make up applicationThere are some obvious differences between a cosmetologist and an esthetician and both of these beauty industry careers also overlap in services rendered. Most cosmetologists prefer to specialize in hair care, styling and coloring. The esthetician on the other hand specializes in skin care. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics labels both of these professionals as personal appearance workers.


A cosmetologist is trained to offer a wide range of services to their clientele. These services usually include skin, nail and hair care. Historically the cosmetologist has been referred to as beauticians or beauty specialists and sometimes these titles are still used today.

A breakdown of the cosmetologist’s training would include shampooing & drying, cutting, styling, straightening, waving and permanents as well as coloring hair. They also are skilled and administering scalp treatments. In addition to their hair care training cosmetologist also study nail care, applying fake nails and gel wraps. As a full service beauty professional they are also skilled at providing manicures and pedicures.

Depending on what region of the country they have trained in cosmetologists can also attach and maintain wigs and hair pieces. They overlap with estheticians with a special unit on skin care and providing facials while learning to cut and style hair. They study the anatomy and physiology of both hair growth and the skin, becoming specialists in the care of hair, nails and facial skin. They are also trained in waxing and of the eye brows, lips and chin.


The esthetician spends their time focusing on and learning about the body’s integumentary system or skin. They are experts on the nature and condition of the skin. They are trained to provide specialized skin care treatments for all skin types. They are expert on skin care products and hygiene.

Esthetics is an extension of cosmetology that earns specialized certification or licensure depending on the region of the country under consideration. The esthetician is an expert in body hair removal, waxing, plucking, shaving and often laser hair removal. In certain states the esthetician can also perform certain full body skin treatments such as a body wrap.

Both of these beauty industry professionals train for extensive periods of time and are required to accomplish extensive hands on practice on clients before they can take the certification and/or licensure examinations. The esthetician will perform numerous facials, body treatments, waxing of face and legs, and cosmetic applications. The cosmetologist will cut hair, shampoo & condition, style, apply hair treatment applications as well as perform facials, waxing of the face and legs and learn the basics of cosmetic applications.

The School of Botanical & Medical Aesthetics offers a 600-Hr Full Esthetician Licensure Program, several times a year.