Is There an App for That? Branded Makeup and Beauty Apps for Smartphones Are Few and Far Between

Published in: Makeup, News

The fashion industry has a big head start on beauty brands when it comes to branded smartphone apps

iPhone Apps are MIA in the Beauty Industry

Peer into a woman’s handbag, and there’s a good chance you’ll find a smartphone looking back at you. It’ll be zipping and whirring along with her lipstick, powder and perfume. Whichever your e-weapon of choice — BlackBerry, iPhone or Google’s latest Nexus One — smartphones are a new “it” accessory.


Mine’s like crack to me! I got hooked on smartphones with a Blackberry Pearl a few years back; now I’m using an iPhone, and I never leave home without it. It keeps me on schedule (most of the time), in the loop (with email) and helps me locate important landmarks and lifesaving locales like the nearest MAC counter.

With Apple’s App Store for the iPhone crossing the three billion download mark, apps are everywhere, mostly. More and more companies are coming out with apps to showcase their products, among them leading fashion lines, but the beauty industry? Not so much.

Fashion world embraces smartphone apps with open arms!

Fashionistas rejoice! Almost daily new apps from fashion shops, designers and magazines are coming online in the App Store. Fashion enthusiasts can now shop directly from their phones, anywhere, anytime. Some apps also feature style advice, interactive games, videos, previews and reviews.

A few cool fashion apps…

  • Chanel: It’s hard to go wrong with anything that looks like Chanel. I LOVE the design of this app. You get news on Chanel fashion, accessories and a a handy-dandy store locator. No way to shop with it yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Karl and company added the feature soon. Free for iPhone (click here to open in iTunes).
  • Amazing coverage of the catwalk during fashion week — you can watch the shows just hours after they hit the runway. FROM YOUR PHONE! So awesome. Free for iPhone (click here to open in iTunes).
  • Net-a-Porter: Get fashion and accessories updates and see products with 360-degree views; there’s also editor’s picks and a wish-list function. Free for iPhone (click here to open in iTunes).

Beauty industry slow to jump on the app bandwagon

I searched Google and my iPhone today for apps from some of the bigger beauty brands like MAC, Estee Lauder, Dior, Shu Uemura and Urban Decay.

Didn’t find a whole lot, only two from big beauty brands — the first from Lancome (click here to open in iTunes) and the other from NARS (click here to open in iTunes). The Lancome looks pretty, but it’s kinda weak on functionality. There’s some news and makeup tips, but no updates since fall ’09’s Declaring Indigo.

Similar situation with the NARS app, which focuses solely on the NARS 15X15 book that came out a while back. It’s not bad, but I bet an app featuring more deets about the overall line or newer releases would probably be more useful.

Lancome Declaring Indigo iPhone app

Nars 15X15 iPhone app

Now, I DID find quite a few makeup and beauty apps from magazines, individuals and other groups, but few, if any, really caught my attention.


I think the fashion industry’s out in front on apps, and I hope to see more beauty brands charge ahead. 🙂

Smartphones are only getting smarter, after all, and multiplying like rabbits!

What do you think about makeup and beauty apps for smartphones like the Blackberry and iPhone? Not interested, or would you like to see more?

Would you like to see more beauty brands create apps for smartphones?

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Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 31 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Sarah says:

    I totally agree! I feel like I search the app store DAILY for some neat beauty apps – and NOTHING! Come on makeup companies – get with it!!!

  2. Marisol says:

    Funny that you posted about this topic. I was just reading about Zara’s app

    I hope more companies embrace this use of apps. Do you know that Gilt has one too? It’s a dangerous one.

    Feeling better? Hope so!

    I also can’t be without my iPhone.
    .-= Marisol’s last blog post… 2010 Resolution Suggestions =-.

  3. evo says:

    i wish there were more of these apps for the berry 🙁

  4. Patty says:

    What case is that you’re using? It looks super cute! I got mine at Walmart and am looking to upgrade. 😛

  5. Vicky says:

    I think you should do your own app. alot of beauty bloggers are doing it now. I will definitely get it. :0

    • Karen says:

      I’d like to if I get around to it one of these days… mine would have to be kind of weird, though. Like, it would have random pictures of cats and whatnot peppered amongst beauty tips!

  6. Christy says:

    I agree, there needs to be more apps that are more beauty focused! I’m planning on getting an iPhone at the end of the month. It would be so much fun to have some beauty apps.
    .-= Christy’s last blog post… FOTD: Soft Neutrals Warm & Cozy =-.

  7. mill says:

    i see Particuliere in that picture- how is that?

  8. Sonja says:

    UUU I was completely unaware of so many beauty/fashion applications!! And yes, I’m addicted to Iphone. They should make a therapy group for us addict. Maybe they could give us some Nutella to help the process…

    • Karen says:

      I’m with you! I joke that my iPhone should just be surgically attached to my palm, LOL!

      Want to know something depressing? Right now my kitchen is a Nutella-free zone. 🙁

  9. NINA says:

    If as they say … “theres an app for that” — I worry to think about how much my spending on beauty products will exponentially increase!!!

    Scary thought.

    Rainy Thursday here in HTown — I hope you have a great day, Karen!

    • Karen says:

      I know, can you imagine? You could be sitting on the train to work and then BAMMMM there goes your “entertainment” allowance for the week! It’s a scenario that I could easily get myself into.

      Today it’s sunny but hella cold in Marin County… stay dry in HTown!

  10. Alisa says:

    I use my iPhone so much, it would be great to have more beauty apps. Right now I’m using one called iMakeup Unlimited which keeps track of all the products I have which saves me from rebuying something I already have.

  11. DonnaN says:

    I don’t have an iPhone, but I do use my iTouch (which is the same application, without the phone), so if they can create more apps that work with both, SIGN ME UP!!

  12. Valerie says:

    I swear I was just thinking of this the other day. I was really wishing that Sephora had it’s own app that I could use, it would be so much more convenient. :/
    .-= Valerie’s last blog post… Progress =-.

  13. I say they should make them only if they’re really useful. Like, maybe an app of how-to videos for all sorts of makeup techniques. That would be cool.
    .-= Trisha – Makeup Files’s last blog post… An Outfit to Match: Lemon Lime =-.

  14. Hyzenthlay says:

    Ive been waiting for Sephora to put out an app . . . And you and Christine should each do one, too 🙂

    I like the Sugar Network app, but I wish there was a way to read the comments that other people have posted already and post, rather than just reading what the Sugar girls have written.

  15. Tiffany says:

    I would loooove a Sephora app! Or a MAC app!

  16. Kylie says:

    I am addicted to my iPhone too! One day I was reading a post you did on concealer after pulling an all-nighter with Bejeweled 2, and I actually LOL’d because I’m just like that, only with Doodle Jump. I love that game…. even though I’m rocking the dark circles because of it!
    I totally agree about beauty apps, they are so behind the times. I would really enjoy one for Makeup Alley first and foremost, because even the mobile version is kind of a hassle to navigate. I would also love apps for my favorite blogs like MBB (of course!), KarlaSugar, TheBeautyLookBook, and Temptalia. Lastly, I would like to see some for stores like Sephora and MAC, but these aren’t as high of a priority for me because I don’t need further enabling of my shopping addiction.

  17. Angelica says:

    Hey Karen and all you lovely ladies!
    I need your help! I am in the unique and fortunate position of having the opportunity to develop a branded beauty app for my comnpany, jane iredale. Like you all, I am addicted to my iPhone and love my apps, but cannot find a single fun or useful makeup or beauty app. I don’t even really like the fashion ones that much! So tell me, please…
    If you could design an app related to beauty, style, etc. what would it be?
    (P.S. Tricia, I like your idea abuot the videos. I definitley want to do that one).

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