You know beauty, so now it’s time to turn your passion into profit. From launching a beauty blog to opening a nail salon, there are plenty of side hustles in the beauty industry that can help you make bank. 

As a beauty professional, you have insider knowledge of the top products, trends, and high quality ingredients that customers crave. Whether you want to sell skincare, nail art supplies, or hair care, the options are endless. With the power of social media, affiliate links, and stunning photography, you can promote and sell beauty products you love.

Overview of the booming beauty industry

The beauty industry has been growing rapidly over the past decade. According to McKinsey, the global beauty industry generated around $430 billion in revenue in 2022, and it’s expanding so fast that it’s predicted to reach approximately $580 billion by 2027. 

This growth is fueled by several factors, including the rise of social media influencers and beauty bloggers promoting new products, an increased focus on self-care, and innovative new offerings featuring natural and organic ingredients. 

McKinsey adds that the beauty industry has proven to be impressively resilient throughout the recent global economic crises. All of this makes it an excellent industry to enter as a small business owner. 

5 popular types of beauty businesses

Within this huge and growing market, there are many opportunities for aspiring beauty entrepreneurs. There are too many beauty business types to list, but here are some of the most popular options:

  1. Beauty blogger or vlogger: Build an audience by blogging about the latest beauty trends, products you love, makeup tutorials, skincare routines, and more. You’ll make money through ads, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing.
  2. Online beauty store: Source popular skincare, hair care, makeup, and nail products to sell on your own website. You’ll need to promote your store on social media to drive traffic and sales.
  3. Makeup artist: Provide makeup application and lessons for special events like weddings, proms, photo shoots, and more. You can also sell your own line of cosmetics as part of your business.
  4. Nail salon: Offer manicures, pedicures, nail art, and other nail care services. You can specialize in natural nails or gel and acrylic extensions, and even sell your own nail polish and products too.
  5. Hair salon: Provide hair cutting, coloring, extensions, keratin treatments, and styling. You can visit people’s homes and event locations to provide mobile hair styling, or operate your own salon and have customers come to your location.

The 6 most profitable beauty business ideas

With so many beauty business options in front of you, how do you decide which type of beauty business to open? The answer will depend on where your main passion and skills lie, but it also helps to know which beauty businesses can be the most profitable. 

  • Beauty blogger/influencer

With over 3 billion people on social media, influencing and blogging about beauty products can be a lucrative business idea. The startup costs are extremely low, but being able to make a living as a beauty influencer depends on building a sizable following online. With a loyal audience, you can collaborate with brands, create video tutorials and blog posts reviewing the latest products, and earn money as a beauty influencer.

  • Makeup artist

If you have a passion for makeup and making people feel beautiful, consider a career as a makeup artist. There are many ways to start a makeup artist business — you can work at a salon, spa, or as a freelance artist for weddings and special events. With the right skills and experience, makeup artists are always in demand.

  • Nail salon owner

The nail care industry continues to grow. It’s predicted to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.0% between 2202 and 2030, from $11.00 billion in 2022. Owning a nail salon that provides manicures, pedicures, nail art, waxing, and other nail services can be a profitable business venture. To grow a loyal customer base, you need to use high-quality products and keep up with the latest trends and techniques.

  • Selling beauty products online

The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar market and it keeps growing all the time. It’s easy to open up an online store and start selling makeup, skincare, hair care, and other beauty products, and startup costs are low, making this a profitable side hustle or full-time business. You can sell beauty products from wholesale suppliers, or make and sell your own natural, organic products. 

  • Eyelash extension technician

Eyelash extensions are a popular beauty treatment, and becoming an eyelash technician can be a lucrative career path. You’ll need to get certified in eyelash extension applications and invest in high-quality products. It can be a good idea to get experience working in someone else’s salon before you set up a salon space of your own. 

  • Waxing salon

Waxing has been a popular hair removal method for a long time, and it’s not going away. Opening a waxing salon is an opportunity to tap into this growing market. You can provide waxing treatments for eyebrows, legs, bikini area, backs, and more. Once you build a loyal customer base, you can add more types of beauty treatments to bring in more revenue..

Essential tips for starting a beauty business

Starting a beauty business can be an exciting new venture, but also requires careful planning to set yourself up for success. Here are some key tips to keep in mind:

Build a social media presence

As a beauty professional, social media should be a key part of your marketing strategy. Start building an audience on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube by posting updates, behind-the-scenes photos, and tips and tricks. It’s important to engage your followers by replying to their comments and messaging them directly. Once you have an established social following, you’ll have a built-in customer base ready to support your new business.

Develop a niche

The beauty industry spans a wide range of areas, so find a niche to focus on. Do you want to specialize in makeup artistry, hair care, or nail care? Do you want to sell skincare products or hair styling items? Choosing a niche will allow you to become an expert in your field and target your marketing and product selection precisely. As your business grows, you can expand into other areas, but it’s best to start with a specialization to establish yourself.

Provide high quality products and services

Whether you’re selling your own beauty products, providing a service like makeup application or nail art, or both, make sure you’re offering a premium experience. Use the highest quality ingredients and tools, stay up-to-date with the latest beauty trends and styles, and deliver a warm and supportive salon atmosphere. Beauty customers will pay more for an exceptional, professional service with amazing results.

Start small and build up

Don’t feel overwhelmed by starting a whole new business venture. You can begin as a side hustle to test the waters, then transition into a full-time job as your profits and customer base grow. Maybe start by selling a few homemade beauty products on the weekends, offering makeup or nail services out of your home, or working as a freelance makeup artist to gain experience. Build up slowly, learn as you go, and your beauty business will flourish.

Frequently asked questions about starting a beauty business

What skills and experience do I need to start a beauty business?

That depends on which type of beauty business you start. If you’re planning on opening a nail or hair salon or a makeup artist business, you’ll need experience and skills at caring for and styling nails, hair, and skin. If you want to work as an esthetician or waxing professional, you might need to get certified. Whatever you choose, you’ll need business and marketing skills to promote your services and sell beauty products. Many successful beauty business owners start their business as a side hustle, while still working in the industry to gain valuable experience.

How much does it cost to start a beauty business?

The cost to start a beauty business can vary greatly depending on the type of business. It costs almost nothing to start a beauty blogging business or open an online store selling beauty products, but a few thousand dollars to start a small salon or spa. You’ll need funding for essential equipment, supplies, and renting a retail space. 

A more substantial investment, like building a full-scale salon and spa or creating your own cosmetic line, can cost $50,000-$250,000 or more. Many owners use their own savings, take out small business loans, crowdfund or get private investors to help with the initial costs.

Get your beauty business up and running

With so many profitable beauty business ideas to choose from, the possibilities are endless for those ready to dive into the industry. With hard work and the right combination of skills and knowledge, you can build a successful and profitable beauty business. But take it step by step, focus on quality and service, build your audience, and establish a niche. Before you know it, you’ll be the owner of a thriving beauty business!