11 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Beauty Internship

Photo credit:  @ctilburymakeup

Photo credit: @ctilburymakeup

By: Ariana F.

This article originally appeared on Ed2010.com

Lipsticks, eye shadows, and body washes—oh my! Beauty internships sound like a lot of fun, but don’t be fooled—they are hard work. Ed knows firsthand—he worked in beauty back in the day. (Why do you think he has such great skin?) So he sat down with a few of his most beautiful beauty-editor friends and found out what they are looking for in an intern. (Hint: It’s more than just being a “beauty junkie.”) Here are the 11 essential things to get you started.

Organize, organize, organize!

“Be as organized and meticulous as possible. Working in the beauty closet demands extreme organization and it only makes everyone’s job easier when an intern is on top of everything.” — Molly Ritterbeck, now an editor at Fitness Magazine, formerly a beauty assistant at Seventeen

“It may not seem like putting away new items on shelves is the most important task, but it is crucial that editors are able to grab a specific brand or color for a last-minute shoot. The best beauty interns I’ve had make the closet look like Sephora, (and in turn are much more knowledgeable about the beauty market). — Nikki Ostasiewski, manager of global education development at the Estée Lauder Companies Inc., formerly an associate beauty editor at More Magazine

“It’s more than just organizing body lotions. Get to know your editors and remember details (or write them down in a notebook). If an editor mentions she will be missing a day of work at the end of the summer to attend a family wedding, make a note in your calendar. Even remembering their favorite Starbucks order can get you points. If they know you can remember small details, they’ll know you can be trusted with bigger tasks.” — Anonymous assistant beauty editor

Don’t waste any time.

“If you’re surfing the Internet, you’re wasting your time. If your editors don’t have a project for you, suggest your own. Use the information on the incoming press releases to update the department’s contact list, print out articles or studies that an editor can use as reference in her next article, or spend time reading press emails to pick up on brands and beauty vernacular.” — Anonymous beauty director

Always be professional.

“Don’t complain about your internship on Twitter or Facebook. (We all have bad days; just don’t tell the world today is one of them.) And never post any details about your internship online—that means no Twitter Pics of the gorgeous new Chanel lipstick.” — Anonymous assistant beauty editor

Ed note: Many beauty companies work in line with the magazine’s lead time, and just like a magazine’s cover model isn’t disclosed until press time, beauty brands will make editors sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) during exclusive previews. Posting a photo to Facebook or Twitter could violate those rules, so always be aware of time-sensitive material.

Remember that the beauty industry is very small.

“Beauty editors see each other at events all the time. If I have a great intern, chances are I’ve already recommended her for an internship to my friend who works at another magazine.” — Anonymous assistant beauty editor

Read everything.

“You should be up-to-date on what’s happening on beauty blogs, in magazines, Women’s Wear Daily, websites, newspapers, etc. Thanks to Google reader there is really no excuse to be uninformed. We always appreciate an intern who is able to contribute new and useful information. “ — Nikki Ostasiewski

Before you ask a question, Google it.

“The editors are always there to help you learn, but sometimes you can learn a lot by trying to find the answer by yourself. Take initiative when you need to know, ‘How do you spell Demarchelier?’ and speak up about things like ‘How many copies did you want?’” — Alexandra Samuel, now the co-founder of Glossy.io, formerly an associate beauty editor at SELF Magazine

“There’s no such thing as a dumb question, but don’t be afraid to try to figure something out yourself. You shouldn’t hesitate to ask your supervisors important questions, but be aware that they are very busy throughout the day. Try to work some things out yourself (like how to use the scanner) or ask a fellow intern.” — Molly Ritterbeck

Make the most out of every task, no matter how small.

“Whatever you do, do it well! We all got out start by unpacking bags, calling in products, and sorting lipsticks by color. It may not seem important, but it’s a great way to learn how things work in the beauty department and get familiar with brands we work with everyday. Plus, do that well and your editors will know they can trust you with bigger projects.” — Alexandra Samuel

Take initiative.

“If you see a product that catches your eye or a makeup trend that’s popping up everywhere, put the products aside and tell the editor at the end of the week. We’re always looking for new ideas and that one trend you spotted could end up in the magazine.” — Anonymous assistant beauty editor

“Request copies of upcoming lineups, so as you put away beauty products and open bags, you can start pulling items for upcoming stories.” —Anonymous beauty director

Ask to attend a deskside.

Ed note: Beauty brands will often ask to meet editors in their offices—or deskside—to go over new launches and technologies. Knowing what products are coming down the pike is a big part of a beauty job.

“After you’ve been with the magazine for about a month or six weeks, ask the editors if you can shadow them on a deskside. That’s a great way to learn about new launches and make contacts with publicists in the industry.” — Anonymous beauty director

Don’t take products unannounced.

“One of the perks about a beauty internship is that you’ll score free body wash or eye liner, but that doesn’t mean you can get greedy. Every magazine has a different policy when it comes to taking home products, so it’s important to know what that is. You may not think that your editor will notice if one out of the 10 lipsticks from the Maybelline New York mailing is missing, but there’s a chance that the shade you just stuck in your bag is the one they need to shoot. You’ll be surrounded by product all day, and it’s great to show you’re enthusiastic about trying new things, but be sure to ask the mag’s policy on product testing. If the title has a blog, you can always suggest to write up a review, though nine times out of ten, your editor will just tell you to just take it.” — Anonymous associate editor

Above all, stay positive.

“A great attitude goes a long way and editors remember their interns who did it all with smiles on their faces.” — Molly Ritterbeck

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