November 21, 2023

Cosmetology Vs Esthetics

cosmetology vs esthetics

When seeking a life of helping others with beauty, there are two paths you can go down: Cosmetology and Esthetics. In both careers, you can learn a great deal about what looks best on each type of person. You may help people prepare for prom nights, weddings, anniversaries, and just for a personal treat. Your work brings out the inner beauty of each client by ensuring their personality and style are reflected in the way you style their hair, makeup, nails, and even skincare routine.

But just what is the difference between cosmetology and esthetics? The two are often used interchangeably, but when it comes to earning your license to practice and starting your career, there is an important difference between the two paths. If you know you want to work with beauty, it’s important to understand that difference so you can choose the correct path for yourself.

Understanding Cosmetology

Cosmetology is a comprehensive beauty profession. Cosmetologists learn a little bit of everything. They often spend most of their time on hairstyles for clients and walk-ins, but cosmetology training involves a wide range of study including skincare, nail art, and makeup, just to name a few. Cosmetologists are able to work in a wide range of roles because of their talent and technical ability.

Cosmetologists can work on

  • Hair styling
  • Makeup art
  • Nail art
  • Facials and skincare

Cosmetologists can be found anywhere that beauty services are needed. A cosmetologist will typically offer helpful advice on how to enhance someone’s look, and how to recreate a hair effect at home. Cosmetologists may also be called in as makeup artists, hair stylists, and consultants for special events like destination weddings.

Exploring Esthetics

Esthetics is a specialized field within beauty and cosmetology. Someone who pursues a specialty in esthetics will focus their career on safe and beneficial facial and skin treatments. Esthetics offers a far narrower scope of work, but you will also be closer to a medical professional as your job relates more closely to skin care and treatments than the work done by most cosmetologists.

Estheticians typically work on:

  • Skin analysis
  • Facials and chemical treatments
  • Skincare and skin treatments
  • Body wraps
  • Pore cleansing
  • Exfoliation treatments

Estheticians work primarily in spas and clinics that focus on providing skin treatments and medical benefits to clients.  Estheticians consult with clients to help them find the best solutions for their skin-related concerns and goals. They then build a treatment plan and execute that plan using expert techniques and safety methods to achieve those goals.

Because estheticians work with a far more delicate specialty, people’s skin health, they need a more specialized set of skills and knowledge.

Career Opportunities in Cosmetology

What kind of work can you get as a cosmetologist? As we mentioned earlier, cosmetology can lead to many different careers, applying what you have learned to help make people beautiful in many contexts.

  • Hair Stylist
  • Makeup Artist
  • Nail Artist
  • Facial Specialist
  • Personal Stylist
  • Beauty Consultant

The most important thing to remember about cosmetology is how versatile the job opportunities can be.  As a cosmetologist, you can work in many settings. Many cosmetologists work in salons, but you can secure work providing styling and therapeutic services in spa and hospitality settings, as well. Hotels, resorts, hot springs, high-end retail and department stores, event prep, and much more.

Career Opportunities in Esthetics

Estheticians offer specialized skin treatments, from beauty treatments to health recovery services. Estheticians span the gap between cosmetology and medical care. On one end of the scale, estheticians can be found in spas, resorts, and high-end hospitality venues where skincare is part of a therapeutic suite. At the other end, estheticians may find work in clinics where clients or patients seek professional help achieving specific skincare goals or even healing from recent skin damage.

Estheticians can work in several contexts

  • Skincare Specialist
  • Facial and Exfoliation Specialist
  • Skin Recovery Therapist
  • Spa Therapist
  • Skin Beauty Treatment Specialist
  • Body Wrap Therapist
  • Hair Removal Specialist
  • Medical and Paramedical Esthetician

If your calling is toward the medical and spa treatment side of cosmetology, becoming an esthetician may be the right direction. Estheticians require a greater depth of knowledge but don’t worry about learning about things like makeup, nail art, or hair styling like a cosmetologist.

Work Environment and Lifestyle

Cosmetologists typically work in a more casual and style-oriented workplace. Most cosmetologists work in a salon or beauty parlor but with plenty of exceptions for those who found a styling position outside of the traditional salon setting. Hours tend to be more flexible, and walk-in clients are common.

Estheticians tend to work in more formal environments that fit the seriousness and delicacy of their work. Estheticians are most often found in spas and dermatology clinics, but high-end salons and resorts may also have an esthetician to take care of more advanced beauty treatments. Hours tend to be more rigid because people embark on esthetician services with more care.

Making the Decision

Will you become a cosmetologist or an esthetician while training in beauty school? The best way to choose is to align your career choice with your passions. If you have always loved to help your friends look glamorous with hair and makeup styles, being a cosmetologist is likely your calling. If you have a meticulous skincare regime and want to help others achieve their best skin, becoming an esthetician is a noble calling.

You can also interview current cosmetologists and estheticians to discover which path you would feel most fulfilled to follow. And remember, you can always come back to expand your licensure and job opportunities.

Cosmetologist or Esthetician? The Choice is Yours

Both cosmetology and esthetics have a valuable place in the beauty industry, and people need both services to live their best lives. Beauty students who want to embark on a fulfilling career path can do so by choosing the course that aligns best with their passions and goals. Reach out to Summit Salon Academy Kansas City for more information about the beauty school courses and opportunities. Schedule a tour online today. You can also call us at (816) 252-4247 to schedule your tour or to get answers to all of your questions. You can find the academy at 815 West 23rd St S in Independence, MO.