It’s now estimated that there are around 1.5 million apps in the apple app store, covering everything from list management and loyalty cards, to food delivery services and photo editing tools. However, it’s the beauty arena that’s seeing a huge surge in app development right now, as we turn to our smartphones to support us in every area of our lives. Gone are the days when our smartphones were just used for browsing new nail polish shades and reading reviews of lipstick from around the globe: now at the touch of a button you can see what you’d look like with Alexa’s do before you take the plunge, find out what products on your bathroom shelf contain sulphates and book a last minute manicure before that important date. The beauty industry is embracing technology like never before, but are we now being given too much choice? Are companies just launching apps for the sake of it, or is there a genuine opportunity here which we should embrace?
From L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius which allows you to try their products and shades out without lifting a finger (just upload a photo and give yourself a virtual makeover to see what suits you,) to My Makeup Collection which allows you to track when you bought your stash (and therefore when to throw it away – lipstick has a ‘use by date’ too!) there really is an app for everything. SkinBetter provides diagnostics on the state of your skin, as well as recommendations for improvement, while Think Dirty allows you to pinpoint the ‘dirty’ ingredients within your products to ensure you’re making informed decisions. My Beauty Matches even provides specific product recommendations based on your skin type, lifestyle and complexion – before providing you with comparable online retailers that allow you to find the best deal. As someone that lives by her smartphone, I’m all for embracing the speed and convenience that beauty apps provide. If I can get the task at hand completed with as little time and effort as possible, then that’s definitely a winning formula.
However, I can’t help but notice that there are now so many apps targeting one specific area that’s it’s becoming overwhelming; it’s almost as much of an effort as it was before the apps hit my phone, which slightly defeats the point. I’m talking about those beauty booking apps that allow you to fit in a much needed blow dry, pedicure or eyebrow wax into the only spare hour of your week. A new one seems to launch every day, often providing no more added benefit than the last – they’re the beauty boxes of 2015! However, I’ve pinpointed five different booking services that genuinely add value and have a point of difference worth investigating.
1. Ruuby: the beauty concierge
Offering ‘access to the appointment books of London’s top spas, salons and beauty therapists,’ Ruuby completely takes the faff out of booking a little pamper. No need to ring around and see who’s available: you can easily search by treatment and location to find the best appointment and price for you. It’s a pleasure to use, is full of useful information and is great in an emergency. The only downside is there’s no discount or last minute price on offer, so definitely one for when you’re feeling a little flush or hanging out in Chelsea.
2. Priv: let the experts come to you
If you’re in desperate need of a spray tan but just don’t have the time to get to a salon, Priv is the service you’ve been searching for. Offering a whole range of beauty and fitness services, you simply enter in your postcode (be it your office or home address) and the nearest professional will come to you. Not only does it mean you can get a pedi while you catch up on emails, but that you can leave the office looking better than when you arrived that morning.
3. Wahanda: grab a bargain
Great if you’ve got a spare afternoon and have time to arrange in advance, Wahanda allows you to book that much needed appointment while ensuring the best price. You can save an absolute fortune if you have the time to shop around, booking by the location, service or price to suit you. I’ve used this so many times to book haircuts, manicures, massages and facials; knowing you’re getting the best price makes the experience even more enjoyable.
4. Vaniday: book the right professional for you
If you’d much rather know who you’re booking that rather intimate back massage with, then Vaniday allows you to look up by professional as well as by treatment. Brilliant for hairdressers, you can click on their profile to see other clients they’ve worked with and a showcase of finished results. If you’ve found that one stylist that just ‘gets you’ like no other, this app allows you to ensure you’re always getting the service you know and love without compromising.
5. TreatNOW: immediate availability
The problem with a lot of these apps is that they don’t allow you to book immediately, when you realise you’ve got a cancelled appointment and an hour to kill. Most slots vanish a couple of hours in advance, but with TreatNOW you can see all the appointments available in your vicinity that very second, booking there and then. You could be off the street and into a salon chair within minutes. The newest app to hit smartphones, this could be a total game changer.
With so many beauty apps now available, the key is to find the ones that work for you. They may sound great in theory, but in practice if they remain unused it’s time to free up some memory. Although I love the idea of Makeup Genius and SkinBetter, the truth is that I’ve used them once and moved onto something more intriguing. However, the beauty booking services do genuinely add value to my day and allow me to look and feel my best with little effort required. It will definitely be fascinating to see how this area of the beauty industry evolves over the coming months and years – will salon phones become redundant in favour of apps and virtual appointment books? Who knows…
What do you think about the rise of the beauty app? Have you tried any of these beauty booking services, or would you give them a go in the future?
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