YouCam: A Great New Makeup App For Either Pretty Or Ugly Selfies

I love makeup apps. I spend more time than your average bear using Perfect365 and Modiface, which until last week were my sole two makeup apps of choice. Do they make you look pretty? I mean, that really depends on your definition of pretty. Personally, I don’t try to apply makeup where makeup has not already been applied; it winds up making you look like you have no pores and instead have somehow acquired a silicone mask in the shape of your own face. It becomes uncanny.

Although I’d be the first to tell you that that exact uncanniness is precisely why I enjoy using these apps, or, rather, abusing these apps and their features. I remember getting wide eyes the first time I saw that you can make your skin “brighter” (read: lighter-hued) or, even better, enlarge your eyes and “deepen” your smile. Granted, depth of smile is a problem for me! I only smile a tiny bit in most photos these days. My face is no longer accustomed to baring my teeth when someone takes a picture of me, so I’m going for “content” rather than “fantastically happy” when I pose for a photo. But when you artificially “deepen” your smile, it’s like watching the “Black Hole Sun” video. Again, uncanny.

Anyway, these apps bring me an undue amount of joy. I’ve been working on a project aiming to create the ugliest possible selfies, “ugly,” in my view, meaning “inhuman” more than “unsightly,” although unsightliness is certainly welcome. I have an ongoing fiction in development about me and my family members being members of the Reptilian Elite (WAKE UP, SHEEPLE), I have a repeat character whose name I haven’t yet publicly disclosed, and in general I just try to make myself look simultaneously pinched and spread, and unnatural, with precisely the things that these makeup apps consider “features,” exactly the things that make them desirable. They exist to make you look a little less like yourself, and I like using them to the extreme of that purpose.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to get a PR e-mail (today in sentences people don’t say) about a new makeup app that is extremely similar in design to Perfect365 but works way, way better in terms of actually making it look like you’ve applied makeup to your face, YouCam. Take a look at the second picture in the progression of six above: I look like a real person, and not a real person who’s wearing a silicone mask of their own face, but a real person who maybe had a professional makeup artist make their skin look particularly good that day.

But, too, it has so many of the features I love: Skin “smoothening,” face contouring and reshaping, eye enlargement, contacts, and a bonus that other apps don’t have: Accessories. So now, in addition to running a goofy-looking face through P365 and Modiface, I can also apply accessories to my face and see how they like THAT. The trade-off for good application and accessories, though, is that 1) if it doesn’t recognize your face, it won’t let you set the key face points for it, and 2) YouCam doesn’t let you upload photos from your photo albums, so you have to take a live picture and edit it right then and there. You can’t run a photo through YouCam more than once, in other words, which sucks for me, but even for users who want to use the app the way it’s intended, it’s kind of a pain in the ass – say you’re out with friends and you take a picture you want to edit and post to IG later. Too bad! You have to edit it on the spot.

All of that being said, the whole process of uglifying yourself intentionally means that as long as an app is intuitive and user-friendly, it’s worth adding to your arsenal. I wound up running my selfie through YouCam, then P365 and Modiface twice each, to extremely satisfying reptilian ends. YouCam beats “intuitive and user-friendly” by a long shot by also being really good at what it does, and as a bonus, its creators are totally down with you using it for whatever wacky creative goals you might have – I asked them what they thought about my makeup app abuse, and they said “We love it when people use our apps to do something fun, and it’s always inspiring to see the creative use of our apps in addition to the everyday makeup use!” It’s free, so if you’re into either ugly or pretty selfies, I recommend it heartily.

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