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Roundtable Discussion: What is working in the beauty industry really like?

WELCOME, TO ANOTHER FOOTNOTES ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION.

Hi Footnotes,

I have always been interested in the beauty industry but I’m not sure where to start or if it’s easy to get a job. Can you help?

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For this round table discussion we pulled in these experts:

  • Expert one: Working in a Beauty Salon
  • Expert two: Beauty Student studying a Certificate III in Nail Technology at TAFE NSW
  • Expert three: Makeup Artist and Founder of Oz Beauty Expert (Makeup expert)
  • Expert four: Diploma of Screen and Media Makeup (Media makeup)

FN: What do you do?

Beauty student: I have done my Certificate III in Beauty Services and am currently doing my Certificate III in Nail Technology at TAFE NSW. While I’m studying, I provide at home beauty services like waxing, tinting, tanning and nails for family and friends.

Makeup expert: My job changes dramatically from one day to another. I might be going to a fashion shoot, on an editorial, a television set – and I have to take into account so many aspects in each scenario, the lighting, the scene, the brief, the client. I have worked in Taiwan and China, for London Fashion Week, at Buckingham Palace and for movies like the Da Vinci Code. I also run my own beauty brand called Oz Beauty Expert.

Media makeup: Once I finished school, I took some off. I wanted to build experience in the industry. So that meant working at Sephora and Benefit Cosmetics and building my freelancing network. Then, I decided to enrol in a Diploma of Screen and Media course because I decided that I wanted to take my career to the next level – and that’s what I’m doing now.

Beauty salon: Last year, I finished my Certificate III in Beauty Services at TAFE NSW and now I work in a beauty salon.

I can do pretty much every service but this week I’ve been doing a lot of pedicures, waxing and tinting. I absolutely love it.

FN: What kind of careers in beauty can someone have?

Beauty student: There are so many different avenues that you could go down. You could become a makeup artist and specialise in media, events or camouflage makeup. With beauty, there’s waxing (all areas of the body from head to toe), eyebrow and lash tinting, deluxe manicures and pedicures, and of course, there’s tanning. Everybody loves having a tan!

Media makeup: My dream job is to work behind the scenes at New York fashion week doing the makeup. I know it’s a tough industry to crack, but I have the drive to keep working till I get there.

Beauty salon: There are so many jobs people can do. Even just within eyebrows, there’s micro-blading, waxing, tinting. I would say once you’ve learned the basics through a Certificate III you can then go and specialise and do a Diploma, where you’ll learn more complicated things like facials.

FN: How would a student get into the beauty industry?

Beauty student: Definitely research and look at all the different paths that you can take. I personally would study. You learn very important things, like how certain medications can thin someone’s blood, meaning that waxing could make them bleed continuously. To learn things like that, studying somewhere like TAFE NSW is important.

The teachers there really helped out with my learning and I never felt silly asking questions. Most of them have worked in the industry or owned their own business – so I felt like I could really trust them because they know what it’s like. They also have a clinic, so you get to practice on real people.

Makeup expert: Makeup is the kind of art where you can be creative, where you can teach yourself the trade; but studying gives you the roots, the foundations, the how-to’s that will help you. Studying makeup, it’s a really good way to learn all of the basics, the techniques, the tricks.

Before I started studying, I thought I knew a lot, but the course completely opened my eyes to the different aspects of the industry! I did a year’s full-time course, and I loved it.

Media makeup: A lot of people land jobs through connections. I mean, a teacher or mentor might give you the opportunity to volunteer on a photoshoot, for example, and then off the back of that you’ll land a job or a work experience position.

We actually have an assessment coming up where we need to reach out to agencies and makeup artists and see whether we can assist with any shoots they have coming up.

Beauty salon: I would recommend getting practical experience during high school, even if it’s just a half day of work experience in a beauty salon. Especially if you aren’t sure what aspect of beauty you want to get into, trying it out first is a good idea. I would also say that studying is important, especially doing the hands-on stuff like we did at TAFE NSW.

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FN: Is the beauty industry competitive?

Makeup expert: It is competitive and the industry in Australia is significantly smaller than in other parts of the world. A really great thing for a makeup artist to do is to travel.

Beauty salon: I didn’t expect to get work for ages after I finished my Certificate III. I just assumed that nothing would be available, but it was way easier than I thought.

I don’t think the beauty industry is overly hard to get into, I think it’s just about networking and finding someone who is willing to take you on.

Beauty student: I think there’s lots of job opportunities, mainly because it is such an innovative industry. There’s always something new – like lash extensions are huge right now– so they are always looking for beauty experts. You might not get a job straight away, but I think if you’re passionate enough you’ll be fine.

FN: What do you love about the beauty industry?

Beauty salon: I love people. I get to be with people all day, we can have conversations about anything everything. They have a good time and I have a good time. They always feel better when they leave, and I like that.

Media makeup: I just love to experiment with different colours, different facial shapes, things of that nature – and making people look and feel beautiful, obviously.

Makeup expert: I am creative. For me it isn’t just about wanting to play with lipsticks; I like makeup, drawing, it’s an art. If you are creatively inclined, if want to be creative with the product, then this is an industry for you.

Beauty student: My course at TAFE NSW totally changed my perspective on what I wanted to do. I found helping people through beauty is amazing. Take something like waxing someone’s eyebrows: they come out of the appointment and love it, they feel so uplifted and that is the best.

Get your foot in the door through studying a Beauty course at TAFE.

Disclosure: It’s important to remember these are just opinions of the panel, and that this article’s advice shouldn’t be used in isolation when making your decision about working with animals. Remember, opinions are limited to a person’s own experience. 

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