How to Create a Portfolio for the Beauty Industry

Your beauty industry portfolio allows you to show your work to potential employers and clients in an eye-catching, creative manner. They are particularly useful in careers in hair styling, makeup, and nail art.

The work you include in your beauty portfolio can be critical to gaining credibility and generating business or landing a job. People often want to see exactly what kind of work you are capable of doing before they take a chance on you.

Though it’s best to create your portfolio while still in beauty school, it’s never too late to promote your skills through a portfolio.

Beauty Portfolio Format

While portfolios were once like scrapbooks, you're now expected to host them online, which allows prospective employers and clients to see your work easily. Portfolios today are like mini websites or even full-blown promotional websites highlighting you as a beauty professional.

Keeping your portfolio updated is essential, especially if you expand your skills and have more up-to-date work you want to showcase. A well-presented and current portfolio can help you pick up new clients, change jobs, and apply for advanced licensure programs and additional training opportunities.

What to Include in a Beauty Portfolio or Professional Website

There are specific things employers and clients may expect to see in your portfolio:


Once you master a skill or create a look you're particularly proud of, snap a photo (with client permission, if relevant) and add it to your portfolio. Before and after images are often fantastic. Make sure to use a high-quality camera (even a good phone camera should do) to take close-up, headshot-style images with clean backgrounds and great lighting.


For the online version of your portfolio, consider uploading videos of you actively showing off your skills. Videos are also ideal to show different angles of a haircut, or a makeup look on a person who is moving.

Testimonials and Positive Comments

You can include positive instructor or student clinic client comments if you're new to the field. As you gain experience, ask satisfied customers to provide positive comments you could add to your page. Even camera-shy clients may be willing to provide a quote to support you.

Proof of training, licenses, and certificates

Less obvious, but still useful for certain portfolio situations: detail your training as you would on a resume, including any specialized work you've done. You might also showcase copies of your licenses and certifications, though be aware of how much private information is available to the general public.

Do's and Don'ts of Beauty Portfolios

For effective beauty portfolios, consider these do’s and don’ts:

Do: Include Professional Information About Yourself

Your website or profile should include an "About Me" page, with relevant social media links and contact information to book your services.

Don't: Overload Your Page

While including photos of every creation you're proud of may be tempting, leave that to Instagram. Be selective in what you include in your portfolio. According to recent research, users spend just 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) forming an opinion about a website based on appearance, so you must make a great first impression. Curate your portfolio with only your best work in various categories or skills.

Do: Expand Your Portfolio as You Grow

When you're just starting out, you may want one portfolio page showing off all your work—there's no point linking to a nail art page if you only have one image! As you gain skills and take more photos and videos, you can divide or tag your work into sub-pages for each type of treatment or service.

Don't: Filter or Significantly Edit Your Images

While you can make minor adjustments to the photos in your portfolio—for example, brightening the lighting slightly or cropping them closer to the subject—you shouldn't use Photoshop or other apps to change the finished look excessively. It should be an honest representation of your finest work.

Do: Check Your Spelling and Grammar

Anything written in your portfolio must be checked for spelling and grammar. Being accurate makes it clear you're detail-oriented and care about how you present yourself. If you're not an English whiz, ask a skilled friend to review your writing.

Don't: Just Assume Your Portfolio Works on All Devices

We live in the smartphone era, so you must make sure that your portfolio looks good across a range of different devices. In the beauty industry, likely 70% or more web traffic comes from smartphones, so it's crucial that your portfolio looks great and functions well on both cell phones and computers.

Tips for Creating a Physical Beauty Portfolio

A physical portfolio is becoming less necessary but good to have just in case. For instance, you might want a physical portfolio to bring to interviews for a hiring manager to flip through easily.

A paper portfolio must be user-friendly, just like an online portfolio. Use a professional-looking binder that lets you easily switch out images and change the order of pages, add additional certifications, and has tabs that allow the reader to flip through sections quickly.

When printing photos, make sure that they are high-quality images represented professionally. Don’t let a blurry printout or a sloppy glue job detract from your hard work.

Updating Your Portfolios

Whether online or physical copies, there's no hard-and-fast rule about how often you should update your portfolios. Online portfolios—especially if you're running your own and not paying someone—can be updated as frequently as you want. Anytime you do something fantastic, consider updating it. You should also update your portfolio each time you gain new certifications, change places of employment, or change contact information.

Choosing an Online Portfolio Service

Your online portfolio should be a clean, user-friendly website that allows your visitors to see your best work quickly. You can use a free website service to create a site that fits your needs. Services like these often have portfolio templates you can use to get started quickly.

Consider taking advantage of premium options if you have a few extra dollars or extra time. These may include access to more sophisticated templates and a customized domain name that doesn't include the name of the website service. You could also pay a web designer to create and update your own website, or create one yourself with many of the DIY website platforms available today.

5 Top Beauty Portfolio or Beauty Professional Website Services

While you can use a free generic website builder to build your online portfolio, tailor-made beauty industry options are available, too. Here are five of the best to help you easily show off your work.

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Canvas ME

With over 50,000 registered members, Canvas ME is an extensive network of beauty professionals, students, schools, brands, and businesses looking to find their people through easy-to-make portfolios. The service is free to use and has a sleek, professional layout that's easy on the eye.

  • Cost: Free
  • Free trial: No
  • Why we love it: Canvas ME is ideal for networking with fellow beauty industry professionals, salons, businesses, and more—and it's free!
  • Be aware: With so many portfolios in one place, you may feel lost among a sea of other beauty experts.

Though initially designed for photographers, Format has grown to welcome a range of creative careers to its portfolio-building website, including makeup artists. It has many templates, with back-end support from web design experts.

  • Cost: $5, $8, or $13 annually
  • Free trial: Two weeks
  • Why we love it: Besides portfolio-building tools, Format offers free work planning software for every membership tier.
  • Be aware: There aren't specific templates for hair or nail careers, so if you're less experienced in design, you may struggle to feel inspired when starting out.

Pixpa is an all-in-one website builder enables creative industry professionals to easily showcase, sell, and share their work online. Various types of support and packages are available, from simple portfolio hosting to complete online commerce solutions.

  • Cost: $3-$25 per month, depending on membership level and length of contract
  • Free trial: 15 days
  • Why we love it: Pixpa offers various memberships to suit your needs, from basic rolling monthly options to advanced two-year contracts.
  • Be aware: With so many templates available (from basic portfolios to online stores, blogs, and client galleries), it can be easy to get overwhelmed.
Envato Market

If you're familiar with basic web design, purchasing a portfolio template from Envato Market could be a great option. These highly customizable sites are designed with specific themes in mind to suit your business.

  • Cost: Varies
  • Free trial: No
  • Why we love it: With literally thousands of themes available, you're almost sure to find a website design that suits your personal aesthetic.
  • Be aware: If you're not used to building basic websites and applying themes, this method of portfolio creation may be too difficult.

Launched in 2006, Behance is part of the Adobe brand and one of the best-established online portfolio destinations. It offers a massive range of templates, tools, and other assets that can be used to build your own bespoke website and host your own "Projects"—aka portfolios—right on the Behance site.

  • Cost: Varies
  • Free trial: No
  • Why we love it: As part of Adobe, Behance has a lot of back-end support and a vast community of creatives.
  • Be aware: Users have complained of overly complicated steps to upload and showcase images and confusing navigation. This isn't one for absolute beginners!

Sample Beauty Portfolios

Here are a few stand-out portfolios to inspire your own creativity.

Nissi Lee – Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist

The portfolio of professional hair and makeup artist Nissi Lee is colorful, fun, and shows a selection of carefully curated images that showcase their talent. It also includes testimonials and information about Nissi's strengths. This portfolio was made using Pixpa.

Nissi Lee portfolio

Michelle Leandra – Makeup Artist

With three impressive magazine covers front and center, this sophisticated portfolio from makeup artist Michelle Leandra makes the most of the artist's skills and experience and has a luxury, high-end feel. This portfolio was made using Format.

Michelle Leandra portfolio

Roxanne Campbell – Nail Artist

With work in both print and film format, this independent portfolio from nail artist Roxanne Campbell not only details her background (her mother, a nail artist, is her inspiration) but shows off a variety of experience, with examples from movies and TV shows, and celebrity clients that she's worked on. This portfolio was independently designed.

Roxanne Campbell portfolio
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