December 30, 2015
“What’s the difference between a cosmetologist and an esthetician?”
That question is to the beauty industry what the “chicken before the egg” conundrum is to the scientific community.
Fortunately for us, the answer to this question is actually way more simple (at least we think it is).
Cosmetology is defined as: “The application of heat, water, solutions, dyes and reactive chemicals to alter the color, straighten, or curl the structure of the hair of a human being.”
Cosmetologists are trained in skin care, hair styling, makeup, nail application and decoration, pedicures. This list goes on.
Estheticians are focused only on skincare. And that is the biggest difference.
Cosmetologists can specialize in esthetic practices like facials and microdermabrasion, but they will still have a cosmetology license. It is a bit less common for Estheticians to also have a cosmetology license, though they often specialize in things like electrolysis, and chemical treatments.
That’s not to say that estheticians and cosmetologists aren’t often cross-trained in other specialty areas, it simply means that the focus of their training and licensing programs is preparing students to master those skills.
Isn’t Esthetics Just a Part of Cosmetology?
Like we mentioned above, cosmetology students do learn the basics of skin care and maintenance along with the other features of the program such as hair cutting and coloring.
Esthetics students learn about facial and body waxing practices and techniques, analyzing and assessing skin conditions, eyebrow shaping, waxing and tinting, microdermabrasion, reflexology and more.
Basic hygiene and sterilization practices are included in the core of every program because keeping your customers safe from potential bacterial spread and exposure is the number one priority.
Though licensing requirements will vary by state, most trade schools (which is Cosmetology and Esthetics schools are) require that students be at least 17 years of age with a high school diploma or equivalent.
Check out your state’s licensing requirements here.
The licensing requirement – i.e. the number of hours you have to complete in the program – is dependent on the amount of theory (class lecture) and practical (floor hours and training) work that needs to be done to master all of the information and skills.
Mostly cosmetology programs will require between 1,000 and 2,400 hours completed in order to obtain a license, while most esthetics programs require around 600 hours.
If you liked this article, you might also be interested in making sure that you have your Beauty School Checklist all squared away as you search for the perfect program.
Book a salon appointment at the location nearest you, here.