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Selling Makeup Online: The Ultimate Guide to Start Your Cosmetic Brand

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Online marketing experts always say that you cannot have a physical store without an online presence. But you can have an online business without having to put up a physical store. Such a statement is applicable with cosmetic brands. Nowadays, you will see numerous brands and influencers selling makeup online and making a fortune out of it.

When you think about it, selling makeup online levels the playing field for large beauty brands and aspiring entrepreneurs. Like yourself. 

Marketing your beauty products on the internet gives you the opportunity to reach more customers than a physical store. But before you begin there are a few things to consider. This article will give you a complete guide on everything you need before starting your beauty brand from scratch.


Selling Makeup Online Is Competitive But Doable

The cosmetic industry is arguably one of the more competitive businesses out there. It is primarily dominated by global brands such as L’Oreal Paris, Clinique, and MAC. Thus, no one in the industry will say that selling makeup online is easy.

However, there is still room for new brands to thrive in the marketplace. The cosmetics industry is ever-growing with a 4.76% of projected compound annual growth-rate between 2022 through 2026 (Statista). This growth opens up doors for new brands to gain a share of the market.

Introducing a new makeup brand is still doable nowadays. Of course, it can be done with the help of persistence, marketing know-how, and knowledge of the changes in the industry.

Important aspects to consider when selling makeup online are pricing and product positioning. Makeup products have different tiers when it comes to market positioning. These tiers represent the purchasing power of the customers. 

High-tier makeups will cater to customers who are willing to pay a premium for an exclusive product.

Mid-tier makeups are for those who can afford premium products for an inexpensive price to get the most value for money.

Finally, low-tier products are inexpensive so that the masses can easily afford them. You can still find great products at this price point. 

Products priced higher will probably yield more profit than those priced lower. But profitability also boils down to how many products can you consistently produce and sell in a certain period.

Start Selling Makeup Online in 7 Steps

bright makeup flatlay

Source: Burst

When establishing your own makeup brand, there are important things to consider. 

Take note that these seven (7) steps cannot be accomplished overnight. Use these as your complete guide in selling makeup online and keep this article handy so you can track your progress along the way.

1.     Know your customers

When starting a new business, the first step is to know who you want to sell to. This means having a concrete idea of your buyer persona. A buyer persona is a theoretical image of your ideal customer according to sexual preferences, purchasing power, culture, profession, age, and more.

Basically, you want to identify these aspects when creating a business so you can tailor your product and your marketing efforts to capture your ideal customer.

the customer

Source: Burst

2.     Identify your competition

After identifying your ideal customers, you have to know the online cosmetics businesses that are already selling makeup online to them.

Take note of your top competitors and study their products. Analyze what makes them successful with your target customers. Is it the price, color, or scent? Do they have a quirky and unique brand name?

Also pay attention to how they market their beauty products online. Observe social media and identify how they talk to their customers and how they promote. After that, formulate your own strategy and make it better.

3.     Conceptualize your brand identity

Conceptualizing your brand identity is what will set your makeup brand apart from thousands of players in the beauty industry. 

Identify the core value that you want to communicate with your ideal customers.

  • Do you want to be affordable, or do you want to have that air of exclusivity?

  • Will your product be safe for all skin types?

  • Are you a brand only selling makeup online to women, or do you embrace sexual diversity?

  • Are your products all-natural and paraben-free?

List as many questions as possible to pin-point what you want your brand to represent. That way, you can come up with a message that will resonate with your target customers.

A sincere and genuine brand message will be instrumental in acquiring customers. In the same way, it will make selling makeup online a little less confusing because you have a concrete identity in place.

4.     Know the FDA regulations

woman is working on laptop

Source: Burst

You want your products to comply with the FDA regulations to ensure that you can continuously and legally sell beauty products to your customers.

Research the local FDA regulations of your area and make sure that you formulate your products within the legal parameters. If you plan on selling makeup online to a foreign country, say USA, it is wise that you formulate your products in accordance with their FDA rules.

This is to assure your customers that your makeup is safe to use. There is arguably no worse way to destroy a brand than having the FDA announce that a product is non-compliant.

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5.     Find a reputable manufacturer or supplier

With thousands of makeup brands sprouting every year, finding a reputable manufacturer or supplier has never been easier. However, you must be careful when choosing because some are better than others.

Make sure that your manufacturer can back up the qualities that you want to portray. Because when your product reaches your customers, there is no turning back.

6.     Do some testing

do some testing

Source: Burst

After finding a manufacturer, do not jump right into selling makeup online. Spend a couple of months testing the products so you can assure that they are according to the quality that you expect.

Have other people try out the product to gather honest feedback. This way you can make improvements before you release your product to the public. This will minimize the possibilities of complaints and negative reviews.

You can also figure out possible allergic reactions by testing your products. This will give you confidence and peace of mind that your makeup is 100% safe.

7.     Choose your online selling platforms

Selling makeup online wouldn’t be complete without choosing the right platforms in selling your products.

Some of the platforms that you can use are:

E-commerce platforms

Creating an online shop in e-commerce platforms such as ebay and Amazon will give your online business a marketing edge. These platforms provide valuable insights to make tracking your products easier than using excel sheets to monitor your sales and inventory. 

Create your own e-commerce site

Nothing communicates “serious business” better than having a website just for your makeup line.

Launching an e-commerce site is not that difficult. And when you use PageFly, the process becomes much easier and fun. Simply integrate PageFly to your Shopify account to unlock unlimited customization features in your website.

No website coding experience is required when using PageFly. You can customize your website by simply dragging and dropping texts, buttons, and images wherever you want them to be. You also get access to hundreds of templates that you can use on your landing pages.

PageFly also lets you customize how your online store looks on mobile devices. Thus, you don’t have to worry if it will be responsive or not.

Social media platforms

working on social media platforms

Source: Burst

The easiest way to establish a home business or a side hustle selling makeup online is by using social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. 

Facebook can be very effective in building a community. Instagram is helpful in showcasing your products because of its focus on imagery. And TikTok can be very helpful in creating product videos and integrating product links within the videos.

However, these platforms intertwine in terms of features when it comes to video content. Facebook and Instagram now have reels to compete with TikTok’s main function. Despite the similarities, each platform commands a different algorithm. Thus, what works in TikTok may or may not work for the other platforms’ algorithms.

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Useful Skills in Your Online Makeup Business

woman getting lip makeup

Source: Burst

When selling makeup online, you need to know how to convince people to buy your products. This is where marketing skills come in. 

Online marketing is a combination of creativity and digital skills that will come in handy in your journey. 

In learning these skills, you will give your business an instant social media boost to reach your customers at an early stage. 

Here are some of the skills you need to learn to improve your marketing game:

Product photography

You can now take captivating photos of your products using your smartphone. All you need is inspiration and a little know-how in basic photography. Practice taking pictures of products yourself. In a few snaps, you’ll get the hang of it and you will be rewarded with stunning photos of your makeup line.


man writing at desk

Source: Burst

Great photos tell a story, but without captions, it leaves the interpretation to your audience. That is where copywriting comes in.

Copywriting is a great way to make your brand come to life. Thus if you learn this skill, it will tremendously help you in selling makeup online. Not to mention that it will amount to huge savings during your startup months.

Videography and Content Creation

Online marketing nowadays is not just about photos and great captions. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok continue to improve their features and algorithms. As a result, the shift to video content is becoming more evident. 

Therefore, as an online marketer, you must learn how to adapt to these changes.

Take inspiration from existing brands and observe how they publish their TikTok videos and Facebook reels. You can also watch YouTube beauty influencers and learn how they promote products with their content.

Interestingly, these social media platforms give everyone a chance to go viral and gain hundreds of thousands of views in a month. You don’t need production quality videos. You just need to hit the mark. 

“I don’t have my own brand, can I still sell makeup online?”

The short answer to your question is YES. You don’t need to have your own product line to start selling makeup online.

You can still sell makeup online by promoting existing makeup brands in the market. This is arguably way easier than going through all the troubles of starting a brand from scratch. You can capitalize on an existing brand’s fame and reach and make a profit out of it.

Here’s how to do that:

Affiliate marketing

If you are a blogger focusing on beauty products, affiliate marketing will be a great way to profit from selling makeup online. Adding an affiliate link to your content is a straightforward process. When your readers purchase products using the link you provided, you earn a percentage of the sale without added cost to the customers. Thus, it is a win-win situation

You can build wealth selling makeup online with this approach if you have a good-performing website and an established community of readers.

Social media and sponsorships

If you are a known social media personality, or if you have the knack and confidence to showcase your talent online, social media and sponsorships are for you.

With the ever-progressing features of social media platforms nowadays, earning money from selling makeup online becomes easier by the day. You can now add affiliate links in your Facebook posts, Instagram reels, and TikTok videos.

Furthermore, if you have a sizable following on social media, you might pique the interest of beauty brands to partner with you. This is called sponsorship. Basically, you create content sponsored by brands and you can charge them according to your preferred rate.

Things to Avoid When Selling Makeup Online

working on laptop

Source: Burst

Online entrepreneurs often become successful selling makeup online because they know the dos and don’ts of the business. 

Here are some guidelines in conducting your online makeup business so you don’t fall for the same mistakes failed businesses did:

Promote the wrong brands

    If you plan to sell makeup from other brands, it is important that you choose carefully the brands you want to promote. Make sure that each brand you put in your online shop has a proven track record for product quality. 

    Check the background of the brand and look at the customers’ feedback. If the brand is bombarded with negative reviews, better to stay away from it. Always choose quality over quantity.

    Break your promises

      Market your products with honesty and integrity. Avoid making claims that you cannot prove. More importantly, never lie to your customers about your products. Otherwise, they will figure out your false claims and it will be very hard for you to recover from the negative reviews that are about to come.

      Go on a pricing slug-fest with your competitors

        It is good practice to put your products on sale once in a while to attract new customers. But do not fall into the trap of lowering the prices of your products just to match your competitors. 

        Regularly marking down the prices of your products might negatively impact your brand because it might send a different message to your customers.

        That is why it is important that you identify your product positioning even before you launch your cosmetics business. Once you figured that out, stand your ground. 

        Check out this article for a comprehensive list of social media marketing dos and don’ts.

        Examples of Successful Online Makeup Brands

        You can be successful in selling makeup online whether or not you have your own brand. It all boils down to finding the best products to promote. 

        Do you need inspiration for your online store? 

        Have a look at these successful cosmetic companies:


        Noie homepage

          Source: Noie

          Noie is a Danish cosmetic brand established in 2018. It specializes in creating custom-formulated products for its individual customers. 

          Before purchasing from its website, you need to undergo a skin test. Based on the results of the test, they formulate a product that is perfectly suited to your skin condition. Their website even guarantees a 30-day visible skin improvement.

          Beauty Bakerie

          Beauty Bakerie homepage

            Source: Beauty Bakerie

            Beauty Bakerie is an American e-commerce cosmetics brand established in 2011. Its products are unique in that they are flavored. Thus, it adds fun and enjoyment in the customer buying experience. 


            Glossybox homepage

              Source: Glossybox

              Do you want to have a cosmetics business without having to formulate your own products? Take inspiration from what Glossybox is doing. Glossybox is a German cosmetics company established in 2011. It found success selling makeup online by curating luxury-sized cosmetic samples for its customers. It carries hundreds of brands on its e-commerce website. 

              Sugar Cosmetics

              Sugar Cosmetics homepage

                Source: Sugar Cosmetics

                Sugar Cosmetics is an Indian cosmetics brand established in 2012. It specializes in stylish and high-performing flavored cosmetic products. They take pride in their cruelty-free process of creating their products.


                Althea homepage

                  Source: Althea

                  Here’s another example of a company who found success selling makeup online by offering other cosmetic brands. Althea was established in 2015 and it is Korea’s leading online beauty shop. It has its own product line but it also offers trendy Korean brands on its website.

                  Bottom Line

                  Selling makeup online is a lucrative business albeit a very challenging one because of stiff marketing competition. You cannot skimp on your marketing efforts because it is the only way for you to find success.

                  Expect to wear several hats at first. But as your business grows, you will gain monetary leverage so you can hire people to do repetitive tasks. 

                  One thing is for sure, if you combine persistence with financial discipline and mastery of online marketing, you will find success in the future.

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