What does a Cosmetologist do?

A cosmetologist may treat and style hair but the root of the word is Greek and means beautifying. As such, a cosmetologist can be found performing a variety of beauty treatments which include cutting, color, or hair extensions. Some also specialize in skincare and may do pedicures, manicures, facials, or apply make-up to a client. You might even find cosmetologists working to remove hair by waxing or through more permanent measures such as using an Intense Pulsed Light.

Increasingly, social media has also seen a rise in personalities in the cosmetology arts. There are social media influencers who make a living producing videos that teach others how to do hair, improve their skin, or apply makeup. Check out one beauty influencer who is in the Army Reserves.

Benefits of being a Cosmetologist

You have read our article about what a Cosmetologist does and how to become one! Finding out about a career is the first step toward your future, and we want to help you find the perfect fit!

  • There are several benefits of being a Cosmetologist, and at the top of the list is the ability to have fun all day and be creative in your work!
  • Cosmetologists enjoy helping people feel better about themselves through their skin, hair, and nail skills.
  • When clients are happy with their results, the Cosmetologist gets instant gratification.
  • They like interacting with customers and making lasting friendships with co-workers.
  • Cosmetologists have flexible work schedules, which help with life/work balance.
  • There are career opportunities to take. More experienced cosmetologists can get a job anywhere. They can live anywhere they choose!
  • Cosmetologists can start a business! We recommend taking additional business courses to ensure your success.
  • They make competitive salaries, and many saloons offer a commission opportunity.

How to Become a Cosmetologist

A cosmetologist must go to an accredited cosmetologist school and be licensed in the state that they practice. You may want to consider several different cosmetology schools before making a final decision as they may vary greatly. While in school, you’ll also learn all about skincare, such as wraps, facials, and hair removal. Along with classroom work, you’ll also receive hands-on training and you must pass exams. From there, you can then work on any specialization you may be interested in. This can give you a competitive edge when applying for jobs.

Watch a video to learn more about what a cosmetologist does:

Cosmetologists must have a license in order to work and the requirements vary by state. However, at a minimum each state generally has an age requirement of 16, ensures the person has earned a high school diploma or equivalent, and graduated from a cosmetology school that is state-licensed.

Job Description of a Cosmetologist

A cosmetologist may choose to specialize in various areas of cosmetology so pending on their specialty, their daily tasks will vary. All cosmetologists are responsible however to maintain a working environment that is clean, safe, and free of pathogens that may pass from one person to another. Cosmetologists should be able to give beauty and hairstyle tips to their customers, cut and style hair, and recommend products that would treat or help hair or scale conditions.

Cosmetologists are professional beauty consultants that communicate well and are creative in styling hair, nails, or qualified in recommending products. A cosmetologist salary may greatly depending on location. For example, a city may pay more than a rural area.

Cosmetologist Career Video Transcript

The people who cut, style, and color hair, and sell specialty beauty products are barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists. They creatively enhance each client’s appearance, and keep up with hairstyle trends. Hairstylists and barbers listen carefully to clients’ preferences and make sure they are satisfied with their results, while finishing in time for their next appointment. Barbers usually serve male clients for shampoos, haircuts, and shaves. Some fit hairpieces and perform facials. Hairdressers, or hairstylists, provide coloring, chemical hair treatments, and styling in addition to shampoos and cuts, and serve both female and male clients.

Cosmetologists perform scalp and facial treatments and conduct make-up analysis. While some barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists work in spas or hotels, most work in barbershops and salons. Some lease chair space from a salon owner, others open their own shops after gaining experience. These workers are on their feet for most of their shift, and often wear gloves or aprons when giving chemical hair treatments. Many work full-time, including nights and weekends. However, part-time positions are also common. Salon owners work long hours and manage employees, inventory, ordering, and bookkeeping. Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists must complete a program in a state-licensed barber or cosmetology school and obtain licensure. Full-time programs in barbering and cosmetology usually last at least 9 months.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Barbers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists.

National Center for O*NET Development. 39-5012.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.