A beautician, also called a cosmetologist or hairdresser, is a personal care service provider. She offers consultation, education and creative execution to clients regarding their hair, skin and/or nail care. In addition to providing traditional services, she may also market and sell personal care products, as either an employee of a manufacturer such as Vidal Sassoon or Smashbox or as an independent contractor such as with Mary Kay or Avon.
A beautician primarily works with his clients' hair. He maintains the skills and authority to shampoo and condition, cut, color, straighten, curl and administer chemical hair treatments. He may also perform these services on artificial hair, wigs and hair pieces and extensions. Within certain environments, he may administer spa treatments such as massages, facials and microdermabraison. Additionally, he is skilled in nail care and maintenance. Performing manicures, he shapes and colors the finger and toe nails of his clients. Serving as a personal care consultant, he may recommend or sell products to clients that provide aid to their physical requirements such as moisturizers to sooth dry skin and soaps specially formulated for oily skin. He also ensures that all of his equipment is properly sanitized in accordance with local regulations.
Most proprietary schools that train beauticians offer job placement assistance to graduates. Additionally, many salons place advertisements for job openings in the classified section of newspapers and on internet job boards such as careerbuilder.com. Many candidates also choose to join professional organizations such as the International Hairdresser & Beautician Association. These organizations provide job search assistance, host networking functions and provide members with up-to-date news and information regarding advancements in the industry.
A prospective beautician must enjoy and get along well with other people. She will most likely work long and nontraditional hours, including nights and weekends. Additionally, many salons are close quarters, with colleagues working side by side. She also will be making physical contact with her clients. She must be able to comfortably hold long conversations and put her clients at ease. She will need to be flexible and open to performing tasks that are not her own. In a smaller establishment, for instance, she may be required to answer telephones, greet customers and/or perform cleaning duties. A beautician must also be creative and knowledgeable on current styles. Serving as a consultant to her clients, she must be able to counsel them on which styles are or are not appropriate or flattering. She must also be able to work around and/or with harsh chemicals.
Those seeking employment as a beautician must first be educated at a vocational or proprietary school. The programs of study typically last up to one year. Throughout the program, students are educated in a variety of scientific and business subjects such as chemistry, sanitation, hygiene and sales. Prospective beauticians may also choose to participate in an apprenticeship program that combines classroom and on-the-job training. These programs are typically administered by large salons and personal care product manufacturers. Beauticians must also be licensed to practice within the state in which they work. Licensing regulations, however, vary by state.
In a study conducted in 2009 by simplyhired.com, a beautician working in the United States earns an average salary of 31,000 annually. Additionally, between 2006 and 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the employment of beauticians and other personal appearance workers to grow by 14 percent.