How to Be a Beauty Editor So you want to be a beauty editor? Here’s my advice, plus 5 need-to-know tips

Devil Wears Prada So you want to be a beauty editor? Heres my advice, plus 5 need to know tips

Okay, so I know this photo is from The Devil Wears Prada, which is about fashion people (who are, for the record, far more intimidating than any beauty person you will meet). And I don’t post it here to imply that that book/movie is in any way representative of what it’s REALLY like to work at a fashion magazine. (For starters, nobody actually lets you raid the fashion closet. You’ve got a much better chance of getting your hands on something from the beauty closet… which is just one reason why being a beauty editor is pretty fabulous.)

Seriously though—I mention The Devil Wears Prada here because what that movie did (and subsequently, The September Issue and even The Hills) was give people a TASTE of what the magazine world is like.

And lately, it seems like a lot of you guys want to be part of that world.

Probably the number one question I get asked is how to be a beauty editor. And not just since I started—every time I used to do public events when I was the beauty editor at ELLE Canada, nobody would care about what I was presenting… people just wanted to know how they could, uh, get my job. And I don’t blame them: being a beauty editor is, in many ways, very awesome.

It is also an incredibly competitive field and truth be told, isn’t for everyone. So here are some tips if you’re thinking about this as a career choice:

woman typing on typewriter So you want to be a beauty editor? Heres my advice, plus 5 need to know tips

1. It’s not about the makeup.

Or the skincare, or the hair products, or the glamorous events, or getting to wear stylish outfits, or… you get the idea. It’s about the writing.

Let me repeat: It’s about the writing.

One of the biggest misconceptions about beauty editing as a job is that you need to be a beauty expert to break in. Not true. In fact, what you will find is that most of us have sort of just fallen into it as a career path after pursuing a job in magazines generally, and then became beauty experts on the job. Beauty editors are editors first, and beauty experts second.

So if you are a makeup artist, esthetician, hairdresser or involved in the beauty industry in some other way—I’m sorry to say, but it really doesn’t give you any advantage at all if you cannot also write, and write WELL. (On the job, what beauty editors do is a mix of writing and editing—usually shorter bits of copy are produced in-house, but freelancers are responsible for longer, more in-depth articles, which the beauty editor then edits for publication.)

Beauty editing is also not about reviewing products. Since when have you ever read an actual, honest product review in a magazine? Almost never (this is one big reason beauty blogs have become popular, but more on those in a minute). When beauty products appear in magazines, it’s more of a product mention, for reasons that might include: a) it’s a new launch, b) the brand is an advertiser or potential advertiser, c) it fits into a story on, say, moisturizers. Falling far down on the list is d) the editor has actually tried it. (That being said, when a product IS simply amazing, usually a beauty editor will find a way to include it somewhere… but when it’s placed in a sea of untested products, it can be very hard for a reader to separate the wheat from the chaff.)

The other thing that beauty editing is not about is the glamour. Sure, it’s there alright—I can’t tell you the number of interns I’ve worked with over the years who’ve become glassy-eyed at the sheer number of products that magazines get sent, or the fawning publicists, or the fancy events we get invited to where the champagne flows and the swag bags are filled to the brim with free samples. All of that is very nice, and it’s definitely part of your job as a beauty editor to develop good relationships with beauty brands (both because they might advertise in your publication and also because they’ll help you generate great story ideas). But if you are too caught up in this aspect, it is both obvious and detrimental to your career prospects.

Quite simply, what is required is to have an instinct for beauty writing—and that is MUCH harder than it appears. If you think it’s easy being able to write about the 23rd mascara launch of the year in a fresh, engaging, compelling way, think again.

Teen Vogue internship The Hills So you want to be a beauty editor? Heres my advice, plus 5 need to know tips

2. You don’t need a journalism degree.

But you DO need to do an internship.

A lot of people want to get into magazines after working in some other field first, which is what I did. And I’m sorry to say, but that experience kinda means squat. Nobody is going to hire you for a mid-level position out of nowhere. There’s just no getting around the need to suck it up, be humble, and do an internship (which is usually unpaid). Ex-interns are the pool from which editors draw to hire entry-level positions like editorial assistant or assistant editor.

In Canada, you will need to get thyself to Toronto (although there are a few jobs to be had in Vancouver and Montreal, Toronto is where the majority of opportunity lies). You can usually find internship listings on or, or just call the magazines you’re interested in and ask.

To GET the internship, yes, it helps if you have some kind of journalism or English degree (although I have neither). More important is demonstrating some kind of writing proficiency and ideally, published work. (I’ll get to that next.)

Also a good idea: take some courses in the Ryerson Magazine Publishing Program. Their courses on fact-checking and copy editing are particularly excellent.

Will going back to school and getting a post-graduate degree in journalism give you a leg up? Nope—you’ll still have to be an intern when you start out, so I would say don’t waste two years and $20,000…not if this is the ONLY reason you’re doing it. (I have friends who’ve had a GREAT time at grad school, but in Canada, it’s really not a necessary step to getting a job.) The good news is, however, if you’re coming into this with a few years of other experience under your belt, you’re likely to rise faster through the ranks if and when you DO land that job. At least this has been the case with the interns I’ve worked with—the older ones tended to be more mature, better writers, and with less attitude.

A quick word on attitude: it really can make or break you as an intern. I cannot stress enough that you should treat your internship as a JOB: show up on time, be polite and professional, and most importantly, be proactive in asking your editor what you can do to make her life easier. What you do IS noticed, even though you may feel completely unappreciated and insignificant. Editors are just super-busy, and probably jaded by former intern horror stories (trust me, we all have some). But if you can gradually earn their trust and respect, they will help you get a job later on. It’s true!

bloggers So you want to be a beauty editor? Heres my advice, plus 5 need to know tips

3. Before you even go for an internship, start a blog.

So maybe you’ve noticed? A lot of ex-editors (including moi) have jumped ship from staff positions to the Wild West that is the internet. (I still also freelance for various print publications.) The trend is clearly going towards the web—and while magazines have never been the most stable places of employment, they’re particularly unstable right now. There’s just not a lot of opportunity for movement or advancement, particularly as you move up the ranks, and most publications are still fairly silo-ed in that print people don’t really work on web stuff and vice-versa.

Starting a blog is advantageous in that:

a) it is pretty much like having your own personal magazine, which helps you develop the (writing, packaging, branding, snappy headline-creating) skills that editors are looking for (and the fact that you’ll have web skillz, which are VERY different from print writing, is a HUGE bonus)


b) you might find that you don’t even want or need to go the traditional print route to becoming a beauty editor.

Honestly, I think we’re in a transition period right now where it’s not quite clear how magazines are going to transform to meet the needs of the Internet generation. But I’d put money on the pendulum swinging to the web side—so getting yourself in the door now is SMART.

magazines So you want to be a beauty editor? Heres my advice, plus 5 need to know tips

4. If you’re still keen on getting a staff job, don’t be afraid to pitch, pitch, pitch.

Internships only last three or four months, but entry-level beauty jobs come up almost never. Really, it’s very tough to land a position—you need to know this.

BUT if you are determined, the main thing you’re going to need to do is pitch story ideas to editors. Not just the editor you worked with during your internship, but at other publications too. (It would be a good idea to try and meet the ones at other publications while you’re still interning, especially if they’re within the same company, as a face-to-face connection is always best.)

When I was at ELLE, I was desperado for good writers—and NOBODY pitched me. It was absurd! So the opportunities are there—just make sure your pitches are well-researched and appropriate for the magazine you’re targeting. A great pitch will take you far, but a really bad one can blacklist you. Do your homework first.

Kim Kardashian OK magazine beauty editor So you want to be a beauty editor? Heres my advice, plus 5 need to know tips

5. Know that being a beauty editor isn’t everything.

Really, it isn’t. (And I’m guessing that Kim Kardashian’s job as contributing beauty editor of OK! is very different to the average beauty gal’s life.)

As much as I love what I do, this job ain’t for you if:

a) You want to earn a lot of money. I think it’s different in the U.S., but starting salaries for entry-level jobs are about $30,000, if you’re lucky. You’re looking in the $50,000 range for an editor position.

b) You want a 9-to-5 job. You see, those events that we have to go to as beauty editors? They’re great, but you still need to get your work done at the end of the day. So most beauty editors end up having to work long hours to get the work done that they’d otherwise be able to do during normal work hours.

c) You want stability. Magazines are sort of like (hopefully benevolent) dictatorships. What the editor-in-chief says, goes. Sometimes this is great and other times it’s not. You just never know with magazines—just like any creative business, things can change on a dime.

There are a lot of other ways to be involved in the beauty industry, like beauty PR, or marketing, or working with the public directly as a service provider. So definitely research those options as well. That being said, I personally cannot imagine doing anything else, so even though it IS crazy tough to get into this industry, I think determination can take you very, very far.

So now tell me (if you read this far!):

Has it ever crossed your mind that you’d like to become a beauty editor?
Still feel that way?
Maybe some of my beauty editor readers can weigh in here… any other advice for aspiring editor-types you wanna share?


Friday, October 15/2010 at 1:15 pm

Fabulous article! Very insightful and reassuring thanks for taking the time to answer questions I know a lot of us have had :)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 15/2010 at 4:38 pm

Glad you found it helpful! :-)


Jill D (
Friday, October 15/2010 at 1:42 pm

great honest advice! i will keep this bookmarked for the next time I get asked this question


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 15/2010 at 4:39 pm

Thanks! I didn’t realize it would be so long, but there is so much to say on this topic, isn’t there?


Friday, October 15/2010 at 1:47 pm

You made me laugh out loud in a Starbucks with that Kim Kardashian image!

Great piece, sound advice.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 15/2010 at 4:40 pm

Gotta love Google Images. I love that someone made that speech bubble.


Morgan @ Life After Bagels
Friday, October 15/2010 at 1:53 pm

From someone who is also in the beauty industry (but no I don’t have a beauty blog, well maybe yet that is . . . )

NO makeup job is ever as glamorous as you think it’s going to be, never, ever! I wish I could put out a public service announcement to the people who apply to work for me “I do not spend my day trying on lipsticks!” hahaha


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 15/2010 at 4:41 pm

Yep! I think people get the idea in their heads—especially if they’re currently working in some super-boring job—that IF ONLY they could work in the beauty industry, things would be perfect. Not sayin’ it won’t be a lot more creative and interesting, but there are downsides to every job. Some people are disappointed when the hype doesn’t live up to the reality.


Friday, October 15/2010 at 2:25 pm

Great article, such an interesting read. i would as far to say that NO job, period, is ever as glamorous as you think it will be – I work in PR, and it’s not just fun events and parties. Every job has is drawbacks. But if good stuff outweighs the bad, then you’re choosing the right career.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 15/2010 at 4:44 pm

Exactly! I’m sure in PR you must blame Heidi Montag for giving people the idea that it’s all just events and parties!


Friday, October 15/2010 at 3:00 pm

Well said! The only thing I’d add is that internships aren’t a must if you cut your teeth elsewhere. Then again, I may be an anomaly having started out in trade magazines first.
But this advice could also apply to getting a gig at ANY magazine, and not just beauty/fashion mags.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 15/2010 at 4:46 pm

You mean if you’re coming into beauty editing from having already worked in magazines in another capacity? Yes – true – you wouldn’t need to do an internship necessarily if you already have some sort of magazine background. But I think trade is very tricky… I generally would caution against it as for some reason it seems to be super hard to get out of. You are one of the lucky few!


Friday, October 15/2010 at 6:35 pm

That said, if it’s beauty trade it’s not a bad place to start. You’re at least learning the ropes writing about an area of beauty, even if it is the crazy, effed up, egomaniacal world of hairdressers. *Shudder*


Friday, October 15/2010 at 3:50 pm

Did you spell skillz with a “z” ;)
I think you forgot to mention how undervalued our jobs are even within the realm of our own industry. Other journos who cover politics or business or finance think we’re vapid and superfluous. Meanwhile, the style books and sections of newspapers are what carry the rest of the ship because we bring in the ad dollars.
My advice: Do it if you love it, not because it sounds cool. Because not being able to make rent is never cool. Not even when your bedroom floor is littered with designer shoes and your bathroom cabinets are stocked with La Mer products.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 15/2010 at 4:50 pm

I sure did spell it “skillz”. These are the things I’ve learned since leaving my print job!

You can always be counted on for delivering the cold hard truth, so thanks for adding it here. So true that we get no respect.

And even truer (and more tragic) that this industry breeds champagne tastes on a box wine budget. If only landlords accepted lipstick in lieu of rent money…


Friday, October 15/2010 at 6:40 pm

Racco’s point is evident as well when you look at the NMAs.

Designer shoes? Not on a beauty editor salary! I do wish I could make mortgage payments in product, though.


Friday, October 15/2010 at 4:16 pm

Amazing advice Michelle! It’s crazy that you weren’t receiving many pitches at Elle. I’ve been holding off on pitching to big name mags because I was under the impression that editors receive a million of them on any given day.

Ugh, Kim Kardashian. Why does she exist?


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 15/2010 at 4:52 pm

Oh, definitely don’t be afraid to pitch the big ones! If you already have some published work, then go for it! If the idea was fantastic, and the pitch was well-written, I was always willing to give the writer a chance.


Friday, October 15/2010 at 7:40 pm

Amazing post! Great advice – yes I thought about being a beauty editor at one point and even started calling myself one until I realized I am not one haha. I love writing but don’t have the technical skills that a beauty editor should have.

Every industry has its drawbacks but I’d say a job in beauty is probably more fun than any other job! Being a makeup artist, I also get asked how to get into the makeup industry. It seems like everyone wants to be a makeup artist. It’s a fun career but definitely A LOT of hard work and hustle. Lugging around a heavy kit and arriving sweaty on every job is not my idea of glamourous! lol


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, October 18/2010 at 9:34 am

Thanks Joy! You know, I’d love to read a similar post about makeup artistry. I mean, it seems like a similar field in that a lot of people *call* themselves makeup artists but their underlying skill sets must be so different. (Not that I think you necessarily have to have formal credentials… some of the best people are self-taught.) But I’ve always wondered – what does it take to become a truly great, world-renowned makeup artist… how do you become, say, a Gucci Westman or a Pat McGrath?


Erica Lee
Sunday, October 17/2010 at 12:53 pm

I LOVE that you talk about beauty editing as well, an EDITING job. I think so many people think the lives of beauty/fashion/any type of magazine editor are all runway shows and product samples — with very little thought given to the fact that it is an EDITING job.

As a writer, it used to make me angry that so many people started talking about wanting to work in the magazine industry (particularly people with little-to-no writing skills) after shows like The Hills made the job look like cake. But now, even though I don’t aspire to be on a magazine staff anymore, I have sort of accepted that the people looking to get in just for the perks are the people who won’t be able to hack it once the real work (aka writing and editing!) starts.

I’m so glad I found your blog. (:



Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, October 18/2010 at 9:40 am

Hi Erica! Yep, you hit the nail on the head re: editing. And yes – I’d definitely agree that the people attracted to this field (or any outwardly glamorous field, for that matter) for superficial reasons ultimately cannot hack it.

I think that’s one reason all the beauty eds I know are really geniune, nice, cool people… they do the job for the right reasons.


Sunday, October 17/2010 at 2:06 pm

Great article! I have enough skincare and makeup in my house to start my own blog, and while it’s a hobby/passion, I just don’t have the /drive/ to pursue it. I do research in and lab and medical school/grad school is where I’m headed off to in the future, and that is enough to keep my hands full.

This is really helpful, though, not just for people who want to be beauty editors but writers as well.

I love visiting your makeup blog because you have such a good narrative voice and I love your descriptions. Taste is also something you have in spades, and that’s what sets you apart from other websites. I find that your advice is more practical than other blogs’…sure, dramatic makeup is fun, but it’s not really something that I use much! Learning and reading about the no-makeup makeup look, skincare, cute wearable hair, how to wear a red lip, etc…it’s all stuff that I actually like to read about and *gasp* apply to my skincare/makeup routine!

Gawd, I cannot believe Kim Kardashian is a “beauty editor.” I realize it’s mostly a just a title for her, but her taste is basically perpendicular to mine.

Off-topic, but the Giorgio Armani cosmetics website is having a 15% discount plus free shipping so I was hoping to find the blushing fabric but they don’t have it on their website anymore! Oh, why did I wait??!?!? But I did get an eyeliner and the luminous silk foundation. They have a pretty lenient return policy, and looking at swatches online, I guess 6.5 is a pretty close match, plus I have *tons* of stuff that are too light or too dark for me to mix it with, so I’m not too worried. The undertone of it is yellow, so that’s more important.

I’m feeling a little sad about waiting so long to get the blush, but it’s okay. I might check up on counters when I go to Montreal or NYC when I have time. Haha, I realize I’m being a little silly because it’s just makeup but I have SUCH a weakness for cream blushes!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, October 18/2010 at 9:50 am

Well maybe you CAN combine your science background with beauty and become some sort of product formulator. P&G hires TONS of PhDs – I’ve toured their labs and seems like a fun place to work. Just a thought! :-)

Re: the Armani blush – I wonder if it’s just sold out… I’d be really surprised if they discontinued in the U.S. but made it permanent in Canada. It’s so crazy good – hope you can find it at some point. Also interested to hear how you like the Luminous Silk!

And thanks so much for the feedback re: my content. I’m thrilled to hear that it is resonating with you – that means a lot! xo


Monday, October 18/2010 at 4:44 pm

I second Skybluesky’s comments about your blog being more practical. I read fashion mags all the time, but I’m not a model on a runway! I can’t wear crazy-ass eye makeup to work everyday, c’mon!! I also love that you’re not afraid to be honest. If something is crap, you let us know :)

I’m also very glad I found your blog. So much great advice and amazing writing — I’m sure my boss wonders why I’m chuckling at my desk occasionally :)

Keep up the awesome work, Michelle!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 29/2010 at 3:41 pm

Thanks Gimped! And thank YOU for being here… you give me half my post ideas, I swear! :-)


Monday, November 1/2010 at 10:06 am


Monday, October 18/2010 at 6:24 pm

Sigh, I can dream! That’s not a bad idea! It takes a lot to go into product development…but I’ve done everything from surgical research to infant formula testing to developing a soy coffee creamer. I am always searching for my life’s meaning in my work.

I will definitely tell you about my experience with the GA foundation…I am a huge makeup snob but I think you understand! ;D

I really meant what I said about your blog, there aren’t many blogs that talk about how high fashion beauty translates to everyday beauty. It also helps that it’s easy to read (nice, readable font on white background)…I love nothing to read your blog and indulge with a croissant haha.

Again, off-topic, but did you hear about the Sephora friends and family sale? I think it’s on Friday and I believe it’s available to to Canadians too.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 29/2010 at 3:40 pm

Love ya Skybluesky! That compliment means a lot. :-)
And (sad face) I guess I missed this Sephora F&F sale… so behind on getting through these comments!


Monday, October 18/2010 at 4:36 am

I think beauty editor sound like an interesting carer path. I’ve done some freelance journalism and I’m trilingual (Norwegian, French and english) so that might give me a leg up since most fashion magazines have a base in Paris too. And norway is such a small country, 4 mil people, I’d have a bigger chance there than most places.

Sounds like something I think I’d be able to do. What are the best things and what you’ve learned from working? Like the good life lessons, this one was kinda a “wake up, it’s not all glitz and glamor” post. :)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, October 18/2010 at 10:07 am

Hi Johanna! What are the best things about the job? Well, getting paid to write, obviously… and I love beauty as a subject matter. There are so many layers to it – it’s a bit like fashion in that it can be trend-driven, but it’s also ultimately about health (all the things we value as “beautiful” – good skin, shiny hair, etc – are biological cues for the state of our bodies). And of course, it’s all tied up with issues like self-esteem and what it means to be a woman. Fascinating!

Other things that are great:
- getting to talk to some of the world’s top beauty experts
- getting a sense of trends before they become mainstream
- there is always, always something new (great if you have slight ADD)

However – if you notice, none of these things are actually exclusive to working in magazines… you could just as easily experience them through blogging. (Still – if you’re dead-set on mags, I don’t think I mentioned this above, but I really recommend Jean Godfrey-June’s book Free Gift With Purchase for anyone looking to read more about what it’s really like to be a beauty editor. Definitely a must-read!)

As for what I’ve learned – I think the biggest skill (aside from technical editing/writing stuff) is actually related more to branding/positioning. When you’re working on a magazine (or blog for that matter), you’re creating an entire niche, an entire world for your reader. What does she like… what does she want to read about… how should articles be “packaged”? Developing a knack for this kind of insight is invaluable and very transferable (I think) to other fields.


Monday, October 18/2010 at 9:57 am

Great advice Michelle! Honest and informative. I would definitely advise cherry picking a few courses from Ryerson’s Magazine certificate program. It’s actually changed and is now a combination web/print certificate, which goes to show you are probably right and web will be the future of publishing.

Best of luck to the future beauty editors!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, October 19/2010 at 3:59 pm

Oh interesting – I did not know that. Thanks for the heads up… maybe *I* need to take some of their new courses now :-)

Monday, October 18/2010 at 1:43 pm

Great advice Michelle!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, October 19/2010 at 4:00 pm

Thanks friend!


Monday, October 18/2010 at 4:57 pm

Just a general comment …

I’m a grad of a multimedia program and have been a web producer for 5+ years, and I can tell you that blogs and other social media outlets are the way of the future. Blogs have been around for a while, but people always find new and creative ways of utilizing them. And things like Facebook and Twitter … you’ve only just seen the beginning. If you want to get into any kind of publishing, make sure you get some web background as well; writing for the web is totally different than writing for print. And knowing how the web works is a great step forward. You don’t have to know how to build a website from front to back, but understanding the basics of building a webpage, how important and powerful search engines are, and knowing your audience and how they utilize the web will make or break your web presence.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, October 19/2010 at 4:04 pm

Thanks Gimped – you’re 100% right… there are so many web skills that your typical print editor doesn’t have and should, I think, consider developing. Just from running this site on my own here I’ve learned a huge amount about SEO, what content works & what doesn’t, and good web page design. Not to say that I don’t have a loooong way to go to improve things but it’s amazing how much I *didn’t* know a year ago.

By the way, a redesign – by a proper professional web designer – is also in the works so stay tuned!


Wednesday, October 20/2010 at 10:57 am

Cool! Can’t wait to see the new design!!!


Nicki Traikos
Tuesday, October 19/2010 at 1:23 pm

Great post and very informative!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, October 19/2010 at 4:04 pm

Thanks Nicki!


Keep Calm Style On
Tuesday, October 19/2010 at 5:18 pm

I was just catching up on your blog and absolutely LOVE this post. It’s exactly what the beauty world is like and you tell it like it is for those actually hoping to break into the industry. Too many interns and wanna-be beauty editors aren’t interested in the hard work. I think you really emphasized that while all the launches and parties are fun and games you really need to have drive and passion for making little to no income and be prepared to write something different about lipstick, over and over all while working long hours in an unstable industry. Doesn’t sound so amazing when I put it that way but it’s a passion and some have it and some don’t. I do recommend more education but don’t think it’s necessary — I did spend $20,000 on a post-graduate journalism degree. Not sure it got me any farther ahead initially — I think I interned at least five places total before and after my degree before landing my former beauty editor job. But hopefully in the long run it just reinforced skills I already had. Michelle, you rock. Seriously. I am going to pass this along.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, October 20/2010 at 2:25 pm

Exactly! Whenever friends carry on about how great my industry is, I have to remind them that they can actually BUY the makeup I get for free with their salaries. Most people would not be okay with this lifestyle.

Wow, five internships? That’s a lot. Okay, I am dying to know who you are and if I know you in real life! :-)


Saturday, October 23/2010 at 12:18 pm

This is something I am CONSTANTLY reminding my cousin when she says the same about my job. That she can afford to buy ALL the product I get for free in addition to leading quite a comfortable life on the $90,000 plus salary she makes!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 29/2010 at 3:38 pm

Yes but at least we don’t walk into an episode of The Office every day! (Well, actually… The Look was sort of like The Office. We’d have meetings where it would be dead silent for 5, 10 minutes at a time … everyone staring at eachother awkwardly. I wish we made a documentary.)


Wednesday, October 20/2010 at 1:44 pm

Amazing tips Michelle. For me, this is only a hobby and I don’t intend to ever make this into a career. But I can see these tips being really useful for someone who does intend to convert it into a career.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, October 20/2010 at 2:26 pm

Thanks Shivani!


Musing On Beauty
Friday, October 22/2010 at 3:57 pm

Excellent article. This also applies to people wanting to work as a makeup counter because they love makeup, when it’s actually all about the sales and they should have the same skills that you also need to sell shoes or books or whatever.
I love that beauty is my hobby and that I can write what I want and whenever I want on my blog. I do happen to do copywriting gigs from time to time on top of my full-time job, but they’re never about makeup :)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 29/2010 at 3:36 pm

So true! I always think of makeup counter people as makeup artists first and foremost, but you’re right… they wouldn’t be there if they also could not sell, sell, sell! (And Lordy I do NOT have that skill myself…)


makeup morsels
Saturday, October 23/2010 at 10:13 pm

ooh really nice, informative post! Thanks so much for writing this, it was definitely helpful.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 29/2010 at 3:36 pm

Glad you enjoyed MM!


marissa bushe
Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 7:58 pm

Hi Michelle,

Great article! Very insightful and honest. It also helps put the magazine/beauty editor world into perspective for those of us who work outside of it, but still with it (e.g. In PR, marketing, etc).

Really enjoyed this!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, November 2/2010 at 9:07 pm

I’m glad! Thanks Marissa.


Monday, November 8/2010 at 7:02 pm

Oh my, thanks a lot for the insight! I did take a class at the local Writers’ Association on “How to write for magazines”, got some great advice on how to “pitch” in all sorts of publications, stuff you just won’t know if you don’t have a base experience, like DON’T send a whole finished article to a publisher, (especially if you don’t want your work to end up in a Pharmaprix Beauty section under someone else’s name!!), how to present your idea for an article so that you’ll appear professional, etc.

It’s nice to be able to compare the stuff I was taught then with a more specific beauty twist. I wrote for paper and web music publications, both benevolently, and SO many people would come up to me saying how lucky I was, getting to see shows for free, interviewing “celebrities” and such.. Everytime I’d sigh and tell them it wasn’t all it’s cut out to be! Sure, you get free entrance to shows, but sometimes you’d get 4 shows in a week, 3 of which you would’ve gladly stayed home for, and then getting back home, you have to reasearch that group from Iowa you know nothing about, then write yet another article about how great the ambiance was, find new synonyms to “guitar” and “setlist”, not even mentioning the pressure of writing on a subject you know close to nothing about to a crowd of “connoisseurs”.. And those interviews? Lame. There’s no more “old-school” face to face interviews anymore kids, it’s all by phone or e-mail, at best you’ll find an interviewee that’s web-savvy enough to chat over MSN or something!

As for respect, I’ve learned the following:
1) If you work for a web publication, you ain’t getting none. You’re just not “good” enough for paper, or so they say.
2) If you expect to be treated like a special guest with a media pass, you are sorely mistaken.
3) If you want fame and recognition, by all means, don’t become a writer. Go on The Price is Right instead, you’ll be most likely to get stopped on the street if you do than if you write for a living. Just sayin’. ;)


Monday, November 8/2010 at 7:05 pm

more likely*


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, November 10/2010 at 6:32 pm

Great tips, Kat – funny how beauty writing is similar in many ways to music. I actually prefer, for the most part, doing interviews by phone or email instead of face-to-face. (Unless it’s a celebrity of course, because what they look like is usually part of the story.) Not very “old school” but as far as getting good quotes, I find it so much more effective. You can type and talk – and it’s easier to keep the conversation flowing as you can refer to your questions without them knowing. But I usually do pretty technical skincare or health writing…

I will also say that while it used to be the case that print > web, that is starting to change now.


Friday, November 19/2010 at 9:30 am

Thanks for all the tips. Really appreciate it.


Saturday, March 26/2011 at 1:42 pm

Thank you for all these tips. I’m italian girl, I discovered this blog last week and i’ve to congratulate for your excellent work. maybe i’m doing a lot of mistakes, i’m not very good in english, so forgive me. i’ve always tought i wanted be a journalist, and i’m doing Literature at the University to follow this dream and recently i’ve had the opportunity to do a short internship at Vogue Italia, in the beauty editorial, where I learn very much stuff about this world and I understand that what I want to be is a beauty editor, so your advices are very precious! Thank you :)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, March 26/2011 at 7:00 pm

Glad it helped – good luck!


Thursday, April 7/2011 at 12:45 am

thanks for being honest! i want to be a beauty editor and i couldn’t find anyone who would tell me the the truth about the job and how to get there. they make it seem so easy to get there, when in reality it takes years before you actually get to be a beauty editor! it was a great post! you have an awesome blog! keep up the amazing work!


Sunday, May 1/2011 at 6:55 pm

Oh my freakin’ God.
This post could have been literally MADE for me it is so spot on! This is EXACTLY what I have been trawling the internet trying to find, but I never thought I’d find it here as I thought it would simple be about the beauty itself! I was wrong. This is amazing, and has given me a lot to think about… Thanks for telling me about this post, it’s made me even more determined to be a beauty editor!

Huge fan, fellow blonderexic Thomas xx


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, May 12/2011 at 12:33 am

Thomas I would LOVE to work with a male beauty editor! We don’t have any here so you should come to Canada :-)


Annabelle Louis
Sunday, May 29/2011 at 7:04 pm

What a fabulous article! I would love to become a beauty editor some day, I’m very passionate about makeup and even started my own blog just so I could ramble on about all the things I love!


Wednesday, June 22/2011 at 2:23 pm

Blunt, honest and inspirational to many aspiring bloggers. Thanks :)


Saturday, July 16/2011 at 11:34 am

Very glad I found this! I’m going into my last year at high school and I’ve no idea what I wanted to do after! So I started thinking of things that interest me one of which is beauty! So at least I now have an idea!


Alyson Margaret
Saturday, August 13/2011 at 9:01 pm

It’s really interesting and awesome of you to let us know what the experience of beauty editing really is like as a career! I’ve got my own beauty blog, which I love, and I don’t see myself pursuing it to full-time career-level, but I’d love to gain experience writing guest spots on different blogs (which I’ve begun applying for). You’ve got me brain storming for more blog ideas – thank you!


Thursday, August 25/2011 at 12:26 am

Wow, I really like your article. Although I am not pursuing a career in the magazine line, I am impressed with your views and advices. I was actually scrolling for information on how to be a beauty blogger, as my blog is directionless, and stumbled upon your blog. Was wondering do you have advices for aspiring bloggers who wish to be beauty bloggers?

With love from Singapore


Thursday, January 19/2012 at 9:20 pm

I recently graduate from college with a Public Relations major and Business minor. I want to go to school for esthetician and I was wondering if there are any “behind the scenes jobs” that can combined the two other than beauty editor or blogging. Just trying to figure out what I wanna do in life and it’s hard!!


Tuesday, February 14/2012 at 8:26 am

I’m going to join the long line of those who love your article and all the information that it provides (but I will admit this is the first time that I have left a comment on any blog). I have a law and account degree, have worked in make up (got the job despite being self-taught) and am now working at a large law firm as an editor. But after reading this I am pretty sure that I want to be a Beauty Editor but I guess that I should start a blog first! If you would ever find yourself wanting to review a Japanese product but have trouble sourcing it, I would be happy to help as that is where I am now, though originally from Australia. Thank you again for the tips and I will definitely become an avid reader here.


Wednesday, September 19/2012 at 7:46 pm

I have a question. How do you go about pitching story-ideas? In other words, how would you present it to a beauty editor? Simply reach out to them. Also can you provide an example of what that would look like?


LeNea Navarro
Tuesday, June 18/2013 at 2:54 pm

Of Course I would Love to be a beauty Editor after reading this! If anything you only inspired me more to get it moving and my career flowing. I know this is what I am meant to do because creative writting has always been my most talented trait and of course researching and using all the beauty products on my self and clients. I belive that this industry is all about who you know and once you get your foot in the door you better be prepared to give your A game and take your self to the top, just like the make up industry you can make or break your name ( brand) in a matter of minutes.
This was extremely helpful and I cant wait to get going everyone keep an eye out for my name.


Sunday, October 6/2013 at 6:11 am

Thanks for brining me back down to earth. As a woman who is almost 30 (eek) and desperate to find her place in the beauty indusry it was refreshing to hear your real-world view of my latest career choice.


Tuesday, June 3/2014 at 2:42 pm

I have been a copywriter for beauty brands (nume products for one) for a couple of years now and my company has just launched it’s own blog called Beauty Rival. I’m excited that I could just swoop in and grab the bull by the horns. So lucky. As I grow here, I’ve realised that being a beauty editor is kind of my dream. I’m writing an article about beauty careers right now and am totally referencing your article! I want to be just like you when I grow up! :)


kary williams
Thursday, July 10/2014 at 3:15 pm

Ms. Michelle,

I love this article very much! Its highly informative and gives me a whole glance at what I’ll need in order to make my dream come true.
Im 14 years old and want to be an beauty or fashion/style editor but Im leaning more towards beauty editing, and my mother thinks that this isn’t the job for me because, “its for people who love to read and write” which I think I personally do but, I would just like to know what personality or personal view would you prefer is best for the job of beauty editing?

BTW: your a big inspiration to me I’m planning on starting a few internships in high school, and I’m also planning on creating my personal blog on new beauty and fashion trends, and lastly creating sort of like a self made magazine to prove to magazine companies what I can do, it will also help build my resume for a magazine beauty editing job. I look up to you so much, you are basically everything i want in my career and future. your article is very helpful and I look forward to checking out your blog more often.
-Kary, 14, New York City.


Leah Ross
Thursday, July 24/2014 at 11:27 pm

I want a job in the beauty industry, and I’ll admit I’m having a hard time deciding which area I want to focus in. I’m going to be graduating in 2018 with a degree in Communications…which is very broad. I came across an article about beauty editing and I thought I’d like to know more so I eventually found this article and I’m very glad I did! I think I’m going to lean towards beauty marketing or beauty PR, I’m not sure a simple “mention of a launch” can do justice to this beauty lovers heart!! Thanks for the great article, you really helped!


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