One of the great inventions in this brave new world is software that makes it possible to actually see a new haircut on your face before you reach the stylist's chair. A number of websites allow viewers to download a photograph and "try on" new haircuts. Initially, some of the websites charged for the service, but most allow free usage. Most of the more popular beauty magazines offer these hair makeovers for free. In addition, many companies selling beauty and hair products provide the service free to anyone surfing the Internet.
The Lowdown on Magazine Websites
Many of us look to Hollywood celebrities for new hairstyle ideas, and just about all of the major beauty magazines — "InStyle," "Cosmopolitan" and "Elle" are just a few — provide virtual makeovers on their websites that let you try on the latest celebrity 'dos. In most cases, these sites ask users to fill out a free registration. Once you've registered, you will be asked to download a photo of yourself. Not everyone feels comfortable downloading a personal photo onto a website. In this case, the websites offer a variety of different models to act as a stand in. Going this route means choosing a model with features and skin tone similar to your own.
Taking a Photo
While it's not necessary, using a photo of yourself will give you the best idea of how you will really look. Taking the photo is a little trickier than it sounds. Most of the models used on these websites wear white shirts and stand against white backdrops. The hair is pulled back off the face and the image is a close-up of the model's head. For the best result, try to mimic these photos when you take a picture of yourself. Stand in front of a solid-colored wall. Pull your hair tightly off your face and choose a solid-colored shirt. Have someone zoom in on your face and take the picture with you looking straight ahead.
Choosing a Site
Surf the web a little before investing your time in an online virtual makeover — not all are created equal. The process of taking and downloading a photo can take some time. Once the photo is downloaded, however, you can return to the same site over and over to try lots of different styles. Make sure the virtual makeover site you choose has what you want. Cosmetic companies, for instance, have loads of choices when it comes to trying different makeup virtually, but the same website may not offer much in way of different haircuts.
Making it Real
You have completed your virtual makeover and discovered the new haircut of your dreams. So, now what? Print the picture and take it to your stylist. If the photo is of a featured celebrity haircut, also look for other photos of the same person to give your stylist more viewpoints of the cut. Don't expect your virtual makeover to be an exact image of your new look. Unfortunately, technology hasn't reached the point where you simply scan your face and a hologram appears with a stunning haircut.