Cosmetic Sales Careers

by Rick Suttle

The beauty industry was a $38 billion dollar industry in 2011, according to "GCI Magazine," and cosmetics such as anti-aging creams, makeup and accessories represent a significant portion of those sales. Contributing greatly to this vast industry are cosmetics sales representatives and consultants, who market products in stores, via the Internet and at home parties. If you have sales and customer service skills -- and are highly persistent -- a cosmetic sales job can earn you a decent income.


Cosmetic sales reps display their products and help customers choose those that best match their skin tones or personal goals. For example, you might sell a bride-to-be a self-tanning product to enhance her coloring. You demonstrate makeups, eyeliners and skin creams to share the benefits of these cosmetics, and then sell them. These professionals also process sales transactions for customers and answer their questions. And they keep inventory they're not using securely locked in glass display cases.


When you mention cosmetic sales, most people think of smock-wearing reps behind store counters. However, you can also sell cosmetics to other businesses, or as an independent contractor. For example, you might work for a wholesale company which sells cosmetics to small retailers and beauty salons. If you work as an independent contractor for Avon or Mary Kay, you can sell products via parties, business meetings, by phone or from your company-issued website.

Work Environment

Cosmetic sales reps work for department or specialty stores, large distributors and manufacturers. Schedules are highly flexible in that many of these people work part time. In this field, you spend a lot of time on your feet, demonstrating your products to customers behind counters or in homes. You might also work evenings or weekends, when the majority of shoppers are off work.

Education and Training

Most retailers have no specific educational requirements for retail or cosmetics sales reps, though some prefer hiring those with high school diplomas. A business degree can be particularly beneficial if you run your own cosmetics sales business. Those who sell cosmetics to other businesses might also be required to have a bachelor's degree, depending on their company's job specifications. Training for these professionals lasts from a few days to several months, depending on how extensive the product line.

Salary and Job Outlook

Retail sales workers, including cosmetic sales reps, earned average annual salaries of $25,130 as of May 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. If you were a top 10-percent earner in this industry, you would make more than $38,510 per year. Your potential earnings are significantly more as an entrepreneur for Avon or Mary Kay, as you can make commissions off reps you personally sponsor. The BLS reported that jobs for retail and cosmetic sales reps are expected to increase 17 percent through 2020, which is slightly above the 14 percent national average.

Photo Credits

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