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Cosmetologist Job Description

What does a cosmetologist do?  A brief cosmetologist job description follows. Cosmetology is the study and application of beauty treatment. Cosmetologists focus on providing hair care services to enhance the appearance of customers. Cosmetologist job duties include hair care services such as shampooing, cutting, coloring, styling hair, and massaging and treating the scalp. Other services can include applying cosmetics and facial treatments, cleaning and styling wigs,  hair removal and nail and skin care services.

In addition to providing beauty treatment services, a cosmetologist  may keep records of hair color or skin care regimens used by their regular clients. A growing number actively sell hair, skin, and nail care products.  Cosmetologists who operate their own salons have managerial duties that may include hiring, supervising, and firing workers, as well as keeping business and inventory records, ordering supplies, and arranging for advertising.

Cosmetologists generally put in a 40-hour week, but longer hours are common, especially among self-employed workers. Work schedules may include evenings and weekends, the times when beauty salons and barbershops are busiest. Many workers, especially those who are self-employed, determine their own schedules.  Cosmetologists usually work in clean, pleasant surroundings with good lighting and ventilation. Most work in a salon  although some may work in a spa, hotel, or resort.  Prolonged exposure to some hair and nail chemicals may cause irritation, so protective clothing, such as plastic gloves or aprons, may be worn.

To search for cosmetologist job opportunities visit the cosmetologist jobs page.

Individual cosmetology specialties within the cosmetology job description include:

  • Shampoo technician:  A shampoo technician shampoos and conditions a client's hair in preparation for the hair stylist. A shampoo tech may assist with rinsing permanent waves, and shampooing color and chemical relaxers out of the hair after processing.
  • Manicurist: A manicure is a cosmetic treatment for the fingernails or hands.
  • Beauty therapist:  They specialize in treatments including hair removal, massage, body wraps, skin care, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, and make-up along with machine treatments such as non surgical facelifts and  muscle tone. The specialist may under go special training for treatments such as laser hair removal and electrolysis.
  • Nail technician: A nail technician specializes in the art form and care of nails. This includes manicures, pedicures, acrylic nails, gel nails, nail wraps, fake nails, self adhesive nail coverings, etc.
  • Electrologist: An electrologist offers services with the use of an electrolysis machine. As opposed to the hair removal via waxing offered by an esthetician, hair removal via electrolysis is permanent. Usually estheticians will seek higher education beyond beauty school to learn electrolysis.

  • Estheticians: Estheticians are skin care specialists who cleanse and beautify the skin by giving facials, full-body treatments, and head and neck massages, as well as apply makeup.

Information on this page is summarized from:
(1) Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Barbers, Hairdressers, and Cosmetologists,
(2) Wikipedia contributors, "Cosmetology," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia,
(3)  O*Net Online,Summary Report for:39-5012.00 - Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists
This site is intended only for informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional guidance.
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