Preparing to See Other Humans with Free Virtual Makeovers

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A rainbow of choices of eye shadow in a black palette.


It’s been eleven months since I’ve had my hair done.

My roots are now half my hair.

Considering all of our collective problems of the past year — or, hell, even the past week — having my roots grow out doesn’t even qualify as a problem.

But when going out in public is a safe thing again, I’m looking forward to tidying up.

I’m really hoping that going out in public will be a thing again in the near future here. So I’ve set a savings goal for hair maintenance. Honestly, I’m not sure how long it will take me to fulfill that goal.

Competing priorities in these uncertain times.

When I go in, though, I don’t want to mess it up. It’s going to be an expensive appointment, and I want to make sure I don’t walk out with any regrets.

Free Virtual Makeovers

Asking, ‘Why don’t you just cut your own hair to save money?’ I did that as a young adult during the last massive economic downturn. It went great for a while. But all it takes is one disastrous self-haircut to turn you off for life.

Back in my baby days of blogging, Rhonda Writes taught me about virtual makeovers.

The idea is that before you have your hairdresser do anything to your hair, you can check out how it would look first.

When I did this for the first time, I was shocked at how the styles I thought I wanted actually looked horrible on me. The one I ended up picking wasn’t one I thought was cute right off the bat.

But I loved it after I ‘tried it on.’ And it looked great IRL after the cut, too.

To do the virtual makeover, first take a picture of yourself looking straight at the camera. Ideally, you’ll have your hair pulled back.

You’ll upload the picture for your virtual makeover. Then you’ll get to pick different hairstyles to superimpose on your selfie.

If you have a well-framed picture, these tools can be very realistic.

Favorite free virtual makeover for hairstyle.

The tools Rhonda and I used back then no longer exist, but I have a couple favorites in the rotation right now.

I found my post-pandemic hairstyle via Marie Claire’s Virtual Makeover Tool. It has 120 different hairstyles. They’re all sortable by length, color and/or style.

While you can’t make any hairstyles longer, you can make them all shorter. You can also customize hair volume using this tool.

All of the choices come from celebrity hairstyles, and you can’t change the hair color.

The Marie Claire tool also offers options to experiment with makeup and nails.

Favorite free virtual makeover for hair color.

If you want to play around with hair color, I like L’Oreal’s Style My Hair tool.

There aren’t as many style options as the Marie Claire tool, but you can find styles based on length or what would look good with your face shape.

The L’Oreal tool lets you customize the color of any hairstyle, whether you want allover color, ombre or just highlights.

If you just want to play around with color but want to keep your same hairstyle, you can do that with this tool, too. Just take a selfie without your hair pulled up. You can specify coverage down to every last flyaway hair, giving you a really realistic idea of what the dye job would look like.

The tool is fully available as an app, too.

My Pandemic Hair Revelation

During the pandemic, I mostly stopped caring about things like wearing makeup. Business casual wardrobes. Or straightening my hair.

I had been straightening my hair nearly everyday since I was 14 years old. I had damaged it so badly that it never looked right unless I did anything other than damage it further.

But a few weeks into this mess, I realized that on nearly any given day, I didn’t care what my hair looked like. No one outside my bubble was going to see me anyways.

What if I took advantage of this time and let it get back to healthy?

So that’s what I did. I solicited advice from extended family members who have similar hair. They guided me through the process. I realized that everything I was doing in my routine was wrong.

The bottom few inches of my hair are burnt past saving. But the rest of my head? It’s gotten healthier. My hair is back to its natural curls.

Favorite hair product.

The routine actually isn’t complicated. In fact, on most days, I only need one product. The best thing that’s happened to my hair during the pandemic is being introduced to the Curl Junkie line.

I use Daily Fix. That’s it. That’s my one product. My curls fall into place without weighing down my roots after using just one conditioner.

When fancy things open back up again, I might add more products. But for everyday situations, it looks like I’ve found something simple and consistent that actually works.

14 thoughts on “Preparing to See Other Humans with Free Virtual Makeovers

  1. Monica

    This sound like such a fun concept. I’ve never tried a virtual makeover and it’s so cool that yours lead you to a style that you love! Thanks for sharing and wishing you all the best in the new year. xx – Monica

  2. Budget and the Beach

    That’s so cool! I’ve been in a bit of hair rut myself. I have to wear it shorter because now that I’m older my face is kind of longer and I have fine hair, so keeping it shorter makes my face look fuller and like I have thicker hair. But it’s been the same style forever. It’s hard because I need it long enough to wear in a ponytail for working out, but have no idea what else to do with it. I’ll have to try that site because I’m considering getting bangs again.

    1. femmefrugality

      I have such thin hair, too. But when it’s long the ends all frizz out and I look like Hagrid. So it’s nice to have it shorter when I can’t commit the time to it everyday. :p

  3. CF @ OutlierModel

    That’s cool! I haven’t had a major haircut change in several years, mostly I’ve just been colouring and keeping the cut sharp. I would try this out the next time I felt like changing my look.

  4. Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy

    I have so much love for this post. That bob from the link a bit upthread is absolutely darling. I am a styling klutz and my hair is so BORING right now because I’m such a lazy arse—and tired of pinning aside unruly wispies and trying to master the sock bun technique. This gives me a whole slew of fresh inspiration!

    1. femmefrugality

      Thank ya! I think we’re in the same boat as far as styling goes. If I had about three more hours in the day that I were forced to dedicate entirely to my looks I think I may be able to deal with the long hair right now. But it just wasn’t working. Hope this helps!


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