Cosmetician job description: what does a cosmetologist do?

Article written by CEMP's team

Do you know what the actual cosmetician job description is? What does a cosmetologist do? What job positions can he or she undertake?

If your education is related to health sciences or the world of aesthetics and cosmetics appeal to you, this is definitely a good area for your professional career to expand.

Throughout this article, we’ll introduce this discipline to you and solve all the questions you might have about it.

Before defining a cosmetician job description and what a cosmetologist does, as well as his or her functions and where to get training for this field, let’s first see a definition of what cosmetology really is and everything about this fascinating professional profile.


What is cosmetology? Definition and origin

Cosmetology is defined as the science and art of taking care of skin and improving its health, thanks to the prescription or application of cosmetic products. 

This application might involve skin, nails or hair with the aim of improving their aesthetics and health.

The origin of the word can be traced back to ancient Greek: “Kosmetos” and “logia”. These two terms mean “beauty” and “treatment”, respectively, and come together through this word. As such, “the science that studies beauty” could be a quite accurate translation.

Cosmetology represents a profession with a long history and ancestral roots, of which we may find precedents in both Chinese and Egyptian civilizations.

Today, as consciousness grows around the world in relation to beauty and health , both sectors are increasingly related.

In fact, in the last decade, the sales of skincare products has significantly increased at pharmacies, both for female and male care.

Therefore, a cosmetologist is a professional whose work activity is focused on the use or prescription of cosmetic products, who presents a solid academic training regarding cosmetic care for healthy skin and educates his or her clients in this area.

Moving on, we’re going to go through the main specializations in cosmetology and the diverse tasks it entails.


What does a cosmetologist do through his different specializations

A cosmetologist is able to provide a general and integral service or become a specialist in a particular area.

As we’ve mentioned above, a cosmetologist’s area of expertise may encompass the treatment of skin, nails, hair or scalp.

As such, cosmetology may include many diverse specializations. For example:

  • Facial dermocosmetics
  • Body dermocosmetics
  • Hair cosmetics
  • Physio aesthetics
  • Relaxing treatments
  • Phytocosmetics
  • Integral aesthetics

All in all, this discipline is framed within the health sciences.

Besides, it’s also related to other areas such as make-up, aesthetics and dermatology (actually, cosmetology is considered as a subcategory of dermatology), with which it shares many treatments and products. 


What does a cosmetologist do? The specific functions of a cosmetician 

Without a doubt, one of the best ways to understand what a cosmetologist does and their job description in practice is to examine the potential tasks he can perform in their daily work.

As such, we may highlight the following main functions, depending on the particular area they are working in:

  • Prescription of cosmetic and therapeutic products
  • Analysis and diagnosis of different types of skin
  • Application of specific treatments for taking care of skin, scalp, nails, etc.
  • Treatment of minor dermatological disorders. Detection of potential skin issues (acne, cellulite…) and prescription of suitable products to correct them
  • Redirect the patient to a specialized doctor in case it’s necessary
  • Recommend and advise clients with the most adequate cosmetic products
  • Analysis, experimentation, investigation and development of cosmetic products
  • Formulate personalized cosmetic products
  • Promotion and sale of cosmetic products
  • Image consulting
  • Perfume and fragrance consulting
  • Managing his or her own beauty company
  • Etc.

Now that we’ve seen what does a cosmetologist do in practice, we can go through the professional and academic requirements to become a professional in cosmetology.


What should I study to become a cosmetologist?

The different requirements to become a licensed cosmetologist depend on national laws and prescriptions. 

Thus, some countries require the cosmetologist to have a university degree, while some others haven’t regulated this field yet, so that there’s a lack of agreement on what training is needed to become a professional cosmetician . 

In the case of the UK, there are different paths to achieve it. A common pathway to become a professional cosmetologist is to enroll in a cosmetology apprenticeship. These will all present different requirements, but they typically include some GCSEs, including Maths and English for an intermediate apprenticeship and five GCSEs graded 9 to 4 (A* to C) for an advanced position.

Another possible route is to complete a BTEC that is relevant for cosmetology, as well as enrolling in a specialist cosmetology school that can offer both on-site and online educational experiences.

This ambiguity in the required training and education to become a cosmetician means it’s common to find professionals in different areas that call themselves cosmetologists. However, some of them really only have some basic notions about the subject or certain sales information about their products, but lack the technical training and necessary qualifications.

The best foundation to become a cosmetologist is thus to get a degree in the health science area (for instance, a degree in pharmacy, nursing, physiotherapy, biology, medicine, etc.) or in aesthetics (preferably a Higher National Diploma or BTEC).

Then, specialized training in dermocosmetics should follow, which would bring you the knowledge, abilities and necessary techniques to be able to provide advice about cosmetic products, prescribe them, apply them or even formulate personalized cosmetic products.

From that moment on, in order to be successful as a cosmetician, you should commit to constant education and updating your knowledge, which is key in a field that is constantly transforming.

Thus, this update can take place both in a self-taught manner or by joining specific courses that are given by brands with proven scientific expertise and trust-worthiness, credible laboratories, etc.

Here below, we’re going to go through what specialized training in cosmetology is and the different types of courses you might find.


What training course should you join to become a professional cosmetologist?

Becoming a professional cosmetician typically involves joining a Master’s degree, a postgraduate program or other types of professional specializations.

You may not find an official university degree related to cosmetology in many countries.

However, there are several specialized education institutions and universities that offer their own certifications for this branch of dermatology, particularly directed to students with a university degree in pharmacy or other health sciences degrees.

Among all educational options, we find our Master’s degree in Cosmetic Science at CEMP, which offers top training to undertake the tasks of dermocosmetic prescription, counseling, investigation and development, etc.

This course is structured around different thematic modules: the basis of cosmetics, skin analysis and diagnosis, types of cosmetics, nutricosmetics and nutraceutics, development of personalized cosmetics, how to provide cosmetic counseling, pharmacy office protocols, etc.

One of the most appealing aspects of this education is its updated module on cosmetic legislation and regulation. This responds to a cosmetician’s constant need to work with products that comply with current legislation in order to choose, apply or prescribe any of them with guaranteed safety.

This Master’s degree offers 1,500 hours of education, which equals 60 ECTS, and is developed fully online. Besides, it incorporates between 60 to 300 hours of practical experience in companies in different areas, as well as a carefully thought-out employability plan.

Yet another interesting aspect about this Master’s degree is that it offers double certifications in cosmetics and dermopharmacy, accredited by CEMP and the Universidad Católica de Murcia (UCAM).

Its teaching staff is also noteworthy, as it’s composed of reputed professionals coming from the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry, PhDs in applied physics and biochemistry, graduates in pharmacy and chemical sciences and doctors.


Job opportunities for cosmeticians

Getting trained as a cosmetician or cosmetologist is a chance to access a wide variety of job opportunities.

As such, you’ll be able to provide your services and undertake different tasks in:

  • Health centers
  • Beauty clinics
  • Gyms
  • Spas
  • Cosmetic health centers
  • Pharmacies and dermopharmacies
  • Work as a sales representative for cosmetic products
  • Perform beauty product demonstrations
  • Work in other positions within the cosmetic industry
  • Work as a teacher in cosmetic schools or beauty clinics
  • Become a freelancer


Why is it interesting to pursue training in cosmetics and dermopharmacy?

The cosmetologist professional profile has been hugely popular for many years now. 

There is an increasing demand for specialists in cosmetics and dermatology, since the relationship between both sectors is increasingly valued and has proven more useful and effective.

In fact, cosmetics and dermopharmacy are no longer understood as something related only to beauty and skin care and cleaning. Most people are aware that its scope and benefits have a direct impact on human health.

Keep in mind that the global cosmetic market is growing yearly, at an annual growth rate of 4.75% worldwide

Thus, the growth of the cosmetic market continues unabated.

The worldwide market value of this sector is around 534,000 million euros, with Asia Pacific and North America accounting for 70% of the market size.

For all these reasons, training and educational initiatives that link cosmetics and dermopharmacy have a great professional future ahead of them.

Now that you know what a cosmetologist does and the cosmetician job description, where to study and what job possibilities the industry offers, would you like to complete your training in this field?

If you are interested in knowing more about our Master’s Degree in Cosmetics and Dermopharmacy, do not hesitate to ask us for more information without any obligation. We will be glad to advise you!


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