.php at Beauty Riot--This program allows you to use a virtual model or your own photo. It also features celebrity models and celebrity color pallets you can try on your model or your photo. PRO--it is easy to find and the only program reviewed that features celebrity models or color palates. CON--you must sign up to use it, which will send you through a series of personal questions and sponsor ads. It is difficult to load your own photo and not nearly as easy to work with as some of the others. The color palates do not look natural as they apply.
If you are bored and feeling like getting up to a little mischief, virtual mischief that is, go on over to the UK Hairdressers website. There among the great advice on shampoos and where to get a great haircut in the West End, you will find a tab called Celebrity Revenge.
Celebrity Revenge is an online program that allows anyone to perform a little "cosmetic surgery" on their favorite, or not-so-favorite celebrity. This is basically a virtual version of the moustache and glasses you see scribbled all over the faces of your not so favorite "friends" in your high school yearbook. Celebrity Revenge has dozens upon dozens of celebrity faces for you to play with. Stretching them here and compacting them there. Not a big fan of Jennifer Lopez's perfect face? Take a minute and see what she would look like with a little "elective surgery." Remember, the effect is best when you can still recognize the celebrity under the changes. Lots of tiny changes are more effective and much funnier than just a couple of big ones. You can find Celebrity Revenge at www.ukhairdressers.com/revenge
Of course, this is just for fun. Nobody should get overly excited or upset if they don't find their celebrity of choice here. And please, if you are the celebrity stalker type, work out your issues with your doctor, not on Celebrity Revenge.
When your little girl starts messing around in your makeup and asking for pink lip gloss and blue eyeshadow to play with, maybe it's time to start thinking about getting her a virtual makeover program. At the very least, virtual makeup has a lot less potential to wind up all over your nice new ivory carpet.
Several companies make kid and tween (think 9-12 years) friendly virtual makeover programs. There are programs like Clueless, a program where the user gets to dress up and makeover the hair and makeup on preselected characters from the movie. More interactive options like Barbie Digital Makeover, a program that allows users to choose from several familiar models (Barbie and friends) or create a model using their own photo.* And for the older set, Cosmopolitan Virtual Makeover offers pictures of live models along with the option to upload a photo of the user.
Overall, reviews of these type of products are good, with especially high scores for ease of use. Remember that a more basic program like Clueless will quickly lose its appeal with older girls, who will expect to be able to do a lot more with software like this. Conversely, don't try to set your eight year old loose on the Cosmopolitan program without your guidance, as it's more advanced format will likely frustrate younger users.
* It should be no surprise that the easiest way to load a photo into this particular program is to take the picture with the Barbie Digital Camera.
You've made the commitment and purchased a virtual makeover program for your home computer. Now you need to make sure you are getting your money's worth. To make certain you understand all the elements of your program, you will want to read the enclosed literature carefully and try all the bells and whistles it has to offer. Have a great time with your product, but don't forget to register.
In general, registering a computer program takes very little time or commitment. You will have to give the company a little bit of personal information; at the very least you will need to give them your name and e-mail address. In exchange, the company will keep you informed of all the updates and improvements they have available for your program. There are often updates that can be downloaded directly to your computer from the company once the program has been initially purchased and installed. Sometimes these updates require a fee, but just as often they come to you free. If you have a problem or complaint about your product, registration also makes it easier for you to communicate with the company.
One great example of why you should register your products is Broderbund Software's Cosmopolitan Virtual Makeover. Since its release, two separate service packs have been created and offered for this title. Owners who registered their product were notified when the packs were introduced. Those who did not register probably aren't getting all they can from their software. If you register your product, even with only an e-mail address, the company can contact you to let you know when you can capitalize on their improvements.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|