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StateCE: Online Continuing Education Courses & Programs > Cosmetology > Guide to Cosmetology Terminology
Guide to Cosmetology Terminology
April 12, 2017 | Cosmetology
Walking into a salon can feel like a foreign country when you’re not current on the lingo. Cosmetologists have a language all their own, filled with the latest buzzwords and classic terminology. When you work in the industry, understanding those terms helps you better perform your job and serve your clients. Brush up on your cosmetology terminology with this list of essential list of buzzwords, phrases and definitions.
Terminology Used by Hair StylistsThe terms used by hair stylists naturally relate to the hair and scalp. They refer to methods of cutting, coloring and styling hair. When you have a solid grasp of the definitions of these terms, you can more accurately assess what your salon clients want and need, based on their preferences and hair type. Acid perm: A type of perm that creates softer, looser curls than an alkaline perm. Activator: A chemical used with bleach to speed up the bleaching process without hair damage. Alkaline perm: A type of chemical perm that creates tight, springy curls. Alkaline perms are stronger than acid perms. Balayage: A hand-painted highlighting process. The stylist brushes on the color in a freehand design to create a naturally sun-kissed look instead of a traditional foil approach. The result is a softer, more natural look without noticeable regrowth lines in the color. Bangs: Also known as fringe, this is the hair along the forehead when it is cut shorter than the other hair. The face-framing hair takes on many different looks, from thick and chunky to thin and wispy. Bangs may be cut straight across or angled and blended with a side-swept look. Barbicide: The sanitizer used to disinfect tools, particularly combs and brushes. This is a specific brand name of the sanitizing liquid. Blunt cut: A type of haircut in which all strands are the same length. The cut goes straight across, without any layers or variation in length. Bob cut: The classic bob cut generally hits around the chin or just below the ears and has a blunt line. Bobs can angle in different directions as long as they have clear lines at the bottom edge. Body: The volume of a person’s hair. Chelating: A process that strips hair before performing a chemical hair service. This process is also called clarifying. Color depth: The lightness or darkness of a hair color. The color depth can range from very light blond to dark black. Double Process: A two-step color service to first lighten the hair before applying a new color. Dusting: A very slight trim, which removes just enough hair to freshen the ends. Dusting removes the minimum amount of hair possible. Elasticity: How much the hair can stretch and return to its original shape. Extensions: Pieces of real or synthetic hair that are weaved into natural hair near the scalp for a fuller or longer look. Follicle: The pore from which a hair grows. Graduation: Hair gradually goes from long to short at a 45-degree angle. It is often used at the nape of the neck for a stacked bob cut. Highlights: Color in specific sections of hair. The color used for highlights is lighter than the person’s natural hair color. Layers: A technique that results in different lengths of hair at the ends. Layers can be long or short. The layers decrease density of hair and give the hair a sense of movement. Lob: A longer bob haircut. The cut uses the same blunt line, but the weight line falls lower than a traditional bob. Lowlights: Color applied to specific sections of hair. This coloring technique is similar to highlights, except it uses colors that are darker. Ombre: A graduated hair color that goes from dark to light, with the darker color near the crown. Permanent hair color: A permanent color change to the hair. The permanent coloring process first opens up the shaft before adding the color. This allows the color to absorb more deeply into the hair. It provides full coverage for gray hairs and creates lasting color changes to hair. Point cutting: A cutting method with the scissors held in a vertical position. This technique adds texture at the ends and can soften the look of the edge. Relaxer: A chemical method of straightening the hair. Sectioning: Dividing hair into smaller sections to cut, dry or style one area at a time. Semi-permanent color: A type of color that washes out after six to eight shampoos. The color gets added immediately, instead of first opening up the shaft like the permanent hair coloring process. Thinning: A method using special thinning shears to create fine layers and remove bulkiness from thick hair. Undercut: A cutting technique with the hair underneath cut slightly shorter than the top. Weight Line: The area with the most weight. In a bob haircut, the weight line is along the end of the hair, for example.
Terminology Used by EstheticiansEstheticians focus on the skin, primarily on the face. The terminology used during the course of work often revolves around the skin itself and the health of skin. Many words also relate to products used to care for the skin. Understanding the definitions can help an esthetician choose safe products that perform the desired outcome for clients. A full understanding of various terms can also help estheticians educate clients on how to care for skin at home. Allergic reaction: Reaction to a product or other allergen that appears as swelling, redness, itching and blisters. Allergic reactions can occur to some skin care and cosmetics products if the client is allergic to one or more of the ingredients. Alpha hydroxy acids: Natural acids thought to reduce wrinkles and signs of aging. The group includes many acids such as lactic, malic, citric, glycolic and pyruvic acids. AHAs are often found in cosmetic and skin-care products as a way to remove cells from the skin’s surface to give a smoother appearance. Antimicrobial: An ingredient that slows bacterial, viral, fungal and other microorganism growth in skin care products. Antimicrobial ingredients increase the longevity of the product and help make them safer to use by reducing the risk of contamination. Antioxidants: Natural or synthetic ingredients, such as vitamins E and C, coenzyme Q10 and green tea, that minimize environmental and free radical damage to the skin. Chemical peel: Removing dead and damaged skin cells using a chemical solution. The goal is to remove the older skin to reveal new skin for improved skin texture while minimizing wrinkles. Depilatory: A chemical cream or lotion to remove unwanted hair. The product usually dissolves the hair. These chemicals can irritate the skin. Emollients: Types of ingredients that provide smoothing or softening effects. Exfoliating: Removing dead skin cells by cleaning skin with a gentle abrasive. Hyperpigmentation: Excess production of melanin, causing a darkened area on the skin. Hypoallergenic: Label given to products that don’t cause new allergic reactions. The products must undergo testing to determine if they are hypoallergenic. Melanin: Pigment that gives your skin and hair color. Non-comedogenic: Products that won’t clog the skin’s pores. These products aim to prevent acne. Skin type: The normal condition of the skin. The main skin types are normal, dry, oily, combination and sensitive. Knowing the skin type can help determine the proper skin care and treatments necessary. SPF: Stands for sun protection factor. This refers to a sunscreen’s ability to block ultraviolet rays. Using a product with an appropriate SPF can help prevent sun damage to the skin.
Terminology Used by Nail TechniciansNail technicians use a lot of different products to make nails beautiful, and with that array of products come many unusual terms. Clients often come in with a particular look in mind, but they may not know the industry terms for those nail trends and styles. Having a strong knowledge of those terms as a nail technician makes it easier to give the clients what they want during a pedicure or manicure. ABS Plastic: The material used in the majority of plastic nail tips. ABS stands for acrylonitrile-butaiene-styrene monomers. Accelerator: This substance is part of a chemical reaction and is part of the finished product. Acetone: A solvent from the ketone family that dissolves nail polish and acrylics for removal. Acid Primer: An acidic primer, usually methacrylic acid type primer, that helps enhancement products stick to the natural nail. Acrylic: A nail system using two parts: liquid monomer and powdered polymer. A precise ratio of the two components forms a hard, cured coating on the nails. This is the strongest nail coating option. Acrylic brush: A special brush used to apply the acrylic nail product. The brushes usually feature natural hair bristles and are available in different sizes and shapes. Adhesive: A substance that holds two things together. Cyanoacrylate is most often used as a nail adhesive. Airbrushing: Using an airbrush gun to create a nail design. American manicure: Similar to a French manicure with slightly different colors. The polish covering the bed of the nail is generally more sheer than the classic opaque color in a French manicure. The tip color is more natural than the bright white tips on a French manicure. Antiseptic: Chemicals that disinfect by killing bacteria, fungus and viruses. Benzoyl peroxide: An initiator used when applying acrylic nails. Breathing zone: The area around your head where you get your air when you breathe. The breathing zone is a two-foot area around the head. Protecting the breathing zone while using nail products minimizes the chance of breathing in chemicals. Chevron: An inverted V pattern sometimes used on a French manicure instead of following the natural curve of the nail tip. Crystallization: The result of uncured acrylic nails being subjected to cold temperatures or drafts. The liquid monomer portion of the acrylic nail freezes during the application process, forming small crystals. Cure: Hardening of a nail coating. Curing is not the same as drying. Nail products continue to cure even after they are dry. Curing agent: A product used to help cure or harden a nail coating. Cuticle: The colorless skin in a crescent shape at the base of nails. Delamination: The process of peeling apart two surfaces. When referring to acrylic nails, the delamination process simply means removing the enhancement from the natural nail. Disinfection: A chemical process to destroy or make inert the microorganisms that accumulate on surfaces. Nail technicians closely follow disinfection procedures on all tools and containers that get reused. Distal nail edge: The distal edge refers to the far edge. In the case of a nail, it is the edge farthest from the cuticle. Enamel: A type of nail polish distinguished by a higher amount of film formers. Fill-in: Maintaining nails after the initial full set. As the nails grow, this process adds acrylic to cover those new areas. Acrylic nails typically require fill-ins every two or three weeks. This process is also called back-fill, fill, touch-up or maintenance. Film formers: The polymers found in nail polish that create the desired hard, smooth surface once the polish dries. French manicure: A nail design with a bright white tip on the nail. The nail bed is usually pink, beige or clear with an opaque appearance. Gel: A type of nail polish that uses gel to create a glossier, tougher finish than regular polish. Gel nails are not quite as strong as acrylic nails. Each layer requires curing time under a UV light. Gel cleanser: A solvent used during the gel nail application process. After gels cure under a UV light, a sticky layer is left. The solvent removes that layer to create a smooth, shiny finish. Grit: A term describing the coarseness of a nail file’s texture. Files typically range from soft to coarse, with numbers to identify the coarseness. Lower-numbered grit is coarser than higher numbered grit, which falls at the soft end of the range. The general ranges are:
- Coarse: 80 to 100
- Medium: 120 to 240
- Soft: 240 and above
- Super soft buffers and shiners: 1,000 and above
3 Facts You Should Know About the Cosmetology Industry for 2021
June 30, 2021 | Continuing Education, CosmetologyAfter over a year of self-styling, at-home dye kits, and nervous attempts at following YouTube tutorials, the first thing many people are doing once they’re fully vaccinated is booking an appointment with their cosmetologist. The pandemic has definitely made for a few rough spots in the cosmetology industry, but as we get farther into 2021 and things take a turn toward the optimistic, it’s time to sharpen your shears and get ready for a fresh new start. Beginning with a look at where we’re at with the beauty industry right now.
Specialized cosmetology services — like skin care and manicures — are expected to grow much faster than average through 2029.The past months have made many people realize just how much they value the work done by beauty professionals. Trying to wield your own scissors or polish your own nails at home and get that desired look really puts some perspective on the level of skill it takes to be a cosmetologist. And specialized services in areas like skin care are expected to be especially hot commodities according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as more and more people invest in their long-term beauty and wellness. Which means right now is the perfect time to ensure that your cosmetology licensing is up-to-date and sign up for any cosmetology continuing education courses that could help enhance the services you offer.
The global beauty industry is expected to reach a value of $863 billion by 2024.863 billion in just three short years. That’s more than big business. Today’s cosmetology industry is more globalized and interconnected than ever before, with today’s clients wanting to take advantage of beauty trends and secrets from around the world. (Just look at Korean skin care, for example.) And that’s good news for today’s cosmetologists, but it also means it’s more important than ever to stay on top of the field’s latest developments, innovations, and changes. Staying plugged in to the global beauty climate, keeping up with continuing education classes — things like this will be key to ensuring that you’re able to provide your clients with the most up-to-date services.
American women spend an average of $313 a month on their appearance.Women in the U.S. are not afraid of investing in quality beauty care from licensed professionals, and it’s no surprise why. We look good, we feel good, which means we can bring the confidence and A-game we need to tackle the challenges of the modern woman’s world. A new cut and color, a blowout, a skin treatment, a pedicure — all of these things are services you can provide to help make a difference in your clients’ lives. A growing market, a dynamic industry, an opportunity to make a positive impact on people’s lives — all these are reasons we often get into the beauty industry, and they’re also why maintaining cosmetology licensing requirements and cosmetology continuing education courses. At StateCE, you can access fully online continuing education classes that are self-paced and can be completed at your own time, without having to sacrifice days to sitting in a classroom somewhere. Those are days you could be dedicating to helping clients, and we want to help you reclaim that without shortchanging your credits. To find out more, contact StateCE today or give us a call at 877.603.4073.
How to Get a Cosmetology License
April 26, 2018 | CosmetologyIf you've ever considered a career in cosmetology, there has never been a more profitable time to enter the field than now. As part of a $445 billion industry, health and beauty businesses continue to grow in revenue, and the opportunities for self-made beauty professionals are rising with it. Cosmetology offers a wide range of focuses and can become a job that communicates your personal flair and technique. Think you've got what it takes to be your clients' go-to style aficionado? These steps to getting your cosmetology license may help you figure out if the beauty industry is a good fit for you.
What It Means: Cosmetology and Areas of SpecializationAs a cosmetologist, you will become an expert in all things health and beauty, offering services that range from styling and coloring hair to giving skin and nail treatments. Cosmetology as a profession is broad and dynamic in definition, and the primary requirements for the job are your excellent social skills and an eye for the styles that best suit your clients. You will find most cosmetologists choose a specific focus or specialization, despite being well-versed in the many areas the beauty industry covers. Some specializations will require additional coursework in certain states, but one of the benefits of specializing is a higher chance of securing a job quickly. Here are some areas of specialization within the broad realm of cosmetology and their respective responsibilities:
- Hair Stylist — Providing haircare services, including washing, bleaching, or dyeing, cutting and shaping, blow-drying, and styling. Often also giving makeover recommendations for client's look, style, and preferences.
- Nail Technician — Giving basic manicures, nail cleaning and polishing, hand massages, and pedicures, offering artificial and gel nail treatments, and often even spa therapies like hot-oil or paraffin wraps.
- Makeup Artist — Choosing and applying makeup to achieve a specific look for a special performance or event. This process can include applying prosthetic features and styling hair to complement the face.
- Esthetician — Providing skincare services from cleansing to deep treatments like chemical peels and pore extraction. Hair removal and massages are also everyday tasks for estheticians, along with handling the clinical responsibilities of working in a sterile environment.
- Beautician — Offering the services of both hair stylist, including hair care, coloring, and styling, and skincare services, such as facial treatments and waxing.
What It Takes: Taking Classes & Receiving Training in CosmetologyIf you meet the foundational requirements of being at least sixteen years old and having your GED or high school diploma, you can enroll in a cosmetology program. Some states and schools have additional requirements for new enrollees, so do your research to make sure you qualify for the program of your choice. You may find yourself looking into beauty programs offered in unlikely places. There are a variety of ways that schools will provide cosmetology programs, so searching for and finding the right plan for your needs may require some digging. For the most part, your options will include:
- State licensing beauty school programs
- Degree-granting beauty schools
- Community college beauty programs
- Private or for-profit beauty schools
What Do You Cover in Cosmetology Classes?Receiving your cosmetology diploma or certificate can take anywhere from 9 to 15 months of coursework, and these courses will aim to teach you techniques on hair, skin, and nail care and treatment. You will also take classes in human anatomy, chemistry, hygiene, human physiology, and safety practices to help control infections. Your class topics may include:
- Observing the temperatures and chemicals that allow hair to curl or straighten
- Practicing the right techniques for a skin-tightening facial
- Studying safe waxing practices and other hair removal procedures
- Learning about different skin areas and their level of sensitivity
Getting Licensed: Cosmetology License Training Hours and RequirementsIn addition to your regular coursework of studying and taking quizzes, you will need to complete anywhere hundreds to thousands of hours of training in a variety of specialties before taking your licensing exam. The exact amount of hours will depend on your state, but you can expect to put in long days of instruction and hands-on practice. Some states, like Pennsylvania, allow apprenticeship hours to take the place of these training hours if you have managed to secure an apprenticeship during your studies. However, for your cosmetology license, the number of apprenticeship hours required may be much higher than if you opted for just training hours. In PA, for example, it's 2,000 as opposed to 1,250. Once you have the hours complete and have finished your courses, there is just one more step you must complete — pass your state's licensing exam. Here's what you should do for the testing process:
- Know what the exam covers: In beauty school, at least one of your classes will address the written licensure exam for your state. The exam will likely include state regulations on sanitation and negligence laws, which you'll probably start to pick up on through your practical experience.
- Enroll in a prep course: Typically, beauty school students will also enroll in an online test prep course. These classes allow you to become comfortable with the multiple choice nature of the written exam and will also give you an opportunity to brush up on some of the details you have learned in your cosmetology school classes.
- Sign up for your test: You will want to sign up online and pay your test fee before exam day. For licensing examinations, your city will have testing locations for exam takers to submit their responses in a regulated environment. Be sure to sign up for your test well in advance, so that you can secure a spot at the testing facility of your choice.
- Take your test: Arrive at your testing facility early to make sure you find the exam location with plenty of time. Come well fed and rested, and make sure to leave most personal belongings at home. Chances are, the facility will provide you a temporary locker to secure your wallet, keys, and cell phone before you enter the test room, as you won't be permitted to take anything inside with you.
- Get your results: Within two weeks, you should know whether you passed your exam or not. If you pass, you'll receive your newly earned license in the mail. If not, you can go online and find the next possible exam date to give the test another shot.
Entering the Workforce: Finding a Job and Succeeding in CosmetologyYou can opt for an apprenticeship in a local salon if you have any difficulty finding a position right off the bat. Apprenticeships are paid jobs and can give you some further instruction for up to two years. Beauty salons are not the only places you can search for cosmetology jobs, however. Barber shops, retail locations, spas, and studios are all good locations to check for position availability. As with any job search, you may find yourself submitting resumes and making phone calls until you discover the right fit. Use the connections you made in beauty school to your advantage, and you can always do some searching online. You never know who may be in the market for a new stylist. If you want to excel in your field, go the extra mile wherever possible. Acquaint yourself with both trendy and niche styles, learn about all different skin types, and spend a lot of time socializing with your customers. Listen to their concerns and desires for their look, and offer them your best work. Learn about their lives, remember their children's names, and know what makes your clients laugh and relax. Happy customers produce referrals, after all, which means you'll never be out of a job. Once you have a few years of experience under your belt, there will always be new opportunities waiting for you:
- Will you turn to teaching?
- Accept an upper management role?
- Open your own spa or salon?
Attaining a Lifestyle of Possibility: Is Cosmetology Right for You?Life as a cosmetologist indeed offers endless career options for you to explore. Despite all of the cosmetology license requirements and the demands of the job itself, cosmetologists rank among those with the highest job satisfaction around. This comes as a surprise to a lot of people, but definitely not to those who have spent their careers making others happy through their beautifying services. Part of the reason cosmetology is so rewarding is the fact that it is result-oriented, fast-paced both in getting your career off the ground and daily workflow, and offers an abundance of passionate, creative pursuits. Your friends will love your services and expertise, and your job will always be in high demand for special events. Specializing can also get your foot in the door in a new field, so you'll never get tired of the beauty industry.
Furthering Your Career: Cosmetology License Renewal and Continuing EducationAs you progress through your cosmetology career, you will have to keep your skills and expertise up to date and stay current on beauty trends in your field. Some ways to do that include:
- Talking frequently with other cosmetologists in your line of work
- Attending health and beauty trade shows
- Reading style-focused blogs and subscribing to popular beauty magazines
- Geared to help you stay current on laws, regulations, sanitation requirements, and teaching methods
- Available for subjects ranging from shampooing and wigs to manicurist instructing
- Certified by the licensing authorities so you can trust the course material is reliable and up-to-date
- Allows you the ability to log in and make progress with ample flexibility and sensitivity to your schedule
- Budget-friendly and competitive thanks to our price match guarantee
How to Get the Most out of Your Cosmetology Education
January 3, 2018 | Continuing Education, Cosmetology, ProfessionWhen you attend cosmetology school, the educational institution has one goal: to get you ready to pass your state board exams. While getting prepared to pass these challenging exams is certainly one of the reasons you signed up for a cosmetology education, you can use the time you spend in school to do a lot more. To get the most out of your cosmetology education, you need to do more than just log your hours. You need to use the hours you spend on campus to get as much knowledge, experience, and exposure as possible. Tips to Getting the Most From Cosmetology School Your experience in cosmetology school is the groundwork for your career in your chosen profession. With this in mind, you should approach your education the same way you’d approach a new job. You should arrive early for class so you have ample time to prepare for your lesson and clean and organize your equipment. Remember: your instructors and your school’s administrators are professionals in the cosmetology industry. Many of them will have their own active salons and all of them will have contacts in the industry. If you make a positive impression on your instructors and administrators by arriving early like you would for a job, they may be willing to help you find employment when you graduate. Here are some additional tips you can use to get the most out of your time in cosmetology school:
- Dress Appropriately and Be Respectful: When you’re in cosmetology school, you’re doing more than learning — you’re making an impression on those around you. Just like you should arrive early for class, you should also dress in accordance with your school’s dress code and be respectful to your instructors and fellow students. Excellent customer service is one of the critical keys to being a successful cosmetologist, and school is a great time to practice having a positive attitude even when you’re in a bad mood.
- Practice, Practice, Practice: Whether you’re working on mannequins or accumulating hours on the floor, use your time in school to get as much practice as you possibly can. When you have the chance to work on live clients, embrace it instead of shying away — even if they want difficult haircuts using techniques you haven’t mastered yet. Your instructors will be on hand to answer questions and explain your next steps if you get overwhelmed. School is the ideal place to push yourself beyond what you’ve done before, because your instructors can help you whenever you need assistance.
- Volunteer: Even if you’re maximizing the amount of practice you can get during school hours, you should seek out opportunities to get even more practice by volunteering. If your school or community has an upcoming special event that requires the skills you’re learning, volunteer to help out. As people recognize your talent and willingness to help, your reputation will grow and they may eventually offer to pay you for your services as you master your craft further.
- Keep a Portfolio: From your first solo haircut to the last, keep a portfolio of every cut and style you do while you’re in cosmetology school. This visual record will not only provide you with a record of how far your skills have progressed, but will also be a useful tool as you look for employment after you graduate.
- Invest in Equipment: As a student, you may be able to attend a trade show or two during your time in school. If you do, take full advantage of these opportunities to invest in the highest-quality equipment you can afford. The tools you’ll get from your school won’t be professional-grade and you’ll have used them to cut mannequin hair. These factors will make it inappropriate for you to use your school shears or clippers in a professional environment post-graduation. The tools available at industry trade shows are often offered at discounted prices, so attending is a smart way to start accumulating high-quality, long-lasting equipment affordably.