4 Tips to Starting a Makeup Business

Young makeup blogger demonstrating makeup application techniques

Finding the right career in cosmetics can be more difficult than it seems at first. You have a passion for the industry, but you aren’t sure exactly what you want to do with it yet. You have a goal for a career in makeup, but you know you don’t want to work for anyone but yourself. It can be hard to figure it out, but here are 4 tips that can help you succeed in the makeup business when you’re starting out on your own.

Tip #1: Know What You Want to Do

First of all, you should decide on a direction in the makeup industry. Knowing what part of the makeup business you want to start your career in will help you focus your efforts. In addition to this, you’ll be able to apply the tips in the most effective ways possible.

The continuing evolution of online marketing tools and new media have fueled entrepreneurship in exciting ways. Because of this, there are ways that you can utilize your skills outside of a salon. Use your creativity! Your own makeup business is up to your imagination. You just have to decide what you want it to look like. Let’s take a look at some of the independent career paths you have to choose from within the makeup industry.

Makeup Sales

Selling cosmetic products outside a retail setting is highly competitive and can be risky. Unless you plan to sell a line of makeup that you have developed yourself, you will need to take some extra precautions. You will need to do your homework on any of the companies you are considering representing and the products you could be marketing. This will help you make sure you are fully aware of exactly what you are getting into.

Special Effects

Special effects makeup is an expanding market with growth in a wide range of online visual platforms. You have the ability to market your talent on your own for all kinds of video and visual media products. It all depends on what kind of projects you are willing to work on and what is available in your area.


Generally, when you think of a cosmetologist you think of a salon. However, it can be an entrepreneurial endeavor too. You can take cosmetology appointments out of your home or travel to your clients’ homes. There are a lot of different ways to be a cosmetologist.

Product/Brand Endorser

Brand and product endorsement, being a personality or ambassador of a product in the cosmetics field. This is another example of an independent makeup career that should be thoroughly investigated before any commitments are made as an independent contractor. You want to stay away from independently representing brands and products that could damage your professional reputation or harm the audience you would be helping them advertise to.

Product Development and Innovation

This is how you start your own makeup business in the most literal sense. Creating your own line of makeup or developing your own cosmetic products/tools is a great way to take your knowledge of makeup and start your own business. It also requires that you know how to do this effectively, ethically and safely.

Digital Personality

Digital media has changed the way consumers engage with every part of the cosmetic industry. Giving exciting, unique tutorials and visually reacting honestly to trending products and techniques are currently valid avenues of personal business. Your investment of time and energy along with your ability to build an online community will determine your success as an online cosmetic personality.

Tip# 2: Invest Time in Research and Education

Preparation is key to a successful business. Makeup is no different. The knowledge you will need can come in a lot of different forms and comes from a wide variety of places. It all depends on what kind of business you are planning on starting. Let’s take a look at some tips that will help you out no matter what direction you are headed in.


Obtaining the proper training and certification for your chosen field is a crucial step that has to be taken. The focus of your education could be many different things. It could be focused on science so that you can safely create the products you’ve been dreaming of. It could be that you need to take some classes in business and marketing to help you get off to a solid start in endorsement and branding. You simply may need basic cosmetology training and licensing to begin (which would be useful in just about all cosmetology related careers). You may also need more specialized training in various techniques or services for you to start your business. Whatever the case may be for your specific goals it is imperative that you are properly trained before getting started.

Research Any Partners

Perhaps it is a brand that you are hoping to work with or represent in some capacity that you need to look into. Maybe it is a fellow online makeup or cosmetic personality that you want to collaborate with on a project or video. If you are planning on working with someone or will in any way be associated with a company, it is extremely vital that you understand who exactly you are going to be working with. Your reputation is everything. Especially if you are going to work for yourself. Researching all of your partnerships, whether they are with individual people or with companies/brands, will help keep you from getting into a situation that you will regret down the road.


Who are you hoping to get money from? Is it customers directly? What kind of customers and where from? Are you hoping to be hired for certain kinds of projects? Is your goal to get an online following? Who is your target market? Would you be selling your developed product/product line to a distributor? Or would you be selling products to customers directly? Whatever your objective is you are going to want to know who you are marketing and communicating to so that you can maximize your impact. Your understanding of your target market will have a very real influence on whether you succeed or not. It can also help you make better business decisions in certain areas.

Tip #3: Get Advice and Information

No matter how prepared or experienced you are there are always going to be things that come out of nowhere and take you by surprise. It may be something in the market you hadn’t anticipated that causes a hiccup in your sales. It might be a particularly difficult client that you don’t know how to deal with. It could be that you are presented with an opportunity to perform or provide something that you aren’t exactly confident about. It could also be that you are in the process of revolutionizing part of the field and are nervous about treading into unmarked territory. Regardless of the specifics, here are some tips about getting advice and information that may help when you feel you’ve hit a wall.

Gather Information from Complimentary Fields

Knowing things about fields outside your own can be tremendously helpful. Particularly if you are having a hard time getting started. It can be useful to know what is going on in fields such as skincare and fashion if your business is makeup. Keeping up with other industries to some degree helps you stay aware of what is trending. You can use those trends to inform certain business decisions. This can help you know which collaborations and/or complimentary services could be helpful in establishing or marketing your business.


It is possible that you will reach a point in your career that requires an extension of your formal education. You may need to learn a new method, expand your business knowledge or re-establish your foundation in the basics. Furthering your education is a great way to get advice from experts in the industry who are well informed in the specific area you may need to concentrate on.

Field Experts

Educators and instructors are incredible resources. However, they are not the only sources of information you can access throughout the industry. Speaking with other professionals who have extensive experience in their profession is a great way to get sound, practical advice that you can apply to your business. Direct access to a one-on-one mentor is preferable, but if one is not around or available you can always take a look at the written work and/or videos of experts who have respected reputations in the makeup industry.

Historical Advice

Revolutionizing an industry is not always a simple or straightforward process. Creating a new way of doing things, innovating something old to make it new, and inventing product/tools are all ways that you have the ability to reinvent parts of the makeup industry. So, how are you supposed to get advice on something that has never been done before? Look to the creators, innovators and inventors of the past. Turning to history may not give you advice for specific challenges you may face, but it will give you a guide to being a trailblazer.

Tip #4: Be Passionate and Dedicated

Being in business for yourself takes a lot of hard work. The kind of hard work that is only worth it if you love what you do. Makeup can be a competitive, exciting, frustrating, exhilarating, and complicated business. The driving forces that will push you to success will be your enthusiasm for your work and your ability to stick with it when things get tough. You will need persistence in pursuing your career goals and the inspiration to make it all worthwhile.

Frequently Revisit Your Initial Inspiration

You can help solidify your commitment to your career by remembering why you got started in the makeup business to begin with. Was it the ambition of creating something new? Was it your raw passion for the art of cosmetics? Were you inspired by the potential of makeup in the visual arts? Did you see a certain picture or watch something that inspired you in the beginning? Going back to where you started can sometimes help you where you are.

Reignite Your Passion by Trying Something New

It can be difficult to stick with something you’ve lost your connection to. When all of the passion has fallen out of your work it can seem impossible to get it back. In these times it can be helpful to breathe new life into your business by trying something new. Learn a new application technique. Consider expanding your services. Reorganize your tools and equipment to help increase your efficiency. Reinvent your process to help make your daily experience more fulfilling and exciting. Experiment with new trends and products that you wouldn’t normally try. Do whatever you think may help you feel motivated toward your work again.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about tips to starting a makeup business interest you? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting. We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. You will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

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