Cosmetologists wearing black is a standard in the beauty industry, but why? And, more importantly, how do they stay looking so stylish with such stringent outfit restrictions?
The best black outfits for cosmetologists will be professional yet fashion-forward. The variety of black outfits allow cosmetologists to look sophisticated while still expressing themselves!
Table of Contents:
- 1 Why do cosmetologists wear black?
- 2 Who is required to wear all black?
- 3 What are the benefits of wearing all black?
- 4 Shirts
- 5 Pants
- 6 Shoes
- 7 Complete outfits
Why do cosmetologists wear black?
Most cosmetologists wear all black, or at least some sort of black smock/apron, and there are actually legitimate reasons for that. Let’s take a look at some!
For starters, black is always fashionable. Given the fact that the beauty industry is appearance-focused, it’s important to always look your best and stay up-to-date with current trends.
Thankfully, black never really goes out of style! That means that you don’t have to worry about buying a new wardrobe every time certain colors or prints go from fab to fad.
Black is also great for essentially all body types because it’s slimming. But it’s not only flattering to body shapes, but also to most hair colors and face shapes as well. So whether you’re a vivacious blonde or a brunette who loves her red lipstick, you won’t have to worry about your uniform clashing!
That’s also what makes it the perfect choice for unity within the working environment while still allowing the hairdressers to look good, no matter their shape, style, or size!
Another reason to wear black is that it’s a professional color. Working in the beauty industry might be artistic and creative in one sense, but it also comes with its own set of standards.
Hairstylists are not only expected to look professional, but they also need to dress in such a way that tells the client that they are experts in what their field and they really know what they’re doing. Black helps portray both confidence and sophistication!
Black isn’t just for looks, though – it’s highly functional, too!
For one thing, wearing black provides a much-needed neutral backdrop when you’re working on a client.
Have you ever wondered why your stylist stands behind you when they’re done coloring your hair? It’s actually so they can see the color against a neutral tone in the mirror, which allows them to see the shades as they truly are, instead of them getting skewed by whatever bright color they might be wearing that day.
Another practical aspect is that it makes most stray hairs easy to see. If you’ve ever cut someone’s hair, you might notice that some hairs are difficult to see. Having even a couple strands out of place here or there can really mess up the aesthetic of the overall style and leave your client unsatisfied.
To prevent that, some stylists will cut hair against the backdrop of their clothes/apron. The contrast helps them to see hairs that might have otherwise slipped past their scissors. Your uniform can double as your secret weapon to giving clients the perfect cuts!
They’re easy to clean
If you’ve ever worked in a salon, you probably know they have some strict rules regarding how you look. Mainly that you aren’t allowed to show up looking raggedy with stained clothes and a tangled bedhead.
As a beauty professional, you are required (and expected) to look presentable and well put together. But even if you show up in the morning looking your best, that might not be the case at the end of the workday.
As a cosmetologist, you’ll be working with lots of chemicals, hair colors, and dyes. And when things get busy, an accident is bound to happen.
Thankfully, stains don’t like black clothes. So, if you spill a huge glob of auburn-colored hair dye, you can simply wipe it up and no one will even notice! And even if you spilled bleach, which would be the only thing that would significantly show up, you can fix that easily with a black fabric marker.
Not only will you be able to look your best throughout the day, but it’ll also save you money because you won’t have to keep buying new clothes every time you get a stain!
They promote individuality
Since black is timeless and always “in,” there is no shortage of sizes, shapes, cuts, and styles of outfits for you to choose from. That means that, even though you and all your coworkers might be wearing the same color, you can still express your individuality.
Black goes with all colors, so you can dress up your outfit with your favorite earrings, eyeshadow colors, scarf, or dazzling brooch without having to worry about the colors not matching.
Not only does this keep things from looking too similar or monotonous, but it also helps keep a sense of unity and organization among the workers of the salon. And that, in turn, helps keep everything looking professional – while still allowing you to show off your personality!
Who is required to wear all black?
Wearing black has a long list of benefits. And although it is a stereotype in the beauty industry, not all cosmetologists are required to wear various shades of sable.
So, how do you know if you should go out and buy an all-black wardrobe, or hold off and keep your bright shades? Let’s look at who generally is (and isn’t) bound to dress code regulations.
Beauty School Students
Most cosmetology schools have a dress code or a uniform. This is because it is industry standard to wear black, and institutes – like the Aveda Institute, for example – want to prepare their students not only for the state exams, but also for working in the field!
It will vary by school, but a lot of institutes lean towards the stricter end of things, requiring specific shoes, pants, shirts, and smocks.
And even though it’s only school, some don’t allow you to show up looking raggedy. Again, they are trying to prepare you for the workplace – and showing up looking thrown together (at best) just isn’t acceptable in the industry.
Check out this video from Savanna Leigh showcasing her all-black wardrobe for beauty school:
And if you want to make sure you’ll pass the state board exam after all your hard schooling, check out our ultimate cosmetology exam cheat sheet!
Most salons have a dress code or a uniform. A standard dress code will often include wearing all-black attire, including the shoes and aprons.
Some salons don’t require you to be fully decked out in black, though. They might simply require you to have black pants, but the color of the shirt is up to you, or vice versa.
Certain salons will even be okay with you wearing whatever you want all together, so long as it’s appropriate. However, even in these cases, most will ask that you wear a black apron at the very least.
Other salons will go even further and ask you to wear a uniform. The difference between a dress code and a uniform is that a uniform generally has the salon’s logo embroidered on the shirt or apron. Generally, the salon will provide the uniform, or at least the parts that are customized to them.
Do salon owners wear black?
Whether or not a hair salon owner wears black or not depends on two things:
- Do they work there?
- Do they require their employees to do so?
If they don’t work at the salon – if they just own it and employ stylists and managers – then they have no reason to wear black.
Most owners who don’t work at the salon don’t hang out in the salon very often, and don’t interact with clients on a regular basis. So, there really isn’t a need for them to follow any specific style of dress.
However, if they do work at the salon, they should follow whatever dress code they implement on their employees. So, for example, if the employees have to wear all-black, they should follow that same rule.
Do estheticians wear black?
All-black in the cosmetology industry – particularly the aspects relating to hair – is standard. However, in other fields, that’s not always the case.
Estheticians, for example, have a lot more freedom in what they wear. Most skin care specialists will wear clothes that fully cover their arms and legs, especially when they are working with chemicals, to keep them safe.
Most estheticians working in a traditional spa setting have the freedom to choose their clothing’s colors. Certain upscale spas might have uniforms or dress codes. If so, most of those will entail a nice top (generally of any color) and nice dress pants (usually black).
If you are working in a medical setting, you’ll be expected to wear professional clothing – like a button-up shirt or a very nice blouse. Most of the time, you’ll also be required to wear a branded white lab coat with the healthcare’s company logo on it.
Do nail technicians wear black?
As with estheticians, nail technicians tend to have a lot of freedom with what they wear. A lot of nail salons don’t require uniforms. And, if they do, it’s often just a branded shirt.
However, although there is freedom to dress as you like, you should always dress professionally. That means wearing appropriate clothes – no short shorts or low-cut shirts. You should also steer clear of offensive graphics – stick to solid colors or simple patterns.
As a nail technician, you should also remember that safety is important! Always wear a mask and gloves to protect yourself from the harmful chemicals and fumes that you work with on a daily basis.
What are the benefits of wearing all black?
As with anything, there are both benefits and disadvantages to wearing an all-black uniform as a cosmetologist.
Some of the benefits include:
- Easier to keep clean
- Last longer
- More professional-looking
- Always fashionable and available
As we’ve mentioned earlier, your black outfit is much easier to keep clean and will save you money because it lasts longer. Also, having a dress code can help your salon look more unified and sophisticated.
And not only is black always in-style, but it’s always available, meaning you can always get a new outfit ASAP if necessary!
For example, say your salon had a dress code of vibrant colors and it was the middle of winter. If you just seriously stained your outfit, you would need a replacement as quickly as you could get one, because you need to look professional.
But, if it’s the middle of winter, you are going to have a hard time finding anything bright and summery. With black, however, that’s never a problem. It doesn’t correlate to any specific season, so you would always have the option of going to your nearest store and getting a new piece of clothing!
Although the benefits are many, some disadvantages include:
- Could be uncomfortable in the summer
- Could give off the wrong vibes
Most people know that wearing black pants and a black shirt on a hot summer’s day is a recipe for a sweaty – and potentially serious – disaster!
This might not be a problem if you have the freedom to choose whether or not you wear long or short sleeves, or pants or shorts. However, if your salon requires you to wear pants and long sleeves year-round, you could become not only uncomfortable, but also open up the potential for health concerns.
And, while having everyone in one building wearing all-black can look classy and professional – if it’s done right. It also has the serious potential to look dreary and off-putting.
Take into consideration the style of the salon. Wearing dark colors in an otherwise bright and cheery setting won’t make everything feel gloomy.
However, if you’re in an ultra-chic, modern salon with a color scheme of grey, black, and white, you need to be extra careful with how you dress, or you’ll risk your salon giving off a sterilized hospital vibe, which does not go with the industry!
Now that we know why cosmetologists wear black, let’s break down the different pieces of clothing so you know how to make a great impression with your clients – and look good doing it!
Wearing the right type of shirt, for example, has the opportunity to enhance not only your personal appearance, but it can also communicate to the client that you are an expert in your field, that you know what you’re doing, and that they should trust you.
Wearing the wrong type of shirt, however, can give a client the impression that you don’t take your job seriously, that you don’t know what you’re doing (even if you do), and that they should think twice before coming back. Remember, this industry is all about appearance!
The first thing you’ll want to consider is wearing short sleeved shirts vs long sleeved ones.
Wearing short sleeves is one of the most common types of shirts worn in the industry. They’re a popular choice because, for starters, as opposed to long sleeves, they won’t get in your way by being too long or baggy.
Short sleeves offer a wide range of movement, as they don’t constrict your arms. So, you’ll have no problem when you need to stretch to reach that last shampoo bottle that’s hiding at the back of the top shelf.
Short sleeves also keep you cooler, which is extremely important because, as a stylist, you’ll likely be working around hot curling or flat irons all day. Staying cool can help prevent things like dizziness and fatigue, which can be a common occurrence in an industry that is physically demanding.
While tank tops might be the go-to option for people in the summer, most salons with a dress code don’t allow their employees to wear them. That’s because they aren’t very professional looking.
Even if you have a nicer, sleeveless shirt, you should still use caution when deciding whether or not to wear it. Tank tops tend to be tight and low-cut, which isn’t generally appropriate in this industry.
Long sleeve shirts offer benefits that their short sleeve counterparts simply can’t. The main one being the protection for your arms.
Working around dyes and chemicals comes with safety concerns of their own – and that’s before you frequently spill dye on your skin!
Wearing long sleeves protects your arms from any accidental spills that might happen. They are professional looking, appropriate, and you can always roll up the sleeves if you get too hot!
Just remember to not wear anything too baggy, as it might get in your way when you’re working on a client. Also avoid sleeves that are too tight, as they can restrict your movement, making it hard to complete some tasks.
Just as important to your overall look is your pants. You want to look voguish and polished, and you certainly don’t want to give off the wrong impression to new (or repeat) clients!
So, what type of pants should you wear to make sure you’re looking your best but also looking appropriate? Let’s break it down and take a look.
Shorts are a great option if it’s the middle of summer and you live somewhere hot and humid! Plus, they can be a great asset to a laid-back salon atmosphere. If you don’t want to be overly professional, shorts can give off a more casual vibe.
Shorts also give you more clothing options as opposed to just pants, which allow you more ways to express your individual style!
However, you should never wear shorts that are too short. Ideally, if you choose shorts, they should be at least a third to halfway down your thigh.
And they also should not be excessively tight. They don’t have to be baggy, but anything beyond form-fitting is generally considered inappropriate.
If a salon doesn’t directly address whether or not skirts are acceptable, you can probably assume skirts are fine so long as they are decent in length and not too tight. However, if you’re unsure, always double check with a coworker or your employer.
If you get the go-ahead from your boss, skirts can be a great option! You can wear a shorter skirt and pair it with leggings, which will keep you cooler in the summer months without being inappropriate. However, short skirts are never considered professional attire and should be avoided.
You should also exercise caution when considering a long skirt – or just avoid it entirely. That’s because long, flowy skirts can drag across the ground, and loose hair/dust and debris can get caught on it, which won’t make you look very presentable. Not to mention that you don’t want to trip over anything too long!
Regular pants are definitely the way to go in the industry! Not only can you still find a wide range of styles – like high-waisted or capris – but you will look modest and can avoid offending your clientele much more easily.
Having more of your legs covered is also better for you because it protects you from any chemicals that you might spill. Not to mention that, in the winter (or if your salon keeps the AC running too cold in then summer), it will keep you warmer!
Just remember that pants can be constricting, so don’t wear anything too tight!
And leggings are not considered appropriate by themselves. If you really must wear them, though, check with your employer (if you’re renting a booth or working on commission) and know your clients! Your pants aren’t worth losing customers over.
Shoes are a crucial part of your outfit that you don’t want to overlook. And yes, you want your shoes to be cute, but practicality is more important in this case!
As a cosmetologist, you’re going to be on your feet for (almost) the entire day. You want shoes that are going to be comfortable! You don’t want to get blisters from too-tight shoes or suffer from achy feet.
Another thing to consider is shoes with slip-resistant soles. While they might not come in the widest variety of styles, you’ll be working around water and other liquids which are likely to be spilled frequently. The last thing you want is to slip and fall and get hurt!
If you decide to invest in a pair of high-quality, comfortable work shoes, black is the way to go, because they can go with all colors and all styles!
Just remember that nearly all salons require closed-toed shoes – that means no flip-flops or sandals! High heels (or any type of heels in general) are probably best to be avoided, for both comfort and safety reasons, unless they’re specifically required by your salon.
So, now that we’ve broken down each piece of clothing, let’s look at the 10 best black outfits for the glamorous cosmetologist!
Black jeans and a plain tee make for the perfect casual workday outfit!
Black jeans paired with a long sleeve shirt look both comfy and cute!
A solid black shirt with cutout sleeves paired with plain pants look chic – great for an upscale salon!
A long sleeve shirt paired with leather pants is both stylish and edgy!
#5 Acceptable Graphic
A glossy graphic on a matte black shirt with black pants is ideal for a laid-back vibe!
#6 Upscale Vogue
Look voguish with boot-cut pants and a plain tee paired with a stunning necklace!
#7 Edgy Glam
Glamour and edge come together with a sparkly skirt, leggings, and long sleeve shirt!
Who said being plain means being fashion impaired? Whoever it was, they were wrong!
#9 Pop of Color
Add a pop of color to your black outfit to make an impression!
#10 Animal Print
Add some sass with a touch of animal print!