What is the Best MBLEx Study Guide?

Woman sitting at the computer preparing for the MBLEx

Are you interested in taking the MBLEx exam and becoming a massage therapist? The MBLEx Exam is administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. You will have two hours to complete a 100 question multi-chose exam on a computer. Not completing the MBLEx exam within the allotted time is an automatic failure. All applicants that apply to take the MBLEx exam must have completed an accredited massage therapy program.

What is an Accredited Massage Therapy Program?

Completing a massage therapy program offered at a vocational school will not only earn you a diploma and prepare you for the MBLEx exam but you will get well needed experience completing lab work and participating in a student run spa. This program is mandatory to becoming a massage therapy but can be completed in as little as 12 months, attending full-time.

During this program you will learn the many different massage techniques as well as the science behind massage. From anatomy and physiology to kinesiology and pathology, you will learn about the structures of the body and how they function. You will learn the business practices behind how to manage a massage business or become a manager in a franchise spa. Most importantly, you will receive a large portion of experience in a student run spa. So, once you finish the massage therapy program at a vocational school, how do you study for the MBLEx exam?

How Do I Study for the MBLEx Exam?

The best way to study for the MBLEx exam is to first take notes and ask many questions during a massage therapy program at a vocational school. These programs are taught, “to the test.” They prepare you for all the knowledge you will need to take the MBLEx exam. These programs will also have you perform the skills and massage techniques you learned on real people. Knowing how to do something is one thing but actually performing the massage techniques and doing the assessments will cement the knowledge and skills in your mind so you can become a successful massage therapist. What are some other ways to study for the MBLEx exam?

Give Yourself Enough Time to Study

Take the time to prepare for the MBLEx exam. Complete your massage therapy program and learn as much as you can, while asking questions of instructors along the way. Also, give yourself enough time to study. Cramming the night before an exam is not the best use of your time. Guide yourself through the process and study with friends that are also looking to become massage therapists. Study early and often.

Create a Study Group

The best part about taking a massage therapy program is that you will meet like-minded classmates that are also preparing for the MBLEx exam. You can create a study group that will help guide you and your fellow classmates through the exam topics, testing each other in the process. You will hold each other responsible for preparing for the exam. It is always easier to study with a buddy, knowing that they are also making the sacrifice.

Create a Mnemonic Device

A great way to study for the MBLEx exam is to create easy-to-recite acronyms out of the information that you will need to remember for the exam. Mnemonic devices are an easy way to remember a large amount of information.

FSMTB Online Study Guide

The association that administers the MBLEX exam offers an outline that talks about all the topics that you will be tested on during this exam. Below, you will learn about all the topics and the content that each topic covers. This will help you study for the MBLEx exam.

What is on the MBLEx Exam?

The FSMTB offers a study guide of the MBLEx exam so you can prepare for the content you will be tested on. From anatomy and physiology to the benefits and physiological effects of massage, you will be tested on everything you learned and practiced in the accredited massage therapy program.

Anatomy & Physiology

This section of the exam covers the body systems structures and functions. These systems include the circulatory, digestive, endocrine, integumentary, lymphatic, muscular, nervous, reproduction, respiratory, skeletal, special senses and urinary systems. This section also covers tissue injury and repair, and the concepts of energetic anatomy.


Studying for this section of the exam will help you understand components and characteristics of muscles, muscle contractions, proprioceptors, and the locations, attachments, actions and fiber directions of muscles. Further, this section tests you on joint structure and function and the three types of range of motion: active, passive and resistant.

Pathology, Contraindicators, Areas of Caution and Special Population

It is important to study an overview pathology, contraindicators, areas of caution and special populations as they have to do with massage therapy. This exam will test you on the elements of contraindicators including site specific, the pathologies related, special population contraindicators, tools and special applications. Finally, this section will test you on the different classes of medications.

Benefits and Physiological Effects of Techniques that Manipulate Soft Tissue

There are many benefits and physiological effects to massage. The MBLEx exam will test you on your ability to identify the physiological effects of soft tissue manipulation, the psychological aspects and benefits of touch, the benefits of soft tissue manipulation for specific client populations, soft tissue techniques including the types of strokes and sequence of application, hot and cold application and an overview of the massage techniques.

Client Assessment, Reassessment & Treatment Planning

During a massage therapy program, you will learn how to assess clients and create a treatment plan to achieve the client’s massage goals. For the exam, you will need to study about the organization of a massage session, client consultation and evaluation including verbal intake and health history forms, and written data collection. You will be tested on your ability to assess a client visually as well as an assessment of palpation and range of motion. You will also need to study about your clinical reasoning for a treatment plan that focuses on your ability to rule out contraindications, achieve client treatment goals, evaluate the progress of the treatment and formulate a treatment strategy.

Ethics, Boundaries, Laws and Regulations

Ethics, boundaries, laws and regulations are important to adhere to and you will be tested on these subjects during the MBLEx exam. You should study about ethical behavior, professional boundaries, code of ethics violations, the therapeutic relationship, sexual misconduct, massage related laws and regulations, your scope of practice, how to communicate professionally, and proper confidentiality and principles.

Guidelines for Professional Practice

The final section of the MBLEx exam that you will need to study for includes the proper and safe use of equipment and massage supplies, proper hygiene, adhering to proper sanitation and cleanliness standards and practicing massage safely for both you and your clients. You will also need to study body mechanics, protective gear, self-care, injury prevention and other care practices. This section includes proper draping techniques. Draping is important for you to learn for the client’s safety. This section will also test you on business practices including writing a business plan, office management, marketing, hiring, interviewing, and proper documentation of records. Finally, this section of the exam will test your knowledge of healthcare and business terminology.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know you want to become a massage therapist and need to take the MBLEx exam, it is time to study. Of course, the first step you will need to take is completing a massage therapy program. Instructors will guide you through the program offering plenty of practice on real clients. Many vocational schools will have a student run spa so that you can practice your massage skills. If you take the time to review study guides and come together with classmates, you can build your confidence and knowledge base to sit for the MBLEx exam.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

How Do You Become a Salon Manager?

Is becoming a salon manager your dream job? Salon manager is a job that combines managerial skills with a passion for aesthetics. Salon managers are planners, promoters, confidants, trendsetters and pillars of the local business community. With training and hard work, this profession allows you to rise to the top of the “beauty ecosystem.” The best part is that you get to do it all while working in a profession that excites you.

A Look at What Salon Managers Do Every Day

A manager oversees every aspect of running an establishment. This means working closely with the salon owner to offer the best salon experience possible. In some cases, managers run the whole salon. Larger “medspa” wellness clinics may hire managers to oversee all operations for each specific department. Some of the responsibilities of a salon manager include:

  • Marketing and promotion for the salon.
  • Hiring new hairdressers and cosmetologists.
  • Training new hires.
  • Managing payroll and scheduling of all employees.
  • Managing social media for the salon.
  • Staying on top of all legal and licensing requirements.

Many salon managers also maintain client lists. While you may not be able to take on a full roster of clients, you often continue to cut and style hair. This allows you to enjoy all of the perks of “being management” while staying close to your passion. Next, take a look at the path to managing a salon.

Why People Pursue Management-Level Cosmetology Careers

People are drawn to cosmetology because it offers a creative outlet that also requires very technical, precise skills. Cosmetology is a profession of beauty and wellness. Many professionals find it to be a satisfying career path because it allows them to enjoy a steady career while helping others to look and feel their best. The spark usually happens when someone realizes that they have a talent and passion for hair, nails, makeup, skincare or aesthetics. The next step is turning that passion into a real career. While the road from “beauty enthusiast” to actual salon manager doesn’t happen overnight, a motivated person can rise through the ranks of a salon once they begin training. Take a look at what the trajectory might look like for you in becoming a salon manager.

The Steps to Becoming a Salon Manager

It starts with certification and licensure. First, aspiring salon managers should look for cosmetology schools offering certification for the specialty they would like to pursue. A cosmetology school program consists of both “classroom” time and hands-on practical work. It’s necessary to graduate from a cosmetology program with a diploma. Next, an aspiring manager needs to complete all certifications or licensing required by the state. This usually includes passing state boards to become a licensed cosmetologist or hairdresser.

Starting a Cosmetology Career

It’s customary to start from the bottom in the salon industry. While this may not seem exciting, it’s necessary in order to learn every aspect of running a salon. The experience and lessons gained in these early days of your career will help to you build up your managerial skills and make you an effective salon manager. Entry-level salon jobs might include working the front desk, shampooing, stocking products, sweeping up hair, preparing equipment and cleaning workstations between appointments. Expect to be the first person in every morning if you’re tasked with helping to maintain the day-to-day needs of the salon. Again, this is an opportunity to truly see what goes into running a salon. Through this experience, you are preparing for the next stage of being a staff hairdresser or cosmetologist.

Once you have spent time working in an entry-level role, you are typically invited to begin taking on your own clients or walk-in clients. You may also get overflow clients when the more established hairdressers at the salon are booked. This same process applies to new graduates in most cosmetology specialties. For instance, someone who handles skincare may begin by taking on clients who request walk-in or last-minute appointments. The good news is that those “spontaneous” clients are likely to request an appointment with you the next time if they like your work. This is how you build up your client list.

A cosmetologist might spend years enjoying a very robust client list before setting their sights on a management position. While there’s no hard rule that says you can’t become a manager right away, it often takes a few years of truly learning your craft to feel confident enough to take on all of the responsibilities of running a vibrant salon. When the time comes, salon managers employ some specific skills that allow them to thrive in their roles.

What Skills Are Needed to Become a Salon Manager?

Salon managers must possess many of the same skills required for managers in all industries. While salon managers work within the cosmetology industry, many of the tasks they handle are universal to running a business. Here’s a look at some of the core skills needed to be an effective manager in a salon setting:

Skill #1: Leadership

As the salon manager, you’re the person that everyone looks to for guidance. Your leadership style sets the tone for the workplace. Salon managers must feel confident about making decisions that will impact an entire staff.

Skill #2: Communication

In a fast-paced setting like a salon, communication is important. A manager is tasked with clearly communicating and implementing all company policies. Salon managers also set expectations.

Skill #3: Organization

A salon can have dozens of employees operating with unique schedules. Salon managers are responsible for making sure that everyone is scheduled appropriately to ensure that the salon is properly staffed when customers arrive. Salon managers also take care of payroll, vacation time, employee relations and hiring. In addition to managing the “human” end of running a salon, managers deal with inventory for beauty products. They’re also responsible for replenishing and repairing tools and equipment.

Skill #4: Delegation

A salon environment is very much a “crew” environment where everyone does their part to keep the salon running smoothly. Salon managers know how to assign the right tasks to the right people. While it can be tempting to try to “do it all” as a manager, a salon works best when tasks are delegated.

Skill #5: Prioritization

Salon managers are always putting out “little fires” throughout the day. As a result, they need to understand the proper order of operations when handling tasks.

While all of this can seem overwhelming, it’s important to remember that nobody becomes a manager overnight. Going through a cosmetology program allows future salon managers to learn everything that they’ll need to successfully run a salon. In fact, getting the right training is important to build the confidence a salon manager needs to run a salon. When attending a cosmetology program, you learn from the industry experienced instructors who have been working in salon settings for years. In addition to learning technical skills, you are also absorbing information about the little-known secrets of salon management from the best of the best.

Overseeing the Health and Safety of a Salon

It’s also important to note that a big part of being a salon manager is maintaining a clean, hygienic environment. Salons are highly regulated for the health and safety of both customers and workers. A manager is responsible for ensuring safety compliance at a salon. Again, this is where the training learned at cosmetology school really allows a manager to shine. A big component of a cosmetology program revolves around hygiene and safety practices. In fact, this accounts for a large portion of the final exam needed to become a licensed cosmetologist.

How Do You Become a Salon Manager?

Rising to a management position at a salon is attainable for anyone who is willing to put in the work to run a flawless salon and create a satisfying experience for customers. While all of the skills mentioned above are important, the quality that sets a person apart for management potential is enthusiasm. Salon managers need to be enthusiastic about where they work, who they work with and the customers they serve. This job is an ideal fit for an outgoing “people” person who takes pride in going the extra mile to help people feel good.

Final Thoughts

Every future salon manager begins in cosmetology school. One of the perks of getting a cosmetology diploma is you can still reach all of your goals even if you decide to open your own business instead of waiting to be promoted to manager. A management-level career in the beauty industry begins by finding a diploma program that offers what you need to make your entry with the right credentials. Today’s cosmetology students truly are tomorrow’s salon managers.

Want to Learn More?

Now that you have learned how to become a salon manager, ready to take the first step? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and start a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

What are the Benefits of Beauty and Wellness?

4 women who understand the benefits of beauty and wellness

Beauty begins from within. It’s a reflection of good health. As an esthetician, you will understand how wellness affects personal appearance and how beauty enhances wellness, counseling clients on how to look their best by taking care of themselves inside and out.

Beauty, Wellness and Skin Care

Beauty, wellness and skin care are inseparable. Skin is our largest organ, protecting us from the environment. It’s vulnerable to damage from both internal and external forces.

Taking care of your skin helps keep you healthy contributes to overall wellness. It’s a win-win you can promote by recommending treatments and lifestyle changes, including:

Sun Protection

Among the many causes of skin damage, sun exposure is the most common and the easiest to prevent. Avoiding the outdoors during peak sun isn’t always possible, but wearing sunscreen and protective clothing block the majority of harmful rays.

If reapplying sunscreen is impractical on the job, or clients think they’ll forget, wearing sun protection clothing is an effective alternative. The latest styles are breathable, fashionable and can block most UV rays. Add a wide-brimmed hat to protect facial skin, eyes and hair from damage.

As an esthetician, you should counsel clients to use sun protection year-round, rain or shine since some UV light penetrates clouds. Many cosmetics, including lipsticks and foundation, now have added sunscreen for convenience.

Proper Nutrition

Sound nutrition is the bedrock of radiant skin. No topical product can reverse aging but eating right can delay its effects. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables with antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E supports a radiant complexion by combating free radicals, organic molecules associated with inflammation.

Fats in the diet are also crucial, the body can’t build cell walls without them. Skin gets a healthy glow from the Omega-3 fatty acids found naturally in olives and avocados. They also block a chemical that contributes to skin cancer. The right balance of nutrients helps fight premature aging.


Moisturizers hydrate the epidermis, the top layer of the skin. Better formulas contain humectants, ingredients that attract moisture, plus emollients that smooth rough skin cells for a softer, smoother appearance. Products enhanced with vitamins C and E help fight free radicals at the surface level. With proper nutrition, it’s a one-two punch.

Make-Up Removal at Bedtime

After a long day, taking off make-up is a hassle. It’s easier to wash your pillowcase in the morning than cleanse your face when you’re exhausted. But skin needs a break from even the healthiest products, pores need to breathe to rid themselves of toxins.

Leaving make-up on overnight suffocates cells, interrupting natural exfoliation and impeding collagen production. Clients should be advised to never let it be a habit.

Stress Reduction

Stress worsens a wide range of skin conditions from acne to dryness. Over time, it causes inflammation and impairs cellular regeneration. Stress can increase cortisol levels, prompting the body to overproduce skin oil that can clog pores and cause breakouts.

As an esthetician, you can help clients manage stress both through lifestyle counseling and by suggesting treatments that enhance the skin and promote relaxation.

Regular Facials

Regular facials have lasting benefits for the body and mind. Using steam, facials cleanse the skin while minimizing the look of scars and blemishes. Pores are detoxified of toxic substances, leaving a fresh slate for moisturizers and make-up. It’s an easy way for clients to get the pampering they deserve. It’s a rejuvenating experience.

Smoking Cessation

The chemicals in cigarette smoke cause blood vessels to constrict, hampering the delivery of essential nutrients to the skin. The resulting loss of elasticity gives skin a leathery look. Most smokers develop yellow discolorations around the mouth and heavy wrinkling as they age. Worse, blemishes are slower to heal, and they have a significantly higher risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma of the lips.

Choosing the Right Skincare Products

Using the wrong skincare products can be a disaster, especially for clients with sensitive skin. With hundreds of over-the-counter cleansers and moisturizers to choose from, many can do more harm than good.

Few clients understand which ingredients will improve their complexion and which to avoid. Selecting make-up is also tricky without understanding its effects on skin tone and texture. You can counsel clients on the best products for home use, so they get a picture-perfect look every time.

What Are the Benefits of Beauty and Wellness for the Skin?

When you look and feel good, it shows. Beauty treatments improve clients’ health and wellness with these benefits:

Benefit #1: A Healthier Body

Our skin protects us from environmental dangers. It shields us from UV light and protects us from disease-causing pathogens. Protecting the epidermis is critical because cuts and rashes can allow bacteria to enter the body and cause illness. Proper skin care keeps us healthier from the outside in.

Benefit #2: Clearer Skin

Clean skin glows. Treatments like facials pull toxins from pores, minimizing their appearance while clearing blackheads and whiteheads. Anti-aging treatments work better when they can penetrate the skin, so removing oil and dead skin cells boost their effects. It’s a refreshing feeling.

Benefit #3: Lower Risk of Skin Cancer

It is thought that one in five Americans may get skin cancer before age 70. Most types are treatable, however many die from melanoma, and millions suffer facial scarring where lesions are removed. Sunscreen and sun-protective clothing are the best defense against the sun, decreasing the incidence of skin cancer by blocking most UV rays. They’re crucial health and safety measures affecting both beauty and wellness.

Benefit #4: A More Youthful Appearance

Nothing can prevent aging, but healthy lifestyle habits and regular skin care diminish the signs. Recommend to your clients to get an early start with sunscreen. Anti-aging moisturizers reduce fine lines and treat the eventual wrinkles. Topical serums lighten age spots by exfoliating the skin.

Benefit #5: Better-managed Skin Disorders

As an esthetician, you don’t treat medical skin disorders, but you can help manage the symptoms. Clients who live with conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis need the advantages regular skin care offers. Treatments that target inflammation soothe redness and control breakouts.

Benefit #6: Greater Self-confidence

How we look affects our self-confidence. Whether it’s camouflaging blotchy skin or smoothing out wrinkles, you can help clients feel better about themselves by minimizing flaws in their complexion. With beautiful skin, they can take on the world.

Benefit #7: Comfort

Sun, rain, wind and cold exposure can leave skin feeling dry and itchy. Beauty care helps protect it from the elements, so it’s less vulnerable to irritation. Moisturizers soothe symptoms of dryness, and skin looks less flaky, making your clients more comfortable in their own skin.

Getting Clients on Board

The wellness benefits of beauty care are real, but too many clients still think they’re a luxury. It’s your role to explain the advantages of skin care and recommend services that have tangible value. Explaining these concepts will help get clients on board:

The Importance of Early Care

Skin changes over time. As we get older, it thins, and cell renewal slows. Sun damage and environmental pollution take their toll, affecting skin’s texture and elasticity.

Collagen production decreases with age, causing fine lines first and then the deep wrinkles for which clients often seek treatment. But late-stage symptoms are challenging to reverse. The key to maintaining a youthful appearance is routine preventive care.

Why Maintenance Matters

The benefits of a single beauty treatment are limited. However, treatments build on each other, each supporting the last and creating the foundation for the next. As a professional esthetician, you should educate your clients about the importance of maintaining healthy skin, explaining how it keeps them looking their best while contributing to their long-term goals.

It’s a Team Effort

It’s the balance of lipids and moisture in the skin that determines its quality. A healthy lifestyle can make it better or worse, but its basic characteristics are genetically determined. Your job is to help clients make the most of it.

Everyone wants to look their best, but esthetics isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Few people are born knowing how to enhance their appearance, it’s a skill they have to learn, and you are the perfect educators.

You can put your training and experience to work on your clients’ behalf, you’re an ideal wellness advocate. You should reach out to clients, letting them know that they’re never alone. Beauty and wellness are a team effort.

Final Thoughts

There’s more than a casual relationship between health and esthetics, it’s more than skin deep. Beauty and wellness are one and the same, a work in progress that always has room for improvement. But it’s a lifelong journey you can take with your clients together.

Did learning about the benefits of beauty and wellness interest you? If so, you could begin your career as an esthetician at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC).  Our Esthiology Diploma Program has been developed by talented, caring, real-world professionals, many of whom still work in the field. Through MSC’s esthetician training courses, you will gain a solid foundation in the anatomy, physiology and chemistry of the skin so you can provide individualized care for each of your customers based on their skin type, conditions and concerns. We give our esthiology students experience in skincare, waxing, make-up, application of facials, and more.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming an esthetician and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

What is the Fastest Way to Become a Massage Therapist?

Massage therapist providing services for their client

Interested in quickly becoming a massage therapist? This profession offers flexibility, low stress and job satisfaction. Massage therapists can also choose their workplace, with options at resorts, massage franchises, salons, from home and at office buildings. If you are interested in this fast-growing profession, the first and fastest step to becoming a massage therapist is getting a formal education at a vocational school.

Although there are many different specialties, most massage therapists specialize in one area. With full-time attendance, the massage therapy program can be completed in just 12 months. You will be able to decide your specialization after learning the different massage techniques in a vocational program.

What Do You Need to Become a Massage Therapist?

A massage therapist must have a high school diploma in addition to a certificate from a vocational school. A licensure examination is administered twice per year. There are often city requirements to legally conduct business as a massage therapist and some municipalities work under licenses. To receive a license, certification must be taken to Officials or the City Clerk for certification verification.

A background check is required for licensing, and the applicant must pay a fee. Once this process is complete, the applicant is licensed to perform massages in that city. Once licensed, specific obligations, professional accountability, disciplinary actions, investigations and client bills of rights must be reported. It is important to find a school that offers curriculum that meets the standards of the National Standard for Massage Therapy. This ensures that you are eligible to take a national exam called the MBLEX.

MBLEx is an appreciation for the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination. This is a standard exam created to test the critical knowledge required to practice massage. The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) administers this test and has received recognition as a United States professional organization.

The exam includes 100 multiple choice questions. Each student has two hours to complete the exam at an authorized testing center. The sections included on the exam are:

  • Special Populations, Areas of Caution, Contraindications and Pathology
  • Treatment Planning, Reassessment and Client Assessment
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Guidelines for Professional Practice
  • Physiological Effects and Benefits of Techniques Manipulating Soft Tissue
  • Kinesiology
  • Regulations, Laws, Boundaries and Ethics

What Do You Learn During a Massage Therapy Program?

The courses taught at a vocational school study the human body, how the mechanics of the body work and the location of tissues, muscles and organs. Typical courses include:

  • Anatomy
  • Kinesiology
  • Physiology
  • Pathology
  • Clinical Labs
  • Business Practices
  • Medical terminology
  • Body mechanics
  • Massage ethics

A massage therapist also learns multiple techniques including:

  • Swedish massage
  • Sport therapy
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Thai massage
  • Shiatsu
  • Hot stone massages

All of this knowledge is necessary to succeed in a career as a massage therapist and manage the pain and stress of others. In addition to the essentials required to work as a massage therapist, courses including business management and ethics are just as important. Not only does a massage therapist need to understand the basics to help clients, but they also need to establish good relationships. The relationship between a massage therapist and a client must be professional and consist of both commitment and trust.

Hands-on Training

Vocational school teaches you the best way to build relationships, the value of ethics, how to run a business and dealing with clients on an intimate basis. Hands-on training is the backbone of massage therapy education. Every student receives hands-on training. You will learn how to perform massage on real people, classmates and at student run massage clinics. In the end, you learn what is necessary to become a successful and happy massage therapist. Ensuring the comfort of clients, proper hygiene and the importance of kindness.

Proper Hygiene

Vocational schools teach the importance of hygiene for all materials used including tables and hands. This is when you develop good bedside manners for clients and classmates. Learning how to listen and communicate is an extremely important skill for a massage therapist because it promotes a feeling of relaxation resulting in fluid and calming sessions for clients. To become a successful massage therapist, certain skills must be mastered. The good news is you will enjoy learning and practicing theses skills while mastering them in a massage therapy program.

Communication and Camaraderie

One of the most delightful yet unexpected things you will learn while attending school is camaraderie. As the months pass, strong bonds, close relationships and amazing friendships will form with other students. You will learn and grow together. You simply know you are never alone, there is always a connection and students in your massage classes often start to feel like family.

Proper Massage Technique

Once you become a massage therapist, the self-care techniques taught become standard practice and invaluable. When you are massaging a client, your body mechanics, movement and breath must be consistent. Remaining hydrated and consuming a healthy diet will help. Many massage therapists remain calm, connected and in a mindful state when working with clients by practicing quiet meditation. When you are not working with a client, try physical exercise, receiving regular massages and meditation to help preserve your focus and enthusiasm.

How Do You Find a Job After Graduation?

There are numerous ways to find a good job once your graduate. The vocational school offers career services and there are job portals such as Indeed and LinkedIn that offer networking. It is also important to talk to spa managers within the community. Employers in different environments hire massage therapists including hospitals and retirement facilities. You can work for someone else or establish a small business. Attracting a steady client base is dependent on professionalism and friendliness.

The best part of becoming a massage therapist is the ability to make clients feel better while earning a living. The demand for massage therapists is steadily increasing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth is expected to increase 21 percent between 2019 and 2029. Once you decide whether to open a practice, work for a business or work alone, your career will begin in this growing industry.

Start a Small Massage Business?

Running a small business offers benefits including flexibility and freedom. You decide the type of space to work in, which hours and days you will be available and determine your own scheduling and fees. All of the revenue earned is yours. If you enjoy working alone, you perform every job and decide whether an assistant or any employees are necessary.

Running a small business is expensive and involves handling all costs associated with the business such as licenses, rent, equipment and advertising. A sole practitioner does not receive the same benefits as a massage therapist working for an employer. Working for an employer means a specific schedule must be maintained including availability, hours and treatments.

Work for a Franchisee Massage Employer?

Certain employers will require you to perform additional administrative duties in addition to massage. The benefit of working for a franchise massage employer is a career offering a wide variety of choices and responsibilities. One of the most important considerations is equipment. Establishing a business as a massage therapist includes purchasing all of the necessary equipment as opposed to having everything provided by an employer.

Some employers pay for continuing education and training. Whether you decide to work for yourself or as part of a team, becoming a massage therapist is a rewarding career. Prior to deciding which course is right for your individual needs, consider your personality, preferences, the option best suited to your temperament and how to provide clients with the best possible experience.

Final Thoughts

Whether you decide to open a business by yourself, with a team or work for someone else is an important decision. However, the first step you need to take is deciding whether a career as a massage therapist is right for your needs. Once you enroll in vocational school, you’re on the fastest path to your dream career.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

What is the Difference Between a Swedish Massage and a Regular Massage?

Massage therapist helping a client

Did you know that you can become a massage therapist in as little as 12 months, attending full-time? Interested in learning the difference between Swedish massage and regular massages? There are many different types of massage that you will learn during a massage therapy program at a vocational school, from Swedish massage to Himalayan hot stone and everything in between. Many massages derive their technique from Swedish massage, but each has a different technique and use. No one type of massage is better than another, but their goals vary. As a massage therapist, you should choose the type of massage that best suits the clients’ unique needs. Whether it is deep tissue massage that offers more pressure or chair massage that uses Swedish massage on the upper body, it is important to learn about the different types of massage so you can create a unique massage plan for your clients.

Swedish Massage History

Swedish massage was invented by Pehr Henrik Ling, in the 19th century. Injured himself, Pehr created a unique massage technique based on an early form of massage using percussion strokes. The massage technique originated in Sweden was brought back to the US in the mid-19th century. The traditional version of Swedish massage included five massage strokes: vibration, petrissage, friction, effleurage and tapotement.

Vibration – as a massage therapist, you will use the palm of your hand to massage in a back-and-forth motion to loosen muscles with vigorous vibration.

Petrissage – a deeper stroke to knead muscles. Using the knuckles and thumbs, you dig deep to prepare the muscles for further massage.

Friction – you use a rubbing action with your hands to produce heat and then place the heat on the muscles to warm them.

Effleurage – use of long gliding strokes to reduce tension in the muscles.

Tapotement – a fast tapping or patting of the muscles with a hand, soft fist and fingertips.

What are the Different Types of Massage Therapy?

During your massage therapy program, you will learn about Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, chair massage, prenatal massage, and Himalayan hot stone. It is important to learn many different types of massage in order to tailor a unique plan for each individual client. They will have unique ailments and pain thresholds that will require different types of massage. The main massage type and one that many massage techniques derive from is Swedish massage.

Swedish Massage

Swedish Massage, also known Western Massage is the basis of most massage therapy performed in America today. It is the most common form of massage found in spas, health clubs, and private practices. Swedish massage techniques aid in the circulation of blood and lymph, relaxing muscles, improving joint mobility, and inducing general relaxation. Some Swedish techniques include; effleurage: sliding or gliding over the skin with a smooth continues motion, Petrissage: lifting wringing or squeezing soft tissues in a kneading motion, Friction: rubbing one surface over another repeatedly to create heat and stimulate the skin, Tapotement: a series of brisk rhythmic percussive movements that have a stimulating effect, Vibration: oscillating, quivering, or trembling motion used to stimulate digestion or bring greater circulation to a muscle to help it relax. Each massage technique produces a different effect that aids in the decrease of muscle tension and increase relaxation. 

Deep Tissue Massage

The massage techniques used in deep tissue massage mirror that of Swedish massage. However, deep tissue massage also involves the use of deeper pressure and trigger point therapy. Trigger point therapy involves the identification and deactivation of painful fibrous nodules in muscles and connective tissue called trigger points. Trigger points can be felt as taut bands of tissue that elicit pain if pressed and that refer pain to other areas of the body. The deactivation of trigger points allows muscle tension to decrease and allows more blood flow to the muscle. Deep tissue therapy, although more intense than Swedish massage, can be extremely beneficial to a person’s overall health and well-being.

Sports Massage

Sports massage is the application of massage and related techniques to maintain the health of an athlete to enhance athletic performance. Sports massage is based on traditional western massage techniques. Most of the principals of sports massage are applicable to anyone engaged in physical fitness activities. Sports massage helps care for the wear and tear and minor injuries sustained in the performance of any strenuous physical activity. Some techniques are used more than others, depending on the situation and desired results. Techniques are applied very specifically to certain muscles and tendons; therefore, sports massage specialists have well developed palpation skills and knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy.  

Chair Massage

Derived from Swedish massage, chair massage focuses on the upper part of the body. The client sits in a chair designed for massage. As a massage therapist, you massage the head, neck, back, shoulders, arms and hands to relieve stress and tension. Many offices will bring in a massage therapist to perform chair massage on employees that sit for extended periods of the day and need relief from stiffness and repetitive motions. Chair massages are also common in malls, casinos, and other open environments for clients that are on their feet or sitting for extended periods of time.

Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage is a form of Swedish massage that is performed on mothers-to-be when they are pregnant and feeling the effects of carrying around a baby for up to nine months. The main purpose of prenatal massage is to relieve back and neck pain. While a client may lie face down during a Swedish massage, a prenatal massage has the client lay with special cushioning to help them lie down properly without putting pression on blood vessels that can disrupt blood flow to the baby. It is important for you to have your client get permission from their doctor before engaging in prenatal massage as the doctor will know about the contraindicators of massage for that specific client. Prenatal massage has been considered safe after the first trimester and also can be used for post-partum depression after the baby is born.

Prenatal massage is used to improve overall health, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension, according to the American Pregnancy Organization. Prenatal massage can also be used to decrease the symptoms of depression, improve labor outcomes as well as improve newborn health.

Himalayan Hot Stone

A hot stone massage uses hot or cold stones to induce relaxation and relieve pain. The most common type of stone used today is basalt, smooth, flat volcanic rocks that retain heat and are thought to channel healing energies. Himalayan hot stone massage uses hot stones with minerals to exfoliate the skin, softening the client’s skin. Himalayan hot stones give off negative ions to balance out the positive ions that cause inflammation in the body. Himalayan hot stone massage helps reduce stress, offering a calm and warm atmosphere.

What Does a Massage Therapist Do Day-to-Day?

A massage therapist’s job is to relieve the stress and tension of a client’s body by manipulating muscles and soft tissue with different types of massage therapy techniques. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a massage therapist will communicate with clients to understand their symptoms, medical histories and massage goals. They will evaluate the client’s body to better understand which massage technique will help relieved muscle pain and restore range of motion. The massage therapist will help educate clients in between appointments to stretch, strengthen and relax their bodies and improve posture. They will also document the client’s condition and record the progress of the massage therapy treatment.

A massage therapist may work in a spa or resort, open up their own business location or travel to client’s residence and commercial buildings to offer massage to their clients. After graduating from an accredited vocational school that offers a massage therapy program, the massage therapist will work to pass the licensing exam. Once the massage therapist is licensed, they may start seeing clients for massage therapy sessions.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the difference between Swedish massage and regular massage, are you interested in learning more about massage therapy? Becoming a massage therapist is a rewarding career and allows you to help others that are experiencing acute or chronic pain. You work with all types of clients, from office workers to pregnant mothers-to-be. If you are interested in starting a satisfying career, then becoming a massage therapist may be the right career path for you. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for massage therapist is expected to grow 21 percent in the coming decade. In the face of technology and outsourcing, a massage therapist will continue to be in demand for many years to come.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

10 Skills of a Successful Esthetician

esthetician helping a client

Do you have an interest in beauty and wellness? Have 5 months to work full-time toward a diploma in Esthiology? If you have the passion for beauty and the drive to help others look beautiful inside and out, then becoming an esthetician may be the right career path for you. There are several skills that you will master during a Esthiology diploma program that will set you up for success when you start your career as an esthetician.

10 Skills of a Successful Esthetician

There are many skills that help an esthetician become successful. From empathizing with customers to good people skills, the ability to communicate with different types of people and a strong sense of attention to detail. Having this set of skills will ensure that the esthetician creates loyal customers, is the go-to for skin care and everyone’s favorite coworker.

Skill #1: Empathy

Those estheticians that understand the emotions of others are more effective in engaging with customers, coworkers and the public. They draw people in and can talk to complete strangers to find common ground even for those outside their social circle. This comes in handy because estheticians work with many different people with all types of backgrounds. The ability to find conversation topics with any customer is an important skill for an esthetician to build a clientele.

Skill #2: Customer Service

In business, the bottom line is important, and customers heavily influence a business’s bottom line. However, offering good customer service is just the start. It takes more than a clean and inviting atmosphere, a smile and a listening ear. Good customer service can anticipate what the customer wants, before they even know they want it.

Part of an esthetician’s job is to assess a customer’s skin and recommend products and services that will enhance their look and confidence. The customer looks to the esthetician as a skin care expert and wants them to advise on a proper skin care regimen. With good customer service, an esthetician can increase customer loyalty. Why is this important? Because retaining customers is often more cost effective than trying to obtain new customers. With good customer service, an esthetician can create loyal followers.

Skill #3: People Skills

An esthetician works with people as a function of their job. Whether it is customers, coworkers, vendors or managers, an esthetician must be a people person and have the knack to interact with others. An esthetician must draw people to them, offer an approachable demeanor and build trust throughout their interactions.

Skill #4: Communication

In order to offer good customer service, a people person must be able to communicate exceptionally well, being clear and concise so that no errors occur. A successful esthetician can also communicate with different types of customers. Some customers will be open to new options, others will disagree with anything that is suggested. Customers may come to the esthetician having had a bad experience and not trust the process. As a good communicator, an esthetician must recognize what communicate style is needed in order to provide the customer with the best service.

Part of communication in an esthetician practice is the communication they have with customers through advertising. Whether it is a social media post, blog article, video, brochure or letter announcing an important milestone, the esthetician must understand the needs of the customer and properly communicate them to entice the customer to become loyal and pass on the positive experience they had through word-of-mouth. The best advertising for any business is the positive testimonials that a friend or family member can offer to someone they know.

Skill #5: Attention to Detail

A customer may come to an esthetician not knowing about the severity of a skin condition and it is up to the esthetician to ask the right questions and assess the customer with attention to detail and in an organized manner to identify those severe conditions before they become a serious problem. Whether it is a discolored skin spot or dry patches, an esthetician with attention to detail can find even the most minute skin issue and bring it to the customer’s attention.

Skill #6: Organization

A successful esthetician will have a checklist for customer skin assessments. Everything will be in order and every question asked. Nothing is left to chance or inspiration. Organization is key to offering a consistent appointment every time customers come for skin care advice.

An organized workspace also means that the esthetician is not stumbling around looking for something or sitting behind a stack of samples sitting on their desk. A clutter-free work area shows a customer that the esthetician is in control and ready to help.

Skill #7: Problem Solving

Customers turn to an esthetician with a skin problem, and it is their role to find the proper solution to the problem. Whether a customer has acute acne or dry skin, the esthetician must assess the problem, weigh all the risks and come up with a solution that best helps their customer.

A good problem solver will be able to discover an answer to a problem with concrete facts and actual data rather than a hunch or assumption. They focus on finding the right solution, are open to new ideas, look for opportunities within the problem, have a clear understanding of the problem, can identify the many options available, and come to a solution that is beneficial for all parties involved.

Skill #8: Time Management

A successful esthetician can manage their time wisely, prioritize what is most important to be completed first, and respect others time more than their own. For an esthetician to have good time management, it is important for them to keep appointments and not let customers sit in the waiting room passed their scheduled time. Letting a customer wait means that the esthetician does not respect their time and that they are more important than the customer. The ability to keep an accurate and timely schedule is important and sometimes that means wrapping up with a customer so the esthetician can move to the next appointment scheduled. A customer left waiting for too long has the potential to leave before the appointment or not schedule a follow-up.

Skill #9: Patience

It is too easy to hurry through an assessment of a customer’s skin, come to a quick conclusion or gloss over some important information in the moment. With patience, an esthetician can be thorough, complete and exhaustive in their assessment of a customer’s skin. It is important to be patient with customers and take the time to identify any problems to come to the right solution, so the customer gets the best possible service, keeping healthy skin in the process.

Skill #10: Business Savvy

Part of being an esthetician is running a business, doing light bookkeeping and performing customer marketing services. An esthetician that wants to start their own business will need a business license, zoning permits, bank loans, advertising budget and QuickBooks skills to succeed. Fortunately, an esthetician program at a vocational school will start graduates off with a cursory knowledge of how to run a small business and the procedures needed to succeed.

Final Thoughts

If you don’t have all the skills to be a successful esthetician, the good news is that you can learn much of what you need to know in a Esthiology program at a vocational school. Every journey starts with the first step. If you have 5 months to learn everything you need to know about Esthiology, then it may be time to take the first step toward a rewarding career as an esthetician.

Ready to gain the skills you need to be a successful esthetician? If so, you could begin your career as an esthetician at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC).  Our Esthiology Diploma Program has been developed by talented, caring, real-world professionals, many of whom still work in the field. Through MSC’s esthetician training courses, you will gain a solid foundation in the anatomy, physiology and chemistry of the skin so you can provide individualized care for each of your customers based on their skin type, conditions and concerns. We give our esthiology students experience in skincare, waxing, make-up, application of facials, and more.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming an esthetician and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

How Do You Maintain a Wig?

comb going through a wig

One of the important tasks you will learn as a hairstylist is maintaining wigs and hair extensions. Those that wear wigs will come to you for advice on cutting, styling, washing and maintain their wigs. The good news is during a cosmetology program, you will practice most of your hairstylist techniques on wigs first. This will help you become familiar with wig maintenance and build your confidence in maintaining wigs to help your clients.

Who Wears a Wig?

There are many people that choose to wear a wig for many different reasons. Whether they want to try out a style without cutting their own hair, they have thinning hair or went through chemotherapy and temporarily lost their hair.

There are two common types of wigs, synthetic or human hair. Each have their pros and cons. Human hair wigs respond to styling products better, but alternatively, a synthetic wig will keep its style longer without a lot of upkeep. It is important to consider the type of wig your client owns before giving them instructions on how to maintain it.

What Celebrities Wear a Wig?

MayVenn Blog reported on some unlikely celebrities that wear wigs for one reason or another. Singers like Gwen Stefani, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj wear a wig, to keep their natural hair healthy while continuously updating their look. Celebrities like Keira Knightley dyed her hair so many times for different roles that her hair started to thin, causing her to also wear a wig.

How Do You Maintain a Wig?

Consider what the wig is made of before maintaining it with any specific technique. Is your client’s wig made of human hair or synthetic hair? Like real hair, a wig made of human hair can dry out if it is washed too many times. When in doubt, read the instructions that come with the wig to understand how to best maintain it.

Use Special Shampoo & Conditioner

Let your clients know that there is special shampoo, conditioner and a wig combs to help maintain their wig. Regular shampoo and conditioner have a lot of chemicals and can damage the texture of the hair. When washing a wig, start by soaking it in shampoo and water. Then comb the shampoo out of the wig with a wig comb. Rinse the wig with warm water into completely clean of shampoo. No need to rub or massage the wig’s hair, a comb will do the trick. Dry the wig without heat from a blow drier to not damage the wig.

Take it to a Professional

Many of your clients will come to you for help maintaining their wigs. You can help your clients with their wigs to keep them looking good. You can also educate them on how to take care of their wig in between professional wig maintenance. Maintaining a wig means meticulous attention to detail and proper technique. Let them know to not sleep or shower in their wig. Also, let your clients know to keep their wig covered from dust and upright on a mannikin head to allow the hair to flow naturally and not tangle.

How Do You Keep a Wig in Good Condition?

Have your client start by purchasing a high-quality wig that is made well. It may cost a little more money but will save them money down the road, so they are not replacing your wigs too often. Have them wear a wig cap under the wig to not allow their real hair to come in contact with the inside of the wig. This will not only keep stray strands of hair from sticking out, but it will reduce the amount of oil and dirt that is transferred to the wig. You should advise your clients to keep their hair clean and conditioned too, again to not allow dirt or grease to transfer to the wig.

Cutting the Hair

Reiterate to your client that once the hair is cut, it won’t grow back. Make sure that the client consults you before they try to cut their hair. It might be a good idea to help them understand what they are looking for first and then cut second.

How Long Should a Wig Last?

This will depend on how well the client care for their wig and how often they wear it. However, human hair wigs tend to last longer, are strong and less likely to tangle. Most wigs that are worn on a regular basis may need to be replaced about every year.

How Can I Make My Wig Last Longer?

When the client cares for their wig, it is important that they don’t use heat to blow dry, straighten or curl the wig’s hair. Heat can damage the wig, melting it or ruining the hair. In order to allow your wig to last longer, have them consider multiple wigs. Allowing one wig to rest while wearing another. Over time the color will fade, and the overall appearance will diminish so they should take the time to properly care for the wig and get the most out of it.

Final Thoughts

Take the time to learn wig maintenance techniques during your cosmetology program. Many clients will count on you to cut and style their wigs to make the best of their face shape and hair style.  For those that have thinning hair or lost hair, you can change their world and help build their confidence with a high-quality looking wig.

Want to Learn More?

Are you ready to practice your wig maintenance techniques? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and start a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

How Long Does It Take to Finish Cosmetology School?

Cosmetology student standing in an apron

If you’re interested in becoming an expert on hair, nails, makeup, and beauty, cosmetology school may be the answer. Cosmetologists can specialize in a single area or learn every aspect of beauty. The average cosmetology program takes less than a year to complete. The beauty industry is one of the faster-growing markets. So, how long does it take to finish cosmetology school?

How Long Does It Take to Finish Cosmetology School?

The length of time that it takes to finish cosmetology school can vary depending on the program that you choose. It also depends on whether you can attend full-time or part-time. At the Minnesota School of Cosmetology, you can finish cosmetology school in about 11 months attending full-time.

What Else Do You Need to Become a Cosmetologist?

To start working in Minnesota, you need a Minnesota state cosmetology license. You have to attend classes at a licensed school that has a qualifying curriculum. After you finish your minimum training hours, you’ll complete an application for a license and take the board exams.

Board exams are regulated by the Minnesota Board of Cosmetology. They are an official government entity, and they will determine whether you can receive your license. Passing the exam is the last step needed for your license. When you receive your license, you’ll be required to pay a one-time fee. You can then apply to work in salons.

Minnesota requires some continuing education for those working in cosmetology. You will need to show that you have continued learning current practices when you renew your license.

What Do You Learn During a Cosmetology Program?

A cosmetology program covers every aspect of the beauty industry. The skills and information that you learn will largely fit into several broad categories including hair, nails, makeup and skin. The following are some of the areas that will be covered throughout the cosmetology course.

Hair Cutting, Styling, and Coloring

When most people think about cosmetology school, they think about hair cutting. Instructors will teach you the best practices for hair cutting, how to achieve different styles, and how to properly use the appliances and tools that you will use for both men and women. You’ll also learn about styling a client’s hair for special occasions as well as day-to-day life. Hair coloring is big part of what you’ll learn. You’ll learn:

  • How to evenly cover the hair with color
  • How to use foiling to create multiple hair colors at once
  • How to safely bleach hair
  • What to know about different types of hair dye
  • The difference between temporary and permanent hair coloring

At a student run salon, you will get hands-on experience with client’s hair. Cosmetology schools give students a chance to style and cut hair, while customers get a more inexpensive alternative to a haircut from a licensed cosmetologist.

Chemical Texturizing

Chemical texturizing is a major part of cosmetology. This is the process of permanently altering hair texture to either straighten or curl the client’s hair. Because the process permanently alters how the hair behaves, you’ll need to know about chemistry to avoid the potential for causing damage. Chemically textured hair remains in its new shape until the hair is cut off or grows out.

Permanent waving is the term for adding curls to hair. You might be more familiar with the term “perm.” During this process, the hair is softened using chemicals, which allows it to be wound into curls. When the hair is wound around rods, it hardens in the shape of the curls. Different sized rods will give different curl tightness.

Perms take longer to complete than a haircut, and they require more in-depth knowledge. The same is true of chemical relaxing, which is when curly hair is turned into straight hair. The process follows the same chemical principles as perming, but the hair is softened and then straightened instead of wound. When this is done, you will rinse it and finalize the style.

Cornrows, Bumps, and Updos

Instructors will teach you how to style cornrows, bumps, and updos. Part of your education will involve learning the ways that hair texture affects your styling. Cornrows can be implemented with any hair texture, but the coarser the hair is, the better the rows will hold over time. Straight hair can be smoothed more easily prior to styling it.

With cornrows, the parts of the hair matter. Every hair part is easily visible and a major factor in the style. You’ll learn to section hair using pointed tools and clips to make straight lines. You’ll also learn what is possible for different textures and volumes.

Bumps are a way to add volume to a hairstyle. Instructors teach you how to tease hair to create a bump, along with how to add bumping tools to thinner hair. Bumps can be used to add volume to a ponytail, create a more dynamic short haircut, and give additional dimension to updos.

Updos come in practically infinite styles. You’ll learn how to help clients with updos for special events and interviews. As you learn about hair, you’ll get practice with imitating complicated updos using reference photos.

Braiding and Flat Ironing

During a cosmetology program, you will learn how to braid different hair textures to create additional styles. There will be time to practice at your school’s salon. Flat ironing allows you to temporarily straighten curly or wavy hair. It doesn’t involve the same chemical permanence as a relaxer treatment, but can cause damage if not done properly.

Basic Nail Care

During cosmetology classes, you’ll learn about the fingernails and toenails, including information on how to take care of them. This means understanding the structure of the nail, how it grows, and how to avoid breakage.

Manicure and Pedicure

Part of your training in cosmetology will include learning how to give clients a manicure and pedicure. Manicures and pedicures allow the nails to be smoothed and buffed. You’ll learn to take care of any past damage to the cuticles, plus learn to instruct clients on how to care for their nails in between appointments.

Sculpted Nails and Nail Art

Coursers will focus on painting client’s nails and sculpting the nails to specific shapes. This involves learning how to make even coats of nail polish. As you practice, you’ll be able to make basic nail art using toothpicks and other fine tools.

Makeup and Facials

Facials and makeup are a big part of cosmetology. Sometimes you’ll be preparing models to walk down the runway, and sometimes you’ll be helping someone get ready for a special occasion.

During a cosmetology program, you’ll learn how makeup accentuates different parts of the face. With runways, you’ll study how spotlights affect the model. For special occasions, you’ll focus on making clients look their best. You will also learn about the types of products that are safest to use.

Facials are a relaxing way to clean the pores and take care of the skin. These courses will teach you the basics of skin care, how to unclog pores, and what types of face mask help clients.

Where Can You Work After Graduation?

It’s helpful to think about where you want to work as you go through your cosmetology program. Most people will work in a salon, but the type of salon can vary. There are also different specialties, such as being a full-time hairdresser or nail artist.

Large salons tend to cater to every aspect of beauty, while smaller salons might only handle basic haircuts and styling. There are also careers in styling hair for clients exclusively for special occasions.

Local Salons

When you go through cosmetology school, you’ll learn more about the community surrounding you. It’s helpful to look for job openings at your local salons. If they’re located near your school, the salon owners are likely to look for graduates to hire. Small local salons might offer full beauty services, or they might specialize in one or two aspects of hair. Look for ones that focus on the services that interest you the most.

Franchise Salons

Franchise salons are another option. These salons use a business model and branding that has been well established, but they operate with different owners. Investors in franchises pay to access the brand reputation and the policies of the overarching company.

Different franchises will have different opportunities for cosmetologists. Some pay a flat hourly fee, while others pay commissions. When getting paid by commission, you get a portion of the profit from products you sell and services that you provide.

One of the benefits of franchise salons is that you can find out a lot about the workplace environment before applying. Take the time to research the salons in your community so you have a good fit for you.


Some salons allow cosmetologists to rent a room or a chair and run their own practice. This type of employment gives you more freedom over the services you provide and the clients you work with. However, you will need to attract your own clients, so there’s a certain level of marketing that goes into it. You might pay a flat monthly fee for the space, or the salon might take a commission.

Start Your Own Salon

Some people choose to open up their own salon, operating at their own storefront or out of their house. Before you do this, it’s essential to make a business plan and research your opportunities. One of the best ways to establish yourself is by serving a certain niche. You’ll need to weather the costs of setup, so it’s best to have some money to invest first.

Whether you want to work on hair, nails, or special occasion styling, becoming a cosmetologist will give you the tools needed to start your own salon.

Final Thoughts

Do you have 11 months to start a new career? Cosmetology school will teach you everything that you need to know about becoming a successful cosmetologist. Whether you start your own salon or join an established one in your area, you’ll embark upon an expert career. Take the time to learn as much as you can at a cosmetology school, so you are prepared for your first day in a new salon.

Want to Learn More?

Now that you know how long it takes to finish cosmetology school, ready to learn more? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetology entrepreneur and start a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

What Can I Do with a Cosmetology License?

Students blow drying a clients hair to practice for a cosmetology license

A cosmetology license is your gateway to a career that includes resort spas, salons or even your own salon. Yes, getting the credentials to “do beauty” for a living can even help you to build an online following that can catapult your career. When you’re in the business of helping others look their best, you can live your best life. If you have a knack for aesthetics, it’s important to get locked into the right trajectory, working as a cosmetologist in a professional capacity.

What Does a Cosmetologist Do?

Combining art, science and technical skills, cosmetologists bring the latest beauty treatments and techniques to their clients. While these professionals often come to the job with an innate, natural talent for hair, nails and skincare, they spend hours developing and refining their talents to offer safe, professional-level results. In short, a cosmetologist delivers a wide range of cosmetic treatments for hair, skin and nails. Here’s a look at some specifics within the field of cosmetology:

  • Hairstyling
  • Haircutting
  • Coloring
  • Hair treatments
  • Hair extensions/weaves
  • Beauty/skin treatments (esthetics)
  • Manicures
  • Pedicures
  • General nail care
  • Makeup application

Cosmetologists in training study the complete range of services in the cosmetology field. Some go on to become full-service professionals capable of pampering clients from head to toe by delivering the latest and best treatments for every part of the body. Others find that they are passionate about one specialty. So, how do you get a cosmetology license to start helping clients look and feel good?

How Do You Get a Cosmetology License?

Cosmetology is a highly regulated field. To operate as a legitimate, board-recognized cosmetologist you must have more than talent for hair, skin, nails or beauty. While a natural talent is certainly a great launching point for getting into this field, it’s not enough to actually begin a professional career that’s in full compliance with all laws and regulations. What’s more, salons, spas and other businesses want to hire people who have the proper certification in addition to talent.

The strict regulations regarding cosmetology are in place for good reason. It’s extremely important to be trained in proper safety and hygiene techniques. This helps to ensure a healthy, sterile environment that doesn’t pose any contamination risks for cosmetologists and their clients. Cosmetologists work in close proximity with their clients. In addition, many handle chemicals that are used for various hair, nail and beauty treatments. It’s essential that all cosmetologists know how to properly mix, handle and dispose of chemicals. While each cosmetologist’s journey is unique, the general path to becoming a licensed professional in this field is relatively uniform. Here’s a look at the steps to becoming a licensed cosmetologist:

  1. Research cosmetology programs
  2. Enroll in a cosmetology program
  3. Graduate from a cosmetology program. This often includes completing a certain number of practice hours
  4. Study for the licensing exam
  5. Pass the licensing exam
  6. Apply for your cosmetology license

In addition to “book learning” that’s focused on all of the techniques, tools, equipment, products, safety protocols, hygiene protocols and regulations involved in the cosmetology profession, cosmetology programs deliver hands-on experience in salon and spa settings. Students truly “learn by doing” under the guidance of trained instructors with years of expertise. Recent graduates are then eligible to sit for licensing exams. This includes a comprehensive timed exam that is typically comprised of questions broken down into the categories of scientific concepts, hair services, skincare services and nail services.

What Can You Do with a Cosmetology License?

Once the boards have been passed, an entirely new world of professional opportunities opens up for newly certified cosmetologists. While there is no standard path for cosmetologists, many choose to go to work for other people as a way to gain experience. Working under the umbrella of a well-known spa or salon allows an up-and-coming cosmetologist to learn the ropes of the industry from all angles. For those who are seeking to open their own spas and salons in the future, this can be an amazing way to learn the financial, customer service and practical sides of running a thriving “beauty business.” So, what are some of the roles that open up with a cosmetology license?

Traditional Hairstylist

For those motivated to pursue cosmetology degrees based on a passion for hair, becoming a hairstylist is an obvious choice. Hairstylists are needed in every town and city across the country. While some work for major styling chains, others prefer to maintain exclusive clientele rosters. Hairstylists can work in salons, at spas, or on runways. Here’s a look at some of the services hairstylists provide:

  • Haircuts
  • Coloring
  • Hair extensions
  • Weaves
  • Chemical relaxing
  • Straightening
  • Perms
  • Wig styling
  • Braiding
  • Wedding styling
  • Styling for prom and special events

Hairstylists can also act as “hair consultants” by providing clients with suggestions for various hair products and treatments. For cosmetologists who go on to own their own salons, there is the opportunity to sell high-quality hair products directly to clients. Carrying exclusive products is a smart way for stylists to build client loyalty. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that becoming a licensed cosmetologist is a great way to combine a passion for hair with a passion for business.

Nail Technician

Offering manicures and pedicures, nail technicians provide comprehensive care for toenails and fingernails. This includes cleaning, trimming, filing, polishing and repairing nails. Additionally, nail techs are general “nail experts” who can provide guidance on how to keep nails strong and healthy. Some options that they can discuss with clients include how to properly moisturize hands, how to preserve artificial nails and how to keep nails healthy.

Salon Owner

For many who enroll in cosmetology school for the first time, the goal is to become a salon owner. Certification opens the door to living the entrepreneurial dream. A salon owner wears many hats. They often oversee a team of talented, dedicated professionals delivering a wide range of treatments for clients. In many cases, they become familiar faces within a town or city. For some salon owners, the goal is to build up their own name from scratch. Others choose to purchase franchises from well-known salon chains. There is no wrong or right way to pursue the dream of owning a salon. One of the perks of being an experienced and licensed cosmetologist is that they can step in to fill in any gaps when serving clients because they are trained to “do it all.”

Salon Manager

For cosmetologists with experience, stepping into the role of a salon manager is often a natural progression. Salon managers have responsibilities like overseeing staff, scheduling, budgeting and promoting salon services. They are often also tasked with creating customer-satisfaction initiatives. Ultimately, the salon manager keeps the salon running smoothly and keeps the clients happy.

Makeup Specialist

True artists, makeup specialists bring concepts to life through makeup. While some are makeup consultants that help people find the right products and looks, others are called in for special events. Makeup artists can work as freelancers for wedding makeup, set makeup, theater makeup and more.

Cosmetology Brand Influencer

If you love to get in front of the camera, the passion that you have for beauty products and inside tips could help you launch a career as an influencer. While anyone can “make a video” about makeup or hair, most people simply don’t have the expertise or knowledge to make compelling, high-value instructional videos. Becoming a brand influencer can pay in many ways. First, many influencers are able to land brand sponsorships. Others prefer to remain independent while posting their own content. Lastly, being a recognized name is a great way to draw attention that will help you to book direct clients as a freelancer or salon owner.

Cosmetology Product Salesperson

A cosmetology background can be the bedrock of a long and successful corporate career. Many brands are seeking salespeople who understand how and why certain products work. They want professionals who can sell products to solve specific beauty concerns. If you’re interested in a sales career that’s focused on the beauty industry, getting the credentials to be able to “talk shop” with some degree of authority can be a real résumé booster that distinguishes you from other people who simply have sales backgrounds.

The Versatility of a Cosmetology License

Like all things that are worth the effort in life, aspiring beauty experts need to put in the time to become true experts in the world of beauty and aesthetics. There is a world of knowledge to learn about. Attending a cosmetology training program that covers all the practical and technical aspects allows you to administer a wide variety of beauty treatments and services. In addition to satisfying employer requirements for operating as a working cosmetologist, the process of obtaining a cosmetology license will simply make you better at what you do. If you’re considering a career that will take you everywhere from your own salon to the on-set makeup chairs, there’s only one place to start. A cosmetology program that equips you to sit for a license and start a journey toward a highly rewarding career.

Want to Learn More?

Are you ready to prepare for your cosmetology license? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetology entrepreneur and start a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

What is the Importance of Knowing the Functions of the Skin?

Three women with health skin smiling

Are you interested in becoming an esthetician but not sure why functions of the skin are so important? This is because our body’s largest organ is the skin. It serves more than one function and is essential for shielding the body from trauma, regulating the body’s temperature, synthesizing vitamin D, and providing the proper balance between electrolytes and water. Your client’s skin also senses stimuli that generate painful or pleasurable responses in their body. If this is all new to you, don’t worry, you will learn the function of the skin during an esthetician program at your local cosmetology school.

Skin and Its Function

The body’s skin also serves the function of keeping necessary nutrients and chemicals in the body while providing a shield so that certain toxic substances can’t enter the body. Without skin, our bodies would have no protection from the ultraviolet radiation that comes from the sun. The texture, folds, and color of the skin also help establish individuality in the world. Any substances or conditions that interfere with the body’s skin function can lead to a change in appearance or have serious consequences on a person’s mental and physical well-being.

Many issues that are evident on the skin are only limited to the skin’s surface. However, the skin can show symptoms that indicate a problem that is present within the body. As an esthetician, you will have to consider several possible conditions when assessing your client’s skin.

The Skin’s Layers

Now that you know the function of the skin, it is time to get technical. The three layers of the skin are the epidermis, dermis, and the subcutaneous layer. Every layer performs a different role. Under the surface of the skin, we find the nerves and nerve endings, hair follicles, glands, and blood vessels.

The epidermis is the skin’s tough, thin outer layer. The majority of the cells in the epidermis are keratinocytes which originate from cells in the basal layer, or the deepest level of the epidermis. The new keratinocytes slowly move up toward the epidermis surface where they shed and are replaced with new skin cells.

The stratum corneum is the outer portion of the epidermis and is naturally waterproof. When the stratum corneum is undamaged, it serves as a barrier against viruses, bacteria, and toxic substances. The epidermis, along with the skin’s other layers, shield the nerves, muscles, and blood vessels from damage. For other parts of the body that require extra protection, such as the soles of the feet and palms of the hands, the stratum corneum is especially thick.

Melanocytes are spread through the basal layer. These cells produce melanin which is the pigment that contributes to a person’s skin color. However, the main function of melanin is to filter UV radiation from the sun which can damage human DNA and lead to health conditions such as skin cancer.

Conditions That an Esthetician Will Assess

There are many things that you will be looking for when assessing a client’s skin. Does the client suffer from the effects of aging skin, sun damage, wrinkles, discoloration, acne or other skin disorders that may be serious enough to be seen by a dermatologist?

The Effects of Aging Skin

Nearly everyone wants to find ways to keep their skin from aging. Not only is this a desire that is often rooted in vanity, but there are also health benefits associated with keeping the skin as youthful as possible.

Aging is often evident in the dermis and epidermis. The underlying layer of fat can be lost as a person ages, which leads to hollow or sagging skin. Aging can lead to a loss of volume and elasticity and the skin naturally becomes dryer with age, making it easier for wrinkles to form. Some people also begin to lose sensation since there are less nerve endings in the skin as the body ages.

With age, the number of blood vessels and sweat glands a person has decreases, which means they may not always respond to heat exposure immediately. This may seem like a good thing, but if a person builds up a tolerance for staying outdoors for long periods of time without protecting the skin, the chances of skin cancer are higher. The body doesn’t produce as many melanocytes as a person gets older which means there is less protection against ultraviolet radiation. These significant changes make it easier to determine skin issues.

Sun Damage

Sun damage is accountable for most of the skin issues people undergo as they age. If your client is exposed to free radicals and UV rays without protection for years or even months at a time, there is a greater chance that they will experience fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, red or brown spots, and rough texture. The easiest way to reduce the effects of the sun is to wear suntan lotion, cover up with clothes or wear a hat.


Wrinkles are a product of age and are usually unavoidable. However, as an esthetician, you can help your clients reduce the signs of aging on their skin by treating wrinkles, circles around the eyes and discolorations. Why does our skin wrinkle? As we age our skin cells divide slower and slower. This causes the dermis to thin. The function of the dermis is to offer elastin and collagen fibers to support our skin. As we age, the dermis loses its primary function, and the result is wrinkles. To prevent wrinkles, have your clients protect their skin from the sun. They can also moisturize their face, drink lots of water to stay hydrated, and eat food rich in vitamins.


Sunspots, age spots, sunburns, and rashes can cause discoloration of the skin. Depending on the symptoms, it is important to identify the cause of the discoloration and take the steps to reduce the damage.


Acne is common in teenagers and occurs when a hair follicle becomes plugged with oil, bacteria and dead skin cells. There are many creams and cleansers that can help. However, as an esthetician, you can advise your clients on a proper skincare regimen to treat these bumps.

Skin Disorders

Some of the skin disorders that you will see on your client’s skin include eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, ichthyosis, vitiligo and hives. Minor skin disorders can be treated by an esthetician, however if you find that the client has pain, puss or another issue with their skin disorder, it is important for them to see a dermatologist.

Final Thoughts

To ensure a client’s complexion and all the skin on their body remains intact, remind them to moisturize daily. The moisturizer should contain antioxidants such as vitamins E and C to even tone and protect against free radicals. They should drink plenty of water as well since moisture improves elasticity and can flush toxins from the body which can prevent fine lines.

When you know how the skin functions, you’ll be better able to care for your client’s skin and prevent or lower the risk of certain conditions. Healthy skin is not only a sign of overall health, but it can also give your client the confidence they need to look and feel their best.

Are you ready to help clients take advantage of the skin’s functions? If so, you could begin your career as an esthetician at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC).  Our Esthiology Diploma Program has been developed by talented, caring, real-world professionals, many of whom still work in the field.  We give our esthiology students experience in skincare, waxing, make-up, application of facials, and more.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming an esthetician and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.