If you have been styling hair or performing cosmetology or beauty work for a long time and want a break from the daily grind, there are plenty of options out there for your next step. This is not an industry that is dying down any time soon, particularly in the United States, which has one of the largest market shares for beauty worldwide. In the world, the beauty industry was a $511 billion dollar industry in 2021 and is projected to be $716 billion by 2025.
The jobs are there if you are looking for them. And with those numbers, it is reasonable to conclude that the jobs are going to be there for a long time. You don’t have to be stuck in the salon or department store with the stylist’s chair anymore.
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There are a number of things that you can do with a career in cosmetology that pay well and will let you bring out your business or creative side, or both! Learn more about those jobs here.
1. The field of cosmetology is more than just good makeup
Fashion and beauty are the words you will hear for this industry on the red carpets. But cosmetology is the industry word for those seeking or training professionals to put people on the red carpet looking outstanding from the shoulders up and all over their glowy and sparkly skin. The styling is fashion, everything else is cosmetology.
From the skin to the nails to the hair to the face, that is cosmetology. Those are the three areas of expertise for the industry. If you spend the day with cosmetology, it typically ends with good makeup.
It doesn’t start there. Along with making someone look beautiful for the day, the field of cosmetology also includes the many procedures and treatments that can help people from all walks of life look or feel beautiful.
2. If you like your makeup, the field of cosmetology has a fascinating history
The human system likes to look pretty. Our minds and our souls just like to create an aesthetic appeal to the world. We do this to attract romantic partners, jobs, or just to feel good about who we are that day.
This has always been the case since the beginning of time. Humans have wanted to find ways to make themselves look and feel better about themselves. There are museums all over the world filled with artifacts from thousands of years ago that were used to paint beauty, style hair, or even make skin softer.
The products used in 4000 BC by the ancient Egyptians were among the first known. This culture would use minerals to format makeup and were the first culture to use kohl chalk to create lines on the face near the eyes. We still use kohl eyeliner today.
They were also the first culture known to use the chemical called henna to paint hair and nails. The Romans also liked to color their hair, and they would choose the color that matched their status in society. Red hair to the Romans was a wealth symbol, while blondes were among the middle class.
The lower class people had black hair, a hair color that is the most common hair color in the world today. The Romans would use a chemical called cinnabar for lipstick but went with very pale skin for skin care. They even used chalk to make their skin look whiter, which is still used today in many face powders.
The Greeks weren’t far off with their cosmetology but instead used white lead for their faces. They also were fans of cinnabar and vermillion for the lips. Thousands of years later, the world of cosmetology had not much changed.
During the Victorian Era, much of the same minerals were used all over the world for beauty. Skin care was a prevailing concern for beauty and cosmetology. The Victorians used products that we use today, milk and honey, with a lot of natural additions.
By the 1900s, makeup began to be marketed to the masses. A many by the name as Maksymilian Faktorowicz created one of the first makeup companies. It was called Max Factor.
Among his first clients was the theater community. A love of makeup was born in America. By 1914, Maybelline was founded, a name derived from combining the founder’s sister’s name, Mabel, with the product known as Vaseline, a key ingredient in Maybelline’s mascara.
As the century moved forward, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 would launch the regulations in the industry. A market share was born. Today, makeup and cosmetology has not changed much.
The same products are used on the face. The same treatments are applied to the hair and skin, but technology has advanced so that they can be applied with greater precision, speed, and style. Those same trends and tech are now used to support a growing job market as well.
3. The job of a mortician cosmetologist is not an easy one, but it can be rewarding and offers a good living salary
If you are good at styling and cosmetology, a career in the funeral services industry may be appealing to you. This is an opportunity to have a rewarding job that plays an integral role in the end-of-life experiences for an entire family and their loved ones. In this job, you can style the hair and skin of the deceased for your living.
The annual starting salary is approximately $39,932, and it will depend by the region. You may find starting salaries at the lower end here, but that may be a beginner’s salary. If you already have a long career in hairstyling, your starting pay will likely be higher.
The primary job duty in this role is to have someone’s loved one look as they would when they were alive. The goal is to create a natural look that helps the friends and family say goodbye. You would style hair, makeup, and sometimes nails.
Many jobs can be freelance, where you build a portfolio and work with many funeral homes in your area. Having attention to detail, flexibility in your schedule and empathy for others will help as well. But you’ll already have that if you have done well in beauty and hair prior to this.
4. Bring your skills to life by teaching other people how to make people beautiful as a corporate trainer
A corporate trainer in cosmetology will teach others in the industry how to be the best beauty stylists in the business. Salaries can get very high here as it will really depend on who you work for, but the median salary here is $50,000. Like any beauty stylist, hairdresser, or cosmetology position, you can do this work as an independent contractor or work full-time for a company.
For many cosmetologists and hairdressers, they like to build a portfolio of clients who pick them as their favorite and never stop using them. You can also build on that mindset in this job by being an excellent teacher. Here you are going to go to different businesses or corporate organizations and teach budding hairdressers and stylists how to do the job.
They may be new to the job or simply new to the brand you are working with and need to know the ins and outs of the company policies and what is expected of the stylist to maintain that brand. So, for example, you may work for a big company like Maybelline. Here you would instruct the people using, demonstrating, and selling these products on how to sell them.
Corporate trainers are used for every beauty brand in the world. A salon chain may also be a place where you could train employees and franchisers. Some companies in California and New York, for example, hire people to go into the homes of VIPs to style them for special occasions.
The corporate trainer, in this case, would teach those employees or freelancers how to do it in a way that is in line with the brand. You would need to have in-depth product knowledge because sales can be part of this job. For example, a stylist who works on someone at home can sell the remainder of the products they use to the client after applying them, and will need to know how to teach the client how to use them.
All of this requires training, which you would be the lead on as a cosmetologist that manages corporate training. You need a flexible schedule, and likely you’ll need to be able to travel.
5. Give your love of beauty to the world of furry creatures when you don’t want to work with humans anymore
If you have had enough of the complaints and high demands of humans who don’t like the hair that you’ve done, you can change your career path to working with pets. This is a job where you can groom pets for a living. The starting pay here can start around $34,280, but there is job growth at 29 percent by 2029 here.
Working as a freelancer if you can get the clientele may make you more money, as you will be in more control of your living wage. This is a job where your beauty skills are taken into the pet world, and you don’t need a license for this. You may need some additional training, but as a beauty stylist with some career behind you, this is something you are accustomed to already.
This is another job where you can take the work as high-end or low-key as you want to. Open up a business in your home where people bring their fur babies to you for their bi-weekly or monthly grooming. Or go to their homes and take care of their pets at home, so they don’t have to run an errand to get this task done.
You can charge more on your billing for things like this once you build this business and client list. Loving animals and being good with people is helpful here as well of course. You can do this if you love styling and want to take things in a different direction.
6. Become a wig or hair extensions maker and work in the privacy of your own home or for a business when you change careers
The field of wig making is a growing field and is expected to grow even more within the next few years. The starting salary here is approximately $36,582, but there are bonuses to be had in the business. You might get a base pay for one wig, but be incentivized with bonuses either by your company or client if you create something beautiful here.
Salaries here are also going to be dependent on your region. For example, if you work in New York or Los Angeles, you may make considerably more as the clients here are willing to pay for it. One report indicated that Boston wig makers made 35 percent more than the rest of the country.
More and more people are using wigs to feel more beautiful or create a different look. Some celebrities use them all the time to mix up their looks and make it easier to style themselves without a stylist for the day. You can be the one that makes the wigs.
Making extensions as well can be a part of this job, as it is somewhat a similar field. Extensions are pieces or sections of hair that are woven into someone’s natural hair to create a fuller and more natural look. This is one of the fastest-growing areas of hairstyling in the beauty industry today, and there is some serious money to be made here.
You can create extension sets from natural or synthetic hair, both are just as popular with natural hair being the most expensive. Working with this may get you a higher base pay. The best business here will be a wig-making business where you are on a deadline to create something on order.
However, you can also start the business by building a set of wigs and/or hair extensions and having them as samples for potential clients to look at. You’ll need to know hair very well here, but if you have come this far, you are already closer to that than you know. Become a wig maker.
It may be one of the most rewarding jobs in your field when you really study what is involved here.
7. Create on Updo African hairstyle with hair extension. and make money being beautiful from the privacy of your own home
The world of social media has created a new industry, the world of social influencing. You can also be an influencer with the right talent and marketing. Here you are creating beauty tutorials, usually in video format, and posting them on social media.
Your pay will come from ad revenue, and you may even want to launch classes that people pay to attend. There are some reports that starting pays here can be at $34,500, but there are social influencers that do this that make millions. You likely won’t make millions at first, and you won’t do that without good marketing that you’ll have to invest in.
This won’t be a job that you are making a lot of money on in the first few weeks or even months, but with the right training and time investment, you will get it rolling. You’ll need followers that want to hear from you and marketing to get them. The pay is simple.
The more clicks or likes you get, the more ad revenue you can build. YouTube is a good spot for this, but Instagram is paying well as well if you put the work in.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Hairstyling and Beauty Careers
Q: What other jobs can I get in beauty or hairstyling?
A: There are many jobs in the beauty field. It is a multi-billion dollar industry. Think about what you like to do and start googling or looking on job sites for that job.
You can sell products, be an administrator for a company, market equipment or brands, review products online for money, or even make your own hair apps. There are many things that you can do if you want to take you hairstyling career in a different direction.
Q: Will I need additional training if I want to become a freelance hairstylist or beauty stylist?
A: That will depend entirely on what you want to do. If you want to groom pets for example, and don’t know how some training will be necessary. Most hairdressing and beauty styling jobs require constant training in order to stay on top of the trends.
If you work for a company they will train you, but if you work as a freelancer, you will likely need to make an investment into your own training.
Q: Are there initial investments when changing careers in beauty and hairstyling?
A: This will depend on what you want to do when you change careers in beauty and hairstyling. If you are working on your own in a field like social influencing or wig making, you will need some investments. Marketing will also cost you when you freelance or conduct yourself as an independent contractor.
If you get a job with a company or brand, you won’t need too much initial investment. Perhaps a new wardrobe and some styling for yourself may be necessary, but working for a company is going to be the lowest cost investment when you change careers as a hairstylist or beauty worker.