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This app lets you “try on” makeup from home—but does it actually work?


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Question for you: How many minutes (or hours, in more realistic terms) do you spend looking into the selfie-mode camera on your phone? As scary as that number may be, let’s face it: That’s the world we live in.

Unsurprisingly, companies are taking note that it’s the best way to reach consumers. (Sliding into your DMs is so 2016.) And it can totally revolutionize the way you shop.

Just look at ModiFace—it’s an app that launched back in 2006, but has since evolved to become something you can use in Sephora stores (or at home in front of the television). It uses augmented reality and artificial intelligence to take your beauty routine to the next level—by letting you try out virtually any look from the comfort of your couch. I’m talking all sorts of makeup colors, hair styles, and even playing around with the shape of your brows.

“With ModiFace, you have the ability to instantly see how products look without having to try them on.”

“With ModiFace, you have the ability to instantly see how products look without having to try them on,” said Parham Aarabi, founder and CEO of the app at the recent WWD Beauty Summit. “You can try on almost 20,000 shades of makeup on your video. We’re using a unique combination and unique foundation shade for each person by matching their face and exact complexion. And we have a skin-care augmented reality that has the ability to showcase what a product can do via a user’s live video.”

Now, some Sephora locations have in-house iPads with the ModiFace app to allow shoppers to scope out what they’re looking for before purchasing—which is great, considering the struggle that comes with trying on so many shades of lipsticks and having to blot it off each time. And the future looks bright (and glittery): ModiFace plans to have a voice engine capability that lets you literally say, “Try a smoky eye,” and a polished, perfectly executed dark eye shadow will be applied (virtually) to your face.

But until then, does the app actually deliver? Well+Good staffers tried out the app—and its many purported features—to find out what it’s really like.

Keep reading to see what happened when we put the ModiFace app to the test.

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For a hair transformation

“If I was ever at a part of my life where I was considering making a really aggressive hair color change, I’d use this app. For a makeup perspective, however, a trip to Sephora might be more fun.” —Ella Dove, video & events producer 

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modiface app beauty

For an adventurous lip color

“Using this reminded me why I stay away from lipsticks. I usually don’t wear them, so being able to play around with all different colors was fun—at the same time, it helped me realize I prefer the more natural look.”  —Isoke Samuel, editorial intern

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modi face app

For an everyday look

“It was cool to use, especially if you want to test out different hair styles, colors, or makeup looks you don’t usually do. I still prefer going to a store like Sephora and trying things on in person—they do have the best sample and return policy, after all.” —Celine Cortes, audience development associate

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For skin adjustments

“I liked the fact that I could smooth my complexion and get rid of my dark under-eye areas—the brightening function and concealer tool helped with that. The app ‘uses’ real brands and actually recommended products for me, which is really cool.” —Mercey Livingston, editorial intern

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modiface app beauty

For a dramatic eye

“Once you’re all set up, it’s fun to try on the different looks—it reminds me of Cher with her wardrobe in Clueless. I do wish that applying eye makeup was actually that easy.” —Jenna Cantagallo, senior designer

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modiface app

For foundation matching

“You can match your skin to a foundation and find the right shade—that is so cool. That would actually be useful for someone like me. Plus, I’d definitely use the app for fun at a party or pre-game situation and hanging out with my friends.” —Molly O’Brien, associate video producer

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For a dramatic makeover

“I think it’s amazing for trying out looks I’d typically never do IRL—like a gothic lip or funky eye shadows. And it’s nice to learn which colors will never look good on me. At least now I know what to never buy!” —Rachel Lapidos, associate editor

Technology’s doing crazy things—here’s a virtual reality video game that lets you do a spin workout at home. Also—can 3D-printed sneakers upgrade your fitness game?