How to use AI to try on different hairstyles quickly – and cheaply

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How to use AI to try on different hairstyles quickly – and cheaply

Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Summer is officially here — and with the season changing, naturally, you are thinking about your next hairstyle. Will it be bangs? Dyed hair? A haircut? Before committing to an expensive and potentially regrettable change, you can use artificial intelligence (AI) to see exactly how you would look with the new hairstyle.

In the past, I have dyed my hair nearly every shade from the black to bleach-blonde spectrum. Now that I have the hair-change bug again, I consulted AI before making the same mistake I have made in the past of picking a style or color that does not suit me.

I used FaceApp, an AI photo-editing app that can transform your face into different looks, including using makeup, accessories, hairstyles, and more. This application stands out because the results are realistic, unlike other apps I’ve tried.

Although the app, available for iPhone and Android, is free to download, it requires a FaceApp Pro subscription to access most of the functions, which costs $10 per month. Even though that cost may seem steep, $10 is less risky than a failed $300 hair-styling session you can’t easily undo.

So, just how easy is FaceApp to use? Keep reading to find out.


1. Download FaceApp

Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

First, you will need to install the application on your device. FaceApp can be downloaded for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

2. Select your photo from the camera roll

Then, you can upload a photo of yourself to start the AI magic. If you are using the app to test out different hairstyles, I recommend using a well-lit photo that frames your face and displays all your facial features. This means no hats, sunglasses, hair on your face, etc. You can use my original photo above as a reference.

Although many generative AI applications take user inputs and use them to train their models, FaceApp assures users in its privacy policy posted on its website that the company does not “use photographs or videos you provide when you use the Apps for any reason other than to provide you with the editing functionality of the Apps.”

However, the company has faced some controversy regarding its security and privacy practices, so investigate to see if you feel comfortable uploading your images into the app.

3. Subscribe to FaceApp Pro

Once you select your photo, you will see a bar at the bottom of the app with all the edits you can make, including impressions (one-click makeovers), hairstyles, sizes, skin, makeup, smiles, hair colors, age, and more.

FaceApp Sabrina Hairstyles
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

You will likely use the “hairstyles” and “hair color” options (or a combination of both) for hair makeovers. Because you have a free account, those options will be locked, and you must subscribe to the FaceApp Pro $10.00 subscription for access. Even though the exact process will depend on whether you use an Apple or Android phone, you can click on the locked style, opt into the FaceApp Pro popup, and follow the instructions to subscribe.

4. Start trying out new hairstyles

The app is intuitive. You can browse the different options, selecting new hairstyles, colors, haircuts, textures, volume, and more.

When you click on some styles, numbered options pop up; those control the filter intensity. You will also see a transfer option allowing you to upload a reference image, such as a picture of a celebrity, and have FaceApp recreate the style on your photo.

Beware: the results are so realistic that after trying the tool in the office, my colleague is ready to finally take the plunge on a hairstyle she has wanted for about a year. Happy makeovers!

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