What are the Branches of Cosmetology?

Cosmetology is the study related to beauty, and is derived from the Greek root word that means “Beautifying’ generally, when one enters a school of cosmetology or beauty college, they receive a basic core curriculum relating to three major aspects of beauty; hair, skin and nails. These three main branches carry some branches of specialization, but often a person that receives their license will only focus on one branch, however a true Cosmetologist is adept at all three branches when working in a beauty salon.

The Branch of Hair Design and Natural Hair Styling

Hair Design includes all aspects of hair styling, cutting, permanent waves, coloring, weaves, singeing, highlighting, pressing, curling, waving, weaving, doing hair extensions, root work, bleaching, washing, setting, working with wigs and braiding. Natural hair styling would not include working with chemicals such as dyes and refers to natural styling techniques such as curling or braiding simple cuts. The design aspect is much more technical and advanced. Some hair designers specialize solely as a board certified hair colorist for instance, despite the fact that they have knowledge on cutting and styling hair.

Estheticians – The branch of Skin Care

Estheticians specialize in beauty as it relates to the skin, the application of antiseptics, creams and lotions in preparation for facial massages that are conducted manually, electronically or with other mechanical equipment. The practice of esthetics involves hair wax removal and the application of cosmetics. Some estheticians focus on cosmetics in hopes of doing make-up for the stars of stage and screen, others merely wish to improve on the general public’s skin tone and health through facials and natural products. Estheticians that specialize in providing skin treatments to bedridden patients are called Esthecaregivers and carry a state license with specialization in sanitation.

Manicurists: The branch of Nail Care

Manicurists specialize in the area of nail care; they perform manicures on the hands, which can involve the application of artificial acrylic or gel nails, silk wraps, or a natural manicure. It usually includes the removal of excess cuticles and hang nails, and a massage of the hands and lower arms. Manicurists are trained to perform pedicures on the feet as well, which includes clipping of the toe nails and removal of cuticles, a foot soak and massage of feet and lower legs, then application of polish for women. Manicurists are trained to spot problems such as nutritional deficiencies, fungal infections and ingrown nails and be able to advise their clients to seek medical attention for these issues.

Other Areas of Specialization

In order to receive a certification of Cosmetology, an individual typically completes approximately 1500 credit hours of course work and hands on training. The training takes about two years to complete, however if an individual wishes to specialize in only one branch it may be possible to complete a single branch specialization in as little as ten months. Some Cosmetologists go on to become Product Specialists or Instructors. Others will go on to become managers or salon owners. A typical hair designer or stylist starts off as a shampoo apprentice and work their way up.

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