The Ultimate Byrdie-Approved Beauty Apps
Whatever you think about smartphones and our addiction to them, the truth is they have made our lives much easier. Take, for example, the beauty world. We can now order a professional home mani at the press of a button, give ourselves virtual makeovers, and also get salon-quality haircuts without taking a foot outside our front doors.
The best beauty apps around right now have taken inspiration from the likes of Uber and created helpful solutions for our extremely, and increasingly, busy lives. And that's not all, there are plenty of other ingenious beauty apps that continue to streamline our lives and make the best use of our time.
But, as always, there are so many around it can be hard to know just which apps work and which ones don't. To help, we've trialled some of the most interesting and useful beauty apps around right now to find out why you should download them on your phone. You'll be forgetting about Pokémon Go in no time. Well, maybe.
Keep scrolling to see our pick of the best beauty apps.
Available: London zones 1 to 6
What is it? There are three treatment pillars on The Glam App: hair, nails and makeup. For hair and makeup, you choose from a selection of looks such as beachy waves, half up, contour queen or cat eye, and there are seven of each to choose (from £30). With nails, you select the type you want: polish (£20), mani (£35), gel mani (£45), etc., then you select the add-ons you want, such as cuticle tidying, callus removal or nail art to build your perfect treatment.
Easy to use? So easy! It takes less than five minutes to book an appointment either for immediately or a future date. In your profile, the app stores your appointments and has a section that lets you re-book with a stylist. The only downside is that despite living in zone 5, I couldn’t get an appointment at my flat, so do check that the app serves your area before you need an immediate appointment.
The Treatment Experience: The manicurist came to my office, she was incredibly efficient and had an impressive range of OPI nail shades for me to choose from. She filed my nails into shape, tidied my cuticles (which were in a state) and painted them, all within an hour. I’d definitely book in again.
What is it? Treatwell used to be Wahanda, so you may be familiar with the brand. It now has a handy app so you can easily book a variety of appointments. Unlike The Glam App or Priv, Treatwell serves as a booking service for independent salons, and the customer reviews help to give you an idea of what a service is like (a bit like TripAdvisor). This also means the prices vary from area to area and salon to salon. You can find the usual treatments—waxing, facials and massage, but then you can even book teeth whitening, injectables and spa days.
Easy to use? The app itself is super easy, you can book by treatment type, or there is a handy Near You button where you can find last minute appointments in your area. So right now as I type this, I can see I could have a full body massage in an hour down the road (that would be nice). Most places will let you book via the app and you’re done, no faffing.
I, however, booked in for a manicure at a salon in central London and then found I had to print out a voucher to take with me. I don’t have a printer and, thanks to my boyfriend printing out the wrong thing, I had a mad Challenge Anneka–type dash to get my hands on it before the appointment, so watch out for that.
The Treatment Experience: I called ahead to say I might be a bit late (printing vouchers) and they said they definitely needed the piece of paper to process my appointment but to just get to them when I could (phew). Thankfully it was worth it, the manicure (using Essie polish) was hands down (no pun intended) the best manicure I have ever had in my life. It was at The Daniel Galvin salon in Selfridges on 3, FYI. My therapist spent ages tidying up my cuticles and perfecting the polish, it lasted a whole week without chipping, which is quite miraculous since she didn’t use gel.
What is it? Created by L'Oréal, this app tracks your features and then applies virtual makeup to your face to you can try before you buy, as well as see which looks suit your colouring.
Easy to use? This app is so much fun! Simply allow the app to access your camera and then it'll track you face shape and features so that when you go to try on different looks, it can place it perfectly. I didn't imagine it would be as accurate as it was, but it really worked. A virtual makeover was definitely what I got. But the best part is that you can buy the makeup you tried. Bravo!
Available: Currently London, but planning to expand across the UK
What is it? Priv is another app that works like Uber to help you find therapists and stylists in your area who are free to come to you. With Priv, you can also book a workout such as yoga or personal training session (depending on your area).
Easy to use? So easy, you simply select the type of appointment you want, whether that’s a blow-dry (£38), spray tan (£40) or massage (£75), then any add-ons such as lashes or nail art. You then select the therapist you want to book, you can look at their rating (just like Uber) and reviews, and it also lets you know how quickly they can be with you. Priv keeps a record of your treatments and therapists, so you can easily re-book with your favourites.
The Treatment Experience: I’ve used Priv a few times in previous jobs when we’ve needed hair styling and makeup application before an event or shoot either at a hotel or in the office. You get an in-app message direct from the person you’ve booked with, so you have contact with them and can let them know anything in advance, such as your hair type or any skin issues; they also message you to let you know they’re on the way! I can’t fault the experience, the hairstylist and makeup artist were so impressive that I booked the same duo on repeat.
Want more treatment recommendations? Check out the L.A.- inspired treatments you need to try.
Opening Image: Getty/Christian Vierig/Contributor