Aaahh the beauty industry: as with most workplaces it suffers from many misconceptions. I’ve worked in this industry for over a decade so thought I’d use my insider view to debunk some of them. If you are interested in working in this environment or have always wondered what really goes on behind the candy floss pink – wouldn’t that be fun! – closed doors, read on.


You spend all day painting your nails 

I wish. OK on a Friday afternoon I may be caught applying a quick coat of nail polish as I find it dries very well while tapping away at my keyboard (my favourite right now is Essie’s Cocktail Bling). But other than that you’ll find the usual office scenarios: frantic keyboard tapping, conference calls, board meetings and brainstorm sessions.

The whole office is a Mean Girls squad

Yes you may come across some divas, a few Devil-Wears-Prada-type characters, but as with most companies you will find that your co-workers are friendly, helpful and welcoming. The only difference you may find compared to other industries (excluding fashion) is that you are mostly surrounded by women. Although that’s the source of this myth (cat fights! eye gouging! back stabbing!) female-dominated professions should be celebrated and will often provide you with an encouraging environment to voice your opinions.

When the going gets tough, the sales go down

Quite the opposite. Known as the lipstick effect, an increase in beauty sales during a recession shows that although we may not be able to afford large items such as cars, beds or a new bathroom, we feel the urge to treat ourselves to a little luxury, perfectly packaged in the form of a lipstick (or nail polish in my case).


Beauty is so frivolous it serves no purpose

I’m not going to argue that working in beauty saves lives in the way that doctors, nurses and the fire briguade do. But studies have shown that wearing makeup can give women a boost in self esteem (International Journal of Cosmetic Science). Researchers found that wearing makeup can make individuals feel more confident, and who wouldn’t want that before an interview or important presentation?

Me me me, it’s all about me 

There is a perception that beauty is self-serving and encourages navel-gazing. But there are a number of charities that use beauty to make a difference in people’s lives. Look Good Feel Better is a cancer support charity that helps women to manage the visible side effects of cancer treatment. They offer workshops and masterclasses led by volunteers, teaching cancer patients how to recreate missing eyebrows and style a wig.

You must wear a full face of makeup at all times

Unless you are working at the counter in a department store, you are not expected to turn up to work with a face contoured à la Kardashian. If you are presenting the brand to a customer or a retailer it is advisable to showcase your interest in the products by wearing some, but for a normal day in the office it’s up to you what you feel comfortable in (or what you have time to apply in the morning after deciding what to wear/discovering it’s in the wash/finding a clean shirt/calling your mum). If you get challenged by your boss, do the men in the organisation wear makeup on a daily basis?


All you do is play around with makeup

A lot of product testing does go on, and when we receive the new collection it can be lots of ‘ooohhs’ and ‘wows’ and ‘can I try the red one’. But there is a purpose to all of this – I promise! Working in the product development team you’ll be trying on formulations all day, testing textures, scents and colours to create a new product. In marketing you’ll be keeping an eye on the competition and trying out their new launches. And if a collection has just landed, the whole office should be giving it a go!

Do you have any beauty myths you would like to see debunked? Leave a comment below to let me know.


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