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Jobs in the beauty industry you didn’t know existed (and how to get them)

PHOTOGRAPHY BY KRISTINA YENKO

WORDS BY AMY FOCIC

Your guide to a career in beauty.

Even as someone who considers themselves a bit of a skincare-obsessive, I’d be hard-pressed to think of a job in the beauty industry that isn’t a makeup artist or beautician. 

But much like the fashion industry, the beauty industry is packed with a hugely diverse range of jobs. While this opens up a whole suite of career pathways, navigating the ins and outs of how to actually get these positions can be a headache.


We like nosy people. Don’t be shy, head to our Beauty section for more. 


Luckily, we’ve done the legwork for you. If you’re itching for a career change, or want beauty to become your career instead of your hobby, here are 10 jobs in the beauty industry you probably haven’t heard of to get you started.

Sustainability manager

The sustainability manager for L’Oreal Australia, Kiera Flynn, tells me sustainability managers consider where a business needs to “change and adapt to be more sustainable”. They make sure products are made with the sustainability of both ingredients and packaging in mind and ensure their business doesn’t invest in fossil fuels, for example. They also monitor their businesses’ waste and energy usage and work with all parts of the business to see what areas could become more sustainable.

Potential salary range: $78,000-$154,000+
Experience: Kiera says a tertiary degree in science is helpful, but it’s not a necessity – sustainability managers can come from fields like business or law too. You’ll need a good few years working in your area of study, gaining transferable skills like problem-solving, leadership and communication. Kiera says having a good idea of the regulatory requirements in your area (they differ for Australia and the EU, for example) is key too.
Where to apply: These roles can be hard to come by, because you’ll be the only one in the company. Companies like L’Oreal offer sustainability internships, which are a great way to network and get your foot in the door. 

Director of artistry

A director of artistry works for a makeup company launching new products, educating staff on the brand’s products as well as makeup trends and techniques, acting as the face of the brand at events and training makeup artists, according to Lancome Australia’s Director of Artistry, Lara Srokowski. If it sounds like a diverse role, that’s because it is. This coveted role is typically found in larger companies and is incredibly collaborative with other areas of the business like marketing, PR and events.

Potential salary range: Varies greatly depending on the brand and your level of experience
Experience: Most artistry directors start out as makeup artists, Lara says. There are a few ways to become a qualified makeup artist, but usually doing a certificate or diploma is the way to go. From there, working as a makeup artist for a company and working your way through the business (say, training other in-store makeup artists) is a typical way to climb the ladder to director of artistry. This can take a few years, and can also involve doing in-house training for skills like public speaking.
Where to apply: This role isn’t the sort that is advertised, so it’s best to get your start by getting a makeup qualification and getting as much experience as you can, usually working within one business in different areas. At Lancome, for example, Lara says there’s the ability to start off as a makeup artist at a department store counter, and potentially move into head office roles.

Senior makeup artist

This role is where Lara got her start at Lancome. A senior makeup artist is a trained makeup artist that works underneath a director of artistry, assisting them with events like fashion weeks. Senior makeup artists may work in a store, but they typically won’t work on the counter, and instead hold their own events in store and train other makeup artists. Think of them like a makeup artist but with a bunch of extra responsibilities. 

Potential salary range: $53,000-$65,000, but varies depending on the brand
Experience: Lara says you’ll need a few years of experience as a makeup artist before you can move into a senior makeup artist role. It’s important to have plenty of experience doing makeup on all sorts of people so that you’ve built up a solid breadth of understanding. Also, these roles are usually within a makeup company, so having a good knowledge of the brand will help too.
Where to apply: Many big makeup companies employ senior makeup artists, like L’Oreal, which includes brands like Lancome and YSL. These jobs might not be advertised though, so it could be worth getting your start as a makeup artist with a company and working your way up.

Beauty buyer

Yes, the title is what it sounds like – a beauty buyer is in charge of purchasing the products that a beauty brand will stock. While the job may sound like it’s just shopping you get paid for, it’s more complicated than that. You have to be able to predict trends, know what will sell with your company’s market, and be able to negotiate with suppliers. 

Potential salary range: $52,000-$120,000
Experience: Tertiary degrees aren’t always necessary to become a beauty buyer, but many beauty buyers do start out with degrees in areas like marketing, merchandising, fashion and business. That being said, you could also start out in retail on the shop floor, and work your way up from there.
Where to apply: These jobs are usually found at department stores like Myer or David Jones, or at beauty retailers that stock multiple brands – think Sephora or Mecca.

Data analyst

If you like crunching numbers and pinpointing trends, then the role of data analyst could be for you. It involves closely scrutinising data like website and social media traffic, as well as sales figures. A data analyst creates insights from their analysis to influence business decisions, like marketing campaigns and merchandising.

Potential salary range: $53,000-$100,000
Experience: Most positions prefer applicants to have a tertiary degree in an area like commerce, finance or economics. You have to be very numbers-oriented and have skills in computer programs like Excel and Tableau. Most senior data analyst roles require around four years of experience as a data analyst.
Where to apply: These roles are becoming more important alongside the explosion of eCommerce, and most major companies will advertise these roles on sites like LinkedIn and Seek. 

Cosmetic chemist

A job for the science-minded and ingredient-obsessed, cosmetic chemists are pretty much what the name suggests – chemists that specifically formulate and evaluate cosmetic products. As a cosmetic chemist, you’ll be responsible for making sure new cosmetic products are safe and effective.

Potential salary range: $61,000-$104,000
Experience: This role requires a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical science, however there are diplomas you can do if you work as a cosmetic nurse, for example, and you want to upskill and gain cosmetic chemistry knowledge. There are often graduate jobs available for pharmaceutical science students to gain experience in cosmetic chemistry.
Where to apply: You can find roles as a cosmetic chemist in a research laboratory, in manufacturing for a specific beauty brand, or it could even lead you to start your own brand. 

Beauty educator

As the name implies, beauty educators teach others (fellow employees, consumers or students) about a whole range of things like makeup application techniques, brand knowledge and new beauty trends. A love for the specific field you are in (whether it’s makeup, hair, nails, or skincare) is a must, as is the ability to communicate well and help others learn.

Potential salary range: $40,000-$80,000
Experience: Getting experience in your chosen area first – as a makeup artist if you want to be a makeup educator, or as a nail technician if you want to teach other nail techs, for example – is key. This will likely take a few years as you hone your skills and get to a point where you can teach others. You might also require a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, if you want to work at an education institution.
Where to apply: You can find beauty educator roles within big beauty companies and at education institutions like TAFE. 

Event coordinator

Are you that person who’s always coordinating your group of friends for a night out, or organising the logistics of family Christmas? Becoming an event coordinator might be for you. In the beauty space, an event coordinator is in charge of all the logistics and budgeting for both physical and virtual events. They work with other teams in a business like marketing and education to pull off events without a hitch.

Potential salary range: $45,000-$70,000
Experience: A tertiary degree isn’t a must to become an event coordinator, but there are courses in event management at universities across Australia that could put you a cut above the rest. It’s essential that you’re a meticulous planner with attention to detail too.
Where to apply: These roles are often in-house at beauty brands, so trawling job sites like Seek or Indeed would be the way to go. Or, some event coordinators start out on the shop floor, and move around the business as they become more experienced.

Sensory scientist

The way beauty products look, smell, feel and even taste is so important, and helping to craft this sensory experience are sensory scientists. Think about it: would products like body lotions feel so lush to apply if sensory scientists hadn’t tested them first? Sensory scientists have the academic background to figure out what sensory elements will and won’t work in a product for consumers.

Potential salary range: $50,000-$120,000
Experience: Sensory scientists are more traditionally employed in the food and beverage industry, but more and more beauty companies are hiring them. You’ll need a degree in science for this job, as well as a love of beauty products and knowledge of what consumers are after when it comes to the sensory experience of beauty.
Where to apply: These jobs can be found in-house at beauty companies, or you could work for a scientific laboratory or company (like Mérieux NutriSciences, for example) that works with multiple brands, testing their products.

Product developer

Have you ever noticed a gap in your skincare routine and wished you could just create the product yourself? Perhaps you should look into product development. Product developers are not to be confused with product formulators (like cosmetic scientists) – rather, these are the people identifying a gap in the market where a new product should be. They work on all stages of the product’s creation, from ingredients to packaging, the whole time considering who the product is for and why it’s being made.

Potential salary range: $49,000-$85,000
Experience: Creativity and communication are the skills at the core of product development. Having an eye for consumer and beauty trends is important too. While a tertiary qualification isn’t always necessary, having a scientific background would be helpful so that you have a good grasp on the formulation side of beauty products.
Where to apply: Like a lot of other beauty jobs, starting off in the retail side of a beauty brand can lead to product development opportunities down the track. These positions are also advertised on job sites too, so make sure to set up an alert so you know when they pop up.

*Payscale website used to find salary ranges.

For more tips on how to get your start in beauty, head here.

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