The Job Duties of a Cosmetologist


While he might not look the part, your barber could be a trained cosmetologist. Barbers, skin care specialist, make-up artists, hair dressers and nail technicians can all receive training at cosmetology schools. A cosmetologist can train to specialize in a variety of skills and, according to the website Job Profiles, the job duties of a cosmetologist vary according to his specialization. Other factors influencing job responsibilities are the size and type of establishment a cosmetologist works in, his education, experience and position level.


  • The job duties of a barber include shampooing and cutting hair, face shaving, providing skin care treatments and manicures. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that barbers may also be responsible for fitting clients with hair pieces, coloring or bleaching hair and applying permanent wave solutions. According to the BLS, barbers earned a median hourly salary of just under $12 in 2008.


  • In addition to shampooing and cutting hair, a hairdresser or hairstylist may also apply hair color or highlights, attach weaves or hair extensions and apply chemicals to straighten or curl hair. Some hairdressers are qualified to give scalp or skin treatments, manicures and to care for wigs and toupees. The BLS reports that in 2008, hairdressers earned a median hourly salary of around $11.


  • An esthetician is a cosmetologist who has specialized in skin care. The job duties of an esthetician include giving facials and other skin treatments, advising clients on skin care regimens, selling skin care products and removing unwanted body hair by waxing, performing electrolysis or laser technology. According to information provided by the BLS, skin care specialists were the highest earning type of cosmetologist in 2008, with a median hourly salary of nearly $14.

Make-up Artist

  • Cosmetologists who train in the art of makeup application teach clients how to apply makeup and are sometimes responsible for selling a particular line of products. They often work on-site to apply makeup for celebrities, bridal parties and others who are celebrating a special occasion. A makeup artist may also work on a television or movie set to apply makeup to on-screen talent.

Nail Technician

  • Also called a manicurist, a nail technician is responsible for providing pedicures and manicures, including nail color, nail extensions, acrylic nails and specialty design painting such as airbrushing. The BLS reports that in 2008, nail technicians earned a median hourly salary of around $10.

General Duties

  • All cosmetologists may be responsible for answering phones, booking appointments, selling retial products, keeping records of client's treatments, ordering supplies and keeping their stations clean. Some salons hire receptionists or assistants to fulfill these duties, but in many cases a cosmetologist should expect to perform at least some of these duties on a regular basis.

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