It's only app-deep

Beauty: it's only app-deep

Behold the world of virtual beauty. Lip gloss: $9.99. MakeUp app: 99 cents. Time savings: priceless. This is just the sort of calculus that ModiFace, the makers of MakeUp – along with a multiplicity of other developers of beauty-related apps for iPhone and iPod Touch devices – are hoping will translate to lucrative partnerships with a U.S. beauty industry that rakes in an estimated $43.2 billion annually. Experts estimate that between seven and 10 million iPhone and iTouch users have already downloaded beauty-related applications, or shown a strong interest to do so. It’s no surprise that beauty-oriented apps are well-received among 14- to 17-year-old girls experimenting with makeup choices and dreaming about romance, but plenty of growth potential exists in the 18 and over market, too. That market isn’t limited to women. This summer, one of the top apps in the game category, which competed with popular titles like Surviving High School and Farm Frenzy, was Sally’s Spa, in which the user must manage a spa empire. The app netted wild reviews from application reviewers on YouTube, including one who said the game didn’t hit Number One “being girly.” And there is a health element, too. Although some early applications allowed users to replicate famous faces like Angelina Jolie’s, many recent ones have more utility. Not only do they let users rate their own photographed faces (and compare your score to, say, Audrina Patridge’s), they also locate nearby beauty services. They also provide access to tutorials and tips of what to buy when standing at the Estee Lauder counter, or how to use a particular eyeliner. More and more, well-known beauty brands are pushing their way into the market. Carmindy, a makeup artist and star of TLC’s “What Not to Wear,” is introducing her own app in April, just in time for the release of her beauty handbook, “Crazy Busy Beautiful.” There are already apps for iPhone and iPod Touch for L’Oréal Paris and LÂNCOME. And another player in Big Beauty, Avon, began offering apps this year that are jammed with videos, graphics, and oodles of content on the latest fall trends. And although many apps let users sample products and create fantasy looks and styles like pink spiky hair and Egyptian-style eyes, new apps like iSurgeon have already upped the ante: at the touch of a few buttons, you can see what you’ll look like with collagen-enhanced lips, Botox injections, or even a face-lift. – Boomer