Hair Design for Men: A Cosmetologist’s Guide

Male client at a beauty salon getting his hair designed.

When we think of hair design and visiting the beauty salon, we often think of men getting their hair coiffed. Going back just a couple of generations ago, men went to the barber or opted to get their hair lopped off at home. Fast-forward a few decades, and some men now commonly prefer the salon experience rather than their forefather’s barbershop. As some men become more focused on optimizing their style, they turn to professional salons for an elevated hair design.

Creating a Man-Friendly Atmosphere

In recent years, hair salons that cater strictly to men have become increasingly popular. The most effective approach to a salon environment that speaks to men is visualizing the concept through their eyes. When entering a new environment, it’s common for a person to instantly scan the space to determine whether the surroundings are appealing or not.

To envision a comfortable and inviting men’s hair salon, in addition to a color palette that’s appealing to men, here are a few other simple tips to think about when it comes to the atmosphere:

Images of Men on the Walls

Prominently show images of men sporting the latest hair designs. A preferable way to display photos is to have a variety of sizeable clear shots depicting men in various everyday activities with current hairstyle trends. Think outside the box from the standard portrait hair design posters of decades past.

Reading Material for Men

Subscribe to men’s periodicals and place them in areas throughout the salon. Reading materials should contain varied topics and have plenty of images displaying current hair design trends. The level of maturity to the media placed around the salon is typically up to the hairstylist, the client base, and the salon’s theme. A good rule of thumb to go by is to not offend any patrons.

Carry Men’s Hair Products

Salons should carry hair and skincare product lines geared explicitly for men. Men are entering into a new phase of becoming more attuned to their looks, and for many, it’s an entirely new experience purchasing ablution items outside of the basics. Create a learning environment utilizing different types of look-inspiring resources is important to educate male clients on products the salon carries like pamphlets, videos, and samples. Another way to help clients achieve a new look is by scheduling live instructional events on male-specific hair and skincare.

Privacy is Key

Offer sectioned off privacy areas for more personal services like massage, hair removal, or processes involving strong chemicals. Although female salon clients publicly endured these services for eons, it’s still a new and sometimes embarrassing frontier for men. Keep a few areas private by the addition of walls, curtains, or portable room dividers. Instead of standard salon capes, to further minimize angst and embarrassment, try using more male-friendly designs like a tee or button-up shirt to protect the client’s clothing during services.

Tools of The Trade for Men’s Hair Design

When completing any manual task, knowing what tool to use is key to proficiency for men’s hair designs. Utilizing the right pair of shears or clippers at the right time creates a better design in the least amount of time.

Here are a few of the tools’ cosmetologists utilize when creating male-driven hairstyles:


Clippers/Edgers typically come in a motor or magnetic driven capacity and are the primary tool for finishing, tapered necklines, and short cuts. Motor-driven clippers rarely bog down when cutting thick dry hair and the varying sized blades are interchangeable for different hair lengths. Edgers are mainly employed to finish along the neckline.


Shears are optimal for men’s hair designs, come with blade lengths between 5.5″ and 7.5″, and provide enough surface for cutting and blending. The blade’s ends should come to a very minute point to execute detailed work. Blending shears unify hair texture, patterns, and density.


Hair responds differently to a razor than clippers or shears, offering an alternative approach for creating and controlling texture. When designing men’s hair, razors are a preferred tool of many hairstylists for more precise control.


Three varieties of combs typically round out the men’s hairstylist toolbox, classic clipper, medium, and finishing. The tooth size and width of the classic clipper comb coincide with the width of an electric clipper. Medium combs help for cutting over-comb, sectioning, and sub-sectioning. Cosmetologists utilize finishing combs for over-comb tapering, detail work around hairlines, and finishing.

The Consultation

Just as important as the necessary physical tools to create the perfect hairstyle for male clientele is the consultation. During the consultation, the main objective is to make the male client feel welcome and fully informed about the services they’re about to receive. The consultation approach for male clients is the same in many ways as their female counterparts. The consultation sets the appointment’s tone and is the first opportunity to put male clients at ease in the salon environment.

Keeping in mind the full salon experience is still relatively new for men; some alterations to this vital interaction between client and cosmetologist can help make the experience less intimidating:

Consider Words Carefully

While female clients think fun and flirty might aptly describe a hairstyle, they don’t appeal in the same way to a man. Adjust vocabulary during the consultation by using exact words that are straightforward and easy to understand. Avoid using industry jargon and flowery descriptive words to describe a style or service.

Ask Questions

Ask strong leading questions that encourage an active back and forth dialogue. Men are more apt to come into a salon without indicating a particular new hair design. Asking questions that make the intent clear derives more information about what a client expects from the appointment than open-ended questions.

Active Listening

Listen intently to extract information from between the lines. Typically, a client’s biggest concern is the first one mentioned. This most bothersome topic usually is mentioned more than once and less negotiable than other trouble spots. Use care not to interrupt if, along the way, the conversation gets muddled; stop, and clarify before moving on with the consultation.

Give a Full Explanation

Once the client finishes, present the best hair design, style features, and benefits. Men must know the care and maintenance of their look before deciding on a style. Women already acquire a strong knowledge of what it takes to maintain a more in-depth hairstyle. Describe the products and styling techniques required for home care to support the look.

Popular Men’s Hairstyle Trends

Let’s take a look at the current hair design trends for men. One notable trend is the long hair on top, messy, and textured haircuts and hairstyles. Men’s hair design options are about mixing up lengths, tapers, and fades to create unique designs. Also, currently taking center stage for men’s hair designs are cuts that emphasize longer natural-looking styles with movement.

Here is a list of a few examples of the latest and most popular trending hair designs for men:

High Fade Quiff – A popular men’s choice for the past few years. Combined with a high fade, the cut emphasizes messy textures and longer flowing lengths on top.

Messy Undercut – Features messy, longer textured hair on top combined with short-shaved sides. A modern twist on the undercut, this messy undercut fade works excellent for thick hair.

Modern Slicked Back – Instead of a plastered appearance, the hair on top appears more natural-looking. Rather than the traditional approach of using a shiny pomade, the hair gets brushed and blow-dried back to create natural movement.

High-Lo Fade, Surgical Line, and Long Fringe Combination – This unique men’s hair design combines a side part, bald fade, long fringe, surgical line, and longer messy texture on top.

Long Fringe Undercut – An asymmetrical look with longer fringe in front like the modern version of the classic skater undercut.

Shorter Textured Haircut and Long Fringe – Messy medium length textures on top create a spiked look while leaving the front fringe longer. Another example of an undercut with a modern twist.

Spiky Quiff – Made famous by the likes of David Beckham, this style is on the shorter side. Shorter choppy textures create a spiky appearance on top, utilizing a medium to firm hold pomade to keep the style in place.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, more and more men enjoy salons as a place of pampering, leisure and luxury. Men also prefer the personalized relationships they form with their cosmetologist that many feel they wouldn’t achieve with a male barber. The hair industry continues to see an increase in the number of men that receive hair salon services, and those who receive salon services also tend to spend more than women.

Cosmetology Program

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 starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

Blending Hairstyles and Instagram

Hairstylist working on a client

Do you enjoy helping your friends style their hair? Do you like creating new hairstyles and posting them on the Internet? Becoming a hairstylist may be the right career for you. Many hairstylists utilize social media and the internet to showcase some of their more unique hairstyles. One of the more popular places that hairstylists can post their artist work is on Instagram.

What is Instagram & Who Uses It?

Instagram is a visual social media platform, started in 2010 and purchased by Facebook in 2012. It boasts over 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, with 125 million in the U.S. Users ages 18-24 are the largest demographic on Instagram, according to SproutSocial. Instagram users that log in each day average 53 minutes of usage. Among users surveyed, 78% say that brands on Instagram are popular and 77% are creative. A winning combination for an up and coming hairstylist.

What is an Instagram Influencer?

Influencers are Instagram users that have established a large audience, in addition to building credibility on the site. Their audience trusts what they post and feels they are being authentic. A brand’s “influencer” is someone that regularly uses the brand’s #hashtag and has the largest number of followers.

These Instagram influencers share images, build community and share aspects of their personal life. Having a good personality and being authentic are important for Instagram influencers. They share the most worthy moments in a snapshot of their lives, and the audience looks forward to their genuine and honest content.

Why Do Hairstylists Use Instagram?

Instagram is a visual social media platform. The unique value of Instagram is the use of images. Users post their images to their profile and share them across Instagram. This is a great way for any artist to showcase their art. Hairstyles are visual, colorful and can be captured in a photo. What hairstyles are you known for? Every time you create a glamorous or unique hairstyle, you have a visual medium in Instagram to share it on the internet. Those users that live geographically close to you can patronize your salon. Everyone else will enjoy the unique style and flair you bring to Instagram.

How Can I Use Instagram for My Salon?

There are specific things you can do to make your Instagram profile searchable by your followers. Also, by creating a business account, you have the ability to interact with your followers on a business level.

Create an Instagram Business Account

If you are starting from scratch it is good to start a business account, so you have the tools and features to promote your hair salon. If you already have an established personal account that focuses on your business, you can transition to a business account. Just make sure everything on your personal account is business friendly.

Keep a Steady Cadence

Your Instagram followers will get used to seeing your posts on some sort of schedule. If you post every day, then post every day. Whatever schedule you choose, try to stick with it. If your followers don’t see a post from you for a while, they may stop visiting your business profile. On the other hand, don’t overwhelm your followers with too much content or they may unfollow you.

Optimize Your Profile & Picture

Make sure to create a brand experience on your Instagram profile. Your Instagram bio is short so make sure it is descriptive and impactful. First-time visitors will need to understand what you and your salon are all about. Give your profile the proper personality. You will also be able to add a profile picture. Make sure it represents your salon’s brand. Also, make sure your profile is complete including a link to your website or your latest blog post. A business profile allows you to include contact information to your salon, a category so users can find you with a button to attract clicks.

Create Stunning Photos & Write Compelling Captions

Even a smartphone can take great pictures. Try to capture stunning visuals of your new hairstyles. It is also okay to touch up a photo to make sure it is lit or cropped properly. You may even use a specific filter that followers will identify with your salon. Make sure to add a caption to each photo. Instagram is a visual platform, but captions allow you to tell a story about your salon and the hairstyles you showcase. Captions are not searchable so make sure to use #hashtags.

Use #Hashtags

Hashtags are how Instagram users are going to find your posts. Hashtags are searchable and allow someone that is looking for new hairstyles to find your Instagram profile. Try creating your own brand hashtag so your followers can quickly identify your brand in all the clutter.

Respond to Comments and Mentions

Part of community is conversation, and you must keep up with the conversation around your salon’s Instagram account. Spend some time engaging with your followers, responding to comments and acknowledging your mentions.

Promote Your Account

Make sure to cross-link all your social media profiles and add a link to Instagram on your salon’s website. You can also add an icon on your emails to allow your readers to find you on Instagram. Instagram is not only a destination for great images but part of the journey that brings your customers into your salon.

Who Are Top Hairstylist Influencers on Instagram?

It is good to look to Instagram influencers for inspiration. Here are a few Instagram influencers that focus on hair.

Guy_Tang – an Instagram influencer with over 2 million followers. Just looking at the images that he posts shows a lot about how he promotes his hairstyles and the products he uses. There is some personality involved but the main focus is on stunning hair.

Menshair – with over 2 million followers, this channel is a collection of men’s hairstyles from short to long and everything in between.

Harryjoshhair – the creator of Harry Josh Pro Tools, this Instagram influencer has worked with many beautiful celebrities. In addition to images of stunning hairstyles are inspirational quotes.

To learn some lessons from these hairstyle influencers on Instagram, make sure your images are interesting to look at, compelling enough to scroll through, and most of all, stay on brand. If you are quirky, then make your pictures quirky. If you are looking for a professional look, make sure to convey that in your images. It is also important to increase the number of Instagram users that follow you. You may not need millions but the people in your community are a good start. If you work with any notable people, take a photo of the work you do for them and share it on Instagram. You can learn a lot from looking at an Instagram influencers profile, just make sure that you are true to yourself and you create an experience that reflects you and your salon.

Other Social Media Platforms for Hairstylists

Not everyone that comes to your salon will use Instagram. It is important to engage with every potential client. In addition to a salon website it is important to engage with your customers on Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest. By building a community on multiple social media platforms, you will attract a more diverse clientele to your salon. Each social media platform has its own style and value, so make sure you research how to best use each one to your advantage.

Facebook for Hairstylists

Facebook is more of a community first and visual medium second. This is where you can meet new people in your community and invite them to come to your salon. Use Facebook to talk about your salon, offer incentives and post the occasional video or image. Make it easy for your Facebook followers to learn about you personally as a hairstylist and the salon’s history. Take advantage of what Facebook does well, community.

YouTube for Hairstylists

YouTube is another visual medium that has over 2 billion users worldwide. Unlike Instagram’s focus on images, YouTube’s main focus is on video. Make videos that showcase your salon or offer how-to videos to educate your YouTube followers. Make sure that the videos are not too long so your viewers don’t get bored. Don’t forget to fully complete your YouTube profile with links back to your salon’s website. Also make playlists of multiple videos so your viewers can learn more about your salon. YouTube also has a live function so you can live stream directly from your salon.

Pinterest for Hairstylists

Pinterest has over 200 million monthly users and they are all looking for new ideas and ways to share interests and hobbies. This is great for a hairstylist that wants to show off their newest hairstyles and drive traffic to their salon.

Final Thoughts

Using Instagram is a great way to showcase your hairstyles and your salon. Use it to visually tell a story about your salon and the experience someone will have when they step into it. Are you ready to become a hairstylist? Attending a cosmetology program is a great way to prepare yourself for an entry-level position in your local salon.

Cosmetology Program

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 starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

How to Start a Salon: Entrepreneurial Cosmetology

Two entrepreneurial cosmetologists standing in front of their salon

Are you thinking about becoming a cosmetologist? Want to know how to start a salon? Starting a salon is an exciting journey, just make sure you are prepared and have a plan for the future. Start by getting your cosmetology diploma at a vocational school.  This education will prepare you to take the exam Getting some experience, building the right skills and obtaining the proper knowledge will help you start your own salon as an entrepreneurial cosmetologist.

What is an Entrepreneurial Cosmetologist?

An entrepreneur is someone that manages a business with passion and integrity. They feel comfortable taking on risk, leading their team, and managing the business day to day. An entrepreneurial cosmetologist will have passion for starting a cosmetology business. Do you work well with others, enjoy learning about hairstyling trends and have competency in business? Then starting a salon may be the right career move for you.

How to Start a Salon?

Again, the first step is getting experience in the industry. Start by getting a diploma in cosmetology and find an entry-level position at your local salon. Move up to become a manager at the salon and learn about all the moving pieces that keep a salon running. Learn about managing a cosmetology team, supplying inventory, preparing marketing, managing the bookkeeping, securing all the business licenses and paying taxes. These is all vital knowledge to successfully run a salon.

When you have some experience and confidence, you can start your own salon. Start by building out a business plan, securing financing, identifying a location, getting the proper permits and licenses, and understanding everything you must pay for to get the salon off the ground. Know where you are starting from, where you need to go and how to hit the break-even point. Do you need to reinvest your profits back into the business to expand and grow your clientele? Will it take you two years of business to break-even? These are all important questions to answer when creating a business plan.

Creating a Business Plan

Before you can secure financing, you will need to write a business plan. This is a blueprint of your salon, how it will work, what you will need to pay for, what the competitor landscape looks like, minimum number of employees, pricing structures, the consumer market breakdown, the product or service offering, the promotion or marketing plan, and finally the financial projections. By creating a comprehensive business plan, you will have a blueprint for the first few years of your salon. You will also be able to inform investors about your future plans and hold yourself accountable once the salon starts.

Secure Financing

There are many different ways to secure financing to start a salon. You may have some money saved up that you can use to get you started. Many entrepreneurs start with a friends and family round of investing to get some money to start their salon. Many organizations will help you start a salon in your local area. Look into your city’s chamber of commerce, the government offices of the Small Business Administration (SBA), or local credit union. The SBA offers many opportunities to get financing for first time entrepreneurs with grants, loans and other financing options. Visit your local bank or credit union to meet with their business loan department. These are all great ways to secure financing, just make sure you don’t borrow more money than you can pay back.

In a salon specifically, there are ways to get inventory on terms and pay once the products are sold. Some salons sell their shelf space to other business that offer hair care products. Other salons buy inventory on 30- or 60-day terms allowing the hair care business to extend credit to the salon, knowing that they will have customers to buy the products. A newer way to start a business is through crowdfunding. You may start a Kickstarter to allow customers to purchase a hairstyling service in advance. These pre-sells help you raise money to get started. Regardless of what you do, there are many different options to secure financing when starting a salon.

Identifying a Location

You have heard the saying, “Location, location, location.” This is an important part of your salon strategy. Do you have enough room to offer your salon services to your customers and most importantly can they find you? Are you going to rent a space in a high traffic location? Maybe you will hire cosmetologists that already have their own clientele and they just need a chair in a salon to manage their clients. Make sure that the location fits your aesthetic, provides enough space to offer good customer service and is in a location that clients can find. Many salons will choose high traffic locations near other complementary business, like gyms, restaurants, shopping centers or co-habitable spaces. The location can make or break a new salon.

Getting Permits and Licenses

There are many permits and licenses that need to be secured before you can start a salon. To start a salon, you will need a business operations license from the county, certificate of occupancy, a sales and uses license to sell retail, a building permit, fire permit, federal employer identification number (EIN), salon manager license and operator state cosmetology license. All of these licenses and permits can cost money so make sure you understand the cost of doing business and have all of them outlined in your salon’s business plan.

Cost of Doing Business

Make sure you fully understand all the costs you will encounter when starting a salon. You have to pay employees, spend money on marketing and advertising, build out an inventory of products, pay for licenses and permits, pay utilities, and pay taxes, just to name a few. Have all these costs outlined in your salon’s business plan and make sure you raise enough money to get your salon started on the right foot.

Entrepreneurial Cosmetologist Qualities and Skills

There are many important qualities and skills that are needed to be a successful entrepreneurial cosmetologist. Some of these qualities and skills include risk taking, fiscally responsibility, leadership skills and bookkeeping.

Risk Taking

One of the most important qualities of any entrepreneur is the ability to take risks. Not to jump head-first into the deep end, but to see a vision for the future and realize that vision. Taking a calculated risk is a better way to look at it.

Fiscally Responsible

Showing that you are fiscally responsible is important to investors, especially if you need to borrow money to start your salon. Whether you visit a bank, investor or family member, they will need to trust that their money is in safe hands. Being fiscally responsible means balancing a check book, getting multiple bids to understand how much something is going to cost and understanding the break-even point. By being fiscally responsible you will work toward expansion and profitability without taking on too much debt.

Leadership Skills

Starting a salon is about becoming a leader that cosmetologists can follow. It is important for you to have some experience in cosmetology before starting a salon, so you know the ins and outs of the business. Your team will also respect you more if you have been in their shoes as a cosmetologist. When starting a salon, you will be responsible for hiring employees, buying inventory, managing marketing, securing capital and building out the salon itself. This takes a strong leader that understands what they want and how to get it.


Every business has to keep the books for tax purposes, payroll, inventory control, utilities, and taxes, to name a few. Having a background in light bookkeeping and QuickBooks is important to properly manage the financial future of your salon. Most cosmetology programs will teach business management and bookkeeping to help you start a salon.

Final Thoughts

Although starting a salon is not an easy undertaking, if you have a passion for cosmetology and enjoy starting a business, you have a better chance of succeeding. Plan as much as you can before starting your salon. Make sure you have the financing secure, the right location, all the permits and licenses and a great team. With all of this, you will be well on your way to starting your own successful salon.

Cosmetology Program

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 starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

What is the Difference Between Cosmetology and Esthiology?

Instructor teaching a student the difference between cosmetology and esthiology.

There are many differences and similarities between cosmetology and esthiology. A diploma can be obtained for cosmetology in 10 months at a vocational school, 5 months for esthiology. Both people may work in a spa, salon or resort, however while a cosmetologist can become an esthetician with additional training, an esthetician is not trained to perform cosmetology services. Esthiology is a branch of cosmetology focused specially on skin care. But before we look at the differences between cosmetology and esthiology, let’s look into what each of these professions entail.

What is Cosmetology?

Cosmetology is the study and application of beauty products for the hair, skin and nails specifically. Cosmetologists are responsible for the beautification of their clients. They use hairstyling, makeup and nail art to improve a client’s confidence and self-esteem.


Cosmetologists are responsible for cutting, styling, coloring, foiling and texturizing hair. They learn different hair cutting techniques including fades, bobs, pompadours, updos and razor cuts. Regular haircuts are important to prevent hair damage, reduce split ends, and create thicker, heathier hair. Cosmetologist learn how to use hair appliances like flat irons, clippers and trimmers and advanced techniques like extensions, sew-ins and weaves. They also learn different braiding techniques, specialty perm wraps and chemical texture services.


Cosmetologists are taught proper make-up techniques for daily and special occasions, runway and photo shoots. Cosmetologists learn the proper way to apply foundation, concealer, bronzer, eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. With these skills, cosmetologist can improve the facial features of their clients and offer an overall beautification of body and soul.

Nail Care

Cosmetologists provide manicures and pedicures to clients to keep nails strong and healthy. They will learn about nail structures and growth, nail disorders and diseases and how to provide salon-grade nail care and art.

What Does a Cosmetologist Do?

Cosmetologists provide haircuts, hair styling, hair coloring, makeup, nail care and other beauty services. Cosmetologists:

  • Analyze hair, skin, and scalp to recommend beauty treatment
  • Provide facial treatment and makeup analysis
  • Wash, color, lighten, and condition hair
  • Can provide manicures, pedicures and acrylics
  • Cut, dry, and style hair
  • Style and clean wigs
  • Manage billing and electronic record keeping
  • Recommend hair care products to customers
  • Clean and disinfect all tools and work area

What is Esthiology?

Esthiology is the practice of skin care. This includes facials, skin treatments, makeup application, and waxing for hair removal. Some specialties of esthiology include microdermabrasion, permanent makeup, chemical resurfacing, and electroloysis.


A facial is a process that uses creams and cleansers to help clean, exfoliate, nourish and hydrate a person’s skin. This is part of a larger skincare process and can include some complexion components. Facials can involve steam, facial masks, peels and massage.

Skin Treatment

Skin treatments deal with keeping skin smooth, firm and evenly toned. These skin treatments include skin solutions such as chemical peels, laser treatments, light therapies, heat-based options, and injection treatments.


Clients may seek out a specified makeup artist for makeup assistance. However, there a lot of people who prefer to get makeup advice from estheticians because they want to keep their skin healthy and free of damage.

Hair Removal

Getting rid of unwanted hair is an important part of Esthiology. Waxing and threading are two ways an esthetician can remove hair from a client’s body. Hair can be removed by shaving, but this type of hair removal is less permanent.  Laser, sonic and thermal treatments are also hair removal solutions, but they require specialized equipment and training.

What Does an Esthetician Do?

An esthetician is a skincare professional concerned with the appearance and health of a client’s skin. They can give skincare routine and product advice, as well as administer different skin treatments. An esthetician can perform conditioning skin treatments, face and body hair removal, facials, chemical peels, and technical skin treatments.

While esthiology is focused on the beautification of the skin, it should not be mistaken for dermatology. Dermatology is the medical field that focuses on skin health. Working in this field requires many years of college education that allows a dermatologist to diagnose and treat skin diseases and conditions. Dermatology should not be confused with the cosmetic field of esthiology, which focuses more heavily on helping clients with the beautification of their skin. Esthiology focuses on skin treatments and products that deal with issues such as discoloration of the skin, wrinkles, uneven skin texture, and skin firmness.

What is the Difference Between Cosmetology and Esthiology?

This is a common question asked by new students interested in a beauty and wellness career. While a cosmetologist can sometimes become an esthetician, an esthetician is not trained to perform most cosmetology services. Cosmetologists are trained to help with hair, nails, skin, and makeup. They would help with minor skin health needs and could give facials and have knowledge of makeup’s affect on the skin. Cosmetologists can specialize as a hairstylist, manicurist, make-up artist or other beautification specialist. An esthetician are experts at facials, skin maintenance services and receive a more advanced curriculum of skincare training than a cosmetologist would.

Cosmetologist can beautify a client’s body including hair, face, and nails, whereas the esthetician focuses on the health and beauty of the skin itself. A client would go to a cosmetologist to get a make-over, new hairstyle or pedicure, while a client would see an esthetician if they have skin maintenance issues. These skin maintenance services focus on wrinkles, age spots, dark marks, tone fading, skin softness, and hydration to name a few.

Final Thoughts

The programs at Minnesota School of Cosmetology offer both cosmetology and esthiology specializations. If you are ready to start earning and want a new career, becoming a cosmetologist or esthetician is a great way to learn the techniques that improve a client’s beauty and wellness.

Cosmetology Program

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.

Esthiology Program

Our Esthiology Diploma Program is designed to be completed in under 5 months (600 clock hours) with full-time enrollment.  Our Esthiology Diploma Program has been developed by talented, caring, real-world professionals, many of whom still work in the field.

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

The Importance of Active Listening as a Cosmetologist

Cosmetologists practicing active listening with clients

Building rapport with your clients is an essential part of being a cosmetologist. Being attentive, clarifying requests and offering expert feedback are the keys to customer satisfaction. Success in this competitive industry takes more than enthusiasm and talent with scissors. It requires excellent communication skills, starting with active listening.

What is Active Listening?

We process less than half of what we hear, and we remember even less. So, when a new customer has a long list of requests or a regular client comes in after a few months wanting the “usual” cut, it’s easy to forget something or get customers confused. We’re only human. Active listening is a way of enhancing what you hear to make it clearer and easier to recall. Do it with the following three steps: connect, concentrate and confirm.

Step #1: Connect

Nothing is more important in the cosmetology industry than to make clients feel like the center of attention. It establishes rapport, builds trust and generates confidence, creating a personal connection.

Forming an immediate bond with clients by focusing on what they have to say sets the stage for a meaningful conversation. Begin by making eye contact and introducing yourself with a smile to let them know you’re enthusiastic and listening. It makes the client feel heard and inspires their confidence in your cosmetology services.

Step #2: Concentrate

Pay close attention not only to what clients say, but also to what they convey non-verbally. Body language can speak louder than words.

Limit distractions, listen thoughtfully and observe the client’s demeanor when they speak. Focusing helps with recall, while noticing nonverbal cues gives more context to what customers say. For example, blinking and restlessness suggest anxiety, downcast eyes and limited eye contact communicate a lack of trust. Both are negative feelings that a cosmetologist can address before providing services, increasing the chances the client will be thrilled with the final results.

It’s also critical to mind your own personal body language. Clients are keenly aware of nonverbal signals. Simple changes in posture or facial expressions can indicate enthusiasm or disinterest and respect or disdain. It’s important to send the right message by presenting yourself as a caring, competent professional.

Step #3: Confirm

Feedback is an integral part of the communication process. When clients tell you what they want, they expect you, as the expert, to evaluate their comments, confirm or question what they say and express empathy for their needs.

A simple way to clarify a point is by paraphrasing periodically during conversations. Asking “What I hear you say is…” or “It sounds like you mean…” allows the client to reflect on and refine their request. You may learn that the reason that they asked for a dark hair color was because they wrongly assumed it was their only option to conceal a botched home effort.

Other ways to confirm you’re actively listening are to nod if you agree or to hold your hand up if you need to interject. Each nonverbal cue you give propels the conversation forward and demonstrates sensitivity to what clients want.

Someone who approaches you for “a completely new look” is less interested in the haircut than in how it will make them feel. Active listening helps you get to the root of what motivates people.

Why is Active Listening Essential for Cosmetologists?

The goal of active listening is to understand the depth and complexity of communication. When you listen actively, you focus on both the details and the emotions behind them. The speaker and listener become part of the same world. It improves your ability to learn and teach, identify and solve problems and be emotionally available to others. These abilities enhance your skills in the areas of customer service, problem solving, workplace relationships, continuing education and networking opportunities.

Customer Service

Cosmetologists depend on loyal clients for their income, but repeat customers are few and far between when cosmetology services aren’t up to par. If you make too many mistakes because you don’t listen, word gets around.

Good customer service, cited by consumers as more important than price, requires understanding clients’ needs. Satisfied clients will go out of their way to recommend you to family and friends, and soon, you’ll have a lucrative base. There’s no substitute for a solid reputation in the community.


Active listening promotes problem-solving. When you allow others to speak, you become open to new ways of thinking. Considering alternate viewpoints helps you think critically, the first step in finding inventive solutions to stubborn problems.

Listening also helps you identify problems that aren’t meant to be solved. Cosmetologists are affectionately nicknamed “thera-stylists” because they serve as sounding boards for frustration. Sometimes, listening is enough.

Workplace Relationships

Most cosmetologists are employed in salons with colleagues and managers, the quality of their relationships can make or break the work experience. Like clients, peers and supervisors have personal and professional needs. Active listening keeps the lines of communication open and heads off misunderstandings before they occur.

The more you listen actively to the people around you, the more you become aware of what matters in their lives. Taking over a shift for a harried colleague with small children at home on the evening before a major holiday goes a long way toward building supportive relationships on the job.

Continuing Education

Cosmetology is an evolving field. Trends are always evolving, and it takes continuing education to keep your skills sharp. Courses, seminars, and one-on-one lessons help keep you up to date, but getting the most out of learning experiences without listening is impossible.

If you go into a class with preconceived notions, it limits your thinking. Active listening is part of being teachable, it opens your mind. You’ll not only learn the technical aspects of a new cut or coloring method you’ll get the benefit of others’ insights in how to use them.

Networking Opportunities

Making connections with your local community of cosmetologists is good for business, but relationships should be both give and take. As with clients, you should understand what others hope to achieve by networking though active listening.

Some may be searching for a mentor or referrals while you want to get the word out about a unique new service you offer. Giving as well as you take reinforces alliances with peers.

How Can Someone Become a Better Active Listener?

Some people are naturally good communicators, but active listening is a skill that can be learned. In fact, practice makes perfect.

Vocational school training includes instruction in active listening and gives cosmetology students the chance to hone their skills in student-run salons or via externships. Watching YouTube videos from communication experts can also give you ideas to try.

But perhaps the easiest way to fine-tune your active listening skills is to apply them to conversations with family and friends. Try to eliminate distractions, listen before speaking, manage your emotional response, and let go of needing to be right.

Eliminate Distractions

If you’re tempted to answer texts or check the latest headlines on your phone while speaking to friends, don’t. Instead, address distractions in advance by letting loved ones know you won’t be available while giving others your undivided attention.

Among salon customers’ top pet peeves are cosmetologist who converse with peers while performing services or who interrupt conversations to answer the phone or aid other customers. Avoiding distractions in a busy business setting isn’t always possible, but it’s critical to keep your clients in the loop. If you ask, “May I get the phone,” chances are they’ll agree without feeling slighted.

Listen Before Speaking

It’s natural to want to express yourself, but letting others speak first gives you the benefit of information upon which to reply. Letting a friend suggest restaurants for lunch could reveal a theme, if spots are quiet, perhaps they’re feeling overwhelmed and need to talk. If they’re energetic, maybe there’s something to celebrate. Active listening provides the clues.

Use the same technique in the salon to enhance profits by learning exactly what clients want from a new hairstyle or nail color. If it’s for a big day, suggest complementary services such as highlights or nail art.

Similarly, the more you know about a client’s lifestyle, the better you can recommend products. A working mom with kids, for example, might appreciate a quick-heat styling appliance or a leave-in conditioner. The more you know, the more your cosmetology business will grow.

Manage Your Emotional Reactions

We all want to be problem solvers. But whether it’s to console a family member who’s lost a job or make a friend feel better about the end of a relationship, giving advice before listening minimizes their feelings.

Instead, listen quietly and avoid jumping in with your views. Examples of giving premature advice or consolation may begin with phrases such as:

  • “Why don‘t you just…”
  • “It happened to me once, and I…”
  • “That’s nothing, once upon a time I was…”
  • “Just hang in there…”
  • “You poor thing…”

Listening to others thoughtfully before suggesting a solution gives them the opportunity to tell their whole story. A customer requesting a short style for easy maintenance may not realize there could be better options.

Giving clients time to discuss what they want and why they want it makes it easier to give relevant feedback. You’ll get down to business faster, and the client will feel respected and heard.

Let Go of Needing to be Right

Conversations can unwittingly devolve into debates. When speaking with family and friends, notice your tendency to impose your ideas on others. Clients look to cosmetologists for advice, but it’s critical to respect their ideas and support their creativity. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Colleagues and managers also appreciate it when you approach issues with an open mind, and eventually, they’ll reciprocate. It makes for a less stressful workplace and fairer conflict resolution.

Final Thoughts

Cosmetology is a personal service. Success requires building interpersonal relationships that, in turn, create trust. It’s a journey dependent on good communication made better through active listening.

Do you have a passion for hair care? Want to learn more about the skills offered in a cosmetology program? 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.

Educating Clients About Hair Care Products: A Cosmetologist’s Guide

Cosmetologist using hair care products on a client

As a cosmetologist, you will help clients look and feel their best by providing them with custom beauty services like haircuts and hairstyles. You will also be expected to sell salon hair care products. This is an important component of beauty services that can create loyal customers. While selling hair care products is designed to make more money for the salon, this is also a terrific way to educate clients about the best hair care products for their unique hair characteristics.

Why Promoting Hair Care Products Is Essential

You may be hesitant to sell hair care products to your clients at first, but there are some valid reasons to rethink this essential education process. First, every one of your clients should get a top-notch education about their hair care and styling techniques at every visit. Education about and promotion of your salon’s line of hair care products offers many benefits to you and the salon. These benefits include:

  • Helps build a loyal clientele
  • Keeps clients satisfied & happy with your salon’s services
  • Allows clients to better manage their hair style & hair grooming at home
  • Product sales deliver higher salon profits
  • Offers higher rate of client retention with each sale
  • Makes you look knowledgeable & builds client trust
  • Should be part of every salon job description
  • Keeps salon owners happy
  • Encourages client recommendations to other potential clients
  • Increases client self-confidence

How to Excel in Client Hair Care Product Education

New cosmetologists often feel overwhelmed and nervous about how to best sell a hair care product without seeming overly pushy. This is why seasoned cosmetologists focus on taking the time during a client appointment to deliver expert and personalized hair related care and product education instead. This trick helps you reduce anxiety while coming across as more confident and assured to the client.

How exactly do you effectively deliver professional hair styling and hair grooming education and product recommendations?

Research & Understand Your Salon’s Product Retail Line

Every successful salesperson will strongly urge you to first investigate and thoroughly research whatever item is to be sold. When you feel knowledgeable about a subject, the process of communicating about the subject becomes that much easier. It is crucial to understand the salon’s line of beauty and hair care products before attempting to educate clients.

Pay Attention to The Important Elements Regarding Hair Care Products

Most salons will invest in high quality hair care products that help make your job easier while dramatically transforming the client’s appearance. Pay attention to these important questions to ask regarding the products that your salon sells. These questions include:

  • What are the benefits for each product on hair?
  • What are the uses of each salon hair care product?
  • Is the product ethically sourced?
  • How does each product work on different hair types?
  • What are the ingredients and are they wholesome and beneficial to healthy hair?
  • How much product does the client need?

Pick a Few Hair Care Products and Experiment with Them

Smaller salons and private beauty shops may begin with a handful of top-notch styling and hair care products. However, many larger salons have a multitude of product lines. It is best for you to pick out a few favorite products and practice until you feel very comfortable with those products and how to use them in different situations.

After you find your go-to product collection, display them at your station with the package label turned so clients can easily see them. This trick helps sell those products without even saying a word. Of course, when you take the time to explain how you are using each product on your client, the client is more likely to purchase the shampoo, conditioner, gel or other hair care product.

Always mention salon specials to help sway a client to try one or more items at home. Even if the client doesn’t buy the item at the end of the appointment, write down what the products are on your client preferences notes and then mention it again during their next visit.

Promote the Best Attributes Regarding Salon Hair Care Products

Clients love to try new cosmetics and hair related care products. Always try to promote the best attributes that each individual product item has as a method to soft sell the item. For example, if the product contains natural, wholesome and nourishing ingredients relay that to your clients. Suggest buying in sets like a shampoo, conditioner and styling gel or hairspray, or offer trial sizes if money is an issue.

Be Believable When Promoting Products Through Education

For best results, use a soft sell approach and focus more on client hair care related education rather than overt requests to buy this product. Simply bring up the products advantages, how to use it effectively during your session with a client. If your client experiences a dry scalp, give a complementary scalp dandruff product and/or a good luxurious hair conditioner.

Always sound believable when talking about the hair care products that you are promoting. A big part of building and keeping a loyal clientele is building trust.

Gain an Overview of Various Types of Hair Care Products Clients May Ask About

It is wise to anticipate some of the questions that a client may ask while you are working on their hair. Take the time to adequately research the different hair care products that your salon offers. Types of hair care products include:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hair Gels
  • Hair Sprays
  • Deep Conditioners or Hair Masks
  • Dry Shampoos or Leave-In Conditioners
  • Hair Protective Products
  • Frizz Tamers

These products usually come in different formulas that are designed for use on specific hair types, colors, thickness and other hair characteristics. Be sure to recommend products that will work on your individual client’s hair. When clients are able recreate the style they loved in the salon, they are far more likely to make another appointment and recommend your services to all of their friends.

Involve the Client in the Styling Process Using Hair Care Products

Rather than trying to memorize boring details related to your chosen hair care products, use them and choose ones that you really like. The more experience that you have with any hair shampoo, conditioner or other hair product, the easier it will be to talk about.

Try to involve your client with using hair care products during the styling process. Have the client touch their hair to feel how silky or soft a conditioner has made it or hold up a mirror so your client can see how a styling gel creates natural looking curls.

Practice Hair Education Skills at Home & Role Play to Gain Confidence

Just like public speakers or actors practice their lines before a big event, you can also practice your hair related education skills by role playing at home with others. Practice on your kids, partner, best friend or siblings until it becomes natural and believable.

Learn to Identify a Hair Problem & Figure Out a Solution

Most people who frequent salons do so because they want their hair to look healthy. Clients will notice certain problems with their usual at home grooming routine. Casually ask your client about the issues they might be having with their unique hair or when styling at home.

Always try to identify a style or care problem that can be resolved with your salon’s services or hair care products. When clients feel beautiful, they are likely to keep coming back. Some common problems to lookout for include:

  • Too thin or thick strands
  • Frizz
  • Oily hair
  • Dry scalp & strands
  • Damaged strand ends
  • Unwanted grey strands
  • Dull hair
  • Brittle & over-processed hair
  • An uneven cut
  • Too straight or too curly hair
  • Lack of depth or shine on hair shaft
  • Dandruff & flakes or itchy scalp
  • Hard to style hair

Skills for Better Education About Hair Care Products

There are a number of skills that a cosmetologist will need to educate their clients about the best hair care and salon products for them to use. Some of these skills just need to be honed in a bit before launching your new career in cosmetology. These skills include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Being a people person
  • Friendly attitude
  • Professional behavior
  • Good communication skills
  • Even better listening skills
  • Knowledge & understanding of hair care products
  • Experience with different styling techniques
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Ability to work & talk simultaneously

Final Thoughts

If you have a desire to become a cosmetologist, use this information to improve your overall success regarding client hair care product education. Use client education as a tool to sell your hair care products. Cosmetology is exciting, rewarding and offers plenty of opportunities to grow.

Do you have a passion for hair care? Looking to get the cosmetology skills offered in a cosmetology program? 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 Become a Hair and Nail Technician?

Hair and nail technician providing services for a client.

Hair and nail technicians are in high demand. But it takes more than desire to turn an obsession with style into a career, it takes quality education. The good news for beauty enthusiasts is that the road to becoming a hair and nail technician is clear. The key to success is completing a vocational school cosmetology program.

Why Become a Hair and Nail Technician?

The best careers are those that make people feel great about going to work in the morning. How can someone know if being a hair and nail technician is a good fit? A happy cosmetologist enjoys conversation, thrives on creativity, embraces the latest beauty trends, and wants to beautify the world around them.

Enjoys Conversation

Cosmetologists are called “thera-stylists” in the industry. They serve as sounding boards for whoever sits in their chairs. Surveys shows that of the millions of people who frequent salons, most of them would trust their hairdresser’s advice over their therapist’s for “serious” personal problems. It’s all about trust, the foundation of which is communication.

Thrives on Creativity

Styling hair and manicuring nails is a form of art. Expression through personal style is empowering for clients who want to look and feel their best. The best hairdressers sculpt hair with the same passion Michelangelo had for carving marble. Students who thrive on creativity can start a new masterpiece every day.

Embraces the Latest Beauty Trends

Style evolves. Classic designs rarely change, but trends morph every season, there’s always a new look to try. Tomorrow’s top cosmetologists are today’s YouTube beauty video enthusiasts. All new trends start somewhere, some in the most unexpected places.

Wants to Beautify the World Around Them

The activities people enjoy in their off time is a powerful predictor of job satisfaction. Passionate hair and nail technicians often begin their career by doing special occasion styles for friends and family, an updo for a wedding or braids for the kids. No good cosmetologist lets their world be gray when it can be filled with color.

How Does Someone Become a Hair and Nail Technician?

Hair and nail technicians must have a license to practice. Every state has different requirements, but all require at least some form of formal education. Being a whiz with the shears isn’t enough. The quickest path to a rewarding career as a hair and nail technician is to complete a vocational school cosmetology program.

What Does Someone Learn in a Cosmetology Program?

Cosmetology programs differ, but they offer the same core curriculum. Students learn hair care, and nail care, including basic spa manicures and pedicures.

Hair Care

Cosmetology programs emphasize hair care because it’s the most popular service in salons. Students learn the anatomy and physiology of the hair, skin and scalp, so they know how it grows and behaves. The practical focus is on doing styles, cuts and colors.

Nail Care

The cosmetology curriculum also covers nail care. Manicures and pedicures are now second only to haircuts as the most requested personal service, and clients expect graduates will be well-versed in the latest techniques, including:

  • Basic and spa manicures and pedicures
  • Nail Tips
  • Sculpted nails
  • UV gels
  • Nail art

Some cosmetology schools also offer extra training in special occasion make-up and enhancements such as hair and eyelash extensions.

Why Attend a Vocational School Program?

There are many reasons for students to attend a vocational school program in cosmetology. Vocational school students learn a valuable trade, get a quick start, learn in the real world, benefit from small classes, work with industry educated instructors, are prepared to be licensed and certified, and graduate with business opportunities.

Learn a Valuable Trade

Hair and nails grow regardless of social and economic circumstances. Like nurses and welders, cosmetologists have practical skills people need. Jobs for hair and nail technicians are projected to grow by 8 percent in the coming decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Beauty is a billion-dollar business and growing.

Get a Quick Start

A rewarding career doesn’t have to mean spending years in college. Hair and nail technicians can be out of the classroom and earning in just ten months if they attend full time. Few careers with this much potential require so little time training.

Learn in the Real World

There’s no substitute for learning how to serve people than by working with them. Mannequins are fine for practice, but cosmetology is a service industry. There’s so much more to it than cutting hair and painting nails.

Learning in context by working in a student-run salon or via externships with experienced professionals prepare students for their first job. Graduates enter the workforce feeling confident about their skills, and employers are grateful to know their clients will be in good hands.

Benefit from Small Classes

Adult students learn faster and retain more information in small classes. Instructors have fewer distractions to manage and more time to work with students one-on-one. Constructive feedback is immediate, making the most of students’ time and helping them reach their maximum potential.

Work with Industry-educated Instructors

Cosmetology instructors are among the most talented hair and nail technicians in the field. They’re licensed, certified and experienced. During a short ten-month program, students can take advantage of what these seasoned pros know, from styling tips to how to handle demanding clients.

Are Prepared for Licensing and Certification

For client safety, states require cosmetologists to pass a competency exam before they can work. Tests evaluate knowledge in a wide range of categories, from sanitation and infection control to hair and nail care techniques. Schools that “teach to the test” and help students with preparation have better first-time pass rates among their graduates.

Graduate with Business Opportunities

Today’s students can spend years in college and still not learn what they need to start a business. But vocational school cosmetology programs teach business skills that prepare entrepreneurs for success. From salesmanship to shop management, graduates learn how to operate a salon.

What Skills Will Someone Learn in a Cosmetology Program?

Hair and nail technicians need the right blend of practical and people skills to succeed in a competitive marketplace. Vocational school cosmetology programs teach hair care, hair cutting, hair styling, hair coloring, manicure and pedicure, skin care, communication skills, customer service skills, sales experience, business management, and time management skills.

Skill #1: Hair Care

Students learn about hair anatomy and how to wash and condition hair according to their different characteristics. Subjects include:

  • Hair physiology
  • Scalp disorders
  • Product chemistry
  • The pH Scale
  • Bacteriology

Skill #2: Hair Cutting

Many Americans get multiple haircuts annually, so proficiency with popular styles for both men and women is a must. Instructors teach the latest in:

  • Comb handling
  • Scissoring
  • Texturizing
  • Layering
  • Razoring
  • Clipper skills
  • Sanitation

Skill #3: Hair Styling

Styling instruction covers skills from blow-drying to setting rollers. Students learn how to use appliances and brushes to achieve a finished look. Other topics include:

  • Braiding
  • Waving
  • Curling
  • Straightening

Skill #4: Hair Coloring

Almost all women color their hair at one time or another, and it’s catching on with men. It’s the second most popular service in the cosmetology business, but it takes expertise to perform. The cosmetology school curriculum not only covers coloring techniques, but it also teaches proper handling of reactive chemicals and dyes. Students learn the fundamentals of color theory plus how to:

  • Perform patch tests
  • Apply temporary and permanent color
  • Recommend the best shades
  • Lighten dark hair
  • Correct color

Skill #5: Manicures and Pedicures

Americans spend billions of dollars on manicures and pedicures every year. It’s a service that requires little initial investment for salons to offer, as long as they employ a skilled nail technician. Cosmetology programs cover the basics of:

  • Nail disorders
  • Trimming and shaping
  • Polish chemistry
  • Artificial nails and tips
  • Hand and foot massage
  • Equipment disinfection

Skill #6: Skin Care

Most full-service salons offer skincare services, it’s a natural extension of doing hair and nails. Additional courses and certifications may be required in some states to provide some services, but cosmetology schools touch on the basics, including:

  • Facials
  • Moisturizing treatments
  • Toning

These skills can set the stage for hair and nail technicians to expand into personal aesthetics.

Skill #7: Communication Skills

Communication is the foundation of cosmetology. As the expert, it’s up to hair and nail technicians to take the lead when speaking with clients, clarifying expectations before making the first cut. But there’s a science to it, and for students who aren’t natural communicators, it’s a skill that can be learned.

Cosmetology schools teach students specific communication techniques designed to enhance the sharing of information, such as active listening and asking probing questions.

Skill #8: Customer Service Skills

Good customer service encourages client loyalty. How do customers define “good” service? Topping the list are prompt communication, a positive attitude, convenient hours, payment options and competitive prices.

In cosmetology school, students learn how to perform services efficiently and build rapport with clients. Practice makes perfect, and graduates begin their careers on the right foot.

Skill #9: Sales Experience

More than half of salon clients say they ask technicians for advice. From which products to buy to whether to try the latest Hollywood look, an expert’s opinion is valuable.

It’s also an opportunity to make sales and generate revenue. No one is better equipped to sell hair and skin products than a trusted hair and nail technician if they know how.

Cosmetology programs teach sales technique in the classroom while externships with professionals in the community offer practical opportunities to work with clients directly. When clients are happy with their purchases, repeat sales become effortless.

Skill #10: Business Management Skills

Cosmetologists with an entrepreneurial spirit can work for themselves, it’s an excellent business opportunity. But more than a quarter of all new salons fail within the first two years, typically due to poor money management.

While most cosmetology schools don’t include in-depth business courses in their curricula, they cover the basics of salon management and marketing. There’s always more to learn.

Skill #11: Time Management Skills

Taking a full-time cosmetology program is the fastest route to a new career, but it’s challenging. Between attending classes, studying and working at externships, it’s a full load. But as most hair and nail technicians soon learn, the greater the number of clients they serve per day, the higher their earnings will be. A ten-month condensed program plus practical experience prepares graduates for a fast-paced work environment in which efficiency and time management are critical.

Final Thoughts

Cosmetology is the ultimate career for students with a passion for beauty. Whether the goal is to open a nail salon or be a hairstylist to the stars, choosing a cosmetology school with a comprehensive curriculum and a good reputation is the best way to start.

Do you have a passion for hair and nails? Interested in becoming a cosmetologist? 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.

What Skills Do You Need for Cosmetology?

Cosmetologist is using their skills to clean and condition a clients hair.

Cosmetology is a rewarding career for students with a passion for beauty. Salons across the country are hiring, demand for beauticians is high, and for entrepreneurs, the business potential is boundless. But it takes more than talent with combs and shears to succeed, it takes quality education and the right blend of hands-on and people skills.

Skills for Cosmetologists

Cosmetologists need practical skills for success in today’s competitive marketplace. From traditional cosmetology skills like cutting and styling to soft skills like time management and problem solving. With this set of hard and soft skills, you can become a successful cosmetologist. Don’t have all of these skills yet? The good news is you can learn them during a cosmetology program and working your first job in the industry. Let’s start by examining the hard skills of working in cosmetology.

Skill #1: Cosmetology Skills

Salons offering a wide range of services are more likely to attract customers, so they prefer to hire graduates with practical abilities including hair cutting, styling, hair coloring, manicures, pedicures, men’s grooming, and cosmetics.

Cutting and Styling

Haircuts are a salon’s bread and butter, so proficiency with top styles from bobs to pixies is a must. Some customers prefer a wash-and-wear look, but most look to their hairstylist for everyday styling advice and custom updos for special occasions.

Hair Coloring

Seventy-five percent of women admit they color their hair regularly, it’s the second most popular service in the beauty business and a value-added opportunity to pad revenue.


Americans spend billions on manicures and pedicures. Requiring little floor space and low-cost supplies, they’re profit boosters for full-service salons.

Men’s Grooming

An increasing number of men are turning to salons for a professional, well-groomed appearance. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry and growing.


It takes skill to apply make-up. Shifting trends and evolving product lines are a challenge for customers to keep up with. From sunset eyes to extreme-volume lashes, style aficionados are increasingly turning to cosmetologists to help them perfect their application techniques.

Skill #2: Good Hygiene

Cosmetologists must keep their clients safe. Shared tools and equipment should be disinfected between appointments and workstations kept clean to avoid the spread of disease. State boards set the sanitation requirements for salons, but individuals are responsible for adhering to them. Good hygiene habits are helpful.

 Skill #3: Manual Dexterity

Speed and coordination with combs, scissors and make-up brushes is a must for cosmetologists, but studies suggest that manual dexterity is a skill primarily determined by genetics. Instruction can help overcome awkwardness and practice makes perfect but having a natural level of manual dexterity is an advantage.

Skill #4: Physical Stamina

Cosmetologists spend most of the day on their feet, bending, twisting and reaching is required. Styling hair and doing nails isn’t as grueling as working in a coal mine, but strength, flexibility and endurance make long days less strenuous on the body.

Skill #5:  Time Management Skills

Owning a salon is an entrepreneur’s dream, but it’s also a serious time commitment. Serving customers generates revenue and pays the bills, but not deferring the mundane tasks associated with maintaining a business is also important.

Paying invoices, calculating taxes and ordering supplies takes time, and properly managing time is the key to avoiding burnout. Knowing how to use downtime between clients effectively helps limit the after-hours time cosmetologists must spend managing their businesses.

Skill #6: Problem-Solving Ability

The number one rule in business is, find a way to say yes. When problems arise, stay positive and look for creative solutions. If a client wants a unique hair color, order it. If they need an off-hours appointment, negotiate a time that works. Making customers happy is the easiest way to earn their loyalty.

Skill #7: Commitment to Learning

Cosmetology is continually evolving. The general concepts remain the same, but styles and techniques change by the year and season. When clients want the latest Hollywood look, they expect cosmetologists to be trained and ready to offer it. Keeping pace is only possible through attending regular continuing education, courses and seminars offered through professional organizations.

Skill #8: Communication

The last thing a cosmetologist wants is a dissatisfied customer. But most clients aren’t familiar with the beauty industry jargon, so requests for a radical new look may come with little more than a vague description. As a trained professional, it’s up to a cosmetologist to take the lead in the conversation, beginning with active listening.

Active listening is a skill professionals use to explore clients’ needs by clarifying what they say. Paraphrasing a request for a “Whole new look” by saying “So, you’re thinking about a new style and color?” helps determine what the customer wants. People are individuals, so the definition of a “whole new look” can vary wildly. Communicating effectively before the first snip eliminates misunderstandings.

Skill #9: Compassion

Medical, financial and body image concerns are all issues that keep people from going to salons. A sense of compassion helps cosmetologists overcome these physical and emotional barriers.

Serving people of all needs is not only fulfilling, but it also helps a cosmetologist establish a good reputation in the community. It’s a necessary skill for working with the public, especially children and seniors.

Skill #10: Attention to Detail

Cosmetology is both an art and science. Attention to detail is required for the safe use of chemicals, such as hair color, nail polish removers and disinfectant agents. Details are also critical when communicating with clients about their needs. Hair and nails grow back, but cosmetologists who make too many errors have few repeat customers.

Maximizing Success

With education, anyone can be a capable cosmetologist, but why settle for less than the highest level of achievement? Take success to the next level with some profitable skills including creativity, a flare for sales, a professional appearance, a can-do attitude, trust building, customer service, business savvy, and social media sense.

Skill #11: Creativity

Tomorrow’s looks are created today. While cosmetologists are well-trained in tried-and-true techniques, a little creativity with the shears is a skill that sets top stylists apart. It’s the key to building demand for services and a profitable client base.

Skill #12: A Flare for Sales

Only part of a cosmetologist’s income comes from services, the real money is in product sales. In some salons, the profit margin on shampoo, conditioner and accessories is higher than on cuts and colors, and no one is better equipped to sell them than a trusted stylist.

Many salon customers say they expect their cosmetologist to recommend suitable products. The same customers are also willing to pay a premium for quality brands, as long as they are a genuine fit for their lifestyle. While selling is a skill that doesn’t come easy to everyone, it’s an earnings-booster for cosmetologists who know their products and are willing to go the extra mile. And if clients are pleased with their selections, repeat sales make themselves.

Skill #13: A Professional Appearance

A cosmetologist’s appearance is like an audition, it’s critical to look the part. Aesthetic specialists can promote the latest products and services just by sporting them in the salon. A professional appearance is also necessary to convey expertise. A cosmetologist who wears the same hair and nail styles they recommend is a live demonstration of their craft and a confidence-builder for clients.

Skill #14: A Can-do Attitude

Cosmetologists do more than cut hair, they help clients look and feel their best, inside and out. A friendly, approachable demeanor makes an excellent first impression and sets the stage for a positive experience, but there is often a significant gap between what clients want and what cosmetologists can deliver.

Giving someone Hollywood hair on a dime is unrealistic, but there is usually a middle ground that can be both satisfying and affordable. The closer a cosmetologist comes to fulfilling their clients’ wishes, the more successful they will be. Keep the focus on what can be done.

Skill #15: Trust-building

Personal appearance is an important but sensitive topic for most clients. To get the results they want, they need to feel comfortable sharing intimate thoughts about how they look with their cosmetologist. It takes time and effort to nourish these personal connections and build a sense of mutual trust, but the reward is a loyal customer base.

Skill #16: Customer Service Skills

Surveys of cosmetology clients show that getting good customer service is the best predictor of loyalty. While attracting new clients is essential for a growing business, retention is even more vital. Losing just ten percent of existing patrons to a competitor can reduce revenue up to 30-percent. Why?

Cultivating new clients is costly, professional relationships take time and attention to establish. But regulars are in and out, and they spend more money than first timers. On average, regulars pay more for the same service delivered by someone they trust. They also tend to schedule their next visit in advance, helping cosmetologists better plan their schedules.

How do clients define “good” service? Punctuality and a positive attitude top the list of musts, offering convenient hours, competitive prices and multiple payment options is a plus. Across the board, poor communication is clients’ biggest pet peeve, followed by surprise charges and lack of personal attention. At its core, cosmetology is a wellness service, so the best way to retain customers is to make them feel valued.

Skill #17: Business Savvy

Almost a third of new businesses fail in the first year, not for lack of effort, but because of poor money management. Making the wrong financial move can cost a cosmetologist both their income and their initial investment. Self-employed cosmetologists need a healthy cash flow to pay expenses on time and stock their shelves. While an accountant can help, cosmetologists are still responsible for making ends meet. It pays to be prepared.

The good news for salon owners is that help is rarely more than a phone call away. If accounting, taxes, budgeting and other issues are confusing, organizations such as SCORE and the SBA offer online classes and live webinars covering a wide range of business topics. They also connect small business owners with volunteer mentors, and the aid is always free.

Skill #18: Social Media Sense

Many people shop online for cosmetology services, so building a social media presence is a critical part of any modern marketing plan. Ads on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, have a distinct advantage over traditional forms of marketing, they offer a multidimensional experience. Clients can view photos of a cosmetologist’s work, learn about their services and get feedback from existing customers.

Stylists can then use social media to connect with customers, answering questions, booking appointments and reaching out with customized promotional offers. It’s the new mobile way to communicate.

Final Thoughts

Cosmetology is ranked among the country’s most satisfying careers. It’s financially rewarding, personally gratifying, and it gives people who are enthusiastic about beauty an outlet for creative expression. There’s never been a better time for students to turn a knack for style into bona fide skills and a job to be proud of.

Do you have a passion for beauty and wellness? Looking to get the cosmetology skills offered in a cosmetology program? 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.

What Should I Look for in a Cosmetology School?

Student dying a clients hair at a cosmetology school

Cosmetology is the ultimate creative expression for students with a passion for style, but experienced cosmetologists know, it takes a quality training program to make it a career. Whether the goal is to get an entry-level position at a salon or to be the next big-name celebrity stylist, choosing a cosmetology school with a comprehensive curriculum and student support services is the key to success.

Why Become a Cosmetologist?

Cosmetologists do more than cut hair. They make people look and feel their best, and in return, they enjoy valuable career benefits, including a quick start, a growing job market, family-friendly skills, a sense of purpose, flexible schedules, an evolving field, and business opportunities.

A Quick Start

Some professions take years of college to train for, but students attending a vocational school cosmetology program full-time can graduate in less than a year. There are few careers with this much earning potential that require so little preparation.

A Growing Job Market

Beauty is a multi-billion-dollar business and growing. There are more than 750,000 barbers, hairstylists and cosmetologists working in the field today, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for cosmetologists is expected to grow 8-percent through 2028. At a time when some careers are becoming obsolete, cosmetology is a future-looking choice.

Family-friendly Skills

The average person spends tens of thousands of dollars on haircuts in their lifetime, that’s as much as the cost of a trip around the world. But while a cosmetologist makes money, they can also save it by taking care of haircuts for the whole family.

Multiplied by the number of people in a household, do-it-yourself styles are an income booster and a convenience. Cosmetologists can spend their time doing fun activities with the kids instead of sitting in a crowded salon waiting for a client.

A Sense of Purpose

Cosmetologists do more than cut hair, they improve clients’ self-image. A new cut and color can enhance self-esteem and send confidence soaring. It’s a vital wellness service for which people are happy to pay.

Flexible Schedules

Self-employed cosmetologists can set their own hours, accommodating a busy lifestyle while still earning a living. Cosmetologists working in a salon have fewer options, but most employers offer both full-time and part-time positions, and hours are usually flexible. Hair design is an excellent career for people with child and senior care commitments, as parents can work while the kids are in school. Most cosmetologists have nights and major holidays off.

An Evolving Field

Hair design never stops evolving. New cut and coloring techniques are continually introduced, so the work always stays fresh. A cosmetologist’s career can last fifty years or more, but it remains engaging because there’s always something new and exciting to learn.

Business Opportunities

Students can spend four years in school and still not graduate with the skills they need to start a salon but graduating from a cosmetology program is the perfect opportunity for beauty entrepreneurs. Graduates who want to work for others can, but those who want the freedom of being their own boss can rent booths in an established salon or open a shop of their own.

With today’s secure mobile payment systems, some cosmetologists are even hitting the road and doing house calls, all they need is a portable kit and a cell phone. With a little business savvy, a cosmetologist can turn a talent with shears into a business, and from there, the sky’s the limit.

What to Look for in a Cosmetology School

Most vocational school cosmetology programs share the same primary curriculum, a certain number of learning hours in specific subjects is mandated by states for licensure. But there are also significant variations between programs in both content and teaching methods. For students, the right school is the one that best meets their career goals.

Top cosmetology schools offer condensed programs, hands-on training, small class sizes, experienced instructors, accreditation, focus on exam preparation, extensive instruction, career services and networking opportunities.

Condensed Programs

It’s tough making ends meet without a job, so training programs that get students out of the classroom and into the field in ten months or less are ideal.

A full-time schedule can be intense, students learn the same skills regardless of the length of their program. The days can be long between class time, studying and getting practical experience after-hours, but there are no shortcuts to a good education. Part-time schedules and flexible learning options may be available but attending full-time is the shortest path to graduation.

Hands-on Training

Hair design is a hands-on field. Cosmetologists spend over 1,500 hours in school, and graduates agree, the more time they spend styling hair, the better. Training always begins on models, but there’s no substitute for the real thing, so institutions with student-run salons have a clear advantage. They offer a sense of how a full-service beauty shop operates and what it takes to succeed.

Students get a front-row view of both design and business operations while learning valuable customer service skills. They also get to trying their hand at a wide range of services from cuts to color. Graduates rank it among their best learning experiences.

Small Class Size

Students learn faster, and they retain more in small classes. Instructors spend less time worrying about distractions and more time teaching course material, and students get more one-on-one attention. Feedback is immediate and individualized, so no one falls behind, and everyone can reach their fullest potential.

Students feel more comfortable interacting with peers in small groups, and those close relationships enhance learning. Since each person has a unique viewpoint and skillset, students can learn from each other. This broadens their skill set without feeling rushed or intimidated. It enhances the educational experience.

Experienced Instructors

Cosmetology teachers are both licensed in their field and certified as instructors. But while certification programs teach the basics, such as curriculum development, lesson planning, and student evaluation, no amount of classroom learning is a substitute for practical experience in the field.

During a short ten-month program, it’s imperative for students to make connections with seasoned professionals. Instructors should be well-versed in conventional and cutting-edge techniques.


Better cosmetology schools are fully accredited. This means their curriculum has been approved and covers all the skills and information necessary to pass the state’s licensing exam. Accreditation is also a must for programs to meet federal student aid criteria. The National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS) is the largest accrediting agency for cosmetology schools and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

A Focus on Exam Preparation

Cosmetologists must pass a test in most states to practice their craft. Exams evaluate real-world skills over a broad range of categories. Instructors that “teach to the test” enhance first-time pass rates among their students.

Extensive Instruction

Cosmetology is a specialty unto itself, graduates can have a great career doing nothing but hair. But every additional skill they learn is another opportunity to expand their client base and build revenue. Schools that teach complementary services are a better value. Popular options include:

Hair Coloring – women color their hair regularly, and the trend is catching on with men. It’s a popular service in the hair industry. This is an easy way for cosmetologists to increase earnings at each appointment.

Manicures – millions of people get a manicure each year. It’s a splurge-worthy service for clients and a profit-booster for salons. Manicures require little floor space and only a few low-cost supplies.

Pedicures – salons can increase their revenue by offering pedicures. Pedicures are a particularly appropriate service for wellness-oriented salons because they offer some of the same benefits as seeing a podiatrist. For busy clients, a pedicure is a quick but relaxing substitute for a day at the spa, and like manicures, the profit margin is significant.

Skin Care – full-service beauty salons can offer a broad range of skincare options from facials and waxing to eyebrow threading and chemical peels. Additional training and certifications may be necessary in some areas to legally provide these services. Still a cosmetology school that teaches these techniques is ideal for students aspiring to be estheticians.

Men’s Grooming – personal services aren’t just for women anymore, men are increasingly enjoying facials and grooming options, such as beard shaping. Salons that cater to men can see a drastic hike in income by selling shaving and specialty hair supplies.

Special Occasion Make-up – everyone wants to turn heads on a big day, but few people have the skills and supplies necessary. Spending on special occasion make-up and add-ons such as lashes and hair extensions is soaring. Cosmetologists help clients make memories by offering packages for weddings, proms and reunions.

Career Services

Cosmetology schools work closely with the beauty professionals in their communities to produce cosmetologists with relevant skills. In return, salons post openings on their job boards, and graduates have access to entry-level positions. It’s an ideal way to build experience.

Most vocational schools also offer extended job placement assistance, and services from interview coaching to resume writing. Some even coordinate internships or help students find mentors in the field. Graduates feel supported from the day they start their program.

Networking Opportunities

The time a cosmetologist spends in school is a golden opportunity to create a network in the industry. While small class sizes and personalized attention allow students to connect with instructors and peers in the classroom, institutions that reach out to the community with special events help upcoming graduates introduce themselves to potential employers. Examples of successful outreach efforts include meet and greet days and student volunteer opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Education is the foundation of career success. For students of cosmetology, a knack with scissors isn’t enough, choosing a school that is as invested in teaching as they are in learning is the first and most crucial step.

Do you have a passion for beauty and wellness? Interested in learning more about cosmetology school? 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.

What Are the Typical Duties of a Cosmetologist?

Cosmetologist performing her typical duties of drying a clients hair.

Do you like helping your family and friends with their hair? Enjoy watching YouTube videos about beauty? Then, becoming a cosmetologist might be the right career path for you. A cosmetologist is a beauty professional that’s licensed to provide beauty care services to their clients. While there are many duties of a cosmetologist, they may receive training to work exclusively in one area or in a salon that provides an array of different services to clients.

Cosmetologists must complete a training program and earn a diploma from a vocational school to prepare for a state’s cosmetology license exam. Most cosmetology classes prepare students for their state’s licensing exam. As a result, cosmetologists must hold a license from the state to become a licensed cosmetologist.

What Does A Cosmetologist Do?

The origin of the term cosmetologist is from the Greek language. Translated, it means to beautify. The main elements of cosmetology are hair, nails and makeup. Depending on the career path you pursue, the duties at a salon can vary from one day to the next. Cosmetologists are known for their skill in hair care. They learn an array of techniques for cutting, styling, and coloring hair during a cosmetology program. Each element of cosmetology is an essential part of what makes a great cosmetologist. The main elements of a cosmetologist’s job include hairstyling, haircutting, hair coloring, shampooing, nail care, pedicures, manicures, facials, makeup, and wig cutting and cleaning.

Duty #1: Hairstyling

Cosmetologists understand that a beautiful or elegant style says a lot about a client’s character and personality. It can improve their client’s self-esteem. Furthermore, the style of a person’s hair can influence other people’s first impressions. Here are some of the styling tips you will learn during your ten-year as a cosmetologist:

  • Multiple shampoos may be needed. At a salon, the cosmetologist usually washes the client’s hair twice. The first shampoo is to loosen any buildup on the hair shafts. Following, the second shampoo is to give the hair and scalp a thorough cleaning.
  • For anyone who’s blonde or has blonde highlights, cosmetologists often recommend a clarifying shampoo for at-home use. The ingredients in the shampoo bring out the highlights and give it a shinier and brighter appearance.
  • When the hair is damaged from the sun or products that are too harsh, cosmetologists use moisturizing hair masks to provide the nutrition it needs to make it healthier.
  • The perfect haircut should last anywhere from two and a half to four months. A cosmetologist should be able to manage the density and length of the hair, so it doesn’t have to be cut more frequently.
  • A great cosmetologist can customize a cut to the preferences of their client. They can better understand how to cut a client’s hair if the client explains what they don’t like rather than what they want.
  • Cosmetologists usually recommend that their clients have their hair trimmed approximately every ten weeks, or a little sooner if their hair grows out faster. A trim gets rid of the split ends and allows the hair to grow.

Duty #2: Haircutting Techniques

Cutting hair involves different techniques depending on the client’s preferences. Cosmetologists learn haircutting techniques as part of their training. Professional cosmetologists may suggest a specific style to a client that enhances their facial features or gives their hair more body. The most popular techniques for cutting hair are graduated, layering, point cutting, slicing, slide cutting, and razor cutting.

Graduated – used to achieve an inverted bob-style. The cosmetologist cuts the hair gradually from a longer length in the front to a shorter length in the back. The cut works well on hair of medium thickness. However, it’s not recommended for very thick hair because it creates a lot of volume.

Layering – one of the most commonly used hair cutting techniques. Layering the hair is an excellent way to add texture and volume to thin hair and keep thick hair under control. Layered cuts are a versatile way to add emphasis to any hairstyle.

Point Cutting – a technique that cosmetologists use to soften the appearance of a blunt cut. This kind of cut can be used on all hair types, from thin to thick.

Slicing – also known as feathering, gives the hair more texture with a feathered appearance. This cut can be used on all thicknesses of hair.

Slide Cutting – a technique that’s used on thick or naturally curly hair because it gives the curls more definition. The slide cut eliminates some of the weight of thick hair and gives facial features a softer appearance.

Razor Cut – adds movement and bounce to the hair, so it has the appearance of being fuller. This type of cut also gives the facial features a softer look.

Duty #3: Hair Coloring

One way to achieve an entirely new look is with a new hair color. One of the duties of a cosmetologist is to advise their clients on the best type of color for their hair. When a client wants to change the color of their hair or add highlights, a good rule of thumb is to consider the client’s eye color and skin tone. The hair color can make or break the look a client wants to achieve.

Anyone who has blue eyes and a light complexion can achieve a dynamic look with colors that have a dominant warm tone. On the other hand, if the client’s complexion is on the rosy side, warmer tones will give the complexion a red tinge. A blonde looks great during the summer months with bright highlights but may want a little more depth and color in the winter to avoid the washed-out look.

A cosmetologist has the training to educate clients on the right color for their hair. Here are the hair coloring techniques that cosmetologists use and the effect they have on a client’s hair, They include balayage, baby highlights, ombre, sombre, splashlights, and silver blonde.


Balayage – a process that involves sweeping or painting highlights on the surface of the hair, so it has a sun-bleached appearance that looks natural as it grows out.

Baby Blonde or Baby Light Highlights – a very subtle highlight that involves coloring small strands of hair to give it the appearance of highlights children have in their hair when they’re very young.

Ombre and Sombre – techniques that involve creating contrasting shades of darker hair at the roots and lighter highlights at the ends.

Splashlights – involve dyeing a section of the hair a vibrant color while the sections above and below are a color that’s similar to the client’s natural hair color.

Silver Blonde – one of the most popular new methods of coloring hair. The hair is dyed to a nearly white shade followed by a rinse of purple toner to remove yellowish tones in the hair. Then the cosmetologist applies a mixture of grey hair dye, depending on the look the client wishes to achieve.

Duty #4: Shampooing

Shampooing the hair is one of the duties of a cosmetologist. Some cosmetologists shampoo the hair before they do the haircut, so they’re working on a clean scalp and hair. Other cosmetologists prefer to cut the hair dry and then wash and style the hair. It may depend on the cut and personal preferences.

Duty #5: Nail Care, Pedicures, and Manicures

Other cosmetologist duties is to perform manicures and pedicures. The cosmetologist must be skillful in shaping and trimming nails. They can be creative in decorating a client’s nails with gems, glitter, varnish, and transfers. Another of the ways a cosmetologist can decorate the nails is by using an airbrush technique. Cosmetologists should be knowledgeable and advise clients about the proper care of their nails and hands.

Duty #6: Facials and Makeup

Clients may request facials to improve the appearance of their skin. Cosmetologists require training to properly care for the client’s skin and use products to achieve that goal. One of the services cosmetologists provide for their clients is applying makeup. Many clients schedule appointments with their salon before special events like photo shoots, proms, and weddings. Many brides even plan pre-wedding photo-ops before the big day, and everything must be perfect.

Duty #7: Wig Cutting and Cleaning

A client who wears a wig should always have a cosmetologist clean and cut their wig. The client doesn’t have the training to do a proper cut, and the wig may end up with a choppy appearance or even be ruined. Special hair products are designed for use on wigs, and a cosmetologist can advise on the most appropriate products to use.

Additional Duties of a Cosmetologist

A cosmetologist has other duties and responsibilities in addition to traditional hairstyling, cutting and nail care. These are duties that are typically learned during a cosmetology program and include sales of products and services, setting appointments, creating a clientele, and managing light accounting, to name a few.

Duty #8: Sales of Products and Services

Many vocational cosmetology programs will teach students proper sales techniques and small business management. This is important because cosmetologists may get a commission based on the number of products and services they offer their clients. It’s essential to keep up with the newest trends.

Duty #9: Setting Appointments

Cosmetologists that work in salons are responsible for setting and canceling appointments and taking payments from clients. As part of their duties, they must also keep the front desk area clean and make sure their workstation and all the equipment they use is sanitized.

Duty #10: Creating a Clientele

One of the essential aspects of working in cosmetology is building a clientele. For a salon to flourish, the cosmetologist must spend time building their clientele. This takes time but it’s worth it when there are repeat clients and customer referrals. Being proactive is one of the most effective ways to build a business.

Duty #11: Managing Light Accounting

Although most of the duties of a cosmetologist revolve around providing services for their clients, they must have the management skills to handle the finances of the salon. Keeping a record of supplies, re-ordering, and keeping on top of the cash flow are all essential. QuickBooks can come in handy when managing light accounting for a salon or small business.

Final Thoughts

A successful cosmetologist must be detail-oriented and listen actively to their clients. The goal is to give the client a look they want. Excellent customer service is what will keep clients coming back. Have confidence when advising clients on their hair and makeup, especially if they’re uncertain about trying something new, is essential. Keep up with the latest hair and makeup products and be creative, especially when a client is preparing for a special event. Becoming a cosmetologist is challenging but are helping others daily if you have a sense of pride in what you do. Cosmetology is more than a job, it is a rewarding career.

Did learning about the typical duties of 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 hairstylist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.