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Hairdresser/Cosmetologist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Hairdressers, Barbers, and Cosmetologists Career Video



Provides beauty services, such as shampooing, cutting, coloring, and styling hair, and massaging and treating scalp. May apply makeup, dress wigs, perform hair removal, and provide nail and skin care services.

This career is part of the Human Services cluster Personal Care Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Keeps work stations clean and sanitizes tools such as scissors and combs.
  • Cuts, trims and shapes hair or hairpieces, based on customers' instructions, hair type and facial features, using clippers, scissors, trimmers and razors.
  • Analyzes patrons' hair and other physical features to determine and recommend beauty treatment or suggest hair styles.
  • Schedules client appointments.
  • Bleaches, dyes, or tints hair, using applicator or brush.
  • Updates and maintains customer information records, such as beauty services provided.
  • Shampoos, rinses, conditions and dries hair and scalp or hairpieces with water, liquid soap, or other solutions.
  • Operates cash registers to receive payments from patrons.
  • Demonstrates and sells hair care products and cosmetics.
  • Develops new styles and techniques.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Cosmetic Consultant -- Uses cosmetics to improve the appearance of customers in ways that appeal to their sense of beauty.
  • Electrolysist -- Permanently removes unwanted hair from customers’ faces and bodies, typically for cosmetic reasons.
  • Hair Colorist -- Specializes in altering the color or tint of their clients' hair.
  • Hairpiece Stylist -- Styles hairpieces for clients.
  • Hypertrichologist -- Treats unsightly facial hair.
  • Image Consultant -- Advises clients on their personal appearance, speaking style, manner or other behaviors in order to improve personal or business images.
  • Nail Technician -- Applies and decorates false nails and nail extensions, whilst consulting on the general health and well being of the client's hands and feet.