10 Common Cosmetology Terms

hair strands
Cosmetologists prepare themselves for a career through training and hands-on experience that can allow them to practice their skills and improve their craft. You can become familiar with the industry and prepare yourself for an exciting career by learning the most basic cosmetology terms that every professional must know.

Here are the 10 most important words that you should include in your vocabulary:


Cosmetic refers to any product, ingredient, substance, or treatment that provides a solution to improve how something looks. Products that are labeled cosmetic are usually topical and are not sold as drugs or medications.

pink powdered cosmetic on a dainty brush


Esthetics or aesthetics can be loosely defined as the theory of beauty. In cosmetology it refers to a style, treatment, or overall result that brings out a person’s assets and enhances his or her looks.


The term derm is one of the most common root words you will encounter when you study and practice cosmetology. It comes from the Greek word derma, which means skin. Words such as dermal, dermis, epidermis, microdermabrasion, epidermabrasion, etc. are just a few of the terms you are likely to encounter in many different products, services, and treatments.


Callus refers to the hardened part of the skin that comes as a result of frequent rubbing against a rough surface. Calluses are commonly found on the feet, such as the soles and toes but they can also be found on the fingers, palms, and elbows. Calluses may be safely removed through chemical peels or physical exfoliants such as pumice stones or loofa scrubs.


Wax can refer to any thick substance that can be used for styling or removing hair. There are different types of wax that may be used for these purposes and they may contain any or a combination of the following ingredients:

  • Beeswax
  • Lanolin
  • Castor
  • Carnauba
  • Sugar
  • Paraffin


This is one of the most common cosmetology terms used for cutting and styling hair. It refers to a cutting technique that keeps hair layers close to the back of the head shorter than the upper layers.


Bangs refer to the layer of hair closer to the forehead that is cut a shorter length than the rest of the hair. Bangs can be thin or thick, short over the eyebrows or longer, reaching to the cheeks.

brunette woman with bangs


Natural and organic are cosmetology terms that may sometimes be used interchangeably, even if they do not mean the same. In general, products labeled as natural may contain natural ingredients while those labeled organic may contain organically grown ingredients.


An allergy is an immunity disorder, wherein the body manifests a negative reaction to a substance or object. It is one of the most important cosmetology terms to know and understand because it can cause mild to severe reactions in an individual, depending on his or her level of sensitivity.


Matte refers to a common coverage finish that uses non-reflecting foundation. The result is an even, slightly powdered look.

Learn More

It may surprise many people to know that cosmetology is actually a complex art and there is so much more that aspiring cosmetologists can and should learn. Evergreen Beauty College seeks to assist professionals and trainees in the industry in improving their skills and boosting their knowledge base to become competitive players in the field.

Contact us today to learn more about our program!

Frank Trieu
Vice President of Business Development & Industry Relations

Frank Trieu is a cosmetology industry leader, and despite his accomplishments and accolades, he still prioritizes students on the Evergreen campus. Through building relationships within the community and local salons, retail stores, and spas, he helps facilitate job placements for aspiring beauty professionals using his expansive network.

Happy Evergreen Beauty College Students


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