Powerful Geography
Barbers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists

Barbers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists

Barbers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists


Main Topic: Human Geography
Secondary Topic: Environment and Society

Overview: Cosmetologists provide hair and other services to enhance clients’ appearance. They work mostly in barbershops or salons. Most are full time, although part-time work is common. Work schedules may vary and often include evenings and weekends. Particularly, cosmetologists are responsible for inspecting and analyzing hair, scalp, and skin to recommend services or treatment, discuss hairstyle options, shampoo, color, lighten, and condition hair, chemically change hair texture, cut, dry, and style hair, trim facial hair, receive payments from client and clean and disinfect all tools and work areas. Common tools may include combs and hairbrushes, clippers and scissors, straight razors, blow dryers, and curling and flat irons. They also may keep records of products used and services provided to clients, such as hair color, hair treatment, and clipper setting. Those who operate their own barbershop or salon have managerial duties that may include hiring, supervising, and firing workers. They also may keep business and inventory records, order supplies, and arrange for advertising.

The following are examples of Cosmetologist job titles:

Barbers shampoo, cut, and style hair, mostly for male clients. They also may fit hairpieces, provide facials, trim beards and mustaches, and offer facial and head shaving. Depending on the state in which they work, some barbers are licensed to bleach, color, and highlight hair and to offer permanent-wave services.

Hairstylists and cosmetologists offer a wide range of hair services, such as shampooing, cutting, coloring, and styling. They often provide consultation and advise clients on how to care for their hair at home. Some also clean and style wigs and hairpieces. Hairstylists and cosmetologists also provide facial and scalp treatments, makeup analysis, and skincare and nail services. In addition, some recommend hair care or skincare products. For more information about workers who specialize in skincare treatment or in fingernail and toenail services, see the profiles for skincare specialists or manicurists and pedicurists, respectively. Barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists work mostly in barbershops or salons, although some work in spas, hotels, or resorts.

Cosmetologists need geographic skills for different reasons. To begin with, hair and skin type and quality largely depends on which geographic region a person is coming from or what kind of climate the person has been exposed to. Likewise, different skin problems may arise because of the atmospheric qualities or level of pollution and even the availability of a certain kind of virus or bacteria present in the air of a specific place. The geographic characteristics of a place significantly influences these issues. Hence, having geographic and ecological knowledge would serve the skin care specialists the best in identifying these issues and administering the proper solutions. They can also identify and record geographic patters and geographic causes for incidences of skin problems based on different sources of data using GIS.

Geographers at work:  Health geographers, human geographers, environmental geographers

Recommended College Courses:  Health geography, human geography, social geography, environmental geography, geographic information science, physical geography

Skills:  Cultural analysis and research, geographic information systems, spatial analysis.

Occupation Group: Personal Care and Service

Learn more about Cosmetologist from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/barbers-hairstylists-and-cosmetologists.htm#tab-3

Written by Binay Thapa


Barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists provide haircutting, hairstyling, and other services related to personal appearance.
Barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists provide haircutting, hairstyling, and other services related to personal appearance.