Anyone who works in beauty will tell you that it’s a fun, inspiring place, full of creative ideas (and the occasional free sample!), but exactly how do you break into the beauty industry? In a new series, we’ll be chatting with Beauty Bay staff members to find out what their jobs involve and the paths they took to get where they are now.
From makeup artists and beauty editors to social media assistants, buyers, and web developers – these stories are proof that you can enter the beauty industry via any career path.
Meet Grace, Beauty Editor.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
Everything from a vet to a ballerina, a poet, and even an explorer. For most of my teens I wanted to be a costume designer so I picked all of my GCSEs and A levels with that in mind – until a (not so) friendly art teacher told me I couldn’t draw.
What attracted you to the beauty industry?
The fact that it’s relatable and accessible to anyone and everyone, no matter what gender you are, what colour your skin is, or where you live. As a teenager growing up in the countryside, saving my pocket money to buy lipstick and nail varnish was a way for me to feel part of a world I read about in magazines. I used to want to work in fashion but it can be quite alienating – beauty is the opposite – even if you don’t wear makeup every day or have a 10-step skincare routine, chances are you wear perfume, own a lipstick, have a favourite shampoo…
What did you study and how did this guide you into your current role/how do you use the skills from your degree in your job?
I studied history and after I graduated I went on to study for a Masters in history as well – I wanted to do a PhD eventually but I got side-tracked by beauty writing! People are often surprised that I studied history and can’t work out how it fits in with my job, but it’s the perfect degree to study for any form of journalism. I use all of the skills (research, analysing, writing, editing, presentation) that I learnt in my degrees every day in my job. I also wrote as many of my essays as possible about the history of beauty and makeup, which was a great way to learn about the industry.
What path did your career take after graduation?
I didn’t take a break between my degrees but I decided to study for my Masters part-time so that I could work as well. I got a job in a department store and spent two years working as a makeup artist and skincare consultant on beauty counters. I’d started my own blog whilst I was in uni as well and as my audience grew I was given some amazing opportunities to create content with my favourite beauty brands. This was my side hustle until I was offered the opportunity to do some freelance writing for Beauty Bay, and was eventually taken on full-time as a beauty writer!
What skills and experience do you need to become a beauty writer?
You need to be able to write creatively and with detail – every day you have to think of a new and different way to describe the same products, so you need to have imagination. It’s important to know the industry inside out as well, getting to grips with trends, techniques, and ingredients really helps you to be able to put products into context and think of new ways to present them.
What does your day-to-day job entail?
I start my day by reading – this helps me to be aware of what’s going on the industry and always sparks ideas for content. On a typical day I’ll be planning content, writing articles, briefing creative ideas to our Design team, and working with the wider business to ensure that EDITed supports the products we sell and meets the needs of our readers.
What are common misconceptions people have about your job?
People always assume that my day is spent swatching lipsticks – granted, this does happen – but I spend far more time learning and writing about products than I do playing with them.
What is the best part of your job?
I love being able to try so many products and be on the front line of some super exciting product developments, but the most rewarding part of my job is knowing that the articles I write are helpful to our readers. For me it’s important that my work helps our customers to buy the right products and learn how to use them in the best way so that they really get the most from them.
What has been the most surreal moment of your career so far?
Sitting in Wahaca at 11pm eating enchiladas with MannyMUA and Jeffree Star… it doesn’t get more surreal than that.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a career in your field?
So many people want to work in beauty so it can be a hard field to get in to. You have to stand out – so don’t follow the traditional or obvious route. Try to incorporate beauty into your life in as many ways as possible – start a beauty blog or YouTube, work on a beauty counter, practice doing makeup, read up on skincare ingredients. It’s so important to know what you’re talking about and it’s really easy to tell whether people have done their research and are genuinely clued up.
What’s your favourite thing about working at Beauty Bay?
When I joined the company two years ago the business was still quite small, so it’s been really exciting to see how big and fast it’s grown in such a short space of time. Seeing our TV ad on iTV last year and working with big name brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills, Deciem, and Mario Badescu is so exciting.
What deskside essential is vital to you doing your job?
Baby wipes! If I don’t have a pack to hand then I end up going home with swatches all up my arms and my clothes stained with lipstick and eyeshadow – not a good look.
What’s your favourite Beauty Bay product?
I have so many, but my all-time favourite is probably Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentre. It’s the most amazing moisturiser that works for all skin types – I’m acne-prone and it doesn’t break me out at all. I first read about it in a magazine when I was a teenager – makeup artists use it to prep models skin backstage. It’s lightweight but very hydrating and acts like a primer for makeup. I’ve stopped buying the tubes because I was going through them so fast -now I buy a massive pump bottle instead!
I also love The Ordinary’s products because they’ve kickstarted a skincare movement that’s made the whole industry much more transparent. Their Hyaluronic Acid should be in everyone’s skincare routine. As for makeup, I’m obsessed with Code Beautiful’s VLM Mascara – the packaging is quite plain but inside is the most amazing mascara I’ve ever used.