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Branches of Cosmetology

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Question:
What are the different branches of cosmetology?

Answer:
Cosmetology, which translates from the Greek kosmetikos, or “skilled in adornment,” is the science of beauty and bodily decoration. Students who want to earn a cosmetology license will study the skin, hair and nails: health and disease, cleansing and care-taking, and improving both the condition and the appearance of each. In short, a well-trained cosmetologist is a head-to-toe stylist, able to cut and color the hair, massage and cleanse the face, manicure and pedicure the nails, and apply a full face of makeup to finish the look.

Few cosmetologists practice all the skills they learned in school. For example, yours truly would give you the lumpiest, most uneven acrylic nails you have ever seen, but I cut a mean fauxhawk. Most hairstylists are licensed cosmetologists who choose to specialize in hair. Shorter programs are available for nail technicians and hair braiders, but cosmetology offers the widest range of possible careers:

  • Hair stylist, on a commission or rental basis at a salon
  • Product educator, to other stylists
  • Session stylist, magazine and advertising work
  • Platform artist, performing at trade shows and events
  • Design and launch a boutique hair care brand like Pureology or UNITE

If your acrylics are smooth and long-lasting, nails may be your gift. If you can twirl and pin a few pieces together, possibly wedding work. Or possibly the peace and serenity of facials calls you. Your work will change as you pick a specialty, but it will always help your clients feel refreshed and beautiful.

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