8 Cosmetology Skills (With Definition And Tips To Improve)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 18 March 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A career as a cosmetologist makes you responsible for catering to the beauty demands of your clients, whether for their hair, skin, nails or other body parts. Such experts use particular styling and soft skills to help their clients achieve their beauty goals while understanding precisely what their styling requests require. For aspiring cosmetologists, a thorough idea of the necessary skills can make it easier to manage clients and meet their styling-related expectations. In this article, we discover what cosmetology skills are, how you enhance them and how you can demonstrate them during client interactions.

What are cosmetology skills?

Cosmetology skills range from various communication skills to correctly interpret a client's needs and hard skills to perform the required styling duties. Apart from knowledge about varying skin nourishment, hair cleansing and nail treatment techniques, you may also depend on creativity when helping a client. If you suggest treatment options, having comprehensive information about medication therapies can make you a high-performing cosmetologist. Also known as beauticians, such experts know what cosmetics can cause skin sensitivities in people with specific conditions. While some cosmetologists may require solutions for beauty treatments, others have expertise in make-up.

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Common cosmetology skills

As cosmetology experts require a combination of diverse soft and hard skills, a few specific traits can help you develop a respected name in the industry.


Since cosmetologists are involved in styling hair and using make-up to provide a particular shade of colour for nails, their creativity plays an essential role in the process. Many customers may not be sure of what their styling requirements are. For this reason, a cosmetologist might need to show creativity and recommend relevant and suitable styling ideas which are compatible with the customer's preference. Successful experts in this field may also be proficient in suggesting nail polish options and different hair modifying processes.

Cosmetics knowledge

As your career as a cosmetologist develops, chances are you learn about cosmetics for various beautifying techniques. Different cosmetic products come with varying application purposes and it's your duty as an expert to shortlist and offer the most effective product in the market. These products can be anything from shampoos, conditioners, nail polish, skin-smoothening creams or keratin treatments for customers looking to change the texture of their hair. Because beauty services may also include facial therapies using face masks with highly complex ingredient lists, detailed knowledge of cosmetic products is an in-demand skill in the salon.

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Industry awareness

When you meet customers who are unsure of the exact products they require and the make-up that achieves their styling requirements, your awareness of cosmetology practices can help. For example, you can propose trending styles in the industry and apply techniques that depend on products with lesser side effects. Also, relevant authorities may update the regulations on products and cosmetology services. Staying informed might help you provide the most up-to-date styling solutions without compromising on industry norms and client satisfaction. If you wish to offer unique propositions to your customers, give them multiple new styling ideas each time they visit the salon.

Customer service

Your customers trust your styling skills when they visit the salon. It is best to make them feel welcomed and homely, enabling them to relax while you work on enhancing their appearance. Whether you work independently or in a salon, catering to the client's comfort and experience is an essential skill. This increases the chances of your clients returning for your services and offering feedback you can use for marketing. Providing quality customer service can also motivate your existing clients to recommend your services to their friends and family.

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Personal hygiene

Personal hygiene skills are crucial because of the repetitive use of equipment in a beauty centre. Sharing equipment like hairbrushes, cream applicants, nail cutters, and face scrubbers without cleaning them after their last usage can transfer germs. Since infections become a possibility, it is the cosmetologist's task to ensure they are attentive to dirty equipment, stained towels and other hygiene factors. You can impress customers by using this skill and set a high standard for hygiene management, be it clean garments when attending to new clients or clearing up the leftovers from a hairdresser's job.

Time management

Cosmetologists typically take up multiple appointments in a day, requiring them to manage their schedules effectively. Calculating the time you need with one customer based on their styling requests can make it simpler to accommodate several customers in a day. Such information ensures you provide an accurate arrival time and show respect for your customer's timetable. Efficient time management decisions let you allocate sufficient time periods for salon cleaning and staff briefing tasks. In case you are an independent contractor, mastering this skill might be influential in increasing your monthly income.

Physical fitness

Enacting the duties of a cosmetologist comes with significant physical effort because you stand for long hours. Staying on your feet for extended periods as such demands a high level of stamina to prevent exhaustion or shabby styling. Besides standing and enhancing your client's appearance, you may go for meetings, travel to acquire equipment, and perform other business activities requiring moving around. Another reason for physical fitness as a beautician is because you may need to bend and often stretch to find suitable cosmetics and equipment across all your gear.

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Organisation skills

Plenty of tools are available at your disposal while performing hair styling or enhancing your client's aesthetics. To be quick and efficient, having a basic idea of where you store specific cosmetics and tools can assist your organisation skills. Try labelling shelves according to what they hold and use colour codes to categorise gear based on their purpose. Investing time in organising your salon prepares you for walk-in customers. If you work in a team, such organisation helps save time while searching for materials while on the job, also boosting productivity.

Tips on improving cosmetology skills

Once you grow as a cosmetology expert, either of these tips enhances your skills and guides you to progress in your career. Try these steps to witness results sooner:

Attend cosmetology conferences

Visiting cosmetology conferences may help you discover upcoming trends and product choices the top salons are using. You realise what business practices competitors rely on and upgrade your skill set according to what is most relevant to you. For instance, you might be introduced to a new trend that requires high-level equipment and knowledge of recently formulated styling techniques. Some occasions bring reputed cosmetology lecturers who teach you styling tricks that everyday beauticians rarely use.

Collaborate with other beauticians

You can always choose to collaborate with beauticians when working on a long-term project or a project which requires more hours of commitment. For example, when you are the designated beautician at a wedding or when your only responsibility is to style the bride's hair. Such partnerships reveal the on-site methods your partners use and permit you to learn different tricks for completing varying styling projects. As you are networking during such collaborations, make sure to offer more future partnerships on similar projects.

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Practice with new techniques and equipment

Constant practice on mannequins naturally improves your ability to perform well at a beauty centre. Learning any latest styling techniques or equipment such as straighteners or colour removal lotions functions can improve your scope of services and quality of work. Investing in mannequin types offering different hair textures and colour shades lets you test your most recent learnings before applying them to your paying customers. Additionally, you can equip your salon with state-of-the-art equipment and also raise the prices of your cosmetology services.

Collect resources to be aware of regulations

It is essential for a trained cosmetologist to know what each cosmetic product they use constitutes. Irrespective of the product, chemicals are always present. You can advise customers if they have any allergy issues and prevent them from facing an inconvenient experience. Look for resources that flag products with banned ingredients and also suggest alternative options. At the same time, attempt to stay updated about safety protocols, styling regulations and laws regarding cosmetology. As there are time-tested methods to disinfect equipment and test how two cosmetics react, learning more about them could make you a reliable cosmetology professional.

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