8 Qualities of Successful Cosmetologists

Cosmetologist working with client as cosmetology student looks on

Cosmetology is a versatile career field. There are opportunities for nearly every type of person out there. Even if you are aware of all the different choices you have, it can be hard to know where to go once you’ve selected a direction for your cosmetology career. The path to success is a little bit different for everyone because success looks different for everyone. However, regardless of your end goals, there are still certain qualities that you will need if you hope to achieve success as a cosmetologist.

Occupational Qualities

These are the qualities that you will have a chance to learn and cultivate throughout your training and through your experience in the field. Cosmetology is a fast-moving industry with a lot of diverse opportunities for all types of cosmetologists. You may dream of becoming a beauty influencer. Your goal may be to be a salon artist. You may even have your sights set high on cinematic or celebrity cosmetic work. Wherever you are ultimately headed these are some qualities you are going to need to succeed in the industry.

Quality #1: Knowledge of Skin Tones and Skin Conditions

On your road to success, you will encounter different types of people with different skin tone variations. It is important that you know how to work with these individual differences. Models, actors and clients of all kinds have a variety of different skin tones and unique features that you will need to know how to work with and accentuate.

Freckles, inconsistent skin coloration and natural aging are a few things to consider when it comes to the array of skin differences you will encounter professionally. The industry is becoming more inclusive of beauty definitions outside the norms. It is an inherent part of your job to find beauty in all complexions and facial feature variations that request your skilled services.

Quality #2: Knowledge of Color Theory and Interactions

Color coordination is just as important in beauty as it is in fashion. Being a cosmetologist means that you must know which colors are compatible, which ones are opposing and what happens when various colors are blended together.

Your relationship to color will also depend on the kind of products you use. Some products use different pigment sources that create different effects. Products also have different pigment saturation levels, meaning that even if two different products use the same type of pigment, they may not use the same amount.

Similarly, you may also need to be aware of how colors will interact with certain types of lighting with different fashion choices. Both shadow and spotlight can play a role in how the eye perceives color, so having a good grasp of fading and shading is important, as well.

Quality #3: Reasonable Knowledge of Beauty Products

Your knowledge of your beauty products shouldn’t stop with their color and texture. Whether you are planning on working with a large volume of clients, an elite handful of clients or looking for a career in beauty product endorsement there is going to come a time when people are going to have questions about the products you use and recommend.

No one expects you to know absolutely everything about all your products. However, there are probably a few things you should ask yourself.

Some questions you should have answers for include:
  • Do the products you use and recommend have any harmful chemicals?
  • What is the reputation of the brand you are purchasing or promoting?
  • Does your brand have any major scandals?
  • Are there any harsh chemicals in any of the products you use that could irritate sensitive skin?

Expecting you to do a thorough, deep-dive investigation into each and every single product you use and try is an unreasonable expectation. However, you owe it to your clients to make sure that the beauty products you use and tell others to use are reasonably vetted.

Quality #4: Basic Understanding of Fair Pricing

Being a cosmetologist does not require you to have a business degree, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know basic business practices. This is especially important if you plan on being an independent cosmetologist outside the traditional boundaries of a salon. Salons typically set prices for you, however independent stylists are responsible for setting your prices.

Knowing what is fair to charge for your services is a crucial quality that will help provide longevity as a career cosmetologist. In addition to preventing your clients from feeling ripped off and overcharged, and it keeps you from feeling undervalued for your hard work and talent. However, calculating service pricing can be a little bit trickier than you might think.

Competitive Pricing

Looking at what someone else is charging for comparable services isn’t always as helpful as you might initially think. There can be differences in levels of experience, range of services, specializations and location that can shift the pricing metric from one cosmetologist to the next. It is imperative to your overall success, whether you plan on working in a salon or have your heart set on the independent scene, that you know the true worth of your work and how to value your work accordingly.

Quality #5: Grasp of Industry Trends

Even after you have completed your certification and training programs, you will still need to stay aware and informed of growth and change within the cosmetic industry. There are new techniques, products, procedures and methods hitting the market at an ever-increasing pace. Knowing as much as you can about what is happening in beauty gives your clients a wider range of services to choose from. It can also help you anticipate the direction certain parts of the industry are headed, which can be helpful if you hope to set a trend or two. Staying engaged in as many areas of the industry as possible will help you inspire your regular clients and perhaps even impress some new ones.

Social Qualities

A lot of your success will have to do with your actually ability. However, there is a significant portion of your success that will depend on whether or not you can work with and get along with other people. Whether you are interacting with an audience, a client or a project manager, these are the social qualities you will need for a solid reputation and lasting success.

Quality #6: Being Able to Learn From Correction and Criticism

It doesn’t matter how talented of a cosmetologist you are, there are going to be times that you get it wrong. You could be the best communicators on the planet, miscommunications still happen from time to time. When these things inevitably occur, it is important that you handle them with maturity and professionalism.

Mistakes are going to happen, and when they do it is vital that you address the issue, take responsibility and offer a solution. No one is suggesting that you let people treat you poorly or allow others to blame you for things you didn’t do. It is simply important that when things don’t go exactly the way you expected that you are able to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, re-evaluate, and try again. This kind of cooperative attitude will be one of the qualities that allows you to gain the experience you will need for ultimate success.

Quality #7: Sensitive Toward Insecurities

There are an innumerable number of things that could cause a person to be self-conscious or insecure about their appearance. The reasons people like and dislike their appearances are as vast and varied as people themselves. A person’s low self-esteem could come from almost anywhere. The visible source of someone’s insecurity could be anything from acne to thinning hair. There is no way predicting what facets of a person’s appearance they will be sensitive about, so it is important that you tune in to your client.

Be Empathetic

Listen when they tell you about themselves and observe how they naturally present themselves. If you feel like you are still in the dark after your initial conversations, you can ask tactful questions. The qualities of sensitivity and empathy can mean the difference between a client’s confidence and their embarrassment. It is important that you make an effort to be sensitive and receptive.

Quality #8: Creativity and Innovation

Authentic enthusiasm can be infectious. If you are genuinely passionate about your career in cosmetics people will respond to that. Your love of your work will translate into a greater attention to detail. Inspiring and empowering others through your work attracts a wider audience and forges a deeper connection between you and your clients. This means that you need to make your passion for your work a priority. Experiment with new products and techniques.

Spark Your Creativity

Be creative by revisiting the things that inspire you the most about your work. Not only will this help you stay engaged with your profession, it may remind you why you picked cosmetology in the first place. It benefits no one for you to let your work become something that makes you miserable. Your clients and customers shouldn’t feel as though you dread working with and interacting with them. That’s why it is important to give yourself some time and space to find and explore the parts of cosmetology that interest and inspire you the most.

Once you have received your cosmetology training, where you go and how far you go is entirely up to you. With these qualities in your tool belt, the sky’s the limit.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about the qualities needed to be a successful 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.

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