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How to Start Your Own Cosmetics Line

Four Parts:Getting the Appropriate KnowledgeDeciding the Extent of Your Cosmetics LineSetting Up the BusinessPromoting the Products

So you really love the beauty industry. You also have an entrepreneurial kind of spirit. Combine these two passions, and you just might have a knack for starting your own cosmetics line!

Part 1
Getting the Appropriate Knowledge

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    Understand how makeup works and what trends exist in makeup. If you really want to go into business selling cosmetics, you must be fully versed in the details of why and how makeup works. This goes well beyond just putting it onto your own face––it means truly understanding the chemistry behind makeup products, the methods for making the most of facial features and the ways in which cosmetics can be used to remedy specific problems, from dandruff to skin breakouts. Some methods for improving your deep knowledge include:
    • Getting a college diploma in Cosmetology
    • Reading the biographies of people who have started some of the most famous cosmetic lines, such as Helena Rubenstein, Estée Lauder and so forth
    • Getting a basic background in chemistry, perhaps even doing coursework in chemistry
    • Learning about alternative ingredient options (the greening of makeup is now big business)
    • Spending time learning which ingredients go into different types of cosmetics, such as lipstick, foundation, etc.
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    Experiment at home. Borrow and buy books on making your own cosmetics. This hands-on experimenting, coupled with the knowledge you are gaining, will help you to get a good feel for how ingredients work together and for the ability of these products to deliver the things you hope they will, from softer skin to brighter hair.
    • There are many good books on making cosmetics available in libraries and book stores. There are also lots of online suggestions but be careful about these; check that they are safe and don't automatically believe that they will achieve the end results you're after––you'll need to test that aspect for yourself.
    • Ask friends if they would like to try your products.

Part 2
Deciding the Extent of Your Cosmetics Line

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    Consider which area of cosmetics you want to concentrate on. The term "cosmetics" covers a broad range of products, including hair, skin and facial products. It even covers toothpaste and deodorant, so it's a good idea to know which area you want to concentrate on initially. Your business will be more successful if you narrow it down at the beginning. For example, Poppy's Lipsticks are famous worldwide, quite probably because she didn't also try to have Poppy's Eyeshadow, Poppy's Shampoo and Poppy's Skin Bedazzler all at the same time... Concentrate on the area that interests you most, that you know you will be good at and that you know the market can handle at this point in time.
    • As your business gets off the ground and feels more robust, you can add new lines to your existing line. Until then, concentrate on being the best in one line. Perfect it, build your name and use that to gain the respect needed to launch more ideas.
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    Learn marketing skills. Cosmetics is a field already full of people vying their products. What sets most successful cosmetics apart from the rest is the marketing––from packaging to promises of ever-lasting youth, you'll need to find the right hooks to draw in your future customers. And ask yourself the tough questions:
    • What is so special or different about your product over others?
    • Why should a customer try your line and forgo using another line they already enjoy using?
    • What sort of packaging will create a recognizable brand for you that has wow factor, trustworthiness and reliability all rolled into one?
    • What special ingredient or factor are you focusing on? Many products choose something that they sell as their special niche, such as "organic", "natural", "rose infused", "macadamia nut softening", or whatever! And do you have scientific facts to back up your claims that your product will do what you're promising?

Part 3
Setting Up the Business

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    Think of a name. This is going to be a very important part of your business and defines the line as well as the business. In some cases, you may consider your own name to be sufficient. In others, you might like a boring company name, like Backroom Industries Inc., to cover all the administrative things, and have an exciting line name, such as Blackhole Galaxy Facial Powder.
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    Consider whether you wish to start from home or lease premises. Leasing premises can be expensive at the start. One option can be to rent space in an industrial kitchen or a laboratory to test and make your products, then have these stored somewhere safe and dry before shipping to the sales locations. If you do want to rent premises, keep the overheads low and don't try to move into an area that is expensive––start at the lower end and change to more expensive premises when you can afford more.
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    Talk to financial and legal advisers when setting up the business. They will need to cover aspects such as insurance, patents and trademarks, meeting safety standards for the production of cosmetics (you need to know these rules too) and other such things as leases, safe storage of the goods and employment contracts/salaries for staff.
    • Register your cosmetics business once you've sorted out the finer details.

Part 4
Promoting the Products

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    Sell your cosmetic line in as many ways as possible. This includes visiting department stores directly to ask them to stock your cosmetics, selling online in your own shop and through auction or consignment stores and even through parties at which you demonstrate the cosmetics.
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    Have key selling points clearly in your mind. Have about five major reasons ready to tell people as to why your cosmetics line is amazing and worth trying. Be honest and have a background story as to why you started this business.
    • For example, you might tell people that your lipstick is brighter than other lipsticks because you've included the glowing aura of the Ophelia flower picked at the stroke of midnight. You got the idea when hiking the backwoods of Opfiala county one summer three years ago, during a time in your life when you despaired of ever finding a lipstick that worked at night... and so on, you get the drift!


  • Know what age group you want as your target market for your cosmetic line. This will help you to define the whole appearance of the product, packaging and advertising.
  • Find volunteers to experiment your cosmetic products on. Let them know what the ingredients are, in case of allergies though. Let them opt out of using anything they don't want to use, it's their prerogative.
  • Try using more organic and natural ingredients. People have lately been trying to be as green as possible, and if your products are all-natural as well as appealing, people will be drawn to them!


  • Do not test on animals. That has become a serious taboo, in recent years, and may turn potential customers away from your cosmetics line.
  • Buying insurance is essential if you want to start your own business and cover any mishaps caused by the cosmetics. Like food, cosmetics can cause irritation, allergies and can provide an environment for growing bacteria. You don't want to be at the receiving end of a lawsuit without coverage for potential liability.

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