Personal Appearance Workers Career

Personal appearance workers such as cosmetologists and barbers lay emphasis upon offering hair care services to enhance customers' appearance. Other personal appearance workers like pedicurists, manicurists, performance makeup artists, theatrical artists, shampooers, skin care specialist, and pedicurists provide beauty services that facilitate customers feel and look better.

Job Prospect

The work of barber is to trim, shampoo, style, and cut hair typically for male customers. They may offer scalp treatments, fit hairpieces, and provide facial shaving. In some states, barbers are licensed to bleach, color, and highlight hair. Barbers may provide nail treatments and skin care.

The work of hairstylists, cosmetologists, and hairdressers is to provide beauty services comprising of cutting, shampooing, styling, and coloring of hair. These workers advise clients on how to take care for their hair at homes. Additionally, cosmetologists can be trained to give pedicures, manicures, facial treatments and scalp, provide makeup analysis, style and clean hairpieces and wigs. Pedicurists and manicurists are known as nail technicians. In many states, they work on nails and equip customers with pedicures, manicures, nail extensions, and polishing.

Estheticians or skin care specialists wash and beautify the skin by means of giving full-body treatments, facials, neck, messages, and head messages. They also apply makeup to the skin of clients. These specialists may remove hair through waxing and laser treatments. The work of theatrical and performance makeup artists is to apply makeup to enhance appearance of performing artists for television, movie, or stage performance.

Besides working with clients, a personal appearance worker may keep and maintain records of skin care regimens or hair color used by their regular customers. Some of the workers may sell skin, nail, and hair care products. Cosmetologists, barbers, and other personal appearance workers run their own saloons. They may deal with managerial duties such as supervising, hiring and firing workers, keeping inventory records, ordering supplies, and creating advertisement.

Work Environment

Many cosmetologists, barbers, and other personal appearance workers work forty hours a week. However, longer hours are common. They may work on weekends and evenings when business is at its best. Cosmetologists, barbers, and other personal appearance workers work in pleasant, clean, and specious saloons. Stamina and good health are important because they need to work on their feet for long hours.

Training and Educational Qualification

In every state, cosmetologists, barbers, and other personal appearance workers need to be licensed. However, makeup artists and shampooers do not need to be licensed. Candidates who want to obtain a license should possess a graduation degree from a state-licensed cosmetology or barber school.

In some states, a high school diploma or GED is required to get into this field. Additionally, many states require that cosmetologists and barbers complete a program in a state-licensed cosmetology or barber school. A program in hairstyling, skin care, and other personal appearance services may be found in private or public postsecondary vocational schools.

Generally, the duration of a full-time program in cosmetology and barbering is nine months. This program leads to an associate degree. Shampooers do not need attend formal training. There are many professionals who take advanced courses in personal appearing services. They also offer courses in marketing and sales. Employers assign simple tasks to the new workers. When these workers have enhanced their skills, they are given more complex tasks such as coloring hair.


All states need cosmetologists, barbers, and other personal appearance workers excluding makeup artists and shampooers to be licensed. The educational qualification for license may vary by state. However, an individual must have a high school diploma or GED to get into this field. A candidate who would like to get into this field must be sixteen years of old and graduated from a state licensed cosmetology or barber school.

Upon completing graduation from a training program approved by a state, students have to take licensing examination. The examination comprises of a written test. In some states, cosmetology training can be credited towards licenses in barbering. In some states, professionals such as pedicurists, skin care specialists, and manicurists must have separate licensing.

A candidate who would like to become a successful personal appearance worker ought to have thorough understanding of art, fashion, and technical design. These workers should keep clean work place and a neat personal appearance. Image, interpersonal skills, and attitude play a vital to success in this field. Individuals who like to start up with their own salons should possess business skills.


After gaining utmost experience in this field, individuals open their own salons. Some of the expert professionals accept teaching in cosmetology or barber schools. Many skilled professionals become image consultant, sales representatives, fashion consultants, and examiners for state licensing board.


Cosmetologists, barbers, and other personal appearance workers held about 825, 000 jobs in 2006. These workers are working as cosmetologists, barbers, manicurists, skin care specialists, pedicurists, theatrical and performance makeup artists, and shampooers.

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