What Is the Difference Between Cosmetology and Aesthetics?

Oct 23 2019

When you’re thinking about starting school, it can be a big decision to choose between cosmetology and aesthetics. Before you get started, it’s important to know the difference. Here at The Salon Professional Academy in Kenosha, we have all the resources available to help you decide what may be the best program for your education.

Woman styling another woman's hair

What Is Cosmetology?

So, what is the difference between cosmetology and aesthetics? First, let’s break down exactly what cosmetology is. Cosmetology covers hair, nails, skincare, and makeup application. For hair, this can involve:

  • Haircuts
  • Hairstyling
  • Hair coloring
  • Hair treatments (straightening, relaxing, and perms)
  • Waxing (face, arms, legs, back, chest, and bikini areas)

Along with hair, cosmetology involves manicures, pedicures, and the application of makeup and skincare products. Cosmetology would be beneficial if you are hoping to work in a salon, as an editorial stylist, or if you hope to work as a celebrity stylist! Having a wide range of skills in hair, skin, and nails can give you flexibility in your future career.

Two women styling another woman's hair and makeup

A licensed cosmetologist has passed their state exam and also maintains current knowledge of industry trends. To obtain a cosmetology license in Wisconsin, you must attend a licensed cosmetology school, which includes about 1,550 hours of instruction.

If cosmetology sounds like it may be a good fit for you, check out our blog, “What Does it Take to be a Licensed Cosmetologist?” for more info.

What Is Aesthetics?

If you have a passion for skincare, aesthetics may be a good path! So, what is aesthetics? An aesthetician performs skin care treatments and chemical procedures such as:

  • Skin peels
  • Hair removal
  • Waxing
  • Makeup application
  • Eyelash extensions
  • Much more

An aesthetics program is typically shorter than a cosmetology program, requiring around 450 hours of instruction from an authorized school. Here at The Salon Professional Academy of Kenosha, our program is around 600 hours to ensure our students can be better prepared for the beauty industry.

Woman at a spa receiving a facial

If you are interested in learning more about how to become a licensed aesthetician, check out our blog, “What Does it Take to be a Licensed Aesthetician?” to see if a career in aesthetics may be right for you.

Is Cosmetology or Aesthetics a Better Fit for Your Future?

When deciding if you would like to pursue cosmetology or aesthetics, there are a few key points to consider.

How Long Do You Want to Be in School?

One thing you may want to think about is time. How fast do you want to be working in the industry? If you have a faster path in mind, aesthetics is typically shorter to complete. If you’re looking to gain additional skills and take more time to develop your knowledge, then a career in cosmetology may work for you.

What Do You Want to Learn?

Another point to consider when pondering cosmetology vs aesthetics is if you would like to learn how to do hair. A cosmetology license involves knowledge of hair and hair treatments, while aesthetics does not. What are your interests? If your passion involves hair, cosmetology may be right for you.

Woman having her hair and makeup styled

Where Do You See Yourself In Your Future?

The potential career paths for licensed aestheticians are different from licensed cosmetologists. Do you see yourself working in a fast-paced salon or a more relaxing spa? Your personality and goals will help you determine which path may be right for you.

Consider Taking the Next Steps to Apply

If you’re ready to take the next step in your future in beauty at The Salon Professional Academy of Kenosha, learn more about our mission and why you should be a part of it, or talk to our admissions staff. Book a tour to learn more in person about if a career in cosmetology or aesthetics may be right for you.