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.

6 Benefits of Shampoo and Conditioner

Woman at salon getting hair washed with shampoo and conditioner

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

How Often Should You Shampoo Your Hair?

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

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

What is Shampoo?

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

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

What are the Different Types of Shampoos on the Market?

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

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

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

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

Dry Hair

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

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

Oily Hair

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

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

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

What are the Benefits of Shampoos?

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

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

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

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

What are Conditioners?

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

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

How is Conditioner Used?

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

What are the Different Types of Conditioners?

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

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

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

What are the Benefits of Conditioners?

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

Did learning about the benefits of shampoo and conditioner interest you? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, also how to provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting. We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. Therefore, you will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.

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

How to Become a Cosmetologist

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

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

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

A Passion for Cosmetology

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

Are there reflections of this interest in your own life?

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

What is your history and amateur experience?

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

Vocational Training

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

Who are the Instructors?

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

When does the program happen?

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

Where is the program?

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

Interest in Working with Others

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


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


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

Product/Brand Reps

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

Customer Service/Communication Skills

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

Personal Fulfillment

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

Public Reputation

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

Networking and Connections

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

Knowledge of Sales

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

Upselling Services

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

Add-on Products

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

Book Return/Repeat Service

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

Creative Problem Solving

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

Unusual, Unexpected Issues

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

Difficult People

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

Fixing Mistakes

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

Attention to Detail

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

Skill Work

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

Communication Attention (for opportunity and connection)

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

Preparation and Surroundings

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

A Drive to Continue Your Education

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

Formal Education

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

Independent Education

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

Experimental Education

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

Final Thoughts

Did learning about how to become a cosmetologist interest you? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting. We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. You will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.

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

How Do I Get Started in Cosmetology?

Smiling cosmetologists holding tools necessary to getting their career started

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

What are the Different Areas of Cosmetology?

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


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


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

Nail Care

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


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

Get an Education

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

Assess Your Individual Needs

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

Set Realistic Goals

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

Decide on a Program That is Right for You

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

Stay Committed

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

Fuel Your Creativity

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

Connect with a Cosmetic Community

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

Experiment and Innovate

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

Revisit the Basics

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

Try Something New

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

Create Content

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

Begin and Expand Your Cosmetology Career

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

Do Your Research

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

Gain Experience

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

Final Thoughts

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

Did learning about how to get started in cosmetology interest you? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting. We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. You will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.

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