How Makeup Brands Use Affiliate Marketing to Grow Their Business


Over the past 10 years, the internet’s growth and reach has grown immensely, has given careers to many internet personalities and has helped establish multiple multi-million businesses. With that said, the growth of internet personalities and makeup brands are in a definite symbiotic relationship where both have monetary benefits. These benefits include increased brand recognition, and overall business development. This relationship holds its roots in affiliate marketing.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Simply put, affiliate marketing is a marketing or advertising model in which a firm pays third-party publishers to send traffic or leads to its products and services. The compensation that the third-party publishers get is typically a percentage or fixed amount out of every sale that they make, whether it is a sale of a product or a service. Due to this, third-party publishers need to find a way to push the products to which they are affiliated. 

Affiliate marketing is mostly used in the e-commerce space due to the global reach that the internet has. The effectiveness of this marketing model is recognized by many prominent brands and successful e-commerce companies like Amazon. Hence, Amazon has introduced their very own affiliate program accessible to everyone with no pre-requirements. 

Beauty Affiliate Marketing Programs

The Beauty Industry has also recognized the effectiveness of affiliate marketing. So how do they implement it? 

    Internet personalities (Influencers) are very prominent and are divided into different genres, such as Beauty, Lifestyle, Gaming, Finance, Comedy, and many more. Moreover, these same internet personalities are present on multiple internet platforms, such as Instagram, Youtube, Blogs, and TikTok. The value behind their platforms is that some have an enormous number of followers, engagement, and reach. Many of them have mastered how to effectively connect with their audience on a more personal level. Their audience truly trusts them, what they have to say, their recommendations, and are invested in their personal lives. 

Initially, there were not many makeup and beauty brands that started to reach out to these beauty influencers. Morphe was one of the first brands to see the value of this marketing model and started to reach out to several individuals. Their model included offering Influencers a promo code with their name which the customers could use to get a discount. Influencers could then reap a percentage of every sale. This promo code did not only incentivize the third-party publishers, but also incentivised the customers to purchase the products! You can only imagine the number of sales that they were getting. In just a year, Morphe transformed from a start-up business to a multi-million company. Since then, almost every makeup brand has followed a similar model of an affiliate promo code or just providing an affiliate link. Even household makeup names such as Mac, whose business thrived in brick and mortar retail settings, started to offer affiliate programs, sponsorships, and collabs with beauty influencers.

What is the downside of this Affiliate Marketing?

Relying on Influencers’ reach to grow your business is a bit of a slippery slope. The most successful internet personalities are usually well associated with multiple controversies. As a result, the risk is that their once loyal audience can change their minds. 

    The relationship between Jacklyn Hill and Becca Cosmetics is one such example. The highlighter Champagne Pop from Becca sold millions, all thanks to its affiliation to Jacklyn Hill. However, after multiple controversies, their relationship came to an end. This proved detrimental to Becca Cosmetics as they were forced to close down their company in September of 2021 due to lowered Gross Merchandise Value (GMV). 

Due to this, it is better to partner up with internet personalities who have a smaller reach and a more loyal customer base. This will ensure that your GMV has slower but steady growth. This may also lead to more long term success with the overall affiliate marketing campaign.


Affiliate marketing can be powerful and mutually beneficial for both the brand and affiliate marketer. This marketing technique, that many companies including makeup brands now use, has proven very lucrative in today’s heavily entrepreneurial focused market. The key is to diversify the techniques used to attract customers to your affiliate marketing offer for different products and services and gain valuable insight from both their successes and failures of these techniques.

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