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Are you familiar with the beauty department in print and digital media? If not, you might not be alone. The beauty department, sometimes called the “lifestyle department,” is a subsection of a magazine responsible for covering topics (like makeup tips or fashion) connected to women’s lifestyles. Since it deals with weighty subjects like cosmetics and beauty trends, the people working there are usually presentable and outgoing. Learn about the different levels and careers in a beauty media department.
A typical beauty department is structured with the beauty director at the top. The beauty director is responsible for ensuring everything within the department runs smoothly.
Under the beauty director is the beauty editor. There can be multiple beauty editors for a given department. They’re in charge of individual sections of the magazine. For instance, at Allure magazine, one beauty editor is in charge of the reporter section, the “News” section, containing all the newest products and industry news.
Below the beauty editor is the associate beauty editor. Like the beauty editor’s role, they also do a little writing and editing. In addition to writing and editing duties, they coordinate market work. Attending multiple events in a single day isn’t uncommon. Some days, there may be ten events for the associate beauty editor to attend, which means they’ll need to know how to prioritize and decline events at times.
Next are the beauty assistants. They’re mostly in charge of the administrative stuff. Interns also work on the administrative level. In addition, interns organize productions. For example, if there’s a story about sunscreen, the intern has to email every major company to gather information on the newest sunscreens.
The vast majority of people in the beauty industry begin as assistants, including the top-of-the-class Harvard graduates. It’s a common misconception that a great college education and writing courses will land you an editorial job fresh out of college. You can’t become a beauty editor without putting in your dues and working your way up the ladder. You’ll file, go through press releases, go to events, answer the phone, and do the scheduling. If you do the tasks you’re presented with really well at the administrative level; eventually, you can pitch story ideas. If your ideas get picked up, you can write the article. It’s all part of the process.
The right attitude along the way can help you rise to the top faster. Remember, there’s always room to grow. So don’t get discouraged by starting at the bottom. It’s just the nature of the beast, and nearly every editor started there, too.
Are you interested in pursuing a career in beauty media or related beauty careers? Download The Ultimate Beauty Career Guide to match your perfect dream job and learn how you can take your next steps.
There are many different career paths and areas of interest in the beauty industry. The seventh module of Yellowbrick’s Beauty Industry Essentials online course takes a deep dive into beauty media. During the course, students will learn about the challenges faced by beauty media professionals, learn about the skills and knowledge needed to write for print and online publications, explore the impact of social media on the beauty industry, and get an overview of the career opportunities available.
Danielle Pergament, a contributing editor and former executive editor at Allure breaks down what students can expect to take away from the course. Pergament is well-versed in all things beauty writing. However, there’s more to the beauty business than it may appear. Thorough beauty education and journalistic research skills are critical to accurately writing and reporting on beauty developments.
“When people hear that I work at Allure, their first or second question is always about beauty,” says Pergament. “What comes up a lot is beauty as journalism and how that’s not a contradiction in terms. This is something Allure has pioneered for 25 years, the idea that you can report on an eye cream, that certain products are more efficient and effective than others, that there is real journalism to be had in there.”
As a beauty media writer, you have to dig deeper — you can never trust a press release at face value. “I tell our reporters and writers to believe that everything is a lie. Believe every press release you get is completely untrue,” says Pergament.
She suggests going to an impartial third-party source, getting double-blind studies, and digging deeper into online beauty education. “You have to find the story and why it matters to people in beauty,” she advises. Why should somebody spend $30 on a product? Why should somebody get a cosmetic procedure? If they’re going to spend this money, it’s your job to deliver that information and make your reader a satisfied consumer.
Pergament states, “it’s an exciting time because we’ve moved on to a place where there are no beauty rules. Now, having blue hair is not shocking, nor is it men experimenting with makeup.” As beauty media members and journalists, it’s your job to report on trends factually and truthfully, not judge them, and share what readers need to know.
Companies use greenwashing tactics to retain environmentally-conscious consumers without having to put any effort into the causes they claim.
Sustainability and transparency often go hand in hand. Companies that are serious about the environment are typically excited to share their initiatives.
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