For as innovative as the beauty industry has been in the last several years—does anyone remember what life was like before vibrating mascaras, 10-minute hair color, or gel manicures?—one area where it seems stuck in 2006 is cyberspace. While fashion companies have turned online shopping into dazzling interactive experiences that guide you through not only the clothes but the brands' entire worlds, beauty ecommerce sites are, for the most, still just a straightforward click-and-buy experience.
So you can imagine my excitement when I laid eyes on the new Maybelline.com. At the risk of sounding like a cruise ship brochure, it's an experience truly unlike any other of its kind. The look of the site is about as lush and vibrant as a James Cameron movie, with just as much action in the form of how-to videos, cool street style photos, and sleek makeup tutorials. Oh, and the products look pretty amazing, too, displayed in big, bright photos that let you see all the details. There's so much to view on this site that the only drawback may be the amount of procrastination time it provides. To help you navigate Maybelline's new beauty landscape, here's a rundown of the three features you must check out:
1. The Mascara Explorer. Maybelline New York is known for its amazing mascaras (ever heard of this one called Great Lash?), but with so many formulas to choose from, figuring out which one is best for your lashes used to entail closing your eyes, pointing your finger at the store wall, and grabbing whichever one you landed on. To help simplify things, Maybelline's new site offers side-by-side lash illustrations comparing each mascara's effect and a handy little "Mascara Explorer" tool that lets you narrow your options by adjusting how much volume, length, definition, and curl you want. (FYI, there are also Lip Explorer and Face Explorer tools that help you choose formulas in those categories based on how much coverage you want.)
2. The Lessons. Clicking on the "Lessons" tab on the home page takes you to a bank of over 60 makeup how-to videos and written tutorials, all by Maybelline's global makeup artist Charlotte Willer. Each video is categorized by occasion (for example, "night out" or "work") and degree of difficulty, and all include a printable step-by-step guide with recommended products to create the look.
3. NYC365. This is my favorite section of the site: A collection of beauty and fashion street style photos snapped from all around New York City and updated daily. Beneath every photo, there's a how-to video and a list of product recommendations for creating a similar makeup look. I love this section because it's taking one of the most inspiring online revolutions—the street style blogs—and merging it with practical how-to advice.
What do you think of the new Maybelline.com?