Kate Morris's first job was working at the Clarins counter in her local Melbourne department store.

It was here that the founder of popular Australian cosmetics website Adore Beauty realised that the multi billion dollar beauty industry had a major problem.

"When I explained to other people what my job was, so many women would pull a face and talk about how they hated having to go into a shop to buy beauty products," Morris, 39, told news.com.au.

"They found it to be an intimidating, high pressure sales environment and they'd come home with products they felt they had been bullied into purchasing," Morris said.

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"Beauty is supposed to be fun. When you're having a crappy day, you put on a new lipstick and it turns you into a superhero - that's how it should be.

"But the shopping experience is making people feel the opposite and that doesn't make any sense."

At age 21, she took A$12,000 ($13,055) of her own money and started the Adore Beauty website in 2000 with just two small local beauty brands, both of which don't exist anymore.

She struggled to get big-name brands to come on board. They just didn't believe e-commerce would ever blow up in the beauty industry.

Even one of the world's biggest beauty conglomerates - the Estee Lauder Group, which owns brands such as Clinique, Bobbi Brown and MAC - didn't come on board until 2014.

"As a 21-year-old, clueless and broke uni student, I was trying to convince the entire established beauty industry that e-commerce was big," Morris said.

Now, Adore Beauty stocks over 200 brands and made A$28 million ($30m) in revenue last financial year.

Beauty expert Kate Morris from Adore Beauty. Photo / News Corp Australia
Beauty expert Kate Morris from Adore Beauty. Photo / News Corp Australia

In February, Morris bought back the 25 per cent stake Woolworths purchased in her business a few years ago.

"Now we sell all the big brands and mostly it's them coming to us, asking to be stocked. I think people can see now that customers really are responding to this way of buying beauty products," she said.

"They can see that online is growing faster than department stores and maybe that is actually what people want."

Despite the massive growth in online beauty sales, a large portion of consumers still want to touch and play with products before they commit to purchasing.

Adore Beauty's competitors - David Jones, Myer, Sephora and Mecca Cosmetica - all thrive off in-store testers.

Including sample testers, "deluxe minis" - small, travel-sized products - and goodie bag promotions is Morris's solution to that problem. Each customer also gets a Tim Tam delivered with their order, alongside the beauty products.

"We don't expect people to be shopping online exclusively. But we've developed tools to make it easier for people to shop for makeup online," she said.

"We have makeup artists and beauty therapists on live chat and they don't have sales targets - they're there to help. We've also developed a foundation shade matching tool called Findation.

"You can go into our moisturiser section, pick out your age range and your skin concerns and pick your skin type and filter all those brands together. That's really hard to do in a brick and mortar store."

The biggest growth sector in the beauty industry right now is in ingestible beauty products - think powders to mix into smoothies and supplements.

Plus, consumers are becoming "skincare nerds" and getting fussy about the ingredients in their face products.

"Brands such as The Beauty Chef and Raw Complexions are massive right now. They're specifically designed to improve gut health and benefit your skin," Morris said.

"People are now really science and ingredient-focused and are expecting new levels of performance from their skincare.'

The popularity of brands like The Ordinary, a Toronto-based company with a cult-like following that focuses on cheap, single-ingredient products, is proof of this trend, Morris says.

"We literally can't get enough stock of it. People are enjoying customising their routine and learning about what these ingredients do."

Her other best selling brands areCloud Nine hair tools, Dermalogica skincare, Alpha H and ASAP.

Morris's next step is making sure her website stays on top of the ingestible beauty trend and continues to stock these cult brands taking over the web.

"We've always been the little guy, continuing to find ways to evolve and be more relevant," she said.

"Everyday you should be waking up and going what can we do to survive and do what no one else is doing."