Cosmetology student kit list: The supplies you’ll need for cosmetology school

Starting cosmetology school is exciting, as it’s the first step towards your brand new career! But you might be wondering, “What supplies will I need to succeed?” That’s a great question:

Cosmetologists are artists, and just like a painter needs brushes, a cosmetologist needs specialized supplies to ply their trade. As you embark on your cosmetology program, supplies like hairbrushes, scissors, and an assortment of beauty products will come together to form your very own student kit. 

Soon, this kit will become your best friend, your most prized possession, and the first thing you reach for in the morning. Inside your cleverly-organized kit bag, you will find everything you need to become a fully-fledged and fantastic cosmetologist.

Already in school? Take our free cosmetology practice test to see if you’re ready for the exam!

How do you put your kit together?

For some students, a pre-made kit will be provided by your school. This will either be given to you when you enroll or will be provided in stages as you progress through your program. And, if your school does supply your kit, you don’t need to worry about adding to your supplies just yet.

However, if a student cosmetology kit is not included in your program, you’ll need to purchase your supplies yourself.

Related Read: Should You Do a Cosmetology Apprenticeship Instead of Beauty School?

While gathering your supplies can feel exciting, it can feel a little overwhelming, too. After all, the cosmetology industry is filled with different tools and products, and it can be difficult for newbies to know exactly what they’ll need.

Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to prepare for this exciting new chapter in your life, starting with understanding what a standard cosmetology kit contains.

What comes in a standard cosmetology student kit?

Firstly, it’s important to note that not every student kit is the same. After all, different states have specific licensing requirements for cosmetologists, and the list of essential supplies naturally varies between schools.

So, before you begin shopping, it’s important that you check your program guidelines for a comprehensive list of the supplies you’ll require.

But it’s important to note that, whilst student cosmetology kits vary in some respects, there are some standard items most kits contain.

And because not every program includes training in all the cosmetology fields, we’ve broken this list down into four categories:

Hairdresser/Barber Kit

hairdresser-barber-kit

If you are studying hairdressing, your standard kit is likely to include:

  • A mannequin head
  • Brushes and combs
  • Scissors
  • Clippers
  • Razors and shaving brushes
  • A hairdryer and diffuser
  • Water bottle and clips
  • Straightening iron and curling tongs
  • Hair dye bowls
  • A mirror
  • An apron
  • Client capes

Esthetician Kit

For students hoping to qualify as an esthetician, your standard kit is likely to include:

  • Wax and wax strips
  • Eyebrow shaping tools
  • Tweezers
  • Cleanser
  • Moisturizer
  • Exfoliator
  • Gloves

Nail Technician Kit

If you are training to be a nail technician, your standard kit is likely to include:

  • Nail scissors and clippers
  • Toe separators
  • Nail buffers and nail files
  • Manicure bowls
  • Nail polish and nail polish remover
  • Cuticle sticks
  • Nail wipes
  • Acrylic nail kit

Makeup Artist Kit

makeup-artist-kit

If you learning to be a makeup artist during your program, your standard kit is likely to include:

  • Makeup brushes
  • Foundation
  • Concealer
  • Bronzer
  • Blush
  • Highlighter
  • Lipstick and lip pencils
  • Eyebrow pencil/powder
  • Eyeshadow palette

It is important that you remember to read your program guidelines carefully before purchasing your supplies.

Each school will have a different list of essentials, and this sometimes means choosing from specific brands. After all, starting school with the wrong supplies is never fun and can add unnecessary expense if you have to swap or add to your items during your studies.

For a visual look at what a standard cosmetology kit contains, check out this unboxing video from Empire student Joangelis Ramos:

Okay, so you know what supplies you need. The next step is choosing between a pre-made or custom kit.

Choosing your supplies

Many cosmetology students choose to start their cosmetology career with a pre-made kit purchased from suppliers like Sally Beauty or Giell.  However, others choose to create a custom kit from items bought individually.

There is no right or wrong decision here, but there are some things you might want to consider:

  • Buying a pre-filled kit is quicker than purchasing items individually, but it allows less freedom to choose specific items that you may like.
  • It is usually cheaper to purchase a pre-filled case, but buying your supplies separately gives you far greater control over the quality and style.
  • If you are purchasing a pre-made kit, it is important to select an option suitable for your state licensing laws and school requirements. If you don’t double-check, you may find that you need to spend more cash to add to your kit throughout the year.

Whether you choose a pre-made or custom kit, it is important to do your homework. If you are buying from the store, try holding and feeling the items to check whether they feel comfortable and are well-made.

If you are shopping online, pay close attention to reviews. Remember, you will be using your kit a lot, and it is important that you are happy with your purchases.

Once you have decided on a kit, you need to decide how to store it. After all, those supplies can take up a lot of room, so let’s have a look at the types of cases on offer.

What type of case should I use?

what-case-should-I-use

Choosing the right case for your cosmetology kit is important. After all, you will be carrying your kit to school and between classrooms, and all that equipment can quickly become disorganized (not to mention heavy)!

To make things easier, most students choose to store their supplies in a dedicated kit case. And whether they are specially designed for cosmetologists or are re-purposed travel bags, suitable cases come in a range of different styles. So, let’s have a look at some of your options.

You could choose to transport your supplies in:

Whilst the type of case you choose is a matter of personal preference, it’s worth considering internal storage.

For example, some bags and cases come with inbuilt drawers and compartments, but others will require you to buy dividers yourself. So, if you find yourself looking at bags with limited compartments, it may be a good idea to factor in the cost of dividers.

Whichever option you go for, try to make sure that you have enough compartments to keep your kit well organized and easily accessible.

Kit Organization

To see how other students organize their kit bags, check out this video by student cosmetologist Sophie Eilean:

As you can see from Sophie’s video, carrying your supplies can quickly become difficult. This means that comfort is a key consideration when choosing your case.

Because cosmetology kits can be heavy, pull-along options are great for preventing backache. However, some students may find a bag with a shoulder strap easier to manage. You may find it helpful to try different options on for size before making your final decision.

Whichever style you prefer, shopping for a case can be fun. With so many colors and designs on offer, it’s a great way of displaying your own individual style. Enjoy it!

How much does a cosmetology kit cost?

Cosmetology kits cost anywhere from around $100 to $2000+ (if you choose to fill your case with top-of-the-range gadgets and luxury products).

With prices varying considerably, it’s important that you strike the right balance between quality and affordability. Whilst good quality equipment may be expensive, it can be a fantastic investment capable of lasting many years after graduation.

However, whilst choosing quality is a good thing, buying unnecessary supplies can be a costly mistake.

Remember, before you start your studies, you are unlikely to know just how useful all those fancy extras are. Because of this, it is best to stick with the essentials to start with, you can always add to your kit as you go on.

Our advice is to decide on a budget that you can afford, and choose the best quality essentials available within your price range.

Related Read: Required Supplies For The Cosmetology State Board Exam

Happy shopping and, above all, good luck on your journey to become a cosmetologist!