Careers in Cosmetology
Overview of a Cosmetologist Career
A cosmetologist is someone who performs manicures, hair cutting, styling, shampooing, makeup or other personal appearance services. They may also operate under the title of hairstylist, hairdresser, manicurist, nail technician, pedicurist, etc.
Cosmetologists' beauty services include shampooing, cutting, coloring, and styling hair. They may offer advice on hair care and treatment. Additionally, they may give manicures, pedicures, and scalp and facial treatments. Many provide makeup analysis and offer advice on cosmetics. Some clean and style wigs and hairpieces. Other services include skincare, electrolysis, facials, and full-body treatments.
Day-to-day activities in a cosmetology career
Depending on their specialization, a cosmetologist might complete some of the following duties:
- Coloring or tinting hair.
- Styling hair or wigs.
- Fitting wigs and hairpieces.
- Massaging and treating scalps.
- Administering a therapeutic medication for scalp conditions.
- Cutting, trimming and shaping hair or hairpieces.
- Recommending and applying facial and body skin treatments.
- Shaping and coloring eyebrows or eyelashes.
- Performing electrolysis on the body and facial hair.
- Cleaning, shaping, and polishing fingernails and toenails.
- Cleaning work areas and sanitizing all work instruments.
- Selling hair products and cosmetic supplies.
- Making appointments, updating and maintaining customer information records.
- Managing and marketing salon services.
Would a Cosmetologist Career Suit You?
Cosmetologists usually work in clean, pleasant surroundings with good lighting and ventilation. Most are employed in beauty salons, nail salons, department stores, nursing and other residential care homes, and drug and cosmetics stores.
As most work is conducted standing up, good health is important. Protective clothing is used, because there can be prolonged exposure to chemicals. Overtime or longer hours can be common, especially for self-employed workers. Evenings are often worked in salons. Because the busiest hours are often at lunchtimes and after 5pm, when customers are available, cosmetologists often have to take irregularly timed breaks. However, flexible and part-time working hours are often possible.
Salons are located in most towns, but most employment is concentrated where the population is densest, in cities and larger towns.
Salary and Prospects of Careers in Cosmetology
As cosmetologists become more experienced and gain a customer base, they can increase their earnings. Some become self-employed, others open their own salons. Opportunities exist to become sales representatives or beauty consultants, or to teach in cosmetology classes.
If you are interested in a career in cosmetology, you need to have an understanding of fashion, art, and technical design. You should enjoy working with the public and be happy to follow clients' instructions. You need to have good communication skills and an outgoing attitude, together with a presentable image. Initial learning can be either on the job, or through classes. As you gain more experience during your cosmetology career, it is then possible to attend further classes to both broaden your skills and keep up with professional trends.
Income is derived from a basic salary, plus commissions on products sold and tips from customers. Some salons also pay bonuses to employees who attract new business. The cosmetology sector is growing as demand for personal appearance services grows. However, competition is stiff for jobs and clients at higher paying salons, so opportunities will always be best for cosmetologists with the most training and those who are able to offer the broadest range of services.
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