beauty department stores los angeles

Beauty department stores are either a saving grace or living nightmare for makeup addicts. Once you step into these stores, you’re immediately taken into an overwhelming experience where you’re surrounded by beauty products (hair, makeup, skincare, etc) ranging from smaller brands to high-end ones. It just feels more exclusive and luxurious compared to your usual drugstore. At Chic Studios, makeup school in LA, we’re always heavily influenced and inspired by the beauty industry. The following cosmetic retailers have completely transformed the beauty industry but where did they get their start? It’s time for a history lesson! Get to know the story and history of our favorite beauty department stores in Los Angeles and some great rewards and discounts you can receive when shopping there after becoming a Chic Studios graduate!


history about sephora

Sephora is a staple in the makeup community! The beauty mogul retailer got its start in 1969 when Dominique Mandonnaud opened up his first perfumery. He didn’t like the fact that most cosmetic products were hidden behind a counter and guarded by intimidating sales representatives. The message was clear: try before you buy! He took products out of their boxes and encourages customers to try, touch, and smell before making their decisions. In 1995, the Sephora brand launched and on average, 6 million visitors flock to the Champs-Elysees flagship store which is more than the Eiffel Tower! Today, Sephora has 300 stores in France, as well as 1,700 in Europe, North and South America, the Middle East and Asia. Their stores have over 17,000 listed prices and they’re constantly growing and acquiring new brands to showcase.

In 2007, they launched their Sephora Rewards Program that we all know and love. The idea of Beauty Insider was built on the history of solid customer relationships and was created as a state-of-the-art customer service and loyalty program.  The more products you buy, the more points you receive which you can redeem to buy exclusive products found in their Rewards Bazaar. There are different stages: Insider, VIB (Very Important Beauty Insider) and Rouge and they all depend on how much money you spend at Sephora in a calendar year. The two premium levels (VIB and Rouge) for Beauty Insider give clients access to even more exclusive gifts, event invitations, and early access to select products. This is great because you can keep adding and buying more items to your Chic Studios makeup kit all while getting rewards whenever you step into Sephora!


history about ulta

Today, Sephora and Ulta are the top competitors when it comes to beauty department stores. Since opening its first store in 1990, ULTA Beauty has grown to become the top national retailer providing all things beauty in one place. The company offers more than 20,000 products from over 500 well-established and emerging beauty brands across all categories and price points, including ULTA Beauty’s own private label. There are at least 970 stores open in 48 states. Unlike Sephora, you won’t find as much higher retail items but you’ll be able to find drugstore brands and MAC Cosmetics in-store! ULTA Beauty also offers a full-service salon in every store featuring hair, skin and brow services. Ultimately, Ulta Beauty was designed for women to go into freestanding stores, such as found in strip malls, that allow them to feel comfortable shopping in a makeup store, with no workers handing out samples.

ULTA Beauty is recognized for its commitment to personalized service, fun and inviting stores and its industry-leading Ultamate Rewards loyalty program. You’re able to shop and earn points for every dollar spent in-store and online and redeems those points (good for a whole calendar year) on products and services offered. With enough points, you can also use them to receive discounts on products, double the number of rewards during your birthday month, and get a complimentary birthday gift as well.

Nigel Beauty Emporium

history about nigel beauty emporium

If you’re a makeup artist living in Los Angeles, you’ll definitely be familiar with Nigel! Nigel Beauty Emporium is a professional beauty supply store located in the NoHo Arts District of North Hollywood, California. Since opening in 2007, it has become well known as a store “where Hollywood makeup artists go to keep the likes of Sandra Bullock, Megan Fox and George Clooney powdered and buffed.” Nigel Beauty Emporium carries a variety of professional cosmetics, skincare, haircare, special FX, tools, and accessories, featuring over 1000 different brands.  It also makes its own beauty accessories, tools, and supplies under the Monda Studio and Nigel Pro brand names.

Nigel Beauty is a haven for all makeup artists! The store regularly holds workshops to educate make-up artists on new products and techniques from brands like Makeup For Ever, Temptu, Kevyn Aucoin and many more. They have a pro program which is open to professional makeup artists, hairstylists, estheticians, cosmetologists, and union members. By signing up for Nigel PRO, they’re able to receive a 40% off discount in-store and online. After enrolling at Chic Studios, our students are automatically signed up into our Chic Pro Community where we share a catalog of 30+ stores that they can sign up for PRO cards for.  It’s always great to be a certified pro makeup artist in Los Angeles! 

Frends Beauty

history about frends beauty

Frends Beauty was established in 1940 and is the industry’s one-stop-shop for professional hair and makeup artist supplies. Frends Beauty is staffed with accredited professional artists and special fx experts to assist you in your purchases. What’s so great about Frends is that they’re a close-knit family owned business. They’re not a large corporation and only have one location. The impact they have in Los Angeles is huge! Because they’ve supplied the majority of the largest budget films and television shows, they have great insight into what products are in high demand. In our LA makeup school, towards the end of our Master Makeup Artistry Course, we take our students on a shopping trip to Frends where they’re not only treated with an airbrush demo but given the chance to shop and use their new discounts!  Our makeup school in LA is located at 833 S Spring Street, so we’re close by to Frends and Nigel Beauty Emporium!

It wouldn’t be a beauty supply store without a discount program. Frends with Benefits is the official discount program for Frends Beauty. The program is open to both consumers and beauty industry professionals, and we have it included in our Chic Studios Pro Card catalog. Consumers save 10% daily, and professionals save up to 40% shopping online. 

After completing makeup school, why not try your hand at working retail on the side? We’re always telling our Chic Studios graduates to check out AllWork Beauty for the latest postings and news on job opportunities across the country. Beauty department stores like the ones listed above are constantly looking for makeup artists to work on the retail and corporate side. Start building up your resume today!