Dazzle makeup and hairstyles to confuse facial recognition algorithms

CV Dazzle is a systematic approach to creating "dazzle" makeup and hair effects that fool computer vision systems. For example, you could change the symmetry of your face by painting a lightning bolt across it, causing all computer vision systems to mistakenly identify you as David Bowie.

There is a strong emphasis towards radical-neutrality. The designs used in the first several looks are inspired by both tribal paint and high-fashion aeshetics from the club scene in London. In fact, photos from both were incorporated into the testing algorithms. Surprisingly, many of the more eccentric looks did not fool the face detection algorithms.

To design the looks at left, software was developed that combines interactive drawing and genetic algorithms to detect vulnerabilities in the face detection process. By understanding how face-detection algorithms work, an anti-face can be constructed and used as a guide for creating makeup and hair-styling that foils the face detection process. As a result, your face becomes undetectable to machines yet retains some level of legibility to humans.

CV Dazzle (via Make)



  1. The easiest and cheapest method for confounding and confusing facial recognition systems is A SMILE! Yup, since we are no longer allowed to smile for drivers license, passports etc… We can simply smile when in the presence of such “security” systems. And the next time you are at the airport and see someone smiling, report them immediately. Maybe a strip search will find out why they’re grinning.

  2. This is like something out of Blade Runner. I used to always think how people looked in near-future film was stupid and unbelievable. Now I realize it was protective coloration. 

  3. Unfortunately these methods may confuse humans too…the example are strangely unsettling to me, almost frightening.

    1. Many of my friends dress more-or-less like that (more like this).  I’m surprised you find those images unsettling.

      You should avoid goth clubs ;-)

      1. Goth and similar alternative subcultures sound like the best approach to get facial-recognition defeating hair and make-up mainstream.

        Personally I think many of the CV Dazzle examples aren’t all that extreme, really. The one with just some high-contrast make-up on your cheeks seems very simple, yet it’s effective.

        1. “similar alternative subcultures”

          I imagine there aren’t too many Juggalos who are going to be tagged by face recognition systems either…

      1. Y’all. Down here we say “y’all.”

        And no, y’all might but we’uns find it useful to see where we’re going.

  4. I believe the TSA considers smiling a terrorist-only act.

    Along with frowning, sighing, rolling your eyes, closing your eyes, breathing, and crying quietly as you consider the tattered state of our Bill of Rights..

  5. Or you could just wear IR LED earings bright enough to wash out the systems.

    And change channels on every TV you walk past…

    And be a beacon like a lighthouse for every night-vision helicopter cop…

  6. I think a better approach would be to design an urban dazzle camo pattern that *would* trigger facial recognition algo’s and then print it up as a repeating pattern on hats, shirts,  jackets etc. and get that adopted as fashion.
    The system would then be so overloaded by false positives as to make ID difficult. The subtle deformations of fabrics may be enough to keep the pattern from being delisted.

  7. I can’t wait to see all those terrorists dressing up like New Romantics.
    Osama would’ve never been caught if he shaved off his beard, dyed his hair pink and put on some mascara. 
    This could also lead to Spandau Ballet tribute bands being put on the no-fly list. This could save many peoples eardrums.

    1. And yet people continue to stamp themselves with unique identifying marks (tattoos)

      Unique? Where do you live that 95% of the people with tattoos don’t have the same ones?

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