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MUA Business & Marketing

Real Talk About the Beauty Industry

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Real Talk About the Beauty Industry

Want to know what I discovered about the beauty industry when I became a makeup artist?

Everything is totally FAKE!

(Sorry if this disappoints you.)

When I first started my makeup artistry business, I really was fixated on having x amount of followers and likes. I aspired to have a portfolio full of magazine-quality images. I aspired to be that artist that everyone in the industry is begging for. As I started researching just how these amazing artists continue to rise to the top, seemingly so fast (or at least WAY faster than me), I realized one of two things.


1) Either I’m doing something totally wrong or

2) Everything is not as it seems…


Now, I am not doing everything right! Heck no, nobody does!

But… I get asked emails or DMs on Instagram almost everyday asking if I’d like to “buy engagement” or “get 1,000 new followers a week” and let me tell you, I could grow my account numbers exponentially for $10/month.  I could trick the algorithm to work in my favor. The crazy thing is, these aren’t all “bots” anymore. Companies are paying real-life people to engage on posts they care nothing about.

Yes. For a small fee, these real life accounts (who could honestly care less about me or my content) will leave likes and comments. This is real life! if you’d like to know how to spot these accounts, I’m happy to do a blog piece on this, just let me know by responding to this email.

People buy influence! In the form of followers, likes, and comments.


They also buy video views and subscribers on YouTube. They even pay to be published in magazines! I discovered this when I reached out to this beautiful digital magazine I was hoping to be featured in and when they responded with publication submission details, there were several pricing options that included guaranteed publication… including an option to buy a feature spot on the cover! Needless to

You can’t make this stuff up! Even Yelp, WeddingWire, and The Knot have hit me up (for years) saying if I pay $XX, I’ll show up at the top of people’s searches. It’s a crazy world we live in, y’all!

Inside the Beauty Industry Graphic Canva

The people who do this tend to work together, a lot. They are able to emanate amazing illusions of living a celebrity-studded, high-paced, Balenciaga lifestyle — which is oh so popular on social media. It’s literally unreal (literally and figuratively). The sad thing is, most of the time, these people are amazing artists and creators! They don’t need to buy into these sketchy tactics.


Why is this so pervasive in the beauty industry?


I can’t speak for others but in my humble opinion, their motivation is based on this illusion of what success is supposed to look like in this industry, which is picture perfect. This is fueled by the big-hat beauty industry marketing agencies, the real-deal beauty influencers, and the positive and successful response these images and videos bring to the bank. It’s crazy!


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The Big Cosmetic Companies Take Advantage of Small Businesses and Eager Freelancers & Sell Out To Mega Influencers

Free Marketing, Please?


So if you have a copy of my book, Be Your Own Makeup Artist, you already have read the section on the “Business of Makeup” — you already have an idea of where I’m going here.

Now, if you’re a business-minded person, entrepreneur, or fellow makeup artist, you know that marketing budgets eat up such a large part of business expenses — in time and money.

When you have everyone and their mother trying to get reposted by large cosmetics brands like @maccosmetics or @patmcgrathreal or @narssist, as a large makeup company, you have an arsenal of  FREE marketing material your fingertips. The simple repost is honor and payment enough for most social media makeup artists, and these large makeup companies know that.

I know for me, it’s extremely disheartening when I  spend a lot of time, money, product, energy, and vision in creating content and I see if being reposted with “exposure credit.” Small business who haven’t learned the evil ways are being taken advantage every second — it’s like free labor.


Copycats Run Rampant


My website was copied years ago and while it really sucked at the time, I learned that as you and your business become more successful, being copied isn’t a matter “if” but “when”. I wrote an article for HoneyBook on how I overcame being copied here.


This is small cakes though — nobody really cares about a small business owner’s site being copied. In my interview with Senna founder and world renowned makeup artist Eugenia Weston, you’ll hear what happened when a big brand copied her revolutionary product.



Senna Cosmetics Form-A-Brow


Does it look familiar to other similar products on the market? Sure does! It was Eugenia who conceptualized these and brought them to life via her brand Senna…

(Shameless plug — I’m in love with ALL of her brow products and they perform better than any others I’ve tried on the market… even other “bigger” names out there).


“If you can’t beat them Natalie, why not join them?”


Ok. This is a question I have asked myself so many times. Maybe if I had a few thousand more followers, certain people in higher positions might notice me. Or maybe I could actually use the swipe up feature on Instagram. These things have certainly crossed my mind! I just can’t do it. There’s no way I would be able to coach people on how to wear makeup and coach ambitious makeup artists on how to their businesses if my business was built on sand — but it’s hard when you can’t distinguish the businesses that were built on sand and the ones that were built off of experience?


My friend, about this time in the post you’re probably wondering “what’s the catch?” Or you’re waiting for me to sell you something. Or to click here or there. The thing is that you are being asked to do this all day long — make decisions about how you should spend your time and money. I’m not going to do that to you today.


In this world we live in it’s easy to get lost and confused with what real success looks like vs. the reality. Be careful, my dear friends. Be careful what you click on, who you follow, and why.


As always, I love to hear your thoughts. Let me know what you think about the beauty industry. Have you run into these things on social media? Do you agree, disagree, have something to share? It’s okay — we can still be friends. Leave your thoughts in the comments!


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Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can't put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you're doing it from a position of correction.

kevyn aucoin