What Does a Cosmetician Do?

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  • Written By: Rhonda Rivera
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2019
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A cosmetician is an expert at applying and selling makeup. He or she can work door-to-door, at a department store, or from the comfort of home over the Internet. The required training depends on location and the cosmetician’s exact duties, but it is possible to work in this field having only finished mandatory education. Being educated in cosmetology, makeup artistry, and other skills related to beauty or running a business can help. A cosmetician can go on to work as a makeup artist on movie sets or create his or her own line of makeup.

One thing many cosmeticians do is demonstrate the application of makeup products. They might do this in small groups, one-on-one with a potential customer, or filmed on a volunteer to later air the video on the Internet. The cosmetician typically tells the audience what products he or she is using and how to achieve the same results at home. He or she may also give advice on how to best take care of specific skin types, cover acne, and much more. Being able to comfortably converse and advise customers on potentially sensitive beauty issues is a must-have skill for most cosmeticians.


Some cosmeticians sell door-to-door after ordering samples from a makeup company to give to potential customers. They do not sell their own products; instead, they get goods from a makeup company at a reduced price, then sell them for a profit. Other cosmeticians work in department stores selling a wide range of makeup brands or a specific brand. A cosmetician might eventually open his or her own beauty salon or create a new line of makeup. The possibilities are numerous, especially if the cosmetician is trained in business or marketing.

In many cases, a cosmetician has only completed mandatory education. This can be enough to have a successful career, especially if the person is particularly skilled at makeup application and working with other people. Some cosmeticians choose to dedicate at least one year to achieving a diploma in cosmetology or makeup artistry. Depending on the end goal, marketing and sales can also be beneficial. In some cases, skills like marketing are not needed; for example, working as a makeup artist on a movie set requires little to no ability to push products.

The exact definition of a cosmetician is somewhat open to interpretation. While it refers to someone who applies or sells beauty products, cosmetics are not always involved. For example, some cosmeticians specialize in hair styling, focusing on techniques that require certain tools. In this case, a cosmetician might sell hair appliances like curling irons or accessories like hair clips.


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