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Cosmetologists, who are also called beauty operators, hairdressers, hairstylers, or
beauticians, provide many services related to the care and grooming of hair, skin, and nails. Most
cosmetologists associate with hair, but they may give facials and manicures, provide makeup
analysis, and sell beauty products and wigs. Some just specialize in one or more things. They
must be creative and artistic in order to meet their clients’ needs (Cosmetologist, 000, p. 1).
There has always been the need for cosmetologists. People have always wanted
to look their best and have wanted trained professionals to do so. The earliest historical
record of cosmetology comes from the 1st Dynasty of Egypt (circa 100-07 BC).
The women of Egypt developed the art of decorating the eyes by applying dark green
color to the under lid and by blackening the lashes and the upper lid with kohl, a
preparation made from antimony or soot. It is likely that the Jews adopted the use of
cosmetics from the Egyptians, since references to the painting of faces appear in the
Today, cosmetology is among the largest personal service industries. There are nearly 1/4
million cosmetologists and barbers in the United States (Cosmetologist, 000, p. ). The largest
growing service in cosmetology is manicurists. Manicurists are cosmetologists who work with
nails. They use many tools while doing this warm, soapy water; cuticle remover and oil; cuticle
knife and pusher; nippers; files; and emery boards. After all of that, they apply polish to the nails
(Cosmetologist, 000, p. ).
Many qualifications are needed to become a cosmetologist. It is critical for any
cosmetologist to have perfectly trimmed, smooth, clean nails when working on a clients face,
head, hands, or body. They must have patience for people, a good-eye for facial structure, a clear
understanding for colors and how to create them, and an interest in helping people to look their
best (Cosmetologist, 000, p. ). It is important that cosmetologists understand the clients’
instructions and visualize how the style will effect the appearance of the client. They have to be
aware of the newest styles and products, and have knowledge of how the shape of the head and
face influence someone (Cosmetologist, 000, p. 1).
If a cosmetologist is going to be working on mostly hair, they may shampoo, cut, curl,
straighten, style, color, bleach, and/or tint their clients hair if it is alright with the client. To do
this they may use the following shampoo sinks, hairdryers, hand-held blow dryers, brushes,
curling iron, scissors, razors, rollers, and/or heat lamps. They select what they will do to the
clients hair based upon the condition of the scalp, and the condition and texture of the hair
(Cosmetologist, 000, p. 1).
Although most cosmetologists work with hair, many do other services, too. Working with
the skin and makeup is one of them. A cosmetologist who is going to do this must be able to
recognize a variety of minor skin conditions. Generally they use lotions, creams, hot towels,
clays, oils, face packs, and massagers. They will apply those listed to correct oily, dry, or
darkened skin. They may remove unwanted hair with waxes or creams. A few cosmetologists
who work with skin complete a special training in electosys which allows them to remove
unwanted hair with an electric needle (Cosmetologist, 000, p. 1). Skin care industry will benefit
greatly from this interest in health and youth, and will continue to grow rapidly (Chronic
Guidance, 187, p. 1).
Cosmetology is a rapidly expanding field. Hundreds of jobs occur with each new cosmetic
company. It will always be a major importance because people everywhere will always want to
look their best and want good professionals to help them to do so (Gearhart, 185, p. 71).
If a high-schooler knows they would like to become a cosmetologist, there are helpful
courses they can take such as art, biology, and chemistry. If they plan on operating their own
salon, then courses in book keeping, math, and business would be useful. These classes would be
very helpful in the cosmetology business (Cosmetologist, 000, p. ).
A cosmetologist must have a license in order to perform services. All cosmetologists must
be sixteen years or older and must complete the required number of hours for training in their
state. The number of hours is usually between 1,000 to ,000, or six months to a year. After high
school, most cosmetologists attend private or public schools offering programs in cosmetology.
There are about 4,000 schools that offer this (Cosmetologist, 000, p. ). In some states, a
cosmetologist must pass a physical exam and be graduated from high school. Others, however,
only require graduation from the eighth grade (US Department of Labor, 000, p. ).
Formal training programs include classroom study, demonstrations, and practical work.
Cosmetologists in training attend lectures on the use and care of instruments, sanitation and
hygiene, chemistry, basic anatomy and physiology, and recognition of certain skin ailments (US
Department of Labor, 000, p. ).
A cosmetologist should posses artistic talent and sales ability. They should also have an
interest in serving the public. They have to be in good health, have an average physical stamina,
and be neat and well-groomed. Having a pleasant and outgoing personality is very helpful
towards a them in order to get clients. Cosmetologists are expected to have good memories to
remember their clients and have the ability to relate with people well. While a cosmetologist is
working, they should be able to work with little direct supervision (Cosmetologist, 000, p. ).
Employment in cosmetology is usually easy to find. Local unions often place graduates in
their first jobs. The best places to find a good job in cosmetology are in bigger cities. That is
where most people prosper and become known (Department of Public Affairs and
Communications, 00, p. ).
Cosmetologists work in clean, pleasant surroundings. Most work in salons where they
have good lighting and ventilation. Many salons have air-conditioning when it is hot outside
because of the chemicals that might make the environment a little stuffy. Cosmetologists don’t
only work in salons. Other places might be a nursing home, a children’s salon, cruise lines,
department stores, men’s salons and others. They stand for most of the day and use their hands
all the time. They deal with all kinds of clients. Some might be very rude and bossy and expect
perfection. Others might be very kind and easy to have conversations with. Weekends and
lunches are busy for cosmetologists so they take breaks at less popular hours of the day (US
Department of Labor, 000, p. 1).
The amount of salary that a cosmetologist is paid depends on a lot of things. First of all,
the skill that they have has a lot to do with how much their salary will be. If they do not have
very good skills, they won’t get to many clients. Also, the size and location of the place where
they work has an effect on their salary. For the most part, beginners usually range around $10 to
$40+ a week. Experienced cosmetologists earn $45 to $680 per week, and highly experienced
might earn $750 or more per week (Cosmetologist, 000, p. ).
All cosmetologists receive tips and many receive commissions on the products they sell.
Some salons pay bonuses to employees who bring in new business. Salary can be increased by
taking more advanced courses and more education (US Department of Labor, 000, p. ).
There are many benefits in becoming a cosmetologist. Their future is secure financially
and professionally. Professional services are always in demand because women and men desire
professional beauty care all year long. Being a cosmetologist increases social and professional
standing. They are exposed to new opportunities constantly. They might even begin their own
establishment or become a hair-fashion authority. Work for a cosmetologist is always a challenge
to their creative talents. They continue to learn about fashion and professional beauty care. A
qualified graduate can obtain a position easily upon graduation. With some other jobs, it might
take a few years to get employed. They constantly are developing their own artistic talents and
personal qualities to enhance their professional status. One great advantage is that if a
cosmetologist decides to temporarily leave the cosmetology career, they can always reactivate
later (National Cosmetology Association Inc., 00, p. ).
It is not very difficult for a cosmetologist to find work. There are many opportunities for
them. They could be called to work at a live modeling show, theater, department store, beauty
salon, and any promotional show such as a hairdresser convention. It takes a few years to be in
demand like that, but once they get there, there will be opportunities like those listed (Gearhart,
185, p. 45).
If a cosmetologist is working mostly with nails, they would be able to find work in any
beauty salon, specialty shop, hotel, barber shop, department store, nail replace center, or a nail
sculpting salon. If they are interested in make-up, demonstrating can be made into a very strong
career. They might even be able to start their own business. Cosmetologists who work with hair
and skin can find jobs in many of the same places as a make-up artist or manicurist (Gearhart,
185, p. 44).
Cosmetologists who are only interested in communications have the opportunity to be a
beauty editor, an editorial assistant for magazines, newspapers, or periodicals. They could also be
a personal manager. Those who are only interested in merchandising can be a manager or sales
person in department stores, boutiques, or salons. They could also be a cosmetic buyer or
assistant buyer, a representative, or a director of sales in which they would do demonstrations and
plan parties. Cosmetologists interested in scientific research can be research assistants in a
cosmetic lab, survey specialists, technician supervisors, or they can specialize in restorative art as
related to mortuary science (Chronic Guidance, 187, p. ).
Employment of cosmetology is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all
occupations through the year 008. Job opportunities should be good because a number of
employers report difficulties finding qualified applicants and numerous job openings will arise
from turnover. The number of self-employed cosmetologists should continue to grow and
opportunities will be better for those licensed to provide a broad range of cosmetology services.
Also, a surge in the demand for coloring services by teenagers and aging baby boomers will create
many job openings for cosmetologists. The rapid growth in the number of spa salons that provide
a full range of services will generate numerous job openings for cosmetologists who are trained to
provide skin care services (US Department of Labor, 000, p. ).
Cosmetology has always been needed and/or wanted all over the world. It
probably always will be, too. These creative and skilled artists make a difference in many people’s
lives every day and give them more confidence about themselves.
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