Ok, I can't tell you how many cosmetologists that tell me that the esthetician license is useless because you can get a hair license and do facials. I personally wanted an esthetics license because that is my passion, but I am hearing about more cosmos that are doing hair and taking the facial business to. Anyone have any comments on this? I am not trying to be a jack of all trades, I really love what I do!

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Legally yes, anyone with a full Cosmetology licence can do anything in the scope, and that includes waxing and facials, peels, etc.  But their education is limited in this area, so I would hope they are getting continuing education to gain more experience, as they spend the majority of their education in hair.  I personally had a facial done by someone who also does hair, and she runs groupons every months for the facials, and I felt it was one of the worst facials I had ever received.  I felt she didn't understand all the nuances and relaxation techniques that go along with getting results.  And just like when color is put on to process and the hair stylist disappears, she vanished for 20 minutes while my mask was on, which I absolutely hated.  Make yourself stand out above just anyone by going above and beyond.  I've had numerous clients tell me 'that's the best facial massage' or 'best facial' etc.  I feel that's because the scope of our license is specialized. 

I think there is a misconception that just because someone can do a facial doesn't mean they really are passionate about skin care and have their clients' best interests at heart. It just seems like another money maker for them. I love skin care, and I invest a lot of time and money in continuing education to keep me on my toes, and to expand my knowledge. I think a lot of non-estheticians think a facial is just slopping on some creams and calling it a day. Thanks for your input.

I completely agree.  I'm not happy about people without the passion for skin doing facials, but unfortunately, it's legal.   I just always hope to set myself apart with my level of service to my clients. 

I totally agree with you..She can easily take the license.. If you become a cosmetologist or a dermatologist... However your expertise in hairs but you can easily do facials..

They can NOT do Chemical Peels or Microdermabration unless they have compleated the certification in those areas which is NOT typically included in Cosmo training, but if they have taken those classes they can perform those services. 9 times out of 10 most Cosmos are focused on hair and I have heard of Stylists doing facials at the shampoo bowl and that just makes me cringe as an Esthetician! But yes they can do facials. The real question is do you want them to? I know I dont...Comsmo students from my experience seem to believe that they know EVERYTHING, and that is so annoying, but I wouldn't let them touch my skin with a 10 foot pole. Their skin care training is just very low-level basics...

LOL Joshua! I agree I wouldn't let them touch my face either, and yes their skin care training is very basic and surely most don't go on for continuing education. The cosmos I know refuse to even get a facial, so not sure how they think they should be giving them when they don't even care enough about their skin!

I think some people don't take estheticians seriously, but as we can see from this wonderful site, there are a lot of truly passionate and ethicial estheticians out there.

I really received no special training for peels or microderm, certainly only did 1 peel in school (only 15% glycolic) and never did micro on a machine in school, but I can do them within the scope of my license and didn't require any further certification.  Just training from the owner/other estheticians at places of employment on the product/machine and that was it.  I'm sure a cosmetologist could legally do those things as well.  Unless each state is different.  

Hi Jodi,
Yes, some of these schools need to help students. I did chem peels and Microderm in school, but we didn't do any Brazilian waxing which is a shame. I've had to pay good money to advance  my education.

I got alot of training in spas where I worked on the more advanced stuff, or from the product lines themselves.  But I'm pretty sure anyone with either an esthetics or cosmotology license can legally do the peels or machines, whether properly trained or not.  I made sure I was comfortable with these things from the training I received by my employer before doing them on paying clients.  But who knows if everyone does that.  


I had a bad experience with a cosmetologist trying to be a skin care specialist one time, I worked for a place where we did facials as well as sold alot of retail and alot of skin lines.  A lady came in and talked to a makeup rep who was in the store at the time (and held a cosmetologist license) and she had over $150 of products in her hands after the rep was done with her.  This customer then came to me, the skin therapist and said to me..."Will these products help soothe and hydrate my irritated skin?  I'm so red and dry from overuse of retinol and AHA's."  The products she was holding was a strong anti-aging line full of retinol and AHA's.  I couldn't let her walk out, and directed her to the calming line.  She naturally was confused and left with nothing.  This makeup rep proceeded to scream at me in the middle of the salon and management actually backed her up by stating that she was licensed (but not a specialized esthetics license).  They  told me I should have left the customer walk out with those products and let her bring the back when they irriated her skin.  Really?  I was appalled and could never do this.  I personally know after that, and the bad facial I had by a cosmetologist, I will only go to someone holding an esthetics license for my skin. 

Wow, that is crazy! I think your personal experience is a lesson in terms of what it means to be an esthetician, and about some unscrupulous spa owners who will sell anything under the sun. The thing about cosmos too, I wonder if they have liability insurance and if it would cover them for certain esthetics procedures. I think some cosmos think esthetics is the stepchild of the beauty industry. Thanks for sharing that eye opening story.

Agree.  Clients will absolutely perceive the difference...  unless they get a facial from a Cosmo at the shampoo bowl and think that's what facials are all about and then they never try a REAL skin treatment. 

As for the certifications, they vary so much by state.  Sadly there are states where cosmetologists can do it all with no advance training.

The bigger question is insurance - for example, within the ASCP family of insurance, esthetics is the highest yearly premium, then massage, then hair and nails.  Most cosmetologists are just going to get coverage for hair (if they get any at all), which means that there is no coverage if they decide to do esthetic services...  yikes!

The spa where I am currently working will not hire a cosmetologist as a skin therapist.  Cosmetologists aren't thoroughly educated in skin as a licensed esthetician would be.  In my opinion, I wouldn't go to a cosmetologist for any kind of facial treatment, nor would I hire one as a skin therapist. 


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