Barbie Digital Makeover

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Barbie Digital Makeover App Poster Image
Over-the-top dress-up fun; in-app purchases can add up.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Kids have to line their faces up just right and keep the device in the right position for the makeup to line up correctly and stay in place, requiring a steady hand and patience.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

The app is a Barbie spin-off and is designed to work with a Mattel toy, the Barbie Digital Makeover Mirror, that retails for $69.99. Kids can still play with many features without the toy. The free version comes with two ready-to-wear packs and some accessories but includes extensive in-app purchase options for more ready-to-wear faces of makeup and accessories to decorate scrapbook pages. All the packages are available if the toy is purchased. Otherwise, each in-app purchase of two more faces of makeup or scrapbook accessories runs $1.99 each.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Barbie Digital Makeover works with a Mattel toy, the Barbie Digital Makeover Mirror (which retails for $69.99), turning the iPad into a mirror that lets kids put on virtual makeup. Without the toy, kids can see their faces made up with makeup masks, which have big lips, fake eyelashes, and intricate eye shadows. It's totally vain but in such a silly, over-the-top fashion that it shouldn't be threatening to self-images. The free app comes with three faces of makeup plus a few stickers and backgrounds to use to decorate scrapbook pages. Kids could save their creations to the camera roll and share with friends that way, but there are no in-app sharing options.

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What's it about?

To get started, kids line their faces up with the guides shown on-screen. When they're lined up just right, the makeup magically appears, in the form of decorated eyes, blush, and lipstick. Kids can scroll through the makeup options on the bottom of the screen to change the design instantly, and then scroll to the camera icon to snap a picture. From there, they can choose a frame, paper background, stickers, other accessories, and text to decorate a scrapbook-style page. The shopping cart icon takes kids to the store to buy more options.

Is it any good?

The technology in BARBIE DIGITAL MAKEOVER is impressively good, but it's not perfect. Kids will be amazed to see their faces all made up with such dramatic flair, and they'll definitely want Mom and Dad to give it a try, too, which is sure to get even more laughs (and make a fabulous profile picture!). It's hard to get the makeup to line up perfectly, and it's really easy to move too much, causing the makeup to disappear. A video tutorial walks kids through the how-tos before they start, and help and troubleshooting tips are available by tapping the question mark. The free version includes enough for quite a bit of fun, but parents may want to set clear guidelines of how many, if any, in-app purchases will be allowed, as these can add up very quickly.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how some people use makeup to change their appearance and how sometimes marketers use computer software to change models' appearances. Let kids know that what they see on-screen or in images may not always be what people really look like. 

  • Families also can talk about how a person's outer package doesn't necessarily represent what's on the inside: someone's personality.

  • Parents can disable in-app purchases (for this and all apps) in the settings of their device, under the general tab.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
  • Pricing structure: Free (You can buy packs of accessories and more for $1.99 each.)
  • Release date: March 24, 2014
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Size: 215.00 MB
  • Publisher: Mattel, Inc.
  • Version: 1.2.1
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 5.1 or later

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