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I don’t wear makeup, not even a little, but millions of people do. From female teenagers buying lip gloss to male rockers buying nail polish; makeup is big business. Makeup and beauty products belong to the cosmetics industry. Cosmetics are care substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body, for example, skin care, color cosmetics, hair care, nail care, oral care, perfumery, and deodorant products and services. The global cosmetics products market is on pace to eclipse $1 trillion in the coming years. The United States accounts for 13 percent of global sales followed by the EU at 20 percent. Some of the largest manufactures include L’Oreal, P&G, Unilever, Estee Lauder, Shiseido, Avon, Chanel, and Revlon.
The cosmetics industry is evolving and creating products for new segments. The metrosexual segment is alive and thriving. A metrosexual is a man who is especially meticulous about his grooming and appearance. Many subscription box companies ship male-targeted products to their customers monthly, for example, Bespoke Post, Birchbox, and SprezzaBox. Another growing segment consists of people who choose not to identify as males or females, but something else or nothing at all, for example, a “gender-nonconforming” or “non-binary” person. Businesses are creating “gender-inclusive” makeup and similar products for those groups.
How to Make Money
Given the size and diversity of the cosmetics industry, it’s no wonder many content creators seek to promote beauty products. Many creators leverage YouTube and content management systems (CMS) to build and monetize their traffic. For example, WordPress is the most used CMS, and millions of individuals use WordPress software to operate blogs (including me). Although there are many ways to profit on YouTube, ad revenue and affiliate marketing are two conventional methods. Ad revenue comes from Google running ads on videos. Earnings are split between Google and channel owners and paid through AdSense.
Content creators, who double as affiliate marketers in the cosmetics space, typically promote makeup, beauty, fashion, dating, relationships, health, wellness, food, travel, and lifestyle items. Many affiliate programs in those categories are available on the top affiliate networks. Additionally, Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and other major retailers carry beauty products and have affiliate programs. Merchants typically link to their affiliate programs in their website menus and footers, and some offer programs on multiple networks.
The Top Affiliate Programs
Publishers want to promote the top affiliate programs because they can yield more commissions. It’s as simple as that. Other articles highlight “the best programs,” but most of them include random and unvetted merchants that won’t increase your earnings. Let’s identify what excellent and profitable affiliate programs have in common.
High Conversion Rates
The best performing merchants frequently convert traffic into sales. Earnings per click (EPC) indicates how much money an affiliate program is generating per click. It can also represent how much an affiliate is making per click. Without EPC or conversion data, it’s impossible to say how a merchant is performing. (Some merchants boast about how well their programs do without providing real evidence.)
EPC data is available on most affiliate networks, and a valid comparison can be made between similar merchants, products, and services. A merchant with a low EPC could indicate that conversion rates need improving or the merchant is new.
A Generous Percentage-Based or Fixed Commission
Advertisers who pay single to low double-digit commission rates (or who nickel and dime publishers) aren’t worth your consideration. (Note: some industries pay low rates because they operate on thin margins.) A commission rate of 20 percent is the benchmark I use, whereas the fixed commission amount will vary. An advertiser who pays well wants to:
- Scale its program and revenues
- Build profitable relationships and mutually beneficial outcomes
- Show an appreciation for affiliates
A Minimum Cookie Length of 30 Days
Giving marketers one or a few days to convert traffic is ridiculous and unfair. By contrast, a 30-day conversion period allows for prospects to become customers and affiliates to get credit for their promotional efforts. Although thirty-day referral periods are a standard industry practice, a minimum of 90 days should be commonplace.
A Low Payout Threshold
A low payout threshold keeps affiliates motivated and engaged. Many merchants have reasonable thresholds of zero to $100. On affiliate networks, $50 is the standard. However, some companies want publishers to reach $100+ before issuing payments, which is unjust.
Excellent Affiliate Tracking Software
Affiliate tracking software is the cornerstone of success, and there are good and bad applications. Reliable tracking, user-friendly dashboards, and robust reporting make for excellent user experiences. Activity data—such as impressions, clicks, and conversions—should be available. Applications that omit activity data and reporting make it difficult to track and evaluate performance.
Deep Linking Capabilities
Deep linking is the practice by which an affiliate creates a link to a specific page on the merchant’s site. For example, instead of using a generic homepage affiliate link, I can link to an article that relates to my post. Deep linking has the potential to increase conversion rates because traffic is sent to targeted landing pages. Most affiliate tracking apps offer deep linking, but advertisers might have to enable.
Fantastic Program Management
The best merchants typically employ affiliate managers who can run and scale programs effectively. These managers welcome everyone (not only existing customers) to promote their goods and approve affiliates quickly. Please consider the above criteria when selecting merchants and programs.
Cosmetics Affiliate Programs
- 100% PURE – 8% commission
100% PURE is the healthiest and most nourishing food for your skin and made from pure, organic nutrients. Learn about the 100% PURE affiliate program on ShareASale.
- BH Cosmetics – 8%
BH Cosmetics is a constantly evolving innovative beauty brand dedicated to bringing you the best in cruelty-free cosmetics. Learn about the BH Cosmetics affiliate program.
- Clarins USA – 10%
The Clarins Group uses its unrivaled expertise in the field of beauty to offer its customers safe and effective products. Learn about the Clarins affiliate program on FlexOffers.
- Clinique – 8%
Clinique is an American manufacturer of skincare, cosmetics, toiletries, and fragrances. Learn about the Clinique affiliate program on FlexOffers.
- Estée Lauder – 3%
Estée Lauder is an American manufacturer and marketer of skincare, makeup, fragrance, and hair care products. Learn about the Estée Lauder affiliate program on FlexOffers.
- Mac Cosmetics – 5%
MAC is a leading professional makeup authority whose unrivaled expertise in makeup artistry has made it a household name. Learn about the MAC affiliate program on FlexOffers.
- Olay – 11%
Olay understands how skin behaves through in-depth studies of skin biology. Learn about the Olay affiliate program on FlexOffers.
- Sephora – 4%
Sephora offers an unparalleled assortment of products and is highly regarded as a beauty trailblazer. Learn about the Sephora affiliate program on FlexOffers.
- Shiseido – 6%
Shiseido has created superior skincare and cosmetic products for decades. Learn about the Shiseido affiliate program on FlexOffers.
- The Body Shop – 5%
The Body Shop offers a full assortment of naturally-inspired products for bath, body, and skincare. Learn about the Body Shop affiliate program on FlexOffers.
- Avon – Up to 5%
Avon brings beauty to the lives of women all over the world. Learn about the Avon affiliate program on CJ.
- Colorescience – 5%
Colorescience is a luxury mineral makeup line that includes chemical-free ingredients, pure mineral formulations, sun protection, and colorful palettes. Learn about the Colorescience affiliate program on CJ.
- Dorco – 5%
Dorco is a leading provider of disposable razors, shaving systems, and cartridges for men and women. Learn about the Dorco affiliate program on CJ.
- Gillette Venus – 20%
Gillette Venus has continued to advance the women’s razor industry by creating products catering to unique needs. Learn about the Gillette Venus affiliate program on CJ.
- Elizabeth Arden – 8%
Elizabeth Arden is a global beauty company with an extensive portfolio of proven anti-aging skincare, trend-setting color, and legendary fragrance/beauty brands. Learn about the Elizabeth Arden affiliate program on CJ.
- L’Occitane en Provence – 2.5%
L’Occitane en Provence is an international retailer of body, face, fragrances, and home products. Learn about the L’Occitane en Provence affiliate program on CJ.
- Murad – 11%
Murad is a global leader in skincare science with a wide range of health and beauty products such as anti-aging, acne, age spots, and cellulite treatments. Learn about the Murad affiliate program on CJ.
- Safe and Chic – 10%
Safeandchic.com is a premier destination for clean and cruelty-free beauty products. Learn about the Safe and Chic affiliate program on CJ.
- Suzanne Somers – 8%
Suzanne Somers beauty and health products are pure, clean, and fun. Learn about the Suzanne Somers affiliate program on CJ.
- Yves Rocher – 15%
Yves Rocher offers an impressive selection of botanical beauty products including skincare, body care, makeup, fragrances, and bath goods. Learn about the Yves Rocher affiliate program on CJ.
- FabFitFun – $8
FabFitFun is a subscription box that offers full-sized beauty, fashion, fitness, tech, and lifestyle products. The box is seasonal, so it comes out four times per year. Learn about the FabFitFun affiliate program.
Male-Focused Affiliate Programs
- Barbasol – 8%
Barbasol is one of the leading brands in shaving cream and men’s shaving accessories. Learn about the Barbasol affiliate program on FlexOffers.
- Birchbox – Up to 16%
Birchbox offers a monthly subscription box of personalized samples for men. Learn about the Birchbox affiliate program on FlexOffers.
- Manscaped – 18%
Manscaped offers a product line specifically for male grooming needs. Learn about the Manscaped affiliate program on FlexOffers.
- Bevel – 10%
Bevel is the first end-to-end shaving system specifically designed for men with coarse, curly hair. Learn about the Bevel affiliate program on CJ.
- Gillette on Demand – Up to 40%
For more than 100 years, Gillette has equipped men with the latest shaving technology and razor blades. Learn about the Gillette on Demand affiliate program on CJ.
- The Art of Shaving – 8%
The Art of Shaving offers elegant hand-crafted razors and shaving accessories for men. Learn about the Art of Shaving affiliate program on CJ.
*Contact me on LinkedIn to add your affiliate program to the list.