There is a difference between a cosmetologist and make-up artist even though their jobs may seem similar at first glane.

A cosmetologist is trained in the study and application of beauty treatment, and not limited to only make-up. Branches of cosmetology include hair and nail treatment, beauty treatment, and other areas. A make-up artist primarily excels at applying make-up and prosthetics. The services of a make-up artist are required in theatrical industry, television, film, fashion and modelling and other related areas.

Comparison chart

Cosmetologist versus Make-up Artist comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartCosmetologistMake-up Artist
Definition A cosmetologist is trained in the study and application of beauty treatment, including but not limited to make-up. A make-up artist primarily excels at applying make-up and prosthetics.
Areas and Techniques The areas of expertise of a cosmetologist include hair styling and shampooing, nail treatment including manicure and pedicure, esthetics, and beauty treatment. The techniques used by a make-up artist include fashion and theatrical make-up, special effects make-up, airbrushing and high definition make-up.
Courses Certificate Courses Degree course in make-up
Make-up artist
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Make-up artist

Differences in Techniques and Areas of expertise

The areas of expertise of a cosmetologist include hair styling and shampooing, nail treatment including manicure and pedicure, esthetics, and beauty treatment. Hair styling includes cutting and styling hair with the use of colors, and other chemical treatment. A shampoo technician is employed by salons and specializes in preparing the hair for a stylist. Nail treatment include manicure, and pedicure which includes shaping and painting the nails, along with application of artificial tips and designs on it. Beauty treatments include hair removal (including laser treatment and electrolysis) massage and body wraps, skin care and non-surgical facelifts.

The techniques used by a make-up artist include fashion and theatrical make-up, special effects make-up, airbrushing and high definition make-up. Fashion make-up is commonly used by models in the fashion or magazine industry to acquire a sophisticated look, whereas theatrical make-up is done to highlight the actors' expressions on stage so ensure it is visible to the audience from a distance. Prosthetics and plaster casting are used for special effects required in films or theatrical performances to portray non-human appearances. Airbrushing is a technique used to apply smooth make-up without a heavy build-up of the product. High Definition make-up relies on the use of ingredients such as minerals and gives the skin a flawless finish.

Courses and Formal Training

Certificate courses in cosmetology and licensing are mandatory before practising cosmetology in most places in the United States. The University of Osnabrück in Germany offers a degree in cosmetology which not only includes hairstyling but also offers study and specialization in other areas.

There are various courses offered for make-up artists too by colleges and other academies. A lot of industry experience is required, however, before one gets known in this field.

References

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"Cosmetologist vs Make-up Artist." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 21 Sep 2016. < >