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Beauty Byte: Would You Let a Computer Choose Your Cosmetics?

If you've been hoping for a Jetsons-style way to shop for makeup, you'll be pleased to learn this. Hewlett-Packard has created a service that will help you find the right shades of foundation, lipstick, blush and eye shadow for your skin tone.

According to a new story in Scientific American, all you need is a cell phone camera and a sheet of color swatches that HP provides. Just snap your picture with the color sheet and send it as a picture message to HP, where computers will use algorithms to deduce the right colors for you. The software color-corrects the image, matches your skin tone to a database of colors chosen by makeup artists, and sends you the findings via text message.

Hewlett-Packard is mum on when this service will roll out, and it'll likely happen with only one cosmetics brand at first. Admittedly, the idea is innovative, but I have some reservations. To find out what they are,

Beyond the novelty aspect of this concept, I'm not sure how successful it would be in the long run. Most women I know enjoy playing around with different colors, and trying new products. I've spent many hours buzzing around Sephora seeing what I'd look like with, say, green eyeliner with yellow eye shadow (the answer: not very good). So unless you really hate shopping for makeup, it seems like you might be giving up some of the fun factor.

Additionally, who's to say that a certain color is flattering? Although the hues were selected by makeup artists, every person has different tastes. While a makeup artist might think you look great in tawny tones, what if your tastes are a little wilder?

With all of that said, I do think this kind of technology is innovative. It would probably be most helpful at the drugstore, where it's nearly impossible to figure out which colors will look good under that fluorescent light. But I'm still not completely sold. What do you think?

Join The Conversation
Bookish Bookish 9 years
I'd definitely try it. I don't have a very good eye for makeup colors and I HATE spending money on a product only to find that it doesn't look right on me (I've got sort of odd coloring, I think). I'm boring when it comes to makeup, though- I don't like to experiment, I just like to have a basic routine that will make me look good and stick to that every day. Having the software suggest colors would make the makeup buying process that much easier.
imogenisabelle imogenisabelle 9 years
I'd definitely do it for a perfect foundation/concealer match, but I don't want them choosing my eye/lip colour for me. Whenever I've had beauty counter makeovers they've done things that just don't feel very "me" and I haven't liked it. They always put purple on my eyes and I hate purple. Yuck. And one woman refused to give me smoky eyes because she thought I was too young.
infraredflower infraredflower 9 years
It'd be worth a shot.
vienvien vienvien 9 years
I'd try it of crse to make my life easier
cageyme cageyme 9 years
I might try it once, but half the fun of makeup is in trying things that aren't supposed to look good on you -- but then they do! It's all about experimentation.
helenette helenette 9 years
girlboy girlboy 9 years
lovealways lovealways 9 years
I'd give it a shot. Not too sure though.
Talldiva45 Talldiva45 9 years
Um it seems kinda iffy.
FB1977 FB1977 9 years
Steen, that's me, completely clueless! LOL I need all the help I can get so yes I'm all for this computer being my guide. :-)
MrsSchmitt MrsSchmitt 9 years
I'd definitely try it! I want one of those eye make-up boxes from the 5th Element where you put it to your eyes and it does your eye make-up for you. I have fun with make-up but just for regular everyday work wear I'd rather have something quick and easy.
cmachter1 cmachter1 9 years
I would try it...
glam-sugar glam-sugar 9 years
I'd try it just because it's a new gadget but I wouldn't buy everything it recommended. But it'd be fun to try.
sevendayrain sevendayrain 9 years
I think it would help alot with the makeup companies cuz then people would know exactly what they need.
steen steen 9 years
I don't know about the color-correction, honestly, even with GOOD lighting. I've taken photos and run the color correction and it never comes out to be realistic. However, I think this could be a good start for those who are completely clueless. It's hard knowing what colors might look good on you without sampling everything at the make-up counter so this at least provides some guidance.
Beauty Beauty 9 years
The computer software is pretty smart. It takes lighting variances into account, which is why I think it could work at a drugstore (because, let's be honest, fluorescent light flatters nobody). I'd definitely try it to see what it's like, but I don't think I'd let it be my only guide.
bitesize bitesize 9 years
wow, that would be cool because I have a really hard time figuring out my skin tone.
CestLaVie CestLaVie 9 years
I would be curious to see what WAS picked out, I wouldn't commit to anything without trying it first but if the computer program does a white balance off the color card then it would be good at detecting your skin tone but there are variances in light etc. that would make me hesitant.
Tech Tech 9 years
That's pretty geek chic!
verily verily 9 years
Now that sounds really cool. I'd try it just once I think.
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