Career and Job Search Guide

Barber, Cosmetologist and Hair Stylist

Barbers and cosmetologists cut and style hair. Other hair care and beauty specialists, such as pedicurists, manicurists, shampooers, theatrical and performance makeup artists, and skin care specialists provide hair care and beauty enhancement services to improve the physical appearances of their clients. Barbers cut and trim men's hair. Barbers also shave facial hair and provide scalp treatments. In the majority of states barbers are licensed to highlight, bleach, or color hair. Some barbers offer skin care and nail treatment services.

Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists offer a variety of beauty services, including styling, cutting, shampooing, and hair coloring services. In addition, they provide hair care advice. Cosmetologists are also trained to give pedicures, manicures, provide makeup analysis, style hairpieces, and offer scalp and facial treatments.

Many hair care and beauty services providers specialize. Manicurists and pedicurists, known as nail technicians in some states, provide manicures and nail care services. Skin care specialists or estheticians offer facials and full body treatments to cleanse and improve the appearance of the skin, as well as remove unwanted body hair through laser and waxing treatments. Theatrical and performance makeup artists apply makeup to individuals appearing in movies, televisions, or theatrical performances. Larger salons, hire shampooers who specialize in shampooing and conditioning hair.

Personal appearance workers also keep records of the treatment they provide to their clients. More are also now selling hair, skin, and nail care products. Many barbers and cosmetologists run their own salons, so in addition to hair care responsibilities, they also have administrative and marketing duties.

Work environment. Full-time barbers and cosmetologists usually work 40 hour weeks, but many who run their own businesses work longer hours. Many also work nights and weekends since these are the most convenient time for their clients to meet with them. In 2006, nearly 31 percent of cosmetologists and 19 percent of barbers worked part time while 16 percent of cosmetologists and 11 percent of barbers had flexible work schedules.

Barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance specialists often work in clean and well ventilated buildings. These professionals should be in good shape since they stand for the majority of the day. Since they are exposed to chemicals that can cause irritation, it is important to take proper safety precautions.