Aside from barbers having a majority male clientele and vice versa for hairstylists, did you know there is only a couple of factors that separates the two? Now let’s break down the differences and similarities.

Hairstylist are actually licensed as a Cosmetologists. Under the cosmetology license, they are able to perform hair, skin and nail services. Hair services include: color and lightening, perms and chemical straightening, and haircutting of course. Cosmetologist can even perform skin-care regimes! The only difference between an esthetician and a cosmetologist is that estheticians can go below the skin’s surface. For nails, there is no difference between a licensed nail technician and a cosmetologist. The reason why many cosmetologists call themselves hairstylist or hairdressers is due to the scope of practice during school. They learn generally how to do skin and nail services, but when it comes to hair, they learn more in depth.


Barbers have been around for centuries, long before there were cosmetologists. So why separate the two? Barbers can also perform hair services, including color and lightening. They can even do skin care services just like cosmetologist. Also, they cannot perform nail-care services in the state of California. Some states allow it. But the major difference is barbers can perform shaves with a straight razor blade. If a cosmetologist were to get caught performing a shave, they can receive a fine from the state or even get their license revoked.

In California, you can be double licensed by enrolling in a crossover program. The barber-crossover program allows licensed cosmetologists to go to school for a shorter amount of time because they have already learned many of the subjects that are in the barber curriculum. Some licensed cosmetologist and barbers agree with the separation, but now that the hairstyle trends are crossing gender borders, is there still a need to divide the two licenses? Here at All Society, we’ve brought the two worlds together.