Any woman who owns a phone will likely have an app that offers a beauty filter on it – yes, Instagram is also one of these apps. But beyond helping your skin look flawless for the ‘gram, true beauty lovers need more useful beauty apps that provide useful skincare and haircare information and help you shop better, so you can have a more holistic approach to beauty. Here are five free ones we really like.
1. YouCam Makeup – Magic Selfie & Virtual Makeovers
With over 100 million downloads and a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars rating based on 3.5 million reviews on the Google Play store (its App Store score is 4.8 out of 5, based on over 50 thousand reviews), this is one popular beauty app. And for good reason too. The beauty filters track your face quite accurately so you can try on makeup looks virtually in the app. It’s also a major one-stop app for the beauty lover in you, with content sorted into categories such as Eye Makeup, Nails, Hair, Skincare and more. Tapping on these categories brings you to a Pinterest-like board interface, where you can see pictures (for makeup inspiration), links to curated beauty articles (to beef up your beauty knowledge) and video tutorials too. In the Home tab, you can edit photos and videos and even analyse your skin condition with the Skin Score button. Create an account to track your day-to-day skin condition. It’s like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube all rolled into one – but for beauty stuff mostly.
2. Althea: Best of Korean Beauty
K-beauty fans rejoice, for this shopping app will keep you updated with the latest K-beauty trends and let you buy from your favourite K-beauty brands without you having to make a trip to Korea. Sign up for an account and pick a few brands to follow to see their latest promotions and discounts. We counted over 120 brands, many of which have yet to hit Singapore’s shores, such as IOPE (an efficacy and research-driven botanical skincare brand under the Amorepacific Group) and CP-1, a popular haircare brand that sells four products every minute. The app offers free shipping if you cart over $29 of products, and you can also bag a mascara or a concealer for $5 and under. This app’s been downloaded over 500 thousand times on the Play Store and is rated around 3.5 stars out of 5 with a total of close to 7,000 reviews on both the Play Store and App Store. We say that’s quite good considering the 1-star ratings are from people who run into problems with their orders or those who have trouble accessing the app in the first place.
3. Daily Beauty Care – Skin, Hair, Face, Eyes
Beauty lovers who are into everything natural and organic will like this app, which has over 100 thousand downloads on the Play Store and a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 2,700 reviews. It gives you tons of recipes categorised by your beauty concern. For example, tapping on Hair > Split Ends will lead you to a page with nine homemade recipes (using egg, papaya, yogurt among other ingredients) to combat split ends. Besides the DIY remedies, you also get tips on what to eat and even exercises that you can do to help improve your skin or hair concerns. And yes, if you’re asking, the app recommended acupressure massages you can do to get healthier hair in the Split Ends section.
The only downside (which is what all the 1-star reviews are complaining about) is the massive amount of ads. But well, it’s a free app, so you get what you (don’t) pay for. And yes, we are nags, but always remember to do a patch test before you dot on that orange peel paste to banish your acne.
This app, for clean beauty nerds, has over 100 thousand downloads on the Play Store and a 4.5 out of 5 star rating averaged over 1,600 reviews. It is super easy to use. Just take a picture of the ingredient list on your beauty product label and the app will read and show you a list of ingredients with descriptions that it has on its database. It’s especially useful when you’re looking to avoid certain ingredients. For example, a quick scan of one moisturiser revealed that phenoxyethanol, is often used as a substitute for parabens and seen in paraben-free product. The app claims that this ingredient is toxic to the immune system and can cause allergic reactions – a quick check on a reliable website (safecosmetics.org) confirmed that it can trigger eczema and other more severe reactions too. While we think the information is rather legit, it’s best to do your own research afterwards. Still, it’s a good app to have on hand when you’re looking to try new cosmetic products. Plus, the app works on food labels too, and it also highlights vegan ingredients.
5. UVLens – UV Index Forecasts
If there’s one thing you should protect your skin from, it’s overexposure to the sun. This app lets you know the UV Index at your location that particular day, and if you sign up for an account, you can input your skin condition and the app will then calculate how long you can stay in the sun before you burn. Android users can even put a widget on their homepage to view this info easily. We like that they have reminders for you to reapply your sunscreen – something a lot of people tend to forget, us included. Perhaps that’s why this app has over 100 thousand downloads and a 4.3 out of 5 star rating given by over 500 reviewers.