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Job Descriptions, Definitions Roles, Responsibility: Barbers, Cosmetologists, and Other Personal Appearance Workers




Barbers and cosmetologists, also called hairdressers and hairstylists, help people look neat and well-groomed. Other personal appearance workers, such as manicurists and pedicurists, shampooers, and skin care specialists provide specialized services that help clients look and feel their best.

Barbers cut, trim, shampoo, and style hair. Also, they fit hairpieces and offer scalp treatments and facial massages. In many States, barbers are licensed to color, bleach, or highlight hair and offer permanent-wave services. Many barbers also provide skin care and nail treatments.

Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists provide beauty services, such as shampooing, cutting, coloring, and styling hair. They may advise clients on how to care for their hair, straighten hair or give it a permanent wave, or lighten or darken hair color. Additionally, cosmetologists may train to give manicures, pedicures, and scalp and facial treatments; provide makeup analysis; and clean and style wigs and hairpieces.

A number of workers offer specialized services. Manicurists and pedicurists, called nail technicians in some States, work exclusively on nails and provide manicures, pedicures, coloring, and nail extensions to clients. Another group of specialists is skin care specialists, or estheticians, who cleanse and beautify the skin by giving facials, full-body treatments, and head and neck massages and by removing hair through waxing. Electrologists use an electrolysis machine to remove hair. Finally, in some larger salons, shampooers specialize in shampooing and conditioning clients’ hair.

In addition to their work with clients, personal appearance workers are expected to maintain clean work areas and sanitize all work implements. They may make appointments and keep records of hair color and permanent-wave formulas used by their regular clients. A growing number actively sell hair products and other cosmetic supplies. Barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers who operate their own salons have managerial duties that include hiring, supervising, and firing workers, as well as keeping business and inventory records, ordering supplies, and arranging for advertising.