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How to Get Your Dream Career in Beauty Started

by Alina Berdichevsky
Posted: June 29, 2016

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Love beauty? There are so many awesome beauty careers you can choose in this industry, from beauty therapy, make-up, nail tech and so much more, there is a beauty career to suit almost anyone!

Whether you’re a recent school leaver, career changer or looking to start your own business – working in beauty continues to be a great option for those wanting a flexible, fun and creative career. This is a large occupation with opportunities available in most regions and in the last 2 years, the industry grew by 22%

Nearly 49% of beauty therapist jobs are full-time, while others are casual, part time or contract based. Most people in the beauty industry work an average of 40.4 weekly hours compared to 40.9 for all occupations. This shows that this is a flexible career suited to study, parenthood and those who love to pick their own hours. We spoke to 20 beauty experts in various fields to get their advice on their fields, including trends, working conditions and how to set up your own business.

Read the beauty experts interviews here

So what does career in beauty actually entail? 

beauty careers 1

Therapists provide skin analysis, facial therapies, skin-care treatments and body treatments such as massage. You can be analysing about almost anything - from skin characteristics and suitable skin care, to treatments and application of make-up. You might even be performing manicures and pedicures, facial and body treatments (such as massages) or treating unwanted hair through waxing, bleaching and electrolysis. We told you - it’s a varied profession! 

Usually, there is an administrative process too, such as receiving bookings, arranging appointments and maintaining client records. The hours can vary from short to long shifts, so a love of people, friendliness and professionalism are imperative

Make-up artist Amy Kenny told Open Colleges that when you work in beauty, you really never stop learning. “Each day is different,” she says. “Sometimes I get up at 4 or 5AM and work all day, other days I start at 9AM and I'm finished by lunchtime.” 

Photography make-up artist Amelia Webb agrees that make-up is an incredible and exciting industry to be in. “If you are as passionate about it as I am you will really love what you do and it won’t feel like it’s your job.”

Most experts we’ve spoken to also agree that a job centred around making others look and feel terrific is really hard work, so you also need to have a genuine passion for what you are doing. As Amy Kenny says, “it’s hard to get up at 4AM if you don't absolutely love it!”

Salon owner Jocelyn Petroni says running your own salon involves working long hours but the workload is enjoyable and is deeply rewarding. “Building a great team takes time and involves ongoing staff training, investment, careful planning and being an open communicator.”

How does one succeed in the field of Beauty? 

A career in beauty - hairdressing

For Jocelyn Petroni, staff training, staff training, personal development, and an obsession with quality are the keys to her success. And she should know - Jocelyn is in constant demand across fashion, print and television, with her work frequently featured in Vogue, Harpers, Elle and many other publications and blogs.

“I believe if you take initiative in the beauty industry and align yourself with successful businesses and people, you will have a successful career,” she says. “I have always taken the time to respond to individuals who contact me for advice and employment prospects because I value initiative.” 

Photography Make-up Artist Amelia Webb says her secret to becoming a successful make-up artist is to step out of your comfort zone. “I have had many disappointments in my time however, the only way is to learn from these setbacks and move forward is to keep trying and pushing your boundaries because if you believe you can - there is no stopping you.”

If you feel the beauty industry is for you, what are the next steps to getting started? 

beauty careers facial

According to Job Outlook, the most common level of educational attainment for beauty therapists is advanced diploma/diploma (49.5%).

In Australia, beauty therapists with a diploma qualification are qualified in all areas of beauty therapy and recognised worldwide for their skills and friendly client care. Amy Kenny completed a certified “international make-up professional” course which gave her the basic fundamentals and credibility to start her freelancing business.

“Brow Queen” Amy Jean Linnehan (who has tended to the brows of celebrities like Naomi Campbell, Dannii Minogue, Courtney Love, Mel B, Jesinta Campbell, Sandra Sully, Kate Waterhouse and Delta Goodrem) advices applicants complete a SHB50115 Diploma of Beauty Therapy or a qualification such as Certificate II in Retail Make-Up & Skin Care or even art courses. “Beauty therapy subjects are so diverse, which is a perfect opportunity to establish if you like the "artistic", "holistic" or "skin science" components you will cover.”

Any other words of success from our experts? 

Make-up artist Amy Kenny says to keep reading, keep researching and continue to update your skills with masterclasses by artists whose work and careers you admire. “In Australia, you really need to be able to do hair as well as make-up. I started doing hair about 5 years ago and it's opened up a lot more work opportunities for me.”

Amy also admits you really need to be an all-rounder. “Make-up skills are important, but you need to get along well with people, be organised, professional, punctual, a business person and a great communicator.” 

Jocelyn Petroni says it best when she muses “I want young women to see beauty therapy as a solid and successful career path. It’s so much more than enjoying painting your own nails and a serious approach combined with hard work will ensure a successful career as a beauty therapist.”

Want more tips from beauty industry experts? Check out the full article here.

beauty experts tips


Alina Berdichevsky

Alina a writer, communications consultant, brand lover, cultural excavator and an expert on strategic achievement. Alina has delivered strategic content and digital solutions for a variety of organisations across numerous sectors including fashion, business, luxury and not-for-profit.

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