Tried & Tested

Virtual vs. real-life: how accurate are make-up tester apps?

Keneilwe Pule uses a beauty app to apply make-up virtually, then asks a make-up artist to recreate the look in real-life so she can compare the two

15 August 2018 - 12:59 By Keneilwe Pule
The beauty look Keneilwe Pule created using the L’Oreal Makeup Genius app.
MAKE-UP APPLIED VIRTUALLY WITH APP The beauty look Keneilwe Pule created using the L’Oreal Makeup Genius app.
Image: L’Oreal Makeup Genius

Thanks to beauty apps, which allow you to upload a photo and try on make-up virtually, we can wave goodbye to yucky testers in stores and all the fears of germs.

This trend also makes online shopping easier, as you can now try before you buy.

It's a boon for manufacturers who can show you their range without having to have every store kitted out with testers. You'll also never have to experience the frustration of finding that the tester of the particular product you wanted to try isn't on shelf.

This all sounds fabulous, but just how well do these beauty apps work? And, how closely do the make-up shades you test virtually match the colours of the real-life products?

To find out, I tried out the L’Oreal Makeup Genius app and then asked an in-store make-up artist, Lerato Makgobela, to recreate the look using the same products.

Here’s what I found out:

PROS

The L’Oreal Makeup Genius app uses advanced mapping algorithms which capture 64 facial data points and 100 different facial expressions. So, whether you are smiling or frowning, the app is able to locate your lips, eyes, nose and cheeks to give the perfect contouring.

The foundation colour I tried proved to be fairly accurate, making my face look flawless. The blush was applied in the right places, as was the lip colour.

Keneilwe Pule wearing the actual products she tried on using the L’Oreal Makeup Genius app.
MAKE-UP APPLIED IN REAL LIFE Keneilwe Pule wearing the actual products she tried on using the L’Oreal Makeup Genius app.
Image: Tango Ntwasa

CONS

Bad news for germophobe lipstick collectors who are reluctant to test colours in shops. The lip colours on this app did not always match the lipsticks used by the make-up artist in the store. 

So, if you are looking to buy the perfect lip colour for your skin tone, you’ll likely have to visit the store and do a swatch test.

VERDICT

If you have been shying away from ordering beauty products online, this app might be for you. Just apply the products you want to buy — such as that glitter eye shadow you thought might be too much for you - to see the effect.

You can try out loads of different make-up shades without having to wipe the colours off in-between. On top of that, there are often far more options to choose from online than in stores.

So, is this app for keeps? The answer is a definite “yes”!

WATCH | How the L’Oreal Makeup Genius app works