Facetune 2 (for iPhone) Review

Strange as this may sound, the iPhone is the world’s most popular camera, as a quick glance at Flickr’s

camera finder

page shows. And it’s probably not a stretch to say that a very large portion of the photos all these iPhones shoot contain human faces—faces that sometimes need some TLC. The excellent Facetune app offers tools that can improve and alter the appearance of human countenances, not only by smoothing skin and removing spots, but also by even reshaping features. It’s clearly a set of tools that people want, too. Despite today’s disdain for “Photoshopping” photos, Facetune is a top paid


app on the App Store.

Pricing and Starting Up

Facetune 2 is only available as

iPhone app

; Android users can only use the original


($3.99 at

, for now. The new app is free to install, but unlike the previous single-price version, its most impressive features require either in-app purchases or a subscription. An unlimited subscription costs $9.99 per year at the moment, and a representative of Lightrights, the company that makes the app, told me that that may go up. A lot of users complain about subscriptions, but it’s hard for a software company to continue innovating and improving its product without a steady cash stream. You can try out any of the app’s features free on a sample image, but, unfortunately, not on your own photos for real use. The subscription is not cheap, but you definitely get your money’s worth.

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The company still offers the original Facetune app in the App Store for a $5.99 one-time purchase. It’s still a great app, but it lacks some of Facetune 2’s coolest features, such as Relight and live face reshaping (more on these in bit). Both apps will give pause to many users for their cost, since you can do a lot of powerful photo editing with free apps like


($3.99 at


($3.99 at

and even Instagram. Unsurprisingly for such a powerful app, Facetune is a husky 114MB download, and it requires iOS 9 or later. I installed the app on my

iPhone 6s

($3.99 at

for testing.

The app presents a simple workflow for portrait corrections, taking you from teeth whitening to skin smoothing to detail sharpening to Glow, which gives a face a pleasing vitality. Effects are grouped into three main categories: Tools, Retouch, and Filters. Most effects involve finger-painting on the area where you want them applied, and the app does a good job of automatically detecting the edge of the face so that effects aren’t applied to the background, too. A double-rectangle icon lets you view the original for comparison at any time during the editing process.

You are reading: Facetune 2 (for iPhone) Review

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Facetune 2Facetune 2

Once you get past the Glow tool, you need to visit Facetune’s in-app download page via the More… button. Some of the add-ins there are free, including smile, jaw, and face-width tools. You can also use the app’s standard crop, lighting, and color adjusters for no outlay. You get 10 filters for free, with many more high-quality ones available on the More… page. To really use the app without restriction, you need a subscription: Some tools are only available that way.

See Photos in a New Light

One of Facetune’s coolest new features, and one that I haven’t seen in any of the many photo apps I’ve reviewed, is Relight. This feature can make it appear as though the light source in your portrait is coming from a different place than in the original photo. Itai Tsiddon, founder Lightricks, told me that the app makes a 3D model of the image with face recognition and AI to produce this effect, which is similar to what you see in certain kind of CAD programs, It’s a helpful tool for fixing a picture that you shot in suboptimal lighting.


Weird Facetune 2Weird Facetune 2One of Facetune 2’s banner features is how it lets you shoot from the phone’s camera while showing edits live—even extreme adjustments like face reshaping. In at least one way, this makes a lot of sense: Since the nose is closest to the lens when you’re shooting a selfie, it’s actually more realistic to reduce the nose size while shooting. It’s also just kind of fun snapping yourself with huge eyes or extra-voluptuous lips, though when I did the first, the eyes rapidly popped in and out, rather than smoothly displaying as enlarged.

You can also apply filters to the live image as you shoot, and you can increase or decrease their intensity. The iPhone’s stock camera app actually lets you shoot with filters on (everyone has turned them on by accident, at least once, no doubt), but those are not adjustable. You can also turn flash on or off and use a timer delay for shooting from the app, but you don’t get Apple’s default bonuses like HDR, Live Photos, and Panorama. You probably don’t want the last one for portraits in any case.

Sharing and Social

Facetune’s sharing options are few, mostly simple, and just what you need. The clear box-with-upward-arrow icon lets you send your work in an iMessage, an email, a


($3.99 at

message, or in any app with an iOS Share Sheet. The Instagram and WhatsApp sharing buttons are a little tricky: Tapping them doesn’t take you directly to the app, but to your Share Sheet. Facetune 2 doesn’t include its own photo-social-sharing network like


, Flickr, Instagram, and PicsArt do, but do we really need another social network?

Tune With Perfect Pitch

There are many more tools in Facetune 2 than those I’ve discussed here, but the ones mentioned give you an idea of the power of this image-retouching app. It’s not as robust an all-around photo editor as our Editors’ Choice, PicsArt, nor does it offer much in the way of social sharing like fellow photo-app Editors’ Choices Instagram and Flickr. But it does some unique things that are of great interest to those who shoot portraits with their iPhones—which means pretty much all of us. Whether you think it’s worth the subscription or in-app purchase prices is up to you, but even if you don’t, you can still do a few cool things with it for free.

Facetune 2 (for iPhone)

Facetune 2

See It
$0.00 at


  • Impressive retouching and face-modification tools.
  • Clear, easy-to-use interface.
  • Subscription or in-app purchases required for many features.

The Bottom Line

Facetune 2 adds some powerful and unique new tools to the top-selling iPhone photo editing app, such as live face reshaping and relighting, as well as a new subscription and in-app pricing model.

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