Beauty Industry Career Options
By Jackie Summers via Modern Salon
Here are 30 career possibilities or specialties open to licensed cosmetologists. Some are glamorous, some are deeply satisfying, some are fun and some are extremely lucrative. The choices are yours to make as you build your brand. Working with clients in a salon is the ultimate goal for some. For others, it’s just the beginning of the dream. And that’s OK—the beauty profession offers so many ways to spread your wings and fly.
1. COLOR SPECIALIST
but can also switch on the science side of your brain
to grasp the concepts of chemistry. You flip through
swatch books just for fun; you refer to blondes as
“ecru,” “marshmallow” or “oyster.” If you dream in color,
consider a hair-color specialty.
2. UPDO SPECIALIST
You skipped your prom
because you were too busy doing hair for all your friends.
Stranded on a desert island, you’d wish for bobby pins,
hair spray and a mannequin so you could practice your
signature undone upstyles. If you love the architectural
satisfaction of hairdressing, become an updo expert.
3. BLOWOUT BAR STYLIST
no cutting or chemical services in a blowout bar. You get
the pleasure of transforming clients with your blow dryer
and curling irons. This is a great gig as you’re just getting
started and need more experience in customer service to
feel comfortable about moving on to a full-service salon.
4. MEN’S BARBER
Men’s barbering services are
exploding as more and more
guys are demanding sharp and
trendy looks. If you love turning
out precision shapes at a fast pace
(men’s cuts are done quickly) and you’re a whiz with
razors and shears, consider working in a modern barber
shop or specializing in men’s cuts at a full-service salon.
5. LASH OR BROW SPECIALIST
understand that the lash and the arch are the two most
important ways to enhance a face. Your artistic eye will
give you the skills to craft the perfect brow shapes or
configuration of lash extensions. Demand is growing
everywhere for these profitable services!
A bit artistic and a bit medical in
nature, skin care is the “white coat” arm of the beauty world.
If you excel at subjects like anatomy and chemistry, and you
like a quiet, private working environment, you’ll love using
your knowledge to transform your clients’ complexions.
7. NAIL TECHNICIAN
You literally sit and
hold hands with your clients—how
great is that? Nail services are in
hot demand, and nail techs love
providing clients with the quick and
profound boost that comes with a
beautiful manicure and pedicure.
8. SENIOR HAIR CARE
Creativity might not
be the top benefit of working with older clients (although
more and more senior ladies are rocking fashion colors),
but nothing is more gratifying than making a day special
for a senior. Statistics show that older people might
not receive as much human touch as when they were
younger, so for them the contact of a hair service is truly
special. You’ll be a day-maker and a life changer!
9. KID’S CUTS
Obviously you have to adore little
ones to specialize in kids’ cuts, and if you do, every day will
be filled with joy. It helps to be a bit of a “child whisperer” to
keep nervous tykes calm, and like any profession that involves
working with children, patience and good humor are musts!
10. EXTENSION EXPERT
This is a booming
specialty as more and more clients
are embracing extensions for
length, volume and even pops of
high-fashion hair color. You’ll need
training and patience because extension application can
be time-consuming, but the money is great!
12. BEAUTY BLOGGER/INFLUENCER
Do you have charisma and flair in
front of the camera? Social-media
stars with large followings are
building lucrative careers by gaining
sponsors who want to get in front
of their audiences. Successful
influencers warn that it’s not as easy
as it looks—you must create compelling content
on a regular basis in order to
13. HOTEL OR CRUISE SHIP STYLIST
If you love meeting new people, these jobs are new people
on steroids! But don’t get attached—you’ll work on hotel
guests or cruise ship passengers for the duration of their
trip, then probably never see them again. The bonus for the
cruise ship gig is traveling to amazing places—all for free!
14. EDITORIAL HAIRSTYLIST
Want to be part of a glam squad styling models and celebrities
for photo shoots? You’ll need mad styling skills, a very
cooperative and easy-going attitude, a willingness to work
as part of a team and a deep understanding of fashion
and beauty history and trends. It also helps to live in New
York, L.A. or Miami because those are the places most
photoshoots take place.
15. MAKEUP ARTIST
Makeup is all about
sculpting with color to enhance a person’s features. It’s
also a field that allows you to be super creative! There are
many opportunities to work as a makeup artist—you could
have a career in a salon, as a celebrity makeup artist, for
create something brand-new!
16. CELEBRITY HAIRSTYLIST
How exciting would it be if Kourtney or Kylie had you on speed dial? As
a celebrity stylist, you’re on call 24/7, but the rewards—
home visits to the client’s estate, traveling on press tours
in a private jet, attending red-carpet events—are huge.
The compensation is excellent, too! Most celebrity stylists
have top-level skills combined with the kind of low-key
personalities that keep their star clients in the spotlight.
17. COSMETOLOGY SCHOOL INSTRUCTOR
For some people, teaching is a calling.
They gain satisfaction from helping others learn and grow.
If this sounds like you, consider becoming a cosmetology
instructor. Not only will you enjoy your own career, you’ll
launch hundreds of others’ careers as well!
This field specializes in the scientific
study of the hair and scalp. Every
hair stylist should have a good
foundation of trichology, and
specialists work with clients with
hair loss, as well as other hair and scalp issues. If you
lean more to the scientific side of the profession and
you love helping people, consider trichology as your
19. BRIDAL SPECIALIST
When it comes to styling, there are few days as significant as a client’s
wedding day. Wedding stylists must be artistic, empathic
and efficient. You must also be able to juggle many
personalities and moods, from nervous brides to bossy
bridesmaids to fidgety flower girls. But the payoffs are
huge—your work will live on in family photos forever!
20. CURLY HAIR SPECIALIST
Curly hair requires a special touch. To
satisfy curly girls, it’s important to
understand the specific cutting and
coloring techniques their texture
requires, as well as the unique haircare
needs for curly hair. As a curly hair expert, you’ll build
films or photo sessions or in television or the theater. The
best part? Once the client washes her face, you get to
a loyal and lucrative clientele and carve out a niche for
yourself in the salon world.
21. BRAND EDUCATOR
If you’ve ever attended a hair show, you’ve seen
these dynamic educators teaching
hair techniques on a stage or in
a classroom. If you love to travel
and teach, working as a company educator will take you
to places you’ve never dreamed you would go. Consider
specializing in color or cutting education to increase
demand for your services.
22. DISTRIBUTOR SALES CONSULTANT
Many distributors offer more than
just a place to buy your hair color and developer—
they also serve as educators and advisors for salon
businesses. In this role, you would visit salons in your
area to give them the scoop on the newest products and
partner with them on strategies for their success.
23. CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Creative Director. Do you love
imagining the big picture and then working with a team
to bring your vision to life? Creative directors for hair-care
companies come up with collections and put together
ads and educational campaigns. You’ll work with models,
24. FILM & TV STYLIST
Imagine being responsible for the looks of the stars of television or film production.
You would work with the director to create the hair styles for each
character, and then be responsible for styling the hair on
the set. Continuity is important—the hair must look the
same from shot to shot. And you must also have the type
of personality that works well with demanding actors.
25. THEATER STYLIST
Nothing is more exciting than a live production, and you’ll be backstage
every night getting the cast ready for the show. Many
productions also require the actors to wear wigs or
hairpieces, so it’s important to have a solid understanding
of how to procure, cut and style these items if you do hair
for live performances.
26. SALON MANAGER
If you have a head for business and you love to motivate and lead other stylists,
consider a career in salon management. Some managers
continue to work with clients; others devote themselves to
management full time. Options range from working for a
large corporation with many locations to management in a
privately owned salon.
27. SALON OWNER
Do you like to be in charge and do things your way? Salon ownership allows you to
be the captain of your own ship—from the décor to the
products you work with, the staff you hire and the type
of clients you service. Like any business, ownership also
brings a degree of risk, but if you’re up for the challenge,
this could be the road for you.
28. SALON EDUCATION DIRECTOR
Many salons offer robust training and advanced education
programs—and someone has
to run them! A salon education
director prepares the curriculum, conducts the classes,
oversees the education team and certifies the students.
It’s a rewarding role if you want to share your knowledge
with colleagues while maintaining your own clients
in the salon.
29. MANUFACTURER/PRODUCT INVENTOR
There’s a reason products invented
by hairstylists are so successful—who better to really
understand what a hairdresser needs and what works
best in a salon? Many of the industry’s top companies
were started by hairdressers, and there’s always
room for more. If you are passionate about your ideas
and persistent about bringing them to life, product
development could be the right path for you.
30. TEST-SALON STYLIST
Before any new hair product hits the market, it’s tested and retested
until it’s exactly right. A test-salon stylist works with
in-development formulas and tools, applying them to
volunteers and carefully recording the results for the
research team. You can be part of creating what could
become the next big thing in beauty!