For most of us, smartphone apps are part of our everyday lives. There are around 7 million apps available for download across the iOS and Android platforms, covering all genres – games, ecommerce, news, music, entertainment, and of course, photography.
Needless to say, mobile phone cameras have come a long way since Samsung released the first commercially available camera-enabled cellphone in 2000. But, according to internet folklore, it wasn’t long before selfies became a global phenomenon, going viral when Apple released its iPhone 4 with a front-facing camera in 2010.
Fast forward to today, and there are hundreds of apps available with the express purpose of helping us look more photogenic. Whether you use these kinds of apps just for fun, to express your creativity, to perfect your brand-sponsored social posts, to accentuate an emotion or characteristic, or to empower yourself with the confidence to share more images, it’s important to note that any form of media, especially social media, can be simultaneously an overwhelmingly positive and negative environment.
With this in mind, we’re looking at a few of our favorite apps that help enthusiastic selfie-takers make the best of what they have.
Let’s dive straight in.
Facetune by Lightricks
With over 200 million downloads and a near five-star review rating, Facetune by Lightricks is certainly worth a second glance. It’s been around since 2014 and has featured in the Apple App Store’s list of most downloaded apps for an unprecedented seventh year running.
So what does Facetune do? In short, it allows you to retouch your selfies, but not necessarily to the point that you’re unrecognizable! You can also view before and after each editing action to help you decide whether you’re happy with the enhancements you’re making.
- Access to filter packs
- Reshaping features
- The hair tool allows you to experiment with different hair colors
- The background tools enable you to change the background of your photo
- The makeup features allow you to add lipstick, eyeshadow, and blush to your snap or simply retouch your existing makeup
- You can whiten teeth with just a swipe
Why Try It
- It’s the original and favorite selfie editor for content creators
- There’s a free version available, plus a range of paid-for options for those wanting access to extra functions
- The interface is simple
- Sharing edited selfies is easy
While most think of Snapchat as a social platform, the app comes with so many native selfie editing functionalities that we had to include it in this list. With over 332 million worldwide daily active users, it’s safe to say that Snapchat is a popular tool for selfie taking, editing and sharing.
After all, when you launch the app, it opens straight to your camera. Then users can either tap to take a photo or press and hold to create a video. Since 2011, the app has launched an impressive 101 product features.
- Lenses and filters for selfies that enable you to change the mood or scene of your content – e.g., road trip, wedding, Spring or Ramadan.
- You can add different colored text elements and stickers to your selfies
- You can create 3D Bitmoji to add to your images
Why Try It
- It’s free to download and use
- Selfie lenses and filters are updated daily
- It’s easy to communicate with other Snapchat users
Perfect365 is a virtual makeup app that enables you to add the appearance of makeup to your images within seconds. It has over 100 million users worldwide and is a fun way of trying out new looks.
Launched in 2000, it also collaborates with fashion and beauty experts to provide built-in video tutorials and makeup tips.
- Access to makeup-related video tutorials
- Daily makeup and fashion tips
- There are over 20 makeup and beauty tools to help customize your look, such as liners, lipsticks and eyeshadows
- There’s a “subtle touch-up” function for a no-makeup look
Why Try It
- There’s a free version, or you can pay just $1.99 a month to unlock all of its features
- You can see what makeup from different brands looks like on you without needing to buy them
- Saving and sharing looks on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is easy
AirBrush is an excellent all-around selfie editing app for iOS and Android users. Launched in 2015, it’s consistently well-reviewed on the Apple App Store.
At its core, it’s a photo editing app that allows users to remove facial blemishes, scars, pimples, and wrinkles. In addition, it evens out skin tone, to name a few of its features.
- Over 30 retouching tools, including plump-up lips, brightened eyes, and glowing skin
- Dozens of makeup looks to choose from
- Over 300 filters
- The ability to sculpt and shape your face
- Access to professional photo effects, including a blur tool
Why Try It
- Plenty of filters and selfie editing functionalities available
- There’s a free version available
- The app is easy to use
Retrica is technically a camera app rather than a photo app, with a large number of filters you can use while taking images. More specifically, the app aims to give you the tools you need to create pictures with that retro vibe, so images have that old-school 1970s look.
Oddly, you can’t upload pre-existing images and edit them. It requires iOS 10.0 or later, and the full version of the app costs about $30 per year, but Retrica is a compelling option nonetheless. You can preview your chosen filter before taking a photo, so you’ll see your image’s appearance before you click. Then, once you’re happy with your snaps, you can easily share them on social sites and/or via private message.
- There are over 190 filters that you can pick and mix to achieve the exact look you’re after, including blur, film, grain, and vignette
- Add annotations to images, such as text and time stamps
- Create collages of the same image with different filters
Why Try It
- There’s a free version available and paid versions that start at $1.99 a month, which unlocks more features
- A generous 55 filters are included in the free version
Our Overall Winner
Mobile apps that offer face and atmosphere filters are fun to use, especially on those days when we need a little help to look our best. Our overall winner has to be Facetune by Lightricks. It’s the ultimate selfie app – it offers the most powerful features, is easy to use, and consistently performs well on the Apple App Store. But you can’t go wrong with any of the above options. Try them all, and see which is best for you.