Beauty Product Manufacturers
Often, style and fashion drive the product, so cosmetologists are needed to help determine what types of products will help stylists to create the looks that are becoming popular at any given time. For example, when spiky styles came along, harder gels and pastes were needed to hold the hair in place.
Cosmetologists often work side-by-side with chemists to develop the actual formulas. The company sets up a sort of salon lab, where the cosmetologists try out the formulas as if they were in a real salon. This process is described by Mia McHugh, director of new product development at Scruples Professional Salon Products:
“A small number of samples called ‘bench samples’ is made. They are referred to as bench samples because they are made on the chemist’s bench and are not production runs. Once the bench samples are made, they are given to Scruples’ in-house testing salon technicians. The Scruples Test Salon has one mission—to make sure the products produced by Scruples outperform other products available in the product category. The salon works hand-in-hand with the Scruples Global Design Team collecting information and evaluating the item being tested.”
Style theme creation
Many companies issue “trend releases” every spring and fall that show new hairstyles or make-up trends for the coming season. Typically, a group of cosmetologists study the runway fashions, economic predictions and other influences and then brainstorm to come up with a theme and set of styles that will represent the company and products throughout that season.
Demonstration and education
All major product manufacturers employ licensed cosmetologists they call their “International Design Team” or a similar name. These hairdressers and make-up artists travel around the country, demonstrating at trade shows and conducting workshops in salons to educate other professionals in how to use their products to their greatest advantage and how to create the styles issued in their trend releases. Esthetics companies have educators who do the same thing with skin care products. At trade shows, this is called “platform work,” and the people who do it are “platform artists.”
Sales and marketing
Companies prefer licensed cosmetologists to go out and sell products because of the trust factor with the salon people who buy them. Also, if they want to demonstrate a product, they’re licensed to work on real people.
Each company has its own hiring requirements for these positions. Typically, coming right out of school you’ll work in a salon for at least six months to a year. That way, you’ll become comfortable using the product lines that the salon carries. You’ll meet that line’s salespeople, and you may take classes directly with the company. At that point, if you truly believe in the products, you may want to get involved with development, education or sales. While some cosmetologists work exclusively for product companies, others continue working in a salon while representing a product line.