22 Insider Secrets And Stories From People Who’ve Worked In The Beauty Industry

Recently, we asked the beauticians of the BuzzFeed Community to fill us in on their ✨secrets and stories✨ from on the job. Here are some of the most revealing answers we got.

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Please note that some of the responses are from Reddit since they were just too good not to include!

1.“The amount of back room drama and gossip that goes on in any given salon would make clients never step foot in their salon again. Every client is talked about, judged, and rated on how good of a tipper you are.”

“The staff all hate each other and sabotage/backstab each other every chance they get. I left the industry after 10 years because I couldn’t stand the superficial drama and hate that the industry is filled with. If you ever wonder if girl-on-girl hate is still alive and well, walk into a salon.


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2.“I worked at a popular makeup store and all I will say is don’t try on lipstick!”

“Several times I caught kids smudging it on their faces and putting it back while their parents ignored them. There’s no telling how many go unnoticed.


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3.“If you’re applying for a job and are a great hairdresser but not the prettiest, you will lose the job to a prettier but less impressive stylist.”


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4.“I worked at a makeup store and there were people who would constantly take advantage of the sample limit — usually three samples per visit.”

“The same people would ask for the same items and as many as they wanted every day. If we said no, they would complain to corporate enough that they got an unlimited sample pass and we couldn’t say no.


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5.“As a hairstylist, we don’t care if you’ve used box dye, but TELL us. It could save your hair from melting off.”


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6.“I work at a global retail cosmetics chain. I don’t think it’s common knowledge that nearly every product that gets returned gets dumped into the trash.”

Even if it only left the store for 10 minutes, we can’t guarantee that the product wasn’t used, so we either throw out the product or pour it down the drain as a result. It’s also done to prevent garbage-jumpers from returning a product they didn’t buy. The amount of waste we produce is absolutely disgusting, and I wish more people knew about this.”


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7.“In my experience, the WORST clients are the ones who ‘used to do hair.'”

I’m talking about the people who went to beauty school in 1980 for two weeks. These people LOVE to tell you how to cut and color their hair in the most condescending ways possible. Two weeks of beauty school 30 to 40 years ago doesn’t mean shit!”


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8.DO NOT go to bed with your hair wet.”

It makes it more likely to tangle and break, especially if you roll around a lot in your sleep. I still admittedly do it more than I really should.”


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9.“As a makeup artist, a fun tip for you is don’t discredit drugstore and other cheaper branded makeup.”

There are so many amazing drugstore dupes for higher-end brands that have the same look on the skin. Unfortunately, with the Instagram beauty world being what it is, a lot of times people will look down on lower-end makeup as not being professional. This happens often with clients. They think because you’re not using a $150 palette, you are not a skilled makeup artist. It’ll look professional AND give you an opportunity to learn new products without spending a fortune.


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10.“I work as a hairdresser and I can honestly say that 80% of the time if your hair looks bad in the back and you don’t notice anything, we won’t tell you to get you out faster.”


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11.“I’m a hairstylist and one thing that’s always given me nail biting anxiety is when clients — especially new clients — say ‘Oh, do whatever you think will look best! I trust your judgment.'”

“Then they smile like they’ve just given you a giant gift on Christmas morning. Wonderful, now I get to try to guess what it is
they want, and half the time I’ve never seen the person before! The appointment now ends up feeling like a roulette game — will I or won’t I get paid for this? Please don’t do this to your hairstylist. We don’t have to like your hair when it’s done, you do.”


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12.“One time when I worked at a makeup store, I had this super snotty woman go get a manager because ‘no one wanted to help her,’ despite it being just my coworker and me on the floor and we were both already helping other customers.”

“I finished first and went over to help this woman. She wanted a shade match for a foundation, so I picked one out and handed her the tester to try. She told me it was too light, but I knew it was her shade. I put it back, pretended to shuffle things around on the shelf, and handed her the EXACT SAME tester. She tried it on and proclaimed, ‘Now THIS is the right shade!’ She bought the foundation. I said nothing.”


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13.“As a hairstylist in the social media era, I need people to know that just because we didn’t post your before and after, that doesn’t mean we don’t like it!”

I can’t tell you how many people question their hair because it wasn’t my very next Instagram story. Posting on social media is a job itself! We have to decide what pictures to use because we take A LOT. Then we have to write a caption and that’s always such a hassle. It isn’t your hair, it’s the technical work we have to do to get it posted that most of us don’t like!


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14.“I worked in the beauty department of Target for many years. About every month, the beauty department would be given a box of full-sized products to try, ranging from haircare, skincare, makeup, personal care, etc.”

“Some products were also very expensive. It was so we could try different products to recommend and test out. So if you’re ever hired at Target, remember some departments get extra goodies.


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15.“One thing I’ve never understood while working in the beauty industry is how people expect instant results — both with skin and haircare.”

They would come in, buy a product, use it once, not get the immediate results they want, and then come back and complain that it doesn’t work. That’s not how anything works! You have to use products, especially skin and hair care products, a few times before you’ll actually see results.”


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16.“Don’t ever trust skincare ‘beauty influencers,’ especially if they are working with multiple companies.”

“It typically takes two weeks to two months to see real results from ANY beauty product, and most of those influencers are just using the product once or twice. They are also being PAID to use the products. There’s no reason they have your best skincare interests at heart.


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17.“Use warm water to shave and cool water to rinse. Warm reduces irritation while cool closes your pores and follicles.”


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18.“Being a former hairdresser, there’s a reason we recommend buying professional products from salons, and it isn’t to make more money off of you.”

“Drugstores and similar places may carry the same products as us, but they don’t usually follow the same standards for disposing of old product that the professional shops do. To combat this issue, they put all sorts of filler in the products to make them last longer, but those cause damage to your hair.


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19.“Don’t lift your head in the shampoo bowl! That’s how we end up soaking the back of your shirt!”


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20.“My friend is a hairdresser and her biggest complaint is unrealistic expectations.”

People want to go from dark brown to platinum blonde in one session, bright pink hair that never fades, and amazing rainbow hair from a heavily filtered photo on Instagram. It’s mostly about expectations. For example, if you want blue hair, then expect bleach damage and split ends. Be prepared to spend money on color-safe shampoo, conditioner, hair treatments, and to maintain it regularly, change your pillowcases, etc. Don’t blame your hairdresser if you go swimming for hours and your hair turns green.


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21.“If you use conditioner in your hair, towel dry most of the water out of your hair after shampooing and before conditioning.”

“Your conditioner will penetrate your cuticle (the scales that make up your hair) better and give you a better condition.”


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22.And lastly: “Beauty products are
vastly overpriced. Think $5 cost of goods for a $150 product, or my personal worst markup: $23 for a $550 product that only lasts ONE MONTH.

You’ll get your most bang for your buck buying products that are in the price range of $20-100. There is absolutely NO REASON you should be paying $150 for a MOISTURIZER. Serums, yes, as those are the most effective step you can have in your routine.”


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Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.