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Beauty blogger Faith Zellman used photo editing app Facetune to tint her roots espresso brown.

Photo editing apps like Facetune offering digital touch-ups rise in popularity as coronavirus shuts beauty salons

  • With social distancing in place, many people who can’t go to the hairdressers are using editing apps to change the way they look online instead
  • Facetune maker Lightricks report a tripling of users and people spending 25 per cent more time editing videos in recent weeks

Faith Zellman uses the photo editing app Facetune to spruce up her hair since all the salons in town are closed due to the coronavirus.

The 24-year-old bartender recently lost her job, and she’s passing the time by beauty blogging and posting make-up tutorials online.

“Someone called me out during a Facebook Live saying ‘your roots are showing,’” Zellman said. “I didn’t want anyone else to see that my roots have got this bad so I used the app to tint them espresso brown.”

In the age of coronavirus, Americans are editing and posting more content on social media than ever before.
As social distancing drives people to avoid trips to the beautician, forgo events with friends and skip workouts at the gym, many are using apps to soften their appearance and create engaging videos in the midst of stay-at-home orders.

After all, if there isn’t a hairstylist around to smooth out your tresses, there are apps that can.

Content editing apps have reported a broadening user base, while apps like Facebook have seen the number of people using live-video streaming features double.

Lightricks, an AI app developer whose products including Facetune, Pixaloop, Quickshott and Photofox are used by millions of people, saw a rise in daily usage that corresponds directly with the coronavirus outbreak in recent weeks.

“As people need to physically distance themselves in these difficult times, one positive is that humans are finding outlets to fuel their creativity,” said Zeev Farbman, the company’s CEO.

Apps like Facebook have seen the number of people using live-video streaming features double. Photo: Shutterstock

Lightricks’ series of content creating apps saw a 20 per cent increase in time spent on them worldwide, while its user base tripled and people are spending 25 per cent more time editing videos, according to metrics provided to American newspaper USA Today.

“We’re humbled to see so many people keep entertained with our creativity tools,” Farbman said.

Cody Wanner, a content creator based in Harrisburg in the US state of Pennsylvania, started using a video editing app called VideoLeap three times as much since the coronavirus began shutting down events in the US.

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“I normally use it twice a week, but I’ve literally used it every day since we started physical distancing and staying at home,” Wanner said. “I’m craving that human connection.”

Wanner’s most recent content includes push-up challenges and home baking videos posted as Instagram Stories.

“It can be really fun to make videos a bit more engaging for the people who are going to watch it. It’s almost like a one-on-one social connection that way.”

Facetune before and after photos.
A study by influencer marketing agency Obviously found engagement levels spiking in the wake of the pandemic. The company noted a 76 per cent increase in daily accumulated likes on Instagram and a 27 per cent rise in engagement levels on TikTok.

Some people are using photo editing apps to touch up their skin and hair since getting face-to-face appointments with dermatologists and hairstylists are hard to come by and likely don’t comply with stay-at-home social distancing orders.

“This is the first time I’ve ever had to edit my hair,” Zellman said. “I’ve considered dying it, but I don’t want to ruin it.”

There are reports that hair dye is flying off the shelves during the outbreak, as people desperate for touch-ups try the do-it-yourself method. American media organisation NPR cited Nielsen data that found hair colouring products spiked 19.4 per cent last week.

Cosmetics products surged 57.7 per cent, facial cleansers spiked 11 per cent and nail polish remover jumped 56.7 per cent, Nielsen found.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Stuck at home with your roots showing? Edit your hair with photo apps surge after salons shut down amid coronavirus