Hearst is readying a site called Real Beauty for launch next month. The WSJ puts Hearst’s site launch at the center of a wave of new technology that is bringing a bit of the in-store beauty counter to the web. Real Beauty’s virtual makeover tool — which lets users try out different looks after posting photos online — follows others by independent site Daily Makeover and Condé Nast’s Allure.
Beauty marketers spend about $6 billion annually on ads, WSJ notes, but TNS Media Intelligence says that only 3 percent of those ad dollars have made it to the web. That could be about to change. Citing research from *Google* and TNS’ audience data analyst Compete, consumers are starting to get more info on beauty tips from online than from print mags. While Hearst’s new site enters an increasingly crowded field already trying to capture women’s interest — from AOL’s Stylist to Glam Media’s network of beauty and lifestyle blogs — the publisher hopes the brand names of its magazines like Cosmopolitan, Seventeen and Harper’s Bazaar will still carry weight with readers and marketers.