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Web sites offer preview of makovers

Sun., Sept. 4, 2005

On the Internet, you can go platinum blond, experiment with the Goth look, try out Beyonce’s shag, or even make your brown eyes blue.

Several beauty Web sites offer interactive makeover tools that let you play with hairstyles, hair colors and makeup. One even lets you whiten your teeth and try on berets. A piercing application has been suggested but not yet acted upon.

If you have a digital camera, you can upload a photo of yourself (shot in front of a white wall, hair pulled back) and experiment with your own image. If not, you can work with photos of actual models with coloring (some ravishing, some merely attractive; none, however, sporting pimples or a double chin).

The founder of AI-Media, which developed the software used by most of the Web sites, realized that women often buy makeup after testing it on the backs of their hands.

“When you’re spending $10 or $20, depending on the type of product, it seemed like such a strange way,” says Steve McPhee, an AI-Media partner.

Here are four Web sites that offer makeover tools:

• iVillage Makeover-o-Matic (, click on “Beauty & Style.” Under “Hot Stuff,” click on “Makeover-o-Matic.” No registration required. Free.) You can upload your own photo or choose from a dozen models. You can play with hairstyles, hair color, makeup, teeth whitening, colored contact lenses, glasses, even hats. The makeup tool is particularly subtle, allowing you to experiment with different applications and intensity. Some brands are mentioned, but there are no links to buy the products.

• Maybelline Makeup Studio (, click on “Get The Look.” Registration required. Free.) The Web site lets you upload your own photo or choose among eight models, then use Maybelline products to make up your face. The site logs the products you’ve used in case you want to buy them, but that you must do elsewhere. You can choose among foundation, blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, lip liner and nail polish. You can also control the intensity of the application.

• Clairol Try It On Studio (, click on “Try It On Studio.” Registration required. Free.) You can upload your own photo or choose from one of 18 models, then pick your closest hairstyle (dozens are available) in your natural color. You can choose all-over coloring or highlighting, and then Clairol can either recommend colors or let you experiment. Once you settle on the shade, the Web site will tell you which brand and color to buy, but you can’t actually buy it on the site.

• iVillage Virtual Hairstylist (, click on “Beauty & Style.” Under “Hot Stuff,” click on Virtual Hairstylist. Registration required. Fee of $14.95 for three months.) You can upload your own photo or test out hairstyles on a virtual model, who can be adjusted for color, skin tone, eye color and face shape.

There are hundreds of hairstyles to choose among, from everyday cuts to celebrity ‘dos, and even a green-and-yellow striped Afro, if you wish. You also play with color, tone and brightness. The tool will tell you which hairstyles are suited for your face shape, hair texture and density; how to style it; what products are recommended; and what kind of maintenance it requires.


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