AI Technology Applied to Makeup Transfer

What is the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear the word makeup transfer? Maybe you’ll think about how to stop makeup transferring in a quick and easy way. But now, let’s redefine this word.

If you’ve ever tired of putting on makeup and changing it over and over again just to figure out which one is a perfect match, then you need a powerful tool that helps you transfer makeup within seconds. Add digital makeup to your photo with a few clicks and see what you look like in different types of makeup. Explore more possibilities and meet your new self.


Transferring Methods

Makeup transfer refers to transfer the makeup from an arbitrary reference image to a source image. Most existing makeup transfer methods are based on Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), like BGAN (Beautygan), DIA (deep image analogy) and CGAN (CycleGAN). They generally use face parsing maps and/or facial landmarks as a preprocessing step to facilitate the subsequent processing and adopt the framework of CycleGAN which is trained on unpaired sets of images, i.e., non-makeup images and with-makeup images.

However, existing methods mainly have two limitations. Firstly, they only work well on frontal facial images with neutral expression since they lack a specially designed module to handle the misalignment of images and overfit on frontal images. Secondly, the existing methods cannot perform customizable makeup transfer. They’re not capable of realizing partial and shade-controllable makeup transfer, which means transferring the makeup of specified facial regions separately, e.g., eye shadows or lipstick.


To solve these challenges, some propose a novel Pose and expression robust Spatial-aware GAN (the original paper PSGAN comprises three networks which are A Makeup Distillation Network (MDNet), An Attentive Makeup Morphing (AMM) module, and A De-makeup & Re-makeup Network (DRNet). PSGAN manages to transfer the makeup styles from reference images that contain different poses and facial expressions from the source image. It also successfully process partial and interpolated makeup styles from multiple reference images.

Available Products

Although there are many transferring methods available, only a few products can be found in the market. In this article, we’ll focus on photoshop and Face AI, the only two products that we’ve found. Let’s read on and see how they really work.

Photoshop Makeup Transfer

Photoshop provides some AI-driven filters in its Neural Filters gallery, like Skin Smoothing, Style Transfer, and Smart Portrait. Makeup Transfer filter is one of its various beta filters and applies a similar style of make up to the eyes and mouth area from one open image to another. The step to do that is quite simple.

You need to prepare two images, the source one and the reference one. The source one is better with apparent facial features and without makeup. The reference one is better with obvious makeup that is easy to identify. But it doesn’t always work well and it’s just for fun for the most part.


Steps to Transfer Makeup with Photoshop

  • Step1: Add two images into Photoshop (the source one and the reference one with the makeup that you want to transfer)
  • Step2: Click Filters and Neural Filters
  • Step3: Choose Makeup Transfer
  • Step4: Choose Reference images
  • Step5: Click Apply

Sometimes it can’t work really well

YouCam Makeup – Face AI

YouCam Makeup applies the most accurate facial mapping technology for a true-to-life virtual makeover. YouCam Makeup app applies hundreds of cosmetics products in real-time with Makeup Cam or to selfie photos.

It smartly senses your facial features and provides some other features like accessories transfer, hair colors, and style transfer. You can give yourself a hair color makeover in seconds and add stylish accessories to complete your look. A beauty video chat service, Beauty Advisor 1 on 1 is even provided to help identify the best colors for your skin tone, find the most flattering makeup styles, and address your unique beauty needs.


Steps to Transfer Makeup with YouCam Makeup APP

  • Step1: Launch YouCam Makeup APP
  • Step2: Click Makeup
  • Step3: Choose which part that you want to put makeup on, like foundation, lip color, blush, and so on
  • Step4: Choose a specific color for that makeup or choose among different cosmetic products
  • Step5: When you’ve got the perfect makeup, click the camera button to take a photo
  • Step6: Click save to download to your phone


  1. You have to pick up from a lot of options to get the best look
  2. A lot of ads and not very good user experience


YouCam Makeup APP and Photoshop work in different ways in makeup transfer. YouCam Makeup APP is more like an app that helps you try on different cosmetic products and see what it looks like on your face. The makeup transfer filter in Photoshop is more like a fun tool to let you know how you look like in another type of makeup. When it comes to the results, we think YouCam Makeup performs better on the whole because you can make adjustments as you like.


In the coming future, there will be an increasing number of makeup transfer products. YouCam makeup app is a really good pioneer in combining makeup transfer with cosmetic products sales and figures out a way to make a profit. It shows a quite good way for the newcomers. But for now, we’ve only got software and app products, will more online products emerge later? It’s worthy of the wait.



About Mochen

Mochen is a technical worker in the AI field, and he knows the AI field very well. He really likes to explore good AI tools and is good at writing his experience in using them. He has posted lots of writings about the latest AI tools and their reviews.

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