It's time to upgrade your selfie game, people. No longer is it permissible to simply pretend you woke up like ducklips. Today's selfie market is ruthless. The competition has a team of professionals toiling 'round-the-clock to selfie the best selfie that ever selfied. In order to even rank, you'll need an arsenal of enhancement apps at the ready.
As such, this week I've sussed out the top six selfie enhancement apps for iOS. What's more, I've tested them all for you - yes, putting my very own face on the line! - and included the conclusions in the form of JPG evidence below.
Be beautiful. Be you. Be selfie.
Be Perfect: YouCam Perfect - Selfie Cam
I thought I'd start out by making myself perfect. "But Janel," I hear you earnestly protest, "Is beauty not in the eye of the beholder? And doth not True Beauty come from withinith?" To which I can only drown our your pleas by cranking the Smoothener filter to full.
You don't even have to smile to get YouCam Perfect to work its black beauty magic. That's right, the app will detect your pursed lips and turn that frown upside down, without you ever having to fake actual happiness. From there, I maxed out the Nose Enhancement, erased my eye bags for extra perk, wiped my blemishes right out of existence, enlarged my peepers, and added the merest schmear of blush on my cheeks in pursuit of that natural rosy glow.
This is all just to reach base level perfection, however. If a true makeover's what you seek, then you need the sister app just below.
Yes, you can apply makeup without ever busting out the MAC MAC brushes. YouCam Makeup is the natural companion app to YouCam Perfect, transforming your visage into something truly, glitteringly glamorous. Swipe through the makeup options to see them splashed onto your face before ever having to hit that shutter button.
I ended up going with "Cleo." Did you know the ancient Egyptians regarded beauty as a sign of holiness? Their eye paint was made with lead, so you needed a little help from God to keep up appearances without deteriorating too much.
After you've snapped your close-up, you can tweak your face as regards your eyes, mouth, complexion, and hair. I decided to make myself over as an older version of me that needs attention and really misses Lil' Kim.
Let's go the other way, now: we'll pretend selfies aren't a vehicle for strutting your stuff, but rather a means of communicating where you are and what you're doing. Why, for such an endeavor, what you'd require is context.
It's not enough just to snap a photo these days: how do you feel about it? And if we only see your face, how can we know what you're reacting to? Sure, you could try doing that arm-extended gesture with the Thing in the background, but we all know that means 1) crappy framing and 2) looking like a total dork. Enter Frontback, which takes advantage of not one but TWO cameras on your very own mobile device.
First, I was prompted to take a photo of my subject at hand through the back camera. I'm at my desk. Then, the twist: the app swaps cameras, offering a view through the front of my very own face. I'm prompted to express how I feel.
There's a subtle beauty here, if you take your time to consider what hermeneutical expression the Heidegger-esque subject/object phenomenon suggests through the othered gaze of the viewer--- I'm done. I may print this out and frame it.
Be Furry: InstaFace:face eyes blend morph with animal effect
I... I can't think of any other reason to use the InstaFace:face eyes blend morph with animal effect app other than being a furry. So let's just presume that, today, we are furries.
So you're a furry! Congrats. Are you a cat (up to and including lions and tigers), dog, primate, or owl furry? You, my friend, are in luck. This app will morph your face with that of your inner animal, allowing you a glimpse of what might happen were you to gather the dollars and chutzpah for extremely intensive and potentially life-threatening surgery.
I decided that my Fursona was probably a capuchin ("With the exception of a midday nap, they spend their entire day searching for food." - Wikipedia). From there, I selected what kind of blending suited my face. I now look at the world through capuchin eyes. There's nothing unsettling about that whatsoever.
If you can do it to your face, why can't you do it to your nails? Ask not why, children, but how. Virtual Nail Salon is that tool you've been looking for, because no way is your imagination good enough to picture what your nails might look like if they were purple.
Now, I tend to have fairly interesting nails anyway. I used to bite 'em to the quick, until I found out polish would keep me from my compulsion. Over the years, I've become what some might call a "nail visionary," meaning I've got like six distinct shades of gold in my collection. As such, I needed to quickly become a power user of the Virtual Nail Salon app, pushing the simulated polish as far as it would go.
So I made claws. And then I found out you can import a photo from your gallery and slap it onto a nail, so I turned my middle finger into an extension of my Fursona.
To finalize my trip down Uncanny Valley, I cartoonified my face with, you guessed it, Cartoon Face. This mega-popular Chinese app renders a selfie into a drawing that bears just enough resemblance to reality to be really friggin' unpleasant.
Take that selfie, tell the app your gender of choice, then select a scene. Will you be a whoops-a-daisy modern-day Marilyn? How about a football star with chiseled calves to match? I settled on a charming bedroom scene with a plush bird doll and a crying yellow thing with stubble. From there, I tweaked my features, including face shape, glasses, and haircut. I also added a relevant text bubble.
The final step is to add a filter, to give your cartoon scene that Instagram-circa-2011 look. And then to share it, obviously. Because this Janel is the true Janel. It's the me that I'd like to let out and play, the me I'd like you to invite over for tea and biscuits sometime. She's a fine conversationalist. Give her a chance. Just one chance.
There are scads more selfie-enhancement apps out there - these are just My Personal Favorites. Which do you compulsively open as soon as you roll out of bed in the morning? Any super weird ones that'll make me into even more of a bug-eyed freak? Please share generously in the comments below.