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Work Conditions: Barbers, Cosmetologists, and Other Personal Appearance Workers




Barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers usually work in clean, pleasant surroundings with good lighting and ventilation. Good health and stamina are important, because these workers are on their feet for most of their shift. Because prolonged exposure to some hair and nail chemicals may cause irritation, special care is taken to use protective clothing, such as plastic gloves or aprons.

Most full-time barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers put in a 40-hour week, but longer hours are common in this occupation, especially among self-employed workers. Work schedules may include evenings and weekends, the times when beauty salons and barbershops are busiest. Because barbers and cosmetologists generally will be working on weekends and during lunch and evening hours, they may arrange to take breaks during less popular times. About 30 percent of cosmetologists and 19 percent of barbers work part time and 14 percent of cosmetologists and 13 percent of barbers have variable schedules.