Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wednesdays on the Web: Need a virtual makeover?

Housewives, I have a confession. It has been almost a year since my last hair cut. Not even a trim since last June. Since my last cut, I have had a baby, become a SAHM, and started exercising regularly, all of which have taken their toll on my locks and changed what I want/need from my hair style.

I am a test-drive buyer. With everything. I don't buy anything over $5 without doing some serious research. Not clothes, not food, and most definitely NOT a hair style. Enter virtual makeover apps! I used Daily Glow's Daily Makeover and InStyle's Hollywood Makeover, but there are many other sites to choose from that offer similar services.

Both the Daily Makeover and the Hollywood Makeover have about a dozen different models you can choose from, or you can upload your own photo. I chose to upload my photo, which meant I had to take a straight-on, hair-pulled-back photo with a plain background. The Mr. wasn't home, so it was self-portrait for me. These gems are some of the 40+ photos I took trying to find my best angle...
Against all odds, I did manage to take a photo that wasn't half bad. :)

Tip: Try to pull your hair as straight back from your hairline as possible. Even my little grown-out bangs to one side show up and look odd with some of the hair styles.

I uploaded that photo to each of the sites and followed the steps to outline my face so that the hairstyles and makeup would line up properly.

Daily Makeover walked me through selecting the area that covered my head, neck, and shoulders and then selecting the lighting option that best showed my natural skin tone. My original photo's lighting was closest--their two suggestions were waaay off and had me looking like the Hulk or a smurf.

Next I rearranged the pink dots, adding more as needed, to refine the outline my face, eyes, and mouth. This process helps the hairstyles and makeup fit your face appropriately, and also points out how much of your gums show when you smile, what a strange shape your face is, and how your eyes are two completely different sizes and shapes. Lovely. :)
Tip: If you are showing your teeth in your smile, be sure to click the button under the prompt, "Are your teeth showing?"
Another tip: Place the outline of your eyes just barely on your eyelid. That's where it will put your eyeliner and it looks awfully strange to have your eyeliner on your eyeball. :)

Hollywood Makeover's upload and selection refining process is almost exactly the same, except that the dots are blue and you can't add extra dots to the outlines of your features to make them extremely accurate. The outlines still fit my features fine, though.  

This initial selection and refining took less than ten minutes for each site, and then I was ready to try out those hairstyles! All it takes is just one click to put the style on your head. You can then adjust the width/height of the style to fit your face shape and head size best and select a color that is closest to you natural color (or the color that you want to color your hair).

You can also flip a style right-to-left so that the part matches your own:

The Hollywood Makeover gives you even more control over the style by giving you different points that you can drag to tweak the style so that it fits you best:
With the Daily Makeover, I had trouble seeing my whole face and hairstyle. This might have been because my original photo didn't have a ton of space around my head. I solved this problem by clicking the button for the Before/After view

And dragging the divider to the left

So that I could see the full style:

Both sites have a great variety of hairstyles to choose from: Daily Makeover has generic popular hairstyles, and Hollywood Makeover has popular celebrity hairstyles. When it comes to color control, the advantage goes to Hollywood Makeover, hands down. Daily Makeover has about 20 different colors total to choose from, but Hollywood Makeover has 10-15 different colors that you can select for hair color, highlights, and lowlights, so you can have realistic-looking hair in any hair color under the sun:
I tried these looks at Daily Makeover:
 And at Hollywood Makeover, I tried on hairstyles found on (from top left) Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order: SVU, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Aniston (as Rachel from Friends), and even Lady Gaga (with a different eye color and some lipstick. Totally wish I could pull off that look purely for the shock value!).
Hollywood Makeover also has a one-click Complete Look option that gives you that celebrity's hair and makeup style, as well as some pointers on how to achieve it. I tried out Reese Witherspoon, Carey Mulligan (of Pride and Prejudice), and Taylor Swift (can you say eyeliner?).
I had a lot of fun playing around, but I decided to buckle down and look for a new mom-cut. I don't think the Halle Berry pixie cut is for me....

but I think I might be able to pull off the Katie Holmes bob...

What do you think?
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