Cosmetics Sales Representatives


Employment Prospects


Cosmetics sales representatives are usually self-employed, employed by department stores, or employed by cosmetics companies. It is easy to begin work as an independent contractor for companies such as Avon, Mary Kay, or Arbonne (a skin care company that has grown since the 1970s). It may be difficult to do this exclusively, however, without supplemental income. Jobs with department stores offer better income security and benefits, but these are usually full-time positions requiring evenings and weekends. Since cosmetics sales continue to increase, as do retail sales in general, there will probably be an abundance of opportunities for those seeking regular employment with stores or cosmetics companies and for independent representatives alike. Unlike most jobs in the cosmetology industry, however, independent cosmetics sales representatives in remote or rural areas may do well due to a lack of department stores and retail establishments specializing in cosmetics.

Starting Out

To become a Mary Kay representative, it costs about $100, plus inventory costs, to buy the sample kit. Many of the representatives find most of their customers at their full-time jobs as well as through word of mouth, and use cosmetics sales as a supplement to their incomes. Many cosmetics sales representatives in retail stores start out as perfume spritzers hired by a cosmetics line, or they may be hired during a busy season by the store and then recommended to the cosmetics company.

Advancement Prospects

Cosmetic sales representatives can advance by being promoted to counter manager and then to account coordinator. From there they go on to become account manager in charge of several stores, then to trainer/educator in charge of coaching, training, setting goals, or to account executive. Another path for advancement is to become a buyer, who selects and orders cosmetic product lines for department stores and other retailers of cosmetics. 

Tips for Entry

Develop "people" skills by improving your listening and speaking abilities.

Gain sales experience through a part-time retail job.

Attend cosmetics demonstrations sponsored by department stores.

Team up with an independent contractor and host a makeup event.