Cosmetologist vs Esthetician

If you are looking for a job in the beauty industry, you may have been wondering whether you should pursue a career as a cosmetologist or esthetician. But what is the difference between these two types of beauty service providers? While these two industries are closely related, there are some key differences that set them apart.

When it comes to talking about the differences between cosmetologist vs esthetician, the best place to start is by looking at what they do.

  • Cosmetologist: a person licensed to provide cosmetic treatments to the hair, skin, and nails.
  • Esthetician: a person licensed to provide cosmetic skin care treatments and services (such as facials, hair removal, and makeup application).

Cosmetologist vs esthetician can be a difficult decision because both fields focus on providing beauty services, they just tend to focus on different areas.


Cosmetology involves more training hours and covers a larger variety of beauty services.

Studying includes hair, skin, and nails, and most cosmetologist end up choosing a specific area in their career to focus on. Like makeup artists, colorists, and nail technicians. A cosmetologist can choose to earn an esthetician license in addition to a cosmetology license, as it can provide more business and career opportunities down the road.

A cosmetologist can perform services like:

  • Hairstyling and cutting
  • Coloring hair
  • Makeup application
  • Basic skincare
  • Chemical hair treatments
  • Nail services and technology

Esthetics is an area of study focused solely on skincare treatments and maintaining healthy skin.

Providing treatment as a licensed esthetician involves building knowledge of skin conditions and customized solutions for clients. Understanding of epidermal histology, chemistry, and physiology is very important. Esthetician’s for example, aren’t licensed to style, cut or dye hair like a cosmetologist, or provide nail services.

An Esthetician can perform services like:

  • Hair removal
  • Makeup application
  • Facial treatments
  • Skin analysis
  • Pre and post-operative skincare

Choosing between a career as a cosmetologist vs esthetician can be tough, but we hope this article will help narrow down your decision! Remember that you can always count on a top-of-the-line education in both cosmetology and esthetics at DuVall’s School of Cosmetology.