Difference Between Esthetics and Cosmetology

May 24, 2023

Difference Between Esthetics and Cosmetology

The beauty industry is a great place to become a part of for those who share a love and passion for what it has to offer. If you are a beauty enthusiast looking to start beauty school and become a part of the growing industry, then cosmetology or an esthetic program might be the perfect place to start. Learn more about the difference between the two and find the right program for you and your future. 

Common Similarities Between Cosmetology and Esthetics

Before diving into the differences between cosmetology and esthetics, let’s explore what makes these programs similar. Cosmetology and Esthetics share many similarities when it comes to beauty. During beauty school, you can expect to learn the basics of beauty, skin, hair, nail care, and anatomy. 

Here are a few of the same things that a cosmetology and esthetician student can learn in beauty school:

  • Skincare
  • Nail Care
  • Makeup Application
  • Hair Removal
  • Eyelash Extensions

Estheticians and cosmetologists share common knowledge in the beauty department and are fully aware of the daily demands and trends that come from beauty salons and spas. 


Those who are aspiring to become a cosmetologist can expect to learn more about the art of hair styling and color. While cosmetology programs emphasize on hair treatments and cutting, a cosmetology student can also learn more about nail technology, eyelash extensions, the basics of skincare, esthetics, and more. 

Cosmetology school requires more hours and time during school than an esthetic program does. At Aveda Idaho, our Boise and Twin Falls schools are 1,600 clock hour programs. License requirements vary state to state and depending on the program you choose. 

If you enroll in our cosmetology program, you can choose a full-time or part-time schedule to meet your needs. Here are some courses that you can look forward to if you decide to enroll in our curriculum: 

  • The History of Cosmetology
  • Safety and Sanitation
  • Chemistry of Color
  • Anatomy
  • Waxing
  • Fashion Shows
  • Charity Events
  • Photo Shoots
  • Marketing 
  • Networking
  • Financial Planning
  • Manicures and Pedicures
  • Makeup Application
  • And More!

We encourage lots of hands-on learning at Aveda. You can practice on the salon floor with real clients to help you feel more confident with your skill set and what you have learned in class. All services provided by students are under the supervision of licensed professionals. 

For someone who has a passion for current hair trends and loves helping others to feel more beautiful, then cosmetology could be a great direction for you. Here are some options to consider as a licensed cosmetologist:

  • Salon Owner or Manager
  • Beauty Influencer
  • Brand Representative
  • Industry Writer or Blogger
  • Beauty Salesperson
  • Makeup Artist
  • Cosmetology Instructor
  • And More!

If any of these careers stand out to you, then cosmetology could be a great choice!

Difference Between Esthetics and Cosmetology


Estheticians are known as skin care specialists. They explore the skin’s anatomy and conditions. The main difference is that they focus more on skin than a cosmetologist and they are not trained to cut or style hair. As an esthetician student, you can learn more about facials, hair removal, and makeup application. The curriculum requires less hours than a cosmetology course and at Aveda Institute, our esthetician program is 600 hours. Here are a few topics you can learn from our beauty school:

  • Skin Analysis
  • Temporary Hair Removal
  • Brow Arching
  • Makeup Application
  • Communication Skills
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Skincare Theory
  • Lash & Brow Tinting
  • Chemistry
  • Specialized Skin Treatments
  • Waxing
  • Business Skills
  • Electronic Facials
  • And More!

Similar to our cosmetology program, students have the opportunity to perfect and practice their skills in the student spa. A future in esthetics is overall going to look different for a cosmetology student, but there are some similar career choices. After becoming a licensed esthetician, here are some options to consider for your future:

  • Medical Esthetician
  • Spa Esthetician
  • Spa Manager or Owner
  • Beauty Influencer 
  • Beauty Salesperson
  • Eyelash Specialist
  • Waxing Specialist
  • Industry Writer or Blogger
  • And More!

Esthetics is a great direction to take for those who have a passion for skin care and want to help others to become the best version of themselves. 

Difference Between Esthetics and Cosmetology

Start Your Future in Beauty with Aveda Idaho

Whether you decide to become a cosmetologist or an esthetician, you need to enroll in a beauty school. Beauty school is a great place to start your future and explore your interests. Don’t let life pass you by and make decisions for you. Take action today and apply for Aveda Institute. Build your own future! It starts with a phone call.

Contact our admissions office and schedule a tour of our Twin Falls or Boise campus. A tour can help you get the information and clarity you need when it comes to deciding on a cosmetology or esthetician education. Learn more about our school and get the information you need to feel more confident about your decision.


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Now's the perfect time to pursue a career in cosmetology, esthetics or barbering. We'll even help you find a job after you graduate! We offer financial aid to those who qualify and our schedule allows you to have the perfect school/life balance.

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Our cosmetology program provides students with training in hair, skin, and nail care.

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Our esthetics program focuses on the theory and practical application of skin care techniques.

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Nail Tech

We offer a nail technology program that trains students in the art and science of nail care.

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Our barbering program is designed to teach students fades, shaves, skin care and more.

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Our salon is supervised by our experienced educators, and as a result you can experience and enjoy Aveda salon and spa services at amazing prices. All services are performed by our students under the supervision of licensed professionals. We offer special perks through our Pure Privilege Membership, and we offer a full range of salon and spa services. Check out our work below, and contact us today to book your appointment.
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