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Cosmetology 2: The Business of Skin and Nail Care

This vibrant industry needs skilled and personable professionals well-versed in the latest trends and technological advances. Explore what the day-to-day life of a cosmetologist is like, and discover that cosmetology is much more than knowing and applying techniques. Learn skin care and facials, how to give manicures and pedicures, how to apply artificial nails, and gain an understanding of different hair removal techniques. Discover the next steps towards launching a rewarding and creative career in cosmetology.

Review Course Outline

Units at a Glance

Unit 1: Working in a Salon

Everyone wants to feel beautiful. Wouldn’t it be great to enter a profession where you can help people look their best? Cosmetology has many areas you can work in to achieve your dreams. Here we will look at some of the basics of becoming a salon professional, from communicating well to keeping the workplace safe. Put your best foot forward as we start our journey behind the scenes in the beauty industry.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Begin building your professional image
  • Communicate effectively using reflective listening
  • Name the main types of skin disorders
  • Employ infection control measures
  • Identify the functions of Safety Data Sheets

Unit 2: Nails: Basics of Fingers and Toes

Many women (and men!) want to have beautiful hands and feet. Think of all the celebrities who show off beautifully manicured fingernails and perfectly pedicured feet. Professional nail care is a huge market, as we all want to look as nice as the rich and famous. Learn the basics of professional nail care, products, and tools, and start on your way to beautifying those toes and fingers. Pick a color, and let’s get started!

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Distinguish the differences between the cuticle and the eponychium
  • Assess the nails and skin for common problems
  • Comply with safety and infection control measures for nail care
  • Perform a basic manicure including hand massage
  • File nails into the five basic shapes for women

Unit 3: Nail Enhancements: From Tips to Wraps

The glamor of nail extensions used to be only for royalty or the extremely wealthy. Now, with newer and more accessible methods for applying long and sculpted nails, ordinary people can have outrageously attractive nails. From “acrylics” to gel and nail wraps, learn how to extend and shape nails for the modern and glamorous clients in your community!

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Apply nail tips properly
  • Explain the chemistry of acrylic nail enhancements
  • Work with UV or LED cured gel nail products
  • Maintain tips and acrylic, gel, and nail wraps
  • Utilize proper safety procedures when applying nail enhancements

Unit 4: Specialty Treatments

Salons offer all kinds of great services to pamper their customers. But what are these mysterious specialty “spa” services? Extra massage time, paraffin treatments, French manicures, sculpted nails, and nail art, just to name a few! These glorious extras can be for added relaxation, treatment for rough skin, or to achieve extra beauty of the nails. About the ever-popular French manicure—we will teach you how to do that right here. The best part: these extras give you even more chances to not only wow your clients but make extra money too! And after you have pampered your clients, are you up for creating some magnificent nail art? Let your creativity run wild as we learn some more techniques that will dazzle your clients!

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Distinguish the differences between express and spa services for nails
  • Safely use paraffin treatments for hands and feet
  • Perform a classic French manicure
  • Apply nail forms and sculpt nails into different shapes
  • Experiment with the tools to create nail art

Unit 5: Skin Care: Facials

A clear and clean complexion sparkles from a mile away. Learn how to perform facials, and clients will flock to you because you help them reveal their inner beauty on their faces! Facials are relaxing and help people put their best face forward—cleansed and treated, no matter what skin type they have. What are those mysterious products and machines that are used for facials? They are mysteries no longer—you will learn how and why to use the right products and techniques to give a terrific, rejuvenating facial.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Identify the major skin types and their features
  • Name the different product types that are used in facials
  • Describe the benefits of electrotherapy
  • Record all important information in the client record
  • Perform a basic facial, choosing the correct products for the skin type

Unit 6: Skin Care: Hair Removal

Hair! It can be beautiful or it can be an unwelcome distraction. In a salon, you can have your tresses and locks clipped, curled, dyed, and styled, but most of us also have some stray facial hair we’d rather get rid of. Look no further: the secrets to safe, sanitary, and effective facial hair removal are at your fingertips. Shape those brows, remove stray chin hair, and safely remove that upper lip hair! Clients will love these services and you will be their beauty secret. Facial hair, what facial hair? I never saw a thing!

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Recognize the major contraindications for hair removal
  • Describe the differences between the many types of hair removal
  • Shape the eyebrows to complement face shape
  • Wax the eyebrows, upper lip, and chin using sanitary procedures
  • Instruct clients on home care after a hair removal service

Unit 7: Skin Care: Makeup for Every Face

Fresh, trendy, and dramatic! Professional makeup application takes practice, but here you will learn the basic techniques to start you on your way. Make any client look like a celebrity with your knowledge of face shapes, contouring, and special eye techniques. With a few colors, the right tools, and your creativity, help everyone feel like a star on the red carpet!

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Identify face shapes and use contour to complement and conceal
  • Use color theory to choose appropriate makeup colors for your clients
  • Perform a professional makeup application
  • Safely apply and remove artificial eyelashes
  • Design variations on the smoky eye shadow style

Unit 8: Expanding Your Skills

Ready, set, go! Are you ready to take the next step towards a career as a cosmetologist? Read on and you will find everything you need to know about getting the right training, studying for your licensure exam, and working on getting your first job! Prepare to put your best foot—and hand, and face—forward to get ready for success in the beauty profession!

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Compare the pros and cons of different beauty school programs
  • Methodically prepare for your licensing exam
  • Use the power of networking to expand your contacts
  • Compile a professional portfolio and resume
  • Evaluate whether salon entrepreneurship is a good choice for you

Required Materials: General

General Materials for All Activities/Labs:

A computer with:

    • Internet access
    • A word processing program and a slide-show program
    • A friend or family member to be your model


A camera with:

    • Sound—a cell phone camera is fine
    • Video recording capabilities


  • Trash can
  • Trolley for products and tools
  • Disposable Latex or Nitrile Gloves
  • Clean sheets and towels
  • Examples of work outfits – both appropriate and inappropriate
  • Five beauty products of any kind from your own bathroom (to research their ingredients)


Optional (for those doing labs/activities by hand):

  • Large butcher paper or poster board
  • Printer
  • Markers, colored pencils, crayons

Required Materials: Basic Manicure & Pedicure

  • A desk (technician table)
  • Seating:
    • A technician chair
    • A client chair
    • Low to floor stool
    • Footrest or ottoman
  • Tub large enough for feet
  • Bowl
  • Client Cushion or rolled towel
  • Nail Brushes
  • Nail Clippers
  • Nail Nippers
  • Toenail Clippers
  • Toenail Nippers
  • Nail Board
  • Wooden Pusher
  • Cotton balls or gauze
  • Polish Remover
  • Cuticle remover
  • Massage lotion or oil
  • Base Coat
  • Colored Nail Polish (at least 2 different colors)
  • Top Coat
  • Disinfection container
  • Disinfectant (or water to stand in for chemical)
  • Cleaning brush

Required Materials: Nail Enhancement

  • Abrasive boards
  • Buffer block
  • Nail Dehydrator
  • Nail Tip Adhesive
  • Nail Tips
  • Nail forms
  • Tip Cutter
  • Monomer/Polymer application brush
  • Dappen dishes
  • Nail primer
  • Monomer liquid
  • Polymer powder
  • Adhesive-backed fabric
  • Small piece of plastic
  • Small scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Wrap Resin
  • Wrap Resin Accelerator
  • Cleansing solution
  • Gel Brush
  • Lint-free cleansing wipes
  • Nail tips and resin
  • Nail dehydrator
  • UV or LED gel lamp
  • UV or LED gel
  • UV or LED gel polish
  • UV or LED bonding gel or gel primer

Required Materials: Facials

  • A facial table (if you don’t have one, have your client lie down on a bed or in a recliner)
  • Magnifying lamp (or a flexible lamp and a magnifying glass)
  • Headband, head covering, or towel with fastener
  • Cotton pads
  • Facial gown (you may substitute a large shirt or apron)
  • Paper and Pencil
  • Bowls
  • Antiseptic lotion
  • Cleansers and Makeup Removers
  • Exfoliant
  • Masks
  • Massage cream or lotion
  • Moisturizers and/or sun-protective lotion
  • Toner
  • Gauze
  • Mask brush
  • Paper towels
  • Spatulas
  • Sponges
  • Tissues
  • Facial steamer (optional)

Required Materials: Eyebrows

  • Roll of disposable paper
  • Headband, head covering, or towel with fastener
  • Cotton pads
  • Eyebrow brush
  • Wax heater
  • Wax
  • Wax remover
  • Tweezers
  • Fabric strips (if using soft wax)
  • Soothing or antiseptic lotion
  • Gentle cleanser and makeup remover
  • Toner
  • Spatulas or wooden applicators
  • Eyebrow and lash tint or dye (if legal in your state)

Required Materials: Makeup Application

  • Makeup Cape
  • Headband or hair clip
  • Cotton pads, puffs, and swabs
  • Sponges, Spatulas, and tissues
  • Makeup Palette
  • Disposable brushes for lip and mascara
  • Assorted makeup brushes (for concealer, eye shadow, eyeliner, powder, brows, blush)
  • Eyelash curler and comb
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Cleansers
  • Concealers
  • Eye shadows
  • Eyeliner
  • Face powders
  • Foundations
  • Lip Colors
  • Lip Liners
  • Mascara
  • Moisturizers
  • Sunscreen
  • Toner

Required Materials: Resume & Portfolio Materials

  • Copies of your diplomas, certificates, and awards
  • Photos from practice services you have performed
  • Letters of reference or teacher recommendations
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