Pro Discount Programs – Is Social Media Replacing Them?

Pro Advice

Professional (Pro) Discount Programs are a marketing tool. They are often perceived as a “perk” or a thank you to beauty professionals. They are not.

They are a strategic approach to subliminal advertising – and they appear to be heading toward extinction.

How A Pro Discount Works

A Pro Discount Program offers qualified beauty professionals a significantly reduced price, typically a % off retail, for a company’s products (cosmetics, tools, etc.).
This discount is to entice professionals to stock their kit with that brand.

As compensation, the company receives free advertising by having their (branded) products in constant view of the artist’s clients, coworkers, and possibly the press.


The Pro Discount was born towards the end of the 1980’s with the MAC PPID Program. It was a BRILLIANT marketing strategy to lure professional artists into filling their kits with MAC. Having their products in most pro kits turned MAC into a cult favorite without them spending a dime on advertising.

Other cosmetic companies saw their visibility dwindling, while MAC was everywhere – so they began offering similar discounts, to level the playing field.


The cosmetic industry evolves continuously, and so do their marketing and sales promotion strategies. The channels to promote cosmetics have changed significantly over the past five years.

Many cosmetic companies now choose to shower social media “influencers” with obscene amounts of gratis (free products). Why? Beauty influencers can push the sale of products to millions of more potential customers than any artist’s makeup kit ever could. If a cosmetics company is getting this much exposure from influencers, they don’t need to offer a Pro Discount.


Beauty professionals work hard for their money, and a pro discount gives us more bang for our buck when stocking our makeup kits.


We need always to remember, a pro discount is a courtesy, at the discretion of the company. It is not a privilege that comes with the profession, and should not be expected or demanded.

Be grateful when you receive a pro discount and promote the companies that offer them.


The #MyTwoCents Blog is informational only and not a substitute for professional advice. Product(s) featured in posts were purchased unless otherwise noted. ALL reviews are unsponsored, and product links are NOT MONETIZED (no affiliate links). Outgoing links are directed to reference sources and trusted retailers. Click the star (above left) for more Legal information.

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