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Cosmetologist vs Esthetician: What is the difference between cosmetology and esthetics?

Cosmetologist vs Esthetician - esthetics treatment on left, cosmetology/hair treatment on right

Cosmetologist vs. esthetician – what’s the difference between these two beauty service providers?  While these two dynamic fields share some of the same qualities and are often interrelated, there are key differences that set them apart.

So, what’s the difference between cosmetology and esthetics?

Before we get into that, let’s break down what a cosmetologist is and what an esthetician is.

Cosmetology is an area of study that includes hair, skin, and nails. Many cosmetologists focus their career in one of these areas, while others work in both hair and nails.

If a cosmetologist undergoes additional training, they can earn a license as an esthetician, too. There are many perks to going this route, as it will put you in greater demand and open the doors to more business.


Esthetics is an area of study focused solely on skin. A licensed esthetician knows a whole lot about skin and how to treat different conditions of the epidermis. They are not licensed to color, cut or treat hair.

Estheticians may specialize in certain niches, such as: permanent makeup, electrolysis, and microdermabrasion.


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Cosmetologist vs Esthetician: Similarities

  • Both may find work in a salon or spa, or start their own practice
  • They may also find work in a hotel or working onboard a cruise ship
  • May require you to work weekends or evenings
  • Both work to make their clients look and feel their best, which makes both careers very rewarding

Esthetics Training Vs. Cosmetology Training at Avenue Five Institute

At Avenue Five Institute in Austin, Texas, we offer both Esthetician training as well as Cosmetology training.

By enrolling in Esthetician School you’ll learn the following tools of the trade:

  • Facial massage
  • Lash and brow tinting
  • Facial treatments
  • How to analyze and treat different types of skin, as well as different skin conditions
  • Basic hair removal
  • Aromatherapy
  • Extractions and exfoliation
  • Basic makeup application
  • How to use a high frequency machine
  • General anatomy of the skin
  • Physiology, histology and skin chemistry
  • + more

By enrolling in Cosmetology School you’ll learn the following:

  • Haircutting and hairstyling
  • Hair coloring
  • Chemical relaxing
  • Makeup
  • Texture
  • Braiding
  • Basic skincare
  • Nail technology
  • +more

In both programs, you’ll have the chance to work with top-notch beauty products. Since we don’t promote one specific brand, you’ll work with over a dozen product lines and manufacturers. 

There is more overlap if you enroll in a cosmetology program, so if you are unsure which is the best program for you, you may want to consider becoming a cosmetologist. From there, you can enroll in advanced skincare courses to further pursue a career in skincare. 

We welcome you to come take a tour of our school! Come see what enriching, hands-on, supportive education looks like first-hand. We are here to help our students every step of the way.

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