Toca Hair Salon 4

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Toca Hair Salon 4 App Poster Image
Free-play styling game grows, now with in-app purchases.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can practice creative expression with this open-ended creative platform. There's lots to experiment with and kids can try on an endless number of hairstyles, colors, types, and more. They'll use their imaginations to create realistic or totally crazy looks as they discover what their own preferences are. And they'll make decisions about what tools to use to create different effects.

Ease of Play

Access to slide up tool bar, and using the tools themselves, can be finicky. It may take a while to get used to navigation.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

The free download includes basic functions. Additional content and styling tools are available in the shop through in-app purchases. Kids must pass through a parent gate asking for year of birth before getting to a purchase page.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Toca Hair Salon 4 is another addition to the popular open-ended creative styling series that introduces a few new features and a different pay model. Here, in addition to styling hair and dressing characters, kids can also use make up to customize their creations. The app is free to download and includes all the basic styling options. Additional characters, stickers, accessories, photo booth backgrounds, and styling tools are available in four different in-app purchase packs ranging from $1.99 to $3.99. Also, kids can take a snapshot of their hair creations and save the photo to their device's camera roll. Accessing the tool bar requires good fine motor control and precise movements; younger kids may find it challenging. Hint: tap the radio until the music turns off if you want your kids to play quietly. Because there's no obvious stopping point, parents may want to help their kids find places to pause. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Choose a character to put in the styling chair and get to work with TOCA HAIR SALON 4. Tap on a styling tool and then tap and drag around the character's face and hair to wash, cut, shave, style, and more. If you cut too much, use the grow tool. Swipe left or right to change tool sets (washing, cutting, clothing, or photo booth) and then up to access the options in that set. Characters respond with facial expressions and noises as you work. When you're done, choose a backdrop and take a snapshot of your masterpiece.

Is it any good?

Following in the tradition of the versions before it, this free-play styling game offers lots of options for experimentation and creativity. Just like in previous versions, kids can try out a seemingly endless number of looks, watch the characters make funny faces, and take photos of their masterpieces. So what's different about Toca Hair Salon 4? The main difference is the pricing model. The app is free and includes all the basic styling options and a handful of characters. If you want more options, you'll have to buy them. With those purchases, Toca Hair Salon 4 has even more accessories, characters, and photo drop backgrounds than ever before, including some pretty silly stuff that will certainly tickle a kid's funny bone. And, the make up in-app purchase adds even more fun possibilities -- from standard make up to face paints and more. It's not always obvious what all the tools do, so kids may spend a good amount of time futzing around with things before they figure it all out. And it would still be nice to see an undo button and/or a mirror to see how things look on back of the head. The developers hint at the possibility of adding new feature packs to the store in the future, so parents should be aware that kids may be requesting more purchases down the line.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different hairstyles kids come up with in Toca Hair Salon 4. Encourage them to tell stories about who the characters are. Why are they getting their hair cut or styled? Where are they going after their visit to the salon?

  • Discuss your policies around making in app purchases before downloading. Make it clear if your kids can expect to add more features to their salon or not.

  • Have your kids ever seen a particularly interesting or unique hairstyle? Can they replicate it with Toca Hair Salon 4?

  • When using this app with younger kids, discuss the character's facial expressions and sounds to help your kid identify each character's emotions.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Subjects: Hobbies: fashion
  • Skills: Creativity: imagination
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (Free download; additional content packs for $1.99 - $3.99)
  • Release date: March 12, 2020
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 351.30 MB
  • Publisher: Toca Boca
  • Version: 1.1.2
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 10.0 or later; Android 5.0 and up
  • Last updated: March 23, 2020

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