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Initially, the most well-known cosmeticians sold makeup, skin care products, and hair care products door to door. These much-loved Avon ladies brought beauty and makeup into women's homes, recommending beauty products for every skin type and coloring.

Today's cosmeticians still work door-to-door, but more often then not they have taken their talents for sales and makeup application into the public forum. Department stores are full of cosmeticians, representing different brands at makeup and skin care counters. They also work in stores devoted to one product line, or in stores that carry a number of products.

Cosmeticians have a number of roles. First, they must demonstrate the products. This can be done through photographs and video, or by applying the make up directly to the customer's face. They may only sample a lipstick, or they may give the customer a complete makeover using a number of products at once.

Cosmeticians are also responsible for selling products. This means they must become experts in the supplies they have for sale. They must also be sure to record all sales, document services, and restock supplies when they run low.

Cosmeticians do what they can to make people feel good about themselves. They consult with their customers and suggest different products until they feel satisfied they have found the very thing that will work for each individual client.
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Program Spotlight
Matching School Ad
Milan Institute of Cosmetology
Get hands-on training for a beauty industry career at the Milan Institute of Cosmetology.
Programs Offered:
  • Cosmetology
  • Esthetician
  • Nail Technologist



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Successful cosmeticians have great communication skills, an interest in style, skin care, and makeup, and an artistic eye for color and shadow. They feel comfortable with people from all backgrounds and cultures. It is important for cosmeticians to be methodical, have good concentration, good manual dexterity, and feel confident in their abilities. They should be well-groomed, approachable, and enjoy serving others.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Promote and sell products, including makeup, skin care, and hair care
  • Consult with clients to discuss beauty needs
  • Advise clients on skin care and health
  • Demonstrate makeup techniques through computer images and makeovers
  • Keep records of sales and services
  • Book appointments for one-on-one demonstrations
  • The typical day for a cosmetician involves a mix of sales, demonstrations, and makeup applications. They also spend a lot of time interacting with people, advising them on makeup application, skin care, and products they might find beneficial. Cosmeticians don't get to travel unless they take their products into client homes. They interact with many different types of people, with a variety of questions.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Cosmeticians represent different makeup and beauty product companies, serving customers in department stores, or they work in retail stores that carry one or more product lines. Some may represent a product line and sell items by hosting parties and by going door-to-door. They work regular hours, however they are often at work in the evenings or on weekends, depending on their employment situation.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Cosmeticians can become makeup artists for film and television, they can become cosmetologists, estheticians, or hairstylists. They can open their own beauty salon or beauty product shop, or develop their own line of skin care and beauty products.

  Educational Paths  
There is no set path to take if you want to work as a cosmetician. You may be able to start work with only a high school diploma, and be trained on the job through practice, seminars, and training sessions sponsored by the product companies. However, it is also possible to attend postsecondary courses in cosmetology, makeup artistry, or marketing and sales.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

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Milan Institute of Cosmetology  Online
Get hands-on training for a beauty industry career at the Milan Institute of Cosmetology.
Programs Offered:
  • Cosmetology
  • Esthetician
  • Nail Technologist
Campus Locations:
  • Reno, NV

Alameda Beauty College  Online
Start your career with training from Alameda Beauty College.
Programs Offered:
  • Cosmetology
Campus Locations:
  • Alameda, CA

Blake Austin College Beauty Academy  Online
Start your career with training from Blake Austin College - Beauty Academy.
Programs Offered:
  • Cosmetology
  • Esthetician / Massage Therapy
Campus Locations:
  • Vacaville, CA

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