After dabbling around in multiple apps, these five finds came out on top:

Pros: This app has incredible facial recognition technology. After taking a quick selfie, I could apply makeup to myself in real time—not just onto the photo, but onto my moving reflection. I had the option of trying on individual products, or I could make a selection from their pre-styled looks (though most were a bit dramatic for me).

Cons: This is a L’Oreal Paris app, so all of the products available to try on and/or purchase are L’Oreal products. Not that that’s a problem, considering the range they offer.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, free.


Pros: The EPA’s app provides ultra-violet radiation levels on a 1-11+ scale, and once it detected my location, I could view the UV forecast on either a daily or hourly cycle. I’m typically pretty forgetful when it comes to applying sunscreen, but a quick check of this app kept me aware of when it was especially necessary to lather it on.

Cons: There’s nothing fancy going on here. It’s a very basic, informative app with no interactive components.

Available for Android, iPhone, and iPad, free.


Pros: Call me crazy, but I love filling out forms—which made the interactive component of this app quite fun. With its virtual clipboard questionnaire, I answered a few questions about my skin tone and sensitivity before the app gathered skincare products selected specifically for me. There’s a wealth of reviews for most products, making it easy to make an informed decision.

Cons: Someone who has clear, un-irritated skin may not find much use with this app.

Available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, free.


Pros: With a curation of newly released products available for purchase and an assortment of beauty-related articles and videos, I found Beautylish to be a valuable one-stop-shop. As a journalist, I especially enjoyed the editorial component, a feature I didn’t find in any other apps.

Cons: There’s no option to virtually try the products on.

Available for Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, free.


Pros: After analyzing my facial tones to create a color profile, this detailed app suggested products for my lips, eyes, and face. Every suggestion came with an explanation on why the product was right for my color signature, and even though the app carries over 200 brands, I was able to tailor the options to my personal preferences.

Cons: In order to perform an accurate analysis, the selfie you use needs to be taken in a shadow-free area with natural daylight.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, free.