The Importance of Communication Skills in Cosmetology

Cosmetologist using communication skills with client

There are many reasons that someone might consider cosmetology as a potential career path. Professions in the cosmetology industry can be both thrilling and rewarding in a lot of different ways. Helping people feel like the best version of themselves can be very fulfilling and there are many avenues of cosmetology to choose from. Skin, hair, nails and makeup are all areas that can be explored through cosmetology. The take your career to the next level, to gain new customers and retain current customers, a cosmetologist needs good communication skills.

Why Communication is Key

Speaking to clients is just as important as being able to perform the tasks of your job. Communication is how you sell your services and ensure that your clients are satisfied with your work. If you have poor relational skills or weak communication, it can do serious and lasting damage to your professional reputation. Which is why it is understandable that a significant amount of cosmetology students or those considering a career in any field of cosmetology may be anxious about this particular aspect of the industry. Luckily, there are some tips you can remember and some points to keep in mind so that you can feel confident about communicating with clients no matter what career in cosmetology you want to pursue.

Communication Skill #1 – Clarity

It is easiest when you are dealing with a client who can clearly communicate what they want. This is not always the case. You will encounter someone who has trouble describing or explaining what they want from you or how they want to look. You will need to get creative and rely on the strength of your own communication to come to an understanding. When you are trying to clarify communication between the client and yourself, remember that it is all about understanding what the client expects, and adjusting those expectations to them.


You can only please a client if you know what they want. So, the first thing that you will need to do is make sure that you have a solid grasp on what your client is expecting from you. Using visual and celebrity references can help. You can use color charts so that clients can better understand and identify the specific color they are expecting. If a client is coming to you with a problem, they are hoping to get some professional help with. It is also important that you understand the full scope of the issue before beginning. Some areas of cosmetology can deal with vulnerable skin and hair issues. When you are attempting to get some clarification or information about these problems it is important that you ask questions in the most sensitive way possible.


Even if you are the most skilled person in your profession there will come a time that a client will approach you with an impossible request. Adjusting a client’s expectations is a key part in any cosmetologist’s communication. It is important to keep in mind that honesty is the best policy when a client’s request is unreasonable or impossible. Knowingly disappointing a client with a false expectation is bad for business. When you encounter these communication challenges, the important thing is to have other options ready to present. The disappointment of not getting exactly what they want can be dissuaded with creative and mindful alternatives. Some people will be unhappy no matter what kind of adjustment you present to them. However, you will find that most people will happily take a compromise when you present them with a legitimate concern about their initial expectation.

Communication Skill #2 – Compromise and Confrontation

Client confrontation can be the most intimidating part of considering a career in cosmetology. You can excel in every area of your profession, but if you are unable to communicate to reach a compromise with your clients it will be difficult to retain clients. Communicating concerns and offering solutions are the two main areas to deal with the difficult side of client communication.

Communicating Concerns

There are many ways a client’s expectations might be impossible for you to meet. A client might want a last-minute appointment that you don’t have time to fit into your schedule. It could be someone who wants a hair treatment that would severely damage their hair. It also might be as sensitive as declining esthetician services because of a skin condition you can’t identify. Regardless of the issue, the first thing to remember is that you don’t want to humiliate your client or make them feel stupid. There may be times that you can ask question that lead your client to draw their own conclusions in your favor. Other times it may require a simple, thoughtful explanation of a certain restriction or challenge that needs to be addressed. There could even be a time when you will have to politely let your client know that they have an issue that is beyond your training and expertise. However, you need to clearly communicate your concern about an issue, the key skill you will need in confronting a client is kindness. Your consideration for their preferences and feelings will speak volumes.

Offering Solutions

Being able to present attractive, comparable alternatives to your clients when you can’t give them exactly what they want is a significant part of keeping them happy and returning. A combination of planning, skill and genuine effort goes a long way in the alternative solution department. You can’t prepare for every possible scenario but getting to know your clients’ styles and personalities might help you better troubleshoot with them. Keeping your communication skills sharp and up-to-date will allow you to offer your client a greater range of alternative that may approximate what they were originally looking for more closely. Even with things as simple as a scheduling conflict, an effort to reschedule and sincere concern for your client’s needs can make a big difference.

Communication Skill #3 – Confidence

Cosmetology is all about expression. Whether it is an esthetics treatment, completely new hairdo, an interesting manicure or am intense makeup makeover, cosmetology helps us bring things to the surface for the world to see. Confidence is an enormous part of that expression. A client’s confidence in your skill and ability, as well as confidence in their own appearance are a core part of successful cosmetology on any level.


If a client isn’t confident in your professional skills it is going to be easy for anxiety and tensions to rise. There are ways that you can demonstrate your ability besides hanging your cosmetology license on the wall or handing someone a portfolio. With new clients and prospective projects, it is important for you to exude confidence in your own skill. If you seem relaxed and sure of what you are doing the client to feel the same way. Practicing and staying current on trends will help build a solid foundation for your professional confidence, and allow others to feel confident in you, too. Continuing this level of professionalism throughout your relationships with your clients will help them feel secure in approaching you about trying new or challenging things.


There is nothing better in cosmetology than helping someone achieve the look they were hoping for. Likewise, disappointing a client can hurt your self-esteem and your professional reputation. So, it is important that your client not only looks good, but feels good about your work. Your communication skill level doesn’t have to be extraordinary for you to help someone feel good about themselves.

The Power of Positivity

Did your client have a creative idea? Let them know how innovative they are, even if it turns out to be something you can’t do. Does your client have a particularly attractive feature you want to help them accentuate? Tell them so. Is your client’s style unique? Compliment them on it. Along with enhancing your skills to give your best to your clients, it is a good idea to speak positively to your clients and to affirm their appearance choices every time you get a chance.

Cosmetology is an exciting, expressive and ever evolving field that has the potential to do anything from keeping someone looking their best for an upcoming event to creating the film and movie effects we all love. Considering a career in cosmetology will require training and dedication to your leaning and perfecting your skill, but it will also involve a lot of communication. By remembering these client communication tips, you can feel more comfortable dealing with clients in the capacity of cosmetology no matter what your specialization is.

Did learning about the importance of communication skills in cosmetology interest you? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology first? 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.

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