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Cosmetology (from Greek κοσμητικός, kosmētikos, "beautifying"; and -λογία, -logia) is the study and application of beauty treatment. Branches of specialty includes hairstyling, skin care, cosmetics, manicures/pedicures, and electrology.
Cosmetology specialties 
Hair stylist 
A hair stylist is someone who cuts and styles hair. He or she can also offer other services such as coloring, extensions and straightening. Cosmetologists help their clients improve on or acquire a certain look with the right hairstyle. Hair stylists often do hair for weddings, proms, and other special events in addition to routine hairstyling. Also known as a licensed cosmetologist, their education hours vary by state. Hair Stylists are governed by their state cosmetology board. All specialties with in cosmetology except for estheticians and nail technicians must hold a valid cosmetology license before working on the public.State Cosmetology Boards
Hair colorist 
A colorist is a hair stylist that specializes in coloring hair. In the US, some colorists are “board certified” through the American Board of Certified Hair colorists. This designation is used to recognize colorists that have a greater level of competency in the industry.
Shampoo technician 
A shampoo technician shampoos and conditions a client's hair in preparation for the hair stylist.This is generally an apprentice position and a first step for many just out of cosmetology school.
Estheticians are licensed professionals who are experts in maintaining and improving healthy skin. An esthetician's general scope of practice is limited to the epidermis (the outer layer of skin). Estheticians work in many different environments such as salons, med spas, day spas, skin care clinics and private practice. Estheticians perform skin treatments that include hair removal (waxing, threading, tweezing, sugaring), facial massage, body treatments (wraps, exfoliation, hydrotherapy), skin care consultations, chemical exfoliation, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, eyelash extensions, aromatherapy, and make-up application. Estheticians may also specialize in machine treatments such as; microdermabrasion, microcurrent, also called non surgical "face lifts", Electrotherapy treatments (glavanic current, high frequency), LED (light emitting diode), ultrasound/ultrasonic (low level) and mechanical massage (vacuum & g8 vibratory). The esthetician may undergo special training for treatments such as laser hair removal, permanent make up, and electrolysis. Estheticians must be licensed in the state they are working in and are governed by the cosmetology board of that state. In order to become one they must complete a minimum 260 to 1500 hours of training and pass both a written and hands-on exam (State Board Requirements). Additional post graduate training may be required when specializing in areas such as medical esthetics (working in a doctors office) Estheticians work under a dermatologist’s supervision only when employed by the dermatologist's practice. Estheticians treat a wide variety of skin issues as long as cosmetic in nature, such as mild acne, hyperpigmentation, and aging skin. Skin disease and disorders are referred to a dermatologist or other medical professional.Education to the client/patient is of great importance, so the person know what to expect after a treatments and the process the skin may go through after any chemical peel or high performance treatment.
Nail technician 
A nail technician specializes in the art form and care of nails. This includes manicures, pedicures, acrylic nails, gel nails, nail wraps, artificial nails, hand and foot massage, etc. Although they are generally trained to recognize diseases of the skin and nail, they do not treat diseases and would typically refer a client to a physician. Nail Technicians can also be called manicurists and are regulated by their states cosmetology board.State Board Requirements
A manicure is a cosmetic treatment for the fingernails or hands. The word manicure derives from Latin: manus for "hand", cura for "care". When performed on the feet, such a treatment is a pedicure. Many manicures start by soaking the hands in a softening substance, followed by the application of lotion. A common type of manicure involves shaping the nails and applying nail polish. Some manicures can include the painting of pictures or designs on the nails, or applying small decals or imitation jewels.
Makeup artist 
A makeup artist is in a branch of cosmetology that specializes in the application of cosmetics to a person's face, by using such products as foundation or powder, blush, eye makeup, etc. Depending on where they are or how they are employed, their salary can vary. Makeup artists work in a variety of different scenarios: department store cosmetic counters, special events such as weddings/prom, salons/spas, theater and visual arts, photography studios, editorial fashion shoots, runway shows for designers/fashion schools, television and film, as well as freelancing of various degrees. They are not licensed by any state and will generally hold a cosmetology or esthetics license. Currently California is the only state that has a voluntary registration. Minimum education can vary depending on the specialty, for example media make up or special effect make up require intensive training. In order to work in the film industry union membership may be required. The exception is independent films. The two unions are Local 706 (Los Angeles)Local 706 and Local 786 (New York)Local 798
An electrologist offers hair removal services with the use of a machine. As opposed to the hair removal via waxing offered by an esthetician, hair removal via electrolysis is permanent. Electrologist is generally a separate license depending on the state.
Becoming a cosmetologist 
General cosmetology courses in the United States focus primarily on hairstyling, but also train their students as general cosmetologists with minor training in nail technology and esthetics. In a state-licensed beauty school, a certificate course in general cosmetology typically takes approximately one year to complete. Specialized courses such as nail technology, esthetics, or makeup artist are usually of shorter duration, lasting anywhere from two weeks to six months.Some of the most prestigious and exclusive copecialized esthetic and nail technology schools also offer programs that may take longer. In Higher Learning Institutions, an Associate's Degree can be awarded on the path to becoming a cosmetologist.All schools must be approved by the state that they operate in.
In the United States, all states require personal appearance workers (with the exception of shampooers in very few states, not including CA) to be licensed; however, qualifications for a license vary by state. Licensing for those working with the Military, deceased, and handicapped may vary depending on the state. Generally, a person must have graduated from a state-licensed cosmetology school . Some states require graduation from high school, while others require as little as an eighth-grade education. In a few states, the completion of an apprenticeship can substitute for graduation from a school, and for many students an apprenticeship in cosmetology is the most expansive way to obtain a hands on education in their respective fields. Applicants for a license usually are required to pass a written test and demonstrate an ability to perform basic barbering or cosmetology services.
In most states, there is a legal distinction between barbers and cosmetologists, with different licensing requirements. These distinctions and requirements vary from state to state. In most states, cosmetology sanitation practices and ethical practices are governed by the state's health department and a Board of Cosmetology. These entities ensure public safety by regulating sanitation products and practices and licensing requirements. Consumer complaints are usually directed to these offices and investigated from there.
Persons interested in practicing cosmetology can graduate from a general cosmetology course, or they can choose to study only to become a manicurist or esthetician. Students may choose a private cosmetology school or one of the many vocational schools which offer cosmetology courses to high school students. In addition, there are national and state organizations that provide educational and professional information.Associated Hair Stylists,Professional Beauty Associationwww.ascpskincare.comNCEA
Occupational hazards 
Many chemicals in salon products pose potential health risks, the majority of which are not well regulated. Examples of hazardous chemicals found in common treatments (i.e. hair coloring, straightening, perms, relaxers, Keratin treatments, Brazilian Blowouts and nail treatments) include dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, lye (sodium hydroxide), ammonia, and coal tar. It is important to understand these risks and take appropriate measures to reduce exposure. Allergies and dermatitis are health problems that have forced approximately 20% of hairdressers to stop practicing their profession.
Chemical exposures 
Dibutyl phthalate 
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is in nail enamels and hardeners. DBP is a plasticizer that is used because of its flexibility and film forming properties, making it an ideal ingredient in nail polishes. When a polish is applied, it dries to the nail as some of the other chemicals volatilize. DBP is a chemical that remains on the nail, making the polish less brittle and apt to crack. The chemical may not only be absorbed through the nail, but through the skin as well. When nail-polished hands are washed, small amounts of DBP can leach out of the polish and come into contact with the skin. The application of nail polish can also provide an opportunity for skin absorption.
Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong smelling liquid that is highly volatile, making exposure to both workers and clients potentially unhealthy. Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) classify formaldehyde as a human carcinogen. Formaldehyde has been linked to nasal and lung cancer, with possible links to brain cancer and leukemia.
Growing evidence reveals that various popular hair-smoothing treatments contain formaldehyde and release formaldehyde as a gas. Four laboratories in California, Oregon and Canada, confirmed a popular hair straightening treatment, the Brazilian Blowout, contained between 4% and 12% formaldehyde. Oregon OSHA demonstrated that other keratin-based hair smoothing products also contain formaldehyde, with concentrations from 1% to 7%.
Formaldehyde may be present in hair smoothing solutions or as a vapor in the air. Stylists and clients may inhale formaldehyde as a gas or a vapor into the lungs and respiratory tract. Formaldehyde vapor can also make contact with mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or throat. Formaldehyde solutions may be absorbed through the skin during the application process of liquid hair straighteners. Solutions of formaldehyde can release formaldehyde gas at room temperature and heating such solutions can speed up this process. Exposure often occurs when heat is applied to the treatment, via blow drying and flat ironing.
Stylists and clients have reported acute health problems while using or after using certain hair smoothing treatments containing formaldehyde. Reported problems include nose-bleeds, burning eyes and throat, skin irritation and asthma attacks. Other symptoms related to formaldehyde exposure include watery eyes, runny nose, burning sensation or irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat, dry and sore throat, respiratory tract irritation, cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, loss of sense of smell, headaches, fatigue.
OSHA requirements regarding formaldehyde 
OSHA requires manufacturers, importers, and distributors to identify formaldehyde on any product that contains more than 0.1% formaldehyde (as a gas or in a solution), or if the product can release formaldehyde at concentrations greater than 0.1 parts per million (ppm). Material safety data sheets (MSDS) must also be accompanied with the product and kept on premises with the product at all times. The MSDS must explain why a chemical in the product is hazardous, how it is harmful, how workers can protect themselves, and what they should do in an emergency.
Salon owners and stylists are advised to look closely at the hair smoothing products they use (read product labels and MSDS sheets) to see if they contain methylene glycol, formalin, methylene oxide, paraform, formic aldehyde, methanal, oxomethane, oxymethylene, or CAS Number 50-00-0. According to OSHA's Formaldehyde standard, a product containing any of these names should be treated as a product containing formaldehyde. OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard (Right to Know) states that salon owners and other employers' must have a MSDS for products containing hazardous chemicals. These sheets must be made available for salon workers'. Workers using the product must be made aware of potential health hazards, and how to use the product safely. If salon owners or other employers decide to use products' that contain or release formaldehyde they are required to follow the guidelines in OSHA’s Formaldehyde standard (29 CFR 1910.1048).
If an employer has difficulty obtaining an appropriate MSDS or further questions they should contact their local OSHA area office for assistance.
A safe workplace / reducing occupational exposure 
All workers have a right to a safe workplace. To ensure worker safety The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) was passed in 1970. This law was developed in order to prevent workers from being seriously injured or killed at work. The Act requires employers to supply their workers with a hazard-free workplace. OSHA willingly provides information, training and assistance to workers and employers in order to prevent workers from harm on the job. If a worker feels that their employer is not following OSHA standards, or that there are serious hazards in their workplace, they may file a complaint to OSHA to complete an inspection.
Reducing occupational exposures is important to the health and wellness of salon workers. Salon workers should know what chemicals are in their products and how to use them safely in the workplace. All workers should be trained to read product labels and MSDS sheets.
It is also important that salons are well ventilated and that chemical treatments are scheduled later in the day so that workers have reduced exposure throughout their shift. It is recommended to wear gloves and masks whenever possible.
Notable cosmetologists 
- Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (Abulcasis)
- Kevyn Aucoin
- John Frieda
- Marjorie Joyner
- Paul Mitchell
- Vidal Sassoon
- Lee Stafford
- Madam C. J. Walker
- Estée Lauder
- Christine Valmy
- Lydia Sarfati
- Anthony Mascolo
- Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
- Miladys Standard Cosmetology
- Schmaling, Susanne (2011). Miladys Aesthetician Series: Aging Skin. Clifton Park NY: Cengage Publishing. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-4354-9614-9.
- Milady Standards Fundamentals Esthetics
- Milady Standard Advanced Esthetics
- Professional BeautyTherapy 3rd Edition
- Miladys Standard Make Up
- "Collection Of Hairdresser State Regulations". Collection Of State Requirements And Regulations.
- Occupational Outlook of Barbers, Hair Stylists, Cosmetologists, and Other Personal Appearance Workers
- Beauty School and Cosmetology School Licensing Requirements
- Reducing chemical exposure is a continual career investment
- Environmental Working Group - Does a common chemical in nail polish pose risks to human health?
- United States Department of Labor – Safety and Health Topics – Formaldehyde
- California Department of Public Health – Q&A: Brazilian Blowout and other hair smoothing salon treatments
- Oregon OSHA – Hazard Alert – Hair smooth products and formaldehyde
- Oregon OSHA and CROET - “Keratin-Based” Hair Smoothing Products And the Presence of Formaldehyde
- United States Department of Labor – Hazard Alert - Hair Smoothing Products That Could Release Formaldehyde
|Look up cosmetology or coiffeur in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (USA)
- US Bureau of Labor Statistics for cosmetologists
- Historical works on cosmetology digitized by the BIUM (Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de médecine et d'odontologie, Paris)
- Scientific journal "Estetologia Medyczna i Kosmetologia" (Medical Aesthetology and Cosmetology, bilingual)