Cosmetology Salaries

Cosmetology salaries can be competitive, so researching your various options will help you to better decide which cosmetology career path you should follow. Below is our list of the most popular cosmetology jobs and cosmetology salaries. Find your sought-after cosmetology career below and find out how it stacks up.

*The cosmetology salaries listed below are just an average range and may be higher or lower based on the location you are employed in, as well as the varying bonus and commission rates included for the chosen field. Metropolitan cities are typically on the higher end of the pay scales.

Job Description:
Cosmetologists often referred to as beauty operators, hairdressers, beauticians or manicurists, primarily care for people’s hair, skin and/or nails. Depending on the specific area of expertise, a cosmetologist focusing on hair may shampoo, cut, color, style, and work with chemical solutions. A cosmetologist specializing in skincare would give massages and facials, have knowledge towards types of moisturizers and lotions, shape eyebrows, care for wigs, give advice on makeup application and provide hair removal. Cosmetologists caring for nails will shape fingernails and toenails, trim cuticles and apply polish. 
Cosmetologist Career Path: The cosmetology career path varies based on the field of employment (nail tech, makeup artist, skincare specialist, hairstylist, etc). Depending on what field of cosmetology you choose, typically the next step would be working your way to a management position, branching out to have your own salon, or teaching cosmetology classes to beginners (if the educational route is of interest).
Cosmetologist Salary: $17,224 - $43,000, Average $27,000

Job Description: A barber provides customers with hair care services such as cuts, trims, and shapes, lather and shaves, shapes hair contour, dyeing, shampooing, styling and massaging. The typical barber shampoos and styles hair, as well as provides facial shaving, skin care, and nail treatments. Other duties include assisting with the store, keeping inventory of product, and making appointments.
Barber Salary: $20,486 - $45,000, Average $27,200

Hairdressers or Hairstylists
Job Description: These professionals are often graduates of cosmetology schools. Hairdressers and hairstylists offer a wide variety of services, including hair shampooing, cutting, coloring, and styling. Some hairdressers and hairstylists are also trained to give nail and skin treatments.
Hairdresser/Hairstylist Average Salary: $19,554 - $41,000, Average $26,000 - $30,000

Hair Color Specialists
Job Description: A hair color specialist provides consultation to the customer on the advantages and disadvantages of various hair colors. Hair color specialists also make the customer aware of the amount of upkeep that is required and how often hair needs to be dyed. Hair colorists dye hair, highlight hair, adds lowlights and tints along with other hair care techniques.
Hair Colorist Salary: $30,000 - $33,000+

Esthetician/Skin Care Specialists
Job Descriptions:
Esthetician and skin care specialists cleanse and improve skin by providing facials, massages, and other skin care treatments. Estheticians and skin care specialists are also educated in cosmetic procedures such as body treatments, removing hair through waxing and sometimes electrolysis. An esthetician is also highly knowledgeable on skin care product lines and educating others on skin care needs, treatment of skin care, cleaning the skin and spa treatments.
Esthetician Salary: $21,011 - $40,000

Makeup Artists
Job Descriptions: Makeup artists apply professional cosmetics to clients, recommend and create desired looks and advise others on application. Makeup artists are employed in a variety of markets including salons and spas, special event companies, the entertainment industry (television, theater and the music), department stores and cosmetic companies. Makeup artists who work with makeup-companies may also aid in creating new makeup products, colors and trends, as well as marketing aspects and establishing the brand to the public. Makeup artists can also work with magazines and take part in exciting events such as makeovers.
Makeup Artist Salary: $23,264 - $59,348

Nail Technician
Job Descriptions:  A nail technician, also known as a manicurist or pedicurist, provides manicures, pedicures, nail coloring, and nail extensions. In addition to these services, nail technicians also offer clients advice on how to care for the skin on their hands and feet, have experience in nail art and various applications such as gels, acrylics, airbrush, stencils, gems and glitter.
Nail Technician Salary: $12,000 - $32,000, Average $26,000

Job Description:
A manicurist or pedicurist keeps toenails and fingernails in top shape by cutting, filing, cleaning, and polishing. Manicurists and pedicurists are also mastered in buffing, trimming, painting, and designing nails.
Manicurist/Pedicurist Salary: $17,127 - $36,590

Massage Therapist
Job Description:
Massage therapists are masters of massage and body therapy. They are skilled in performing various massages, such as acupressure, aromatherapy, bodywork, compression and deep tissue. Massage therapists also treat health conditions and muscular problems, improve physical health, reduce stress, promote health and wellbeing and rehabilitate after sports injuries. Many massage therapists work in a spa or branch out and have their own clientele.
Massage Therapist Salary: $24,824 - $69,000

Job Description:
Many salons and spas employ shampooers who specialize in shampooing, conditioning, and treating hair. Some shampooers also service wigs and toupees.
Shampooer Salary: Average $17,470

Salon Owner
Job Description:
A salon owner oversees the entire salon from early in the morning to late at night. Salon owners are in charge of inventory, booking appointments, preparing the salon for the day, greeting employees, cutting hair when needed, supervising the employees, selling products, coming up with solutions for slow days, purchasing, banking, payroll, overhead, employee recruiting, maintaining a positive and exciting work environment, establishing a high level of customer service, and promoting the business. The salon owner establishes the face and brand of the salon.
Salon Owner Salary: $39,000 - $80,000 depending on size and location

Salon/Spa Manager
Job Description:
The salon manager assists the salon owner and manages day-to-day operations, hires the staff, organizes training sessions, orders supplies, makes sure the employees are trained properly and are working well as a team, assists with bank deposits, helps clean, and oversees advertising.
Salon/Spa Manager Salary: $24,713 - $44,000

Salon Coordinator
Job Description:
A salon coordinator works to make sure day-to-day productivity is flowing smoothly, schedules hairstylists appointments, assists the receptionist, answers phones, maintains records, assists customers with product buys, stocks product and inventory and has excellent customer service skills.
Salon Coordinator/Receptionist Salary: $24,000 - $29,000

Cosmetology School Instructor
Job Description:
A cosmetology instructor teaches others the skills needed to be a cosmetologist, makeup artist, hairstylist, nail technician, etc. A cosmetology instructor also works to create lesson plans, leads the classroom, and identifies weak areas students need to improve on. Cosmetology instructors have the option to teach in community colleges, at cosmetology schools and also technical schools, depending on if a cosmetology program is offered at that school. In addition to teaching cosmetology principles, cosmetology teachers must also be able to educate students on business skills, management skills and marketing skills. Yes – a cosmetology instructor needs to be licensed!
Cosmetology School Instructor Salary: $44,000 - $54,000

Director of Education
Job Description:
The Director of Education oversees the entire instructional curriculum and operations at a cosmetology school. A Director of Education must focus on keeping a high enrollment, following current news and events in the industry, hiring and growing instructors and growing the school to its full potential.
Director of Education Salary: $40,920 - 84,000

Photo and Movie Stylist
Job Description:
A photo and movie stylist has one of the most glamorous positions in the beauty industry, since they spend most of their time on sets and working with beauty experts and celebrities. Photo and movie stylists create looks for magazines, runway, movies, television, theater, fashion and other fields of communications.
Photo and Movie Stylist Salary: $47,710 - $61,370+

Platform Artist
Job Description:
A platform artist is a highly skilled individual that typically performs demonstrations on various hair and makeup techniques at trade shows. A platform artist presents in front of hundreds or thousands of people and focuses on the new trends in makeup, cutting, coloring and styling.
Platform Artist Salary: $37,000 - 52,000

Beauty Consultant
Job Description:
Beauty consultants provide consultations and recommendations on skin care and makeup products. Beauty consultants generally work beauty counters of department stores. They provide high quality customer service, perform product demonstrations, and fully educate the consumer on the product line. Beauty consultants are confident in the products their represent, have good social skills and enjoy making people feel good.
Beauty Consultant Career Path: The career path of a beauty consultant begins with working weekends in a retail location (often while in cosmetology school), then advancing to fulltime, expanding into company sales, product training and working their way up to a counter manager at a large store.
Beauty Consultant Salary: $40,000 - $73,000

Beauty Magazine Editor
Job Description:
A beauty magazine editor oversees the beauty editorial portion of a magazine. Beauty editors are responsible for writing the editorial, reviewing beauty products, editing their work, and delivering a high-quality spread for the readers. Beauty editors also select the products they want to feature, acquire products through working with PR firms and must stay up-to-date on the newest beauty trends and products before they hit stores.
Beauty Magazine Writer: $36,464 - $59,044

Beauty Care PR Specialist
Job Description:
A Beauty Care Public Relations Specialist is in charge promoting and representing various beauty clients. A beauty Care PR Specialists main priority is contacting publications and other forms of media to get their clients mentioned or written about. They follow the news and events of their beauty clients, and they communicate with the media to broadcast these successes. Beauty Care PR Specialists also field inquiries from the press, organize events to promote their clients, and write press releases.
Beauty Care PR Specialist Salary: $37,609 - 45,000

Trade Show Manager
Job Description:
A Trade Show Manager is responsible for executing the entire trade show event. A trade show manager decides where the event is going to be held, finalizes contracts with the city to get the event approved, constructs a budget, creates a package, decides the pricing each vendor is responsible for paying, finds and books all the vendors for the event, sells the exhibit spaces, oversees advertising for the event, and handles all concerns. A trade show manager oversees all aspects of the event from beginning to end.
Trade Show Director Salary: $58,748- $82,000

Salaries are cited from, and the US Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor.