What is Prenatal Massage: A Massage Therapist’s Guide

Pregnant woman experiencing back pain that could be helped by prenatal massage

Prenatal massage is a kind of massage therapy that is specifically designed for pregnant bodies throughout all of the stages and growth phases of pregnancy. Adding prenatal massage to your client’s prenatal care routine may be just what they need to help them balance the chaos they are feeling both physically and mentally.

Massage therapy is a practice that many people have turned to as a safe and natural way to balance their stress while also helping them maintain various aspects of their physical health. If your client is pregnant, they may be wondering if a massage is still a safe and helpful option for them and their ever-changing body. Prenatal massage specifically helps those that are pregnant and in need of stress relief.

There is no denying that giving birth can be stressful. Finding a way to relieve your stress and maintain your physical health is now more imperative than ever. However, this is often easier said than done, particularly if you are someone who is pregnant. Let’s take a look at what prenatal massage actually is as well as examining the benefits of the practice.

What is Prenatal Massage?

Prenatal massage is a specific kind of manual manipulation therapy that you, as a massage therapist, should be specially trained in. It is an area of massage therapy dedicated to facilitating the comfort, health, and relaxation of people in various stages of pregnancy while actively considering common conditions and discomforts. It is important that you learn about how the body changes throughout each phase and transition of each trimester. This knowledge is important to help your clients to receive the maximum benefits of the experience, but also so that you know how to avoid accidental injury or creating unnecessary risk to your client’s health or the health of their pregnancy.

How is Prenatal Massage Different from Other Kinds of Massage?

Firstly, you may be wondering why pregnancy requires a different kind of massage therapy technique. Pregnant women are often able to carry on many of their daily activities without much adjustment to their routine. Many mothers-to-be can comfortably continue to perform daily activities such as exercise and work while pregnant without having to significantly alter their activities. What makes massage different?

During any massage there are several different body systems that are engaged. Different manual manipulation techniques can help stimulate the muscular system, joints and bones, the lymphatic system, the skin, deep and surface tissues, as well as stimulating the circulatory system in various areas of the body. Throughout the phases of pregnancy these systems are stressed and stimulated quite differently than they would normally be. Furthermore, these changes require you to make specific and strategic adjustments to help make sure that the massage is comfortable, effective, and safe for your client. Let’s explore a couple of the most important differences between a traditional massage and a prenatal massage.

Areas of Focus: Prenatal vs Traditional Massage

The areas of the body that you will focus on during your client’s prenatal therapy appointment will be determined based on how their specific body is experiencing pregnancy. Some women experience significant discomfort in their shoulders and chest as breast tissue swells and glands are activated. Others experience tremendous tension in their hips and lower back from the added weight of belly growth and blood weight during pregnancy. Discussing the way your client’s particular body is affected by the facilitation of fetal development will inform you about trouble areas that may need extra or adjusted attention.

A couple of the areas that have special precautions are the abdomen and the legs. These areas can also experience pain and discomfort in all phases of pregnancy, but the abdomen should be avoided for during the first trimester.  Deep pressure massage should be avoided for both areas during the entire pregnancy.  For the leg area, pressure should be light and the therapist should check for pitting edema first.  Also, the abdomen can be massaged using special techniques during the second and third trimesters, only with the permission of the mother. It is particularly important to make sure you are specifically trained in prenatal techniques, methods, and safety procedures.

Amount and Kind of Pressure Applied: Prenatal vs Traditional Massage

Arm yourself with many techniques and tools to help maximize the effects of massage on your client’s pregnant bodies. Every pregnancy is unique, even for those who have experienced pregnancy before. Each pregnancy physically presents differently based on a large number of physical and environmental factors, such as your client’s physical condition prior to pregnancy, their pregnancy hormone levels, the amount of personal and professional pressure in their life, the amount of physical activity they do, general stress, and their physical size.

Open communication about what your client is experiencing both mentally and physically is important for achieving the best results from a prenatal massage appointment. The kind of pain or discomfort they feel will help guide you in providing the maximum amount of relief. The location of pressure, the kinds of pressure, and the techniques used and even the mood they prefer during their massage will likely change from one appointment to the next, as their body grows and changes. They will have new sensitivities that develop while others will fade away fairly quickly. Being trained in pregnancy relief and support techniques will give you the knowledge and tools necessary to provide your client with all they need from a massage to feel comfortable, supported, and happy.

Positioning: Prenatal vs Traditional Massage

During a traditional massage appointment, a client will lay either face down or face up, based on what area is being focused on during various portions of the appointment. Lying face down allows you to apply even, downward pressure to various stress points and creates greater accessibility to large portions of the body. Lying face up can give similar advantages to the opposite side of the body. This flattened posture helps to support much of the linear direction and uniform pressure techniques used to manipulate tissues and maneuver knots in the muscle fibers. These ground-parallel positions also enhance your ability to more readily access various pressure points that can provide significant physical stress relief.

As you can imagine, lying face down with a pregnant belly isn’t really an option. Lying flat on one’s back can also cause added stress on the circulatory, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems. That additional blood and oxygen stress on a client can lead to dangerous light headedness and dizziness. You will train to work with clients positioned on their sides as well as in various seated positions that allow you to increase your access to the tender and sensitive areas of their growing pregnant body, while also prioritizing their safety. As a prenatal massage therapist, you will train to maintain the proper hand and finger pressures without the aid of gravity that typical flat and prone positioning provides.

What are the Benefits of Prenatal Massage?

There are many different benefits to prenatal massage. The most common benefits of prenatal massage include stress reduction, physical relief and support. Although there are many more benefits that include clearing out toxins from the body, increasing blood circulation, improvement in flexibility, improved sleep, immunity enhancement and finally, reduction of fatigue.

Stress Reduction

Even if your client isn’t experiencing a great deal of physical pain or discomfort during their pregnancy, taking a bit of time out to focus on their body and how they are feeling can have tremendous mental health benefits for them. As a prenatal massage therapist, certainly focus on relaxation and tension relief to help them avoid unhealthy stress build-up and to manage some of the anxieties they may encounter.

Physical Relief and Support

Firstly, discomfort and pain are the most common reasons for booking a prenatal massage appointment. The changes that the body experiences can be a rapid shock that stresses several different body systems all at once. But there is more to the physical benefits than simply confronting pain. Evaluating and massaging your client’s body throughout their pregnancy can be about general maintenance. It can help them avoid many physical pregnancy pitfalls most mothers-to-be experience by regularly tending to their body as it changes, rather than as problems occur. By paying special attention to different areas of their body and immediately addressing any issues that arise you can help them take care of knots and tension before they even become a significant problem.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a massage therapist is a rewarding career, and it can be even more rewarding helping pregnant women relieve stress, reduce pain and prepare for birth. Prenatal massage is an important part of any pregnancy and taking the time to learn everything you can about prenatal massage will make sure you can offer the best massage experience to every client you work with.

Want to Learn More?

Did this information about prenatal massage interest you? 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 5 months with full time enrollment*. 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.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

6 Benefits of Shampoo and Conditioner

Woman at salon getting hair washed with shampoo and conditioner

One of the essential traits you will learn during a cosmetology program is the ability to analyze a client’s hair so that you can recommend the best shampoo and conditioner. A healthy head of hair can make all the difference in your client’s self-esteem. Do you like to help family and friends with their hairstyles? Are you interested in learning more about the different hair products on the market? Then becoming a hairstylist may be a good career path for you. It is rewarding and challenging each and every day. Take the time to become a hairstylist and change the lives of your clients, one at a time.

How Often Should You Shampoo Your Hair?

Clients will have a lot of questions for you about shampoo. One frequently asked question is, how often should I shampoo my hair? What a lot of people don’t know is that sebum is a natural conditioner that works on the hair. Sebum is a substance that’s excreted by the sebaceous glands. This natural oil protects individual strands of hair, acting as a conditioner.

However, if the hair isn’t shampooed frequently enough, the oil that’s secreted from the scalp into the hair builds up and causes the hair to appear limp and oily. How often your client should shampoo their hair is a matter of personal preference. However, for your clients that have very oily hair, every day or two is a good suggestion.

What is Shampoo?

Firstly, shampoos are viscous-type products, usually in the form of a liquid that’s created to clean the hair and scalp and remove the excess sebum in the hair follicles. Shampoos are produced by combining compounds. They act as cleaning or foaming agents that wash impurities out of the hair.

The ingredients in shampoo is similar to what is used in soap. However, the ingredients in shampoos are manufactured to be gentler on the hair and protect the outer layer of the hair from damage. Using soap to wash your client’s hair will strip away the outer layer of the hair shaft, giving it a rough texture, and making it unmanageable.

What are the Different Types of Shampoos on the Market?

Each shampoo is designed for specific hair. There are shampoos for normal, dry, or oily hair. There are also shampoos for specific types of hair texture, and products for color-treated hair. These are the most popular types of shampoos:

  • Clarifying
  • Color-Protecting
  • Moisturizing
  • Everyday
  • Oily Hair
  • Two-in-One
  • Volumizing

Clarifying shampoos remove the buildup or product that can weigh down the hair and make it appear limp. Therefore, clients that tend to have oily hair can use clarifying shampoos to remove the residue of product from their hair and scalp. You can recommend that your clients follow up with a conditioning product. However, this is NOT a shampoo you would use daily. 

When you color your client’s hair, you want to keep the color looking new and vibrant. It’s essential to use shampoos that preserves the color, so it looks fresh between touch-ups. You can recommend shampoos that contain specific oils, kelp, or algae.

Dry Hair

Shampoos produced for dry hair contain extra conditioners that keep hair looking full and bouncy. Shampoos that are formulated especially for dry hair contain oils, silicone, or other conditioning ingredients that leave a coating on the hair shaft to provide more moisture.

Everyday shampoos are an excellent choice for anyone who wants to wash their hair each day to keep the hair looking shiny and healthy. However, an excellent alternative to the usual shampoos is baby shampoos, that are designed to be gentle.

Oily Hair

You can recommend oily hair shampoos for your clients who need to remove excess sebum from their hair and scalp. These products have fewer conditioning ingredients in them, so they don’t weigh down the hair.

Two-in-one shampoos are the ideal option for anyone who wants to gently wash and condition their hair. Since the washing and conditioning ingredients are in one product, it’s fast and easy to use.

Finally, volumizing shampoos are perfect for anyone who has fine, limp hair and wants to add volume and body. Volumizing products work well on hair that’s thin or hard to manage by adding thickness and texture to the hair.

What are the Benefits of Shampoos?

There are many benefits of using shampoo. You can help your client choose the best shampoo for their hair type, leaving it beautiful and shiny. Normally hair needs to be washed with products that help the PH balance. Hair that is naturally oily requires deep cleaning, while dry hair needs more conditioning to keep it soft. Here are the benefits of using shampoos formulated to your client’s hair type:

Benefit #1: Using shampoos that are formulated for your client’s hair type helps improve the condition of their hair, so that it feels better to the touch. The hair may be washed twice to remove oil and dirt particles.

Benefit #2: Shampoos that contain the proper vitamins, oils, minerals, and botanical extracts can stimulate the hair follicles and scalp. The most common natural oils in shampoos are Lavender, Jojoba, Prickly Pear, Almond, Lemongrass, and Ginseng. These shampoos also have natural fragrances.

Benefit #3: It is important to recommend the right shampoo for your clients that have had their hair professionally colored. During the process of coloring hair, the follicles in the hair are raised so the molecules of color can be deposited. Therefore, if the hair is washed with a product that’s harsh and not produced for color-treated hair, the color will fade quickly.

What are Conditioners?

Hair conditioners are products designed to manage hair easily, improving the appearance and feel of the hair. The primary purpose of conditioners is to reduce the amount of friction caused to strands of hair during brushing or combing.

When the proper conditioners are used for specific hair types, they can reduce the number of split ends and strengthen the hair follicles to prevent damage. However, some people have the misconception that washing their hair is enough to keep it clean and looking beautiful. While washing the hair removes a lot of contaminants, without using a conditioning product after washing, hair can become dry and stripped of the natural oils it needs to stay healthy.

How is Conditioner Used?

You can explain to your clients that there’s a right way and wrong way to use hair conditioners. When you apply conditioner to the hair, it’s done in long, fluid-type motions to ensure that all the hair strands are covered. Water from shampooing the hair is squeezed out before applying conditioners, so the effects aren’t diminished during the application. Excessive amounts of water will dilute conditioners and prevent it from soaking into the hair follicles.

What are the Different Types of Conditioners?

You may recommend different types of conditioners depending on your client’s hair type. Firstly, the different types of conditioners include masks, deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners, and rinse-out conditioners. A hair mask is designed to penetrate deeply into the follicles of the hair to provide protein and moisture. It also makes the hair shiny and beautiful.

Deep conditioners are an excellent choice for hair that’s dry or damaged. These products provide more conditioning for damaged hair. Still, they aren’t recommended for normal hair types since they contain extra oils and emulsifiers that weigh down healthy hair and give it a greasy appearance.

Rinse-out conditioners are the most commonly used conditioning products and therefore you will routinely apply on your client’s hair after shampooing. The purpose of rinse-out products is to protect hair when it’s dried. Rinse-out products are ideal for normal, dry, or oily hair.

What are the Benefits of Conditioners?

Benefit #1: Conditioners repair hair that’s damaged and improve its appearance. The proper conditioners strengthen the hair follicles to prevent further damage from brushing or while outside in direct sunlight, which can dry out the hair.

Benefit #2: Conditioners have a lot of the natural nutrients needed to keep dry hair healthy. Therefore, good quality conditioners can reduce the amount of dryness that’s in the hair and give it a smooth, shiny appearance.

Benefit #3: After shampooing the hair, it can dry out, but applying a conditioning product that’s specific to your client’s hair type helps to replenish and rejuvenate the scalp. In addition, conditioners should be left on for a few minutes to derive the full benefit.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, a career as a hairstylist is fun, exciting, and creative. As a hairstylist, you can keep your clients happy by evaluating their hair type and recommending the products that will keep their hair healthy and looking beautiful. The right shampoo and conditioner can make all the difference, so choose wisely.

Did learning about the benefits of shampoo and conditioner interest you? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology? 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, also how to provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting. We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. Therefore, you will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.

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

Veteran Spotlight: Lindsey Tollefson

Lindsey Tollefson standing in front of Minnesota School of Cosmetology backdrop.

Lindsey joined the National Guard in 2014. Lindsey’s base is located out of Arden Hills, Minnesota and is part of the FRU (Force Ready Unit).

Lindsey has always wanted a career in Massage Therapy and enjoyed giving people massages in her free time.  Her husband told her to “go for it” so Lindsey began researching schools and came across Minnesota School of Cosmetology.  She chose Minnesota School of Cosmetology Plymouth because it offered a full time massage program.  She was able to start school and graduate in a short time frame while still fulfilling her duties in the National Guard.

Lindsey knew she would learn a lot in the Massage program but didn’t realize how much each and every body part plays a role in massage not only for the person receiving the massage but also what the body can do when giving a massage.  She has also learned how important massage can be to someone’s health and well being. 

Once Lindsey graduates she is excited to bring massage to her unit by doing chair massages after major workouts or even if they have some down time. She also plans to assist the safety NCO (Non Commissioned Officer).  One day, Lindsey plans to own her own Massage Therapy business.

How to Become a Cosmetologist

Student studying to become a cosmetologist by cutting a client's hair

There are a few things that will indicate whether you have what it takes to become a cosmetologist. Do you have a passion for cosmetology? Are you going to get vocational training? Do you have an interest in working with others? Have you developed good communication and customer services skills? Are you knowledgeable in sales? Are you able to solve problems creatively? Do you possess good attention to detail? Do you have a drive to continue your education? If the answer to these questions is yes, you may be a great fit to become a cosmetologist.

Do you have a passion for fashion and beauty? Are you curious about trends, or perhaps even good at setting them? Chances are you have considered working in some field of cosmetology, whether it be hair, makeup, skincare or nails. A career as a cosmetologist may be the best fit for you.

A Passion for Cosmetology

Loving what you do can often have a strong relationship to whether you succeed on that career path. Here are couple of questions you might want to ask yourself before you commit to starting a new career in cosmetology.

Are there reflections of this interest in your own life?

Do you enjoy doing this in your free time, or is this something you were hoping would make you wealthy? If cosmetology is something you happily do for free, it is likely that you will have the stamina for professional success.

What is your history and amateur experience?

Are there people in your family or community who have come to you for beauty advice or help? Do people compliment your amateur work? If you are being recognized without any formal training that indicates that you have a talent worth exploring and nurturing.

Vocational Training

Choosing to further your professional education is the first step in achieving your goals. Without certified training you will have little credibility in your chosen field of cosmetology. When choosing what kind of program you want to attend there are three things that you need to keep in mind.

Who are the Instructors?

Getting an education from experienced instructors is extremely important to longevity in your career. Picking a program taught by experts in the field will give you the benefit of their knowledge while also gleaning the benefits of potentially connecting to other industry leaders. It can mean the difference between success and failure.

When does the program happen?

You may not initially see “when” you get your education as a big deal, but it’s a bigger deal than you might think. Finding a program that works around the other demands of your life can relieve some of the scheduling stress that may affect your learning experience. Be sure you have time and energy set aside specifically for your education. You are worth the effort.

Where is the program?

Your location can have a serious impact on the direction of your career. Therefore, where you receive your training effects your cosmetology career. Pick a program that will help you have success both where you are now and where you hope to be in the future.

Interest in Working with Others

Even if your dream cosmetology career is being an online influencer or social media spokesperson for a cosmetics brand, you are still going to have to work with people. Cosmetology is full of professional/social opportunities. Here are some of the people you will need to have good social relationships with.


The most obvious contact you will have is with customers, even if it is through a digital platform. You will be approached by happy clients who are looking to celebrate change as well has clients devastated by a cosmetic mishap. Whatever the case is, dealing with clients and customers is going to be an extremely significant part of your job.


There are some cosmetologists who are professionally independent entrepreneurs. However, that is a rare situation. For the most part a cosmetologist will need to work with others in their field. You may also need to work with professionals in complimentary services if the salon requires it.

Product/Brand Reps

You are going to interact with product and brand representatives, even if you aren’t trying to have a career online through endorsements. Many different salons have brands and products that they have contracts or deals with, so you are going to need work with the product and brand side of the beauty industry, as well.

Customer Service/Communication Skills

How your customers feel about you typically plays a big role in whether they come back to you in the future. But there are more reasons than a mere return appointment to give 100%. Here are some of the other reasons you will want to sharpen up your service and client communication skills.

Personal Fulfillment

You will feel good about your career if you are proud of the work you do. Even in times that are tough, good work can go a long way in self-motivation. Being able to stand by your work will set you apart in your field and help boost your confidence in your own abilities.

Public Reputation

Your attitude has consequences that reach far outside interactions with your clients. Those consequences can either be positive or negative depending on how you conduct yourself and communicate with those around you. People are perceptive. They will notice extra effort and easily spot sloppiness, shortcuts and bad behavior. Make sure you are cultivating the right reputation, even when you aren’t in the room.

Networking and Connections

You never know who is going to walk into your salon or spa, and you never know who they know. Creating connections with the people you come into contact with can lead to opportunities you wouldn’t happen upon otherwise. Make sure that when the time comes for a client or professional contact to make a cosmetology recommendation that you are the first person they think of.

Knowledge of Sales

Your talent, drive and skill will keep your career on track, but it won’t always get you across the financial finish line. For that, you are likely to need some sales skills to go with your vocational skills. Here are some ways to get more from your customer interactions without going overboard with hard-sell tactics that can make clients uncomfortable.

Upselling Services

When a client comes in wanting a service you should be trying to sell them the most lucrative version of that particular service. If they initially request a basic service, try to persuade them that a more profitable version is the better choice.

Add-on Products

Recommend that your client purchase a product or tool that will enhance the service they received. Not only is this a good way to increase the ticket at the end of the appointment but it also helps to cultivate a healthy relationship with any brands or products you are helping to represent.

Book Return/Repeat Service

Securing a follow up, touch up or maintenance appointment is a way for you to secure future revenue. Even if you aren’t able to get them to upgrade their service or purchase additional products you can at least make sure you have the opportunity to try again.

Creative Problem Solving

You can have the best instructors from the best cosmetology program on the planet and still not be ready for everything that comes your way. This is why you’ll need to bring your own creativity to your career. Being ready for the unexpected and unimaginable means having creative problem solving in both social and skilled areas of your job.

Unusual, Unexpected Issues

You can plan for every possible issue in your field and there will inevitably be one that you never dreamed possible. It could be a client issue, or it might end up having something to do with a product or tool. It may even be attached to a financial or professional situation. Thinking on your feet will help you solve even complex, unexpected problems effectively and efficiently.

Difficult People

As a cosmetologist you will encounter many different kinds of people with a myriad of background experiences and personality types. Creative problem solving can help you neutralize chaos, dissolve tension, and find a social middle ground with even extremely difficult clients and co-workers.

Fixing Mistakes

You might have more talent than you know what to do with, but at the end of the day you are still just a human. And humans make mistakes. Creative problem solving will help you more readily recognize a misstep, communicate it effectively and help solve it. Using your creativity in problem solving can keep you from feeling worse by having someone else clean up a mess you made.

Attention to Detail

Paying attention to the little things is a fast fading quality, but it can make a huge difference. Focusing on the details can make you stand out in your field, help you prevent accidents and mishaps, and even create opportunities.

Skill Work

Paying attention to the details of the work you do can be difficult sometimes, but it has many benefits. It can save you from embarrassment by keeping you from performing a task badly. It can also help set your work apart from others who are in your field. Either way there are a lot of practical step-by-step details that can easily be overlooked by an unmotivated cosmetologists.

Communication Attention (for opportunity and connection)

Listening to your clients, colleagues and other representatives of the beauty industry will make them feel important and help create meaningful connections in your professional life. You will also be sure to hear any opportunities that may come up if you are paying close attention.

Preparation and Surroundings

Preparing your workspace is important to a successful, satisfying appointment. It keeps you from looking sloppy, but it also helps when the unexpected occurs. Having everything you need readily accessible and available will help you project a seamless, polished professionalism to each of your clients, both old and new.

A Drive to Continue Your Education

The one thing that is certain is that things will change. Even if you are a master of your craft there will be new trends, tools and products that reshape the industry. Innovation is an unstoppable force. There are ways that you can educate and prepare yourself for the inevitable changes you will experience throughout your long, successful career as a cosmetologist.

Formal Education

You can help further your knowledge as a cosmetologist by enrolling in additional cosmetology courses. This can be helpful when significant new techniques or products in your industry have been developed. You might also want to brush up with a class on the basics if it has been a while just to refamiliarize yourself.

Independent Education

There are many educational resources for cosmetologists that can be accessed independently. This may come in the form of a book from the library. It may also come from an online tutorial or article. Good product representatives will also host clinics on occasion to showcase new product, field questions, and show certain techniques. Keeping up with your personal education will help reinforce your passion for beauty while expanding your knowledge base.

Experimental Education

You may also want to consider educating yourself by trying new things. You might even want to try something that has never been done before. Experimentation can enhance your education while simultaneously fueling industry innovation.

Final Thoughts

Did learning about how to become a cosmetologist interest you? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology? 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. We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. You will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.

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

How Do I Get Started in Cosmetology?

Smiling cosmetologists holding tools necessary to getting their career started

Interested in cosmetology but don’t know how to get started? The first decision you will need to make on your journey to becoming a successful cosmetologist is choosing a field to work in. Then you will want to get an education. Next you will fuel your creativity. Lastly, it is time to begin and expand your cosmetology career. Reading through this evolution will help you understand if you are ready to start down the path to becoming a cosmetologist.

What are the Different Areas of Cosmetology?

The word “cosmetology” covers several different areas of the aesthetic and beautification industry. They include hair, makeup and nail care. Let’s take a look at the main areas of cosmetology that might inspire you.


Hairstyling is a field with a lot of diverse opportunities. Typically, hairstyling careers are thought of as strictly cut and color in salons. These careers are popular options for stylists (particularly in the early stages of their careers), but they are far from the only opportunities in the haircare and styling industry. Wigs, weaves, artistic styling for photo and video projects, braids, extreme/unique coloration and fade design cuts are just some of the many specializations you have to choose from to take your haircare career to the next level.


Makeup artistry is a way to transform, enhance, conceal, and express oneself. It can be easy to immediately think of salon and retail when considering a career in makeup. Special event makeup for celebrations, ceremonies, and retail demonstrations is a prolific part of the beauty industry. However, you may also want to consider a career in effects makeup, online makeup application tutorials, celebrity makeup artistry, and set makeup for television networks and various public figures.

Nail Care

Manicures and pedicures are an important part of cosmetology that are continuing to grow in popularity. Specialty nail design techniques and unique materials make this area of cosmetology one of the most creative. The design and decoration choices are infinite. You could help clients grow and accentuate their natural nails with conditioning treatments and supplement recommendations. Also, you could help clients with artificial nails. All in all, the decoration choices available give you many options to make your clients happy.


A component of cosmetology that doesn’t often get professional recognition is the production and endorsement side of the industry. Product development and endorsement is an important and integral part of the beauty industry. This includes developing new techniques, formulating new products, discovering new tools, and finally, helping support and represent brands you believe in.

Get an Education

Once you have chosen the field you are most interested in pursuing, it is time to train. You will need formal training with qualified educators in order to have a long-lasting, successful career in cosmetology. While you train to become a cosmetologist, you will want to assess your individual needs, set realistic goals, decide on a program that is right for you and stay committed.

Assess Your Individual Needs

Everyone’s lives and abilities are different. You should take a moment and assess your individual needs. What is your schedule like? Can things be moved around to support your education? What are the current demands of your life? What is your financial situation? These are all questions you will need to answer before committing to a program.

Set Realistic Goals

Setting goals is a great way to motivate yourself and help guide your career decisions. However, it is important that you are realistic about your goals. This will help you avoid discouragement and disappointment. For example, doing celebrity makeup right out of cosmetology school isn’t likely to happen. So, you may want to gain some experience in a formal salon setting and branch out on a couple of special projects before getting into celebrity makeup artistry. It all begins with choosing the right program to facilitate your personal goals.

Decide on a Program That is Right for You

This decision will depend on your schedule and goals. While certain areas of cosmetology are more academically demanding than others, you may be relieved to know that you can become fully trained and certified quickly. Most programs can be completed in less than 10 months. You just need to find the program that fits your needs, schedule, and life.

Stay Committed

Perseverance is the key to success. As much as we may want to, we can’t control everything in our lives. The unexpected can derail even the best laid plans. It is important that you stay committed to your education, even in the face of uncertainty. It may not always be simple or easy, but you are worth the effort and you deserve the success.

Fuel Your Creativity

Technical knowledge, methodical preparation, and skill mastery are all crucial to building a solid foundation and a good reputation, but there is more to cosmetology than just the combs and brushes. Every field of cosmetology is about beauty, creativity, expression, and transformation. This is the part of your career that will need to be nurtured. When you feel the passion and creativity beginning to fade, you can connect with a cosmetology community, experiment, innovate, revisit the basics, try something new and create content to regain the passion.

Connect with a Cosmetic Community

Enthusiasm can be infectious. Especially when you find a group of people who share your passion. If you are new to cosmetology or are just beginning your industry exploration, a great place to start is online communities. There are passionate professionals on social media and various content platforms. In addition, you can connect to people around the world and jumpstart your creativity. If you are having trouble finding the right community for your specific needs, try starting something brand new.

Experiment and Innovate

Are there techniques you have difficulty with? Do you find yourself wishing for products that don’t exist yet? Is there a tool or process you feel needs improvement? Chances are you aren’t alone. Problems occur in the beauty industry that need solutions. Rather than waiting around for other people to come up with the solution, you can harness your creativity and come up with new methods and products to fill these industry gaps. After all, experimentation and innovation help the beauty industry to evolve and can be the catalysts for inspiration and continued creative expression.

Revisit the Basics

There will likely be times during your education and throughout your career that you encounter obstacles. These difficulties can discourage you. To push through, try getting back to basics. Revisit the parts of the industry that interested you in the first place. Then, refamiliarize yourself with the fundamentals to help you branch off in a new creative direction.

Try Something New

Boredom can be an obstacle on the road to inspiration. If you feel stuck, you should consider trying new things and learning new skills. For example, are you a hair stylist who usually specializes in haircuts? Try branching out into coloring or styling. Likewise, are you a makeup artist who usually attends events and makeup demonstrations? Give some extreme effect techniques a try. Also, getting out of your comfort zone can help ignite your career passion.

Create Content

Sharing your excitement is a great way to fuel it. Displaying your creativity for others to see might initially feel intimidating, particularly if you aren’t extroverted. Also, putting your work out into the world can lead to judgement, but it can also lead to support and recognition. You could curate an informative blog, begin a photographic portfolio, or create video tutorials. In the age of digital and online marketing, creating cosmetology content can help support your personal creativity while getting your name out in the industry.

Begin and Expand Your Cosmetology Career

Once a solid foundation has been laid through passion, creativity, and education, it is time to build your career. Considering your goals will help you create a plan for your professional life, but there is more to it than planning. Let’s take a look at some of the other things you will need to do to help secure your long-term career success.

Do Your Research

Firstly, it is important that you stay informed if you want an established, respectable cosmetology career. Interested in a position at an established spa or salon? Consider looking into their history and general reputation. Look at online reviews or speak with people who have worked there before. This can help you find a reputable establishment that fits your personal standards. The same goes for the products and tools you recommend to clients. Secondly, make sure to do research about the brand, and the ingredients and materials used to create the products and tools you use. No one expects you to know everything about every single tool, product, and brand available. However, you should be informed enough to answer basic questions and avoid client injury.

Gain Experience

It is okay if your career ends up somewhere completely different than where it started. In fact, there are many careers that require a certain amount of outside experience before you will even be considered. This professional experience can come from job opportunities, continued education, apprenticeships, and competitions. Consider new tasks as an opportunity to grow and try to think of challenges as steps toward your ultimate career goals. Thus, the more experience you have the more confident you will be in your skills. This will allow you to seize more opportunities. Your experiences in the industry can also help you build a name for yourself and elevate your recognition in the industry.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, modern technology has created new career opportunities that provide varying levels of earning potential and scheduling flexibility. Are you someone concentrating on gaining experience while avoiding marketing and promotion? You may want to start by teaming up with an established salon or spa. Do you need a more flexible schedule? Think about running your own company through a website and taking appointments with clients in their homes. Everyone defines personal and professional success a little bit differently. Make sure you are working toward your own definition of success when making decisions about your cosmetology career.

Did learning about how to get started in cosmetology interest you? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology? 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. We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. You will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.

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