Career Development

What Does a Cosmetologist Do?

Find out what a cosmetologist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a cosmetologist.

Cosmetologists are responsible for providing clients with a wide range of beauty services, including cutting and styling hair, applying makeup, performing skin treatments, and more. They work directly with clients to provide these services, but they also commonly work alongside other professionals in the beauty industry (such as hairstylists or fashion designers) to help create new trends and styles.

Cosmetologists typically specialize in one area of the beauty industry—for example, hairstyling, makeup application, massage therapy, etc.—and this specialization often dictates the types of services they provide to their clients.

Cosmetologist Job Duties

Cosmetologists have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Applying makeup or using cosmetic techniques to accentuate facial features or hide imperfections
  • Performing skin care services such as facials and chemical peels
  • Cleaning and sterilizing equipment and supplies used in salon services such as shampoo bowls, manicure tables, blow dryers, and curling irons
  • Cutting and styling hair according to client requests and industry standards
  • Performing basic hair treatments such as shampooing, conditioning, and bleaching as well as coloring, styling, cutting, and arranging hair
  • Explaining the benefits of treatments and products while providing customer service
  • Educating clients on the use of products and services they purchase, such as highlighting techniques or how to apply makeup at home
  • Providing customers with consultations regarding their desired service or product and recommending additional services or products that might be beneficial to them
  • Performing basic skincare services such as facials, waxing, and exfoliation using chemical or mechanical methods to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin

Cosmetologist Salary & Outlook

The salary of a cosmetologist can vary depending on a number of factors, including their level of education and experience, the type of salon they work in, and the geographic location of their job.

  • Median Annual Salary: $36,000 ($17.31/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $54,500 ($26.2/hour)

The employment of cosmetologists is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

The need for cosmetic services will drive employment growth for cosmetologists. As people age, they are more concerned than ever with their appearance and are willing to spend money on cosmetic treatments. In addition, the popularity of social media has increased the demand for hair and makeup artists who can make clients look their best in selfies and other online images.

Related: In-Depth Cosmetologist Salary Guide

Cosmetologist Job Requirements

A cosmetologist typically needs to have the following:

Education: Cosmetologists need to complete a state-approved cosmetology program. These programs typically last nine months and include both classroom and practical instruction. Students learn about cosmetology theory, including chemistry, anatomy, business, ethics and law, and cosmetology practice, including hair cutting, coloring, styling, facials, manicures and pedicures.

Training & Experience: Cosmetologists receive most of their training through their cosmetology program. They may also receive on-the-job training from a licensed cosmetologist who works with them. This training may include learning how to use certain products, how to style hair and how to perform certain services.

Certifications & Licenses: Cosmetologists are required to have and maintain a state cosmetology certification. To gain this certification, cosmetologists must complete a state-approved training program and pass a written exam. The length of a state-approved program varies from state to state, but they typically last nine months.

Cosmetologist Skills

Cosmetologists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is another skill that can be useful for cosmetologists to have. This is because they often need to communicate with their clients to understand their needs and explain the services they offer. They also need to communicate with their coworkers to ensure they understand the procedures they need to follow.

Customer service: Customer service skills can help you interact with clients and make them feel comfortable during their appointments. You can use these skills to explain treatments, answer questions and make recommendations. Customer service skills can also help you develop a positive relationship with your coworkers and managers.

Time management: The ability to manage time effectively is important for cosmetologists. This is because they often have multiple clients throughout the day and need to ensure they complete each service in a timely manner. This can help them provide quality service to their clients and increase their income.

Organization: Keeping your work area organized can help you work efficiently and avoid making mistakes. You can use organization skills to keep track of your client appointments, organize your supplies and keep your work area clean.

Creativity: A skill like creativity can help you develop new ideas for your work and help you think of ways to improve your skills. You can use creativity to create new products and services for your clients and use it to improve your work.

Cosmetologist Work Environment

Cosmetologists work in a variety of settings, including salons, spas, and department stores. They typically work full time, and some may work evenings or weekends to accommodate their clients’ schedules. Many cosmetologists rent space from a salon owner or work as independent contractors, which gives them the flexibility to set their own schedules. Some cosmetologists may travel to clients’ homes or workplaces to provide services. Although most cosmetologists work in clean and well-lit environments, some may be exposed to chemicals and fumes from hair dyes, permanents, and other hair-care products. They may also be exposed to infectious diseases if they do not take proper precautions, such as wearing gloves and using sanitizing solutions.

Cosmetologist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how cosmetologists work. Cosmetologists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Rise of Men’s Grooming

The trend of men’s grooming is on the rise, as more and more men are realizing the importance of looking their best. This is creating a demand for cosmetologists who can provide services such as hair styling, facial waxing, and manicures.

Cosmetologists who are able to offer these services will be in high demand, as they will be able to provide a one-stop shop for all of a man’s grooming needs. This will make them extremely valuable to businesses that want to provide top-notch customer service.

More Focus on Skin Care

The trend of focusing on skin care is becoming increasingly popular among both men and women. This is due to the fact that people are beginning to realize the importance of taking care of their skin in order to prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging.

As this trend continues to grow, cosmetologists will need to focus on providing skin care services to their clients. This includes things like facials, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels. In addition, cosmetologists will need to be knowledgeable about the latest products and treatments in order to provide the best possible care for their clients.

A Growing Interest in Natural Products

There has been a growing interest in natural products over the past few years, which has led to an increased demand for cosmetologists who specialize in using natural products.

This trend is likely to continue as people become more aware of the dangers of using chemicals and artificial ingredients in their beauty products. As a result, cosmetologists who are skilled in using natural products will be in high demand as they can provide customers with products that are safe and effective.

How to Become a Cosmetologist

A cosmetologist career can be a great way to start your professional life. It offers the opportunity to learn a variety of skills, work with different people, and try new things. As you progress in your cosmetologist career, you may want to specialize in a particular area, such as hair styling or makeup artistry. You could also choose to become a certified instructor so that you can teach others what you have learned.

No matter where you are in your cosmetologist career, it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques. Read industry magazines and attend workshops and conferences. Network with other professionals and ask for their advice. Most importantly, always strive to provide excellent customer service.

Related: How to Write a Cosmetologist Resume

Advancement Prospects

Many cosmetologists start their own businesses, such as salons, day spas, or mobile cosmetology services. Some open their own product lines. Some teach in cosmetology schools. Some advance to management positions in the cosmetology industry. Some become platform artists or brand ambassadors for cosmetology companies. Some work as independent contractors. Some do a combination of these things. The opportunities are endless for creative and entrepreneurial cosmetologists!

In order to advance in this career, it is important to keep up with the latest trends and technologies. Cosmetologists who are able to adapt to change and who are always learning new things will be the most successful. It is also important to be good at customer service and to build a strong clientele.

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