What Is The Difference Between Cosmetology And Esthetics?

The world of beauty is comprised of many different fields and beauty professionals provide various services geared towards caring for the different parts of a client’s body. The fields of cosmetology and esthetics are both part of the business of beauty but they are distinct from each other.

Cosmetology is the science and art of beautifying and improving a person’s physical features. This is usually done by providing hair care, nail care, makeup and some skincare. Cosmetologists know how to cut and style hair, massage the scalp and treat dandruff, do manicures and pedicures and provide basic skincare services. Cosmetology professionals typically include barbers, hairdressers, nail technicians and cosmetologists.

Aspiring cosmetologists typically get their training from beauty schools or cosmetology schools. A comprehensive cosmetology program teaches aspiring beauty professionals courses on hair styling, skin care, nail care and makeup.

Esthetics, on the other hand, refers to the procedures and treatments performed on the upper layer of the skin. It’s actually a branch of cosmetology which focuses mainly on skincare. Estheticians are beauty professionals who are adept at giving clients facials, facial massages, waxing, body wraps, anti-aging treatments, microdermabrasion, chemical peels and reflexology treatments.

They also teach clients how to apply makeup to hide scars and other imperfections as well as prescribe a beauty regimen to help keep their skin healthy. They also know how to spot the symptoms of more serious illnesses affecting the skin and can thus refer clients to dermatologists for further evaluation.

Esthetician schools train individuals who want to pursue a career in esthetics. Aside from the skincare procedures and treatment courses that are covered, these programs also include topics on anatomy, science of the skin and the safety and sanitation procedures that need to be followed in every treatment session. While they don’t have the authority to prescribe medical treatment, a certain kind of esthetician called medical aestheticians typically provide support to dermatologists in healthcare settings by giving patients complementary therapies.

Estheticians essentially receive more in-depth training as far as skincare is concerned compared to cosmetologists. Cosmetologists can provide basic skincare procedures that are covered by their license and training while estheticians can’t do hairstyling or manicuring procedures.

Both cosmetologists and estheticians need to graduate from a state-approved cosmetology program or esthetician program so they can take the state examinations for their license. Licensure is a prerequisite for practicing their professions and periodic training may be required to maintain their license.

Both types of professionals must share similar qualities to succeed in this career path.

For example, they must have the physical stamina to withstand the rigors of doing various procedures on clients’ hair, faces and bodies while on their feet for long periods of time. They must observe cleanliness at all times and ensure that their work areas and equipment are clean and sanitary before attending to each client.

Cosmetologists and estheticians who own their salons and establishments must also have the business savvy to run their own businesses. This means that they have to know how to market and advertise the services they offer, apply for the necessary businesses and permits as well as hire and train other personal appearance workers or skincare specialists, as the case may be, to attend to clients.

Career Spotlight: Esthetician



People come to see estheticians in order to enhance the beauty and appearance of their skin. Estheticians perform a variety of facial treatments. They perform chemical peels, waxing, and body treatmen[...]

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