So you want to be a makeup artist. Or you’re deeply curious about what those perfectly made up women behind the counter do all day. For aspiring MUA’s, freelance or otherwise, working at a makeup counter is a great way to gain experience and jumpstart your career. (Check out our interviews with MakeupbyMario and Mary Phillips for proof.) It’s a mix of educating the customer, perfecting your technique and learning the ins and outs of the makeup business — skills you’ll need no matter what you decide to do in beauty (the sleek, all black outfits are a bonus). So what’s it really like to be behind the counter every day? Lancôme makeup artists Marwah Kamas and Olivia Thompson tell all, ahead:
“I’m lucky enough to work with really caring and passionate and talented people,” says Kamas, who spends her days on the floor. “The busier days are my favorite [because] it makes it the time go faster and [I am] able to play and show customers all about skincare and makeup.”
It Requires an Open Mind
Makeup counters receive most of their clients from people visiting various stores, no two days, or customers, are the same. So versatility is a must! “We’re open to all kind of customers and in the end we wanna make them feel comfortable so they wanna come back to you,” says Kamas.
Yes, You Get Free Stuff
Part of the gig is trying out and playing with the products, so expect to get your hands on new launches first. This makeup is called “gratis,” and the amount you receive varies by company. Expect to have lots of goodies to add to your stash and kit — part of your job is to know these products in and out.
It Isn’t Always Fun…
According to Kamas, it’s “really hard to pass time when it’s not a busy day.” But interacting with customers is the best part of the job, and really makes it fun.
It’s More Than Just Makeup
Olivia, who’s an account coordinator, spends her days a little differently than most. Her day starts with “checking emails and numbers on the computer each morning. As the day progresses, time is spent with the team at counter driving sales and ensuring the counter is set up for success!” She focuses on supporting the teams overall and making sure everyone can do their job to the best of their ability.