Byline: Laura Klepacki

NEW YORK — Maybelline wants to create a virtual town hall of beauty.
On its new web site — — set to launch this month, the mass cosmetics company has loaded a slew of interactive features, chat rooms and message boards enabling Maybelline users to talk to each other.
A centerpiece of the site will be a section called the Maybelline Five, which will present journals of five women, to be selected through an online contest. In addition to the opportunity to present her life story in monthly installments, each winner will receive an iMac computer, a Maybelline makeover, a year’s supply of Maybelline cosmetics and a trip to New York with $500 spending money. The contest is open to women ages 16 to 24.
“We want to build a community among Maybelline users,” said Ketan Patel, vice president of marketing at Maybelline. “We simply did not want to translate off-line activity to online.” Maybelline will not sell via the site, but it will provide information on some 600 of its cosmetics items.
The site also offers personalized makeup suggestions, fashion and style features and a company history that includes archival photos of Maybelline products, such as cake mascara. Users can also subscribe to a free e-mail newsletter for beauty updates.