Frequently Asked Questions about Cosmetology School Kits

We know, the toys you get to play with are the best part of cosmetology careers. These frequently asked questions cover the tools and equipment typically included in nail, makeup, barber and esthetician student kits. And maybe you’d like to learn if you can use your supplies in the real world, too? In the second section of questions, we talk about supplies, such as tool belts and when you will likely be working with mannequin heads. The final set of questions we answer focus on cosmetology school curriculum, including what textbooks, technology and courses you can expect from different programs.

Cosmetology Kit

Does the cosmetology school provide the student kit I need to complete my program?

Since you do not start your first day of beauty school working on real clients, it is important to have a comprehensive cosmetology student kit equipped with all the cosmetology tools of the trade you need, as well as mannequin heads upon which to practice your new skills. Most cosmetology schools will provide cosmetology student kits and simply include the cost of the kit in the tuition. However, other schools may instead give you contact information for trusted vendors of cosmetology student kits to make the purchase directly. Still others simply provide you with a school supply list, which you may need to purchase on your own from the local beauty supply store. Whichever way your school prefers, be sure to ask your admissions rep, and include all the needed cosmetology tools and cosmetology supplies in your kit!

Nail Technician Student Kit

Depending on your state’s licensing criteria, your nail student kit may include an acrylic set, hand mannequins, nail tips, disposable nail forms, toe separators, brush cleaner, manicure bowls/dishes, bond aid, clarite powder, fingernail and toenail clippers, foot file, nail wipes, cuticle sticks, and a variety of nail buffers, shapers and files.

Esthetician Student Kit

The products included in your esthetics student kit will depend in part on which skin care brands your school is teaching to. It tends to be loaded up with products like cleansers, moisturizers and exfoliators. Esthetics students also get swabs, gloves, makeup applicators, professional makeup and brush supplies. You may also get eyebrow tweezers, an eyebrow tool set, scissor tweezers, exfoliating set, a lash kit, wax, cooling gel, muslin strips and more.

Makeup Artist Student Kit

The contents of your kit may depend on whether you’re pursuing a general makeup education, or a specific makeup niche. Student makeup kits may include theatrical makeup supplies such as spirit gum, false skin and hair products. They usually also include a variety of brushes and application pads and puffs, foundations, lining/highlighting/rouge shades, eye and lip pencils, powders, latex and stipple sponges, modeling wax and more. Often they come with individual bags to organize and separate your supplies.

Barber Student Kit

A barber's student kit is likely to be very similar to the cosmetologist's tool kit with the various shears, combs, brushes and other supplies for cutting, coloring and styling hair. However, a barber kit probably does not include nail technology supplies, and it probably does include shaving supplies like a straight razor, safety razors, shaving cream brush and other specialty shave supplies.

Cosmetology Kit

Your cosmetology school student kit is going to be your most valuable asset once you  start cosmetology school . This tool kit will contain all the following cosmetology tools and cosmetology supplies such as shears, clippers, brushes, a blow dryer, irons, mannequin heads and more. If you invest in high quality products, many of these cosmetology tools from your beauty school student kit will be in your cosmetologist tool belt for years to come.

While the cosmetology student kit is typically very comprehensive, you may find that a few miscellaneous cosmetology supplies need purchasing later. One cosmetology tool that does not come in the student cosmetology kit but is incredibly valuable to your beauty education is the cosmetology school textbook. Textbooks are one of the most resourceful cosmetology tools because they will guide you through the entire curriculum. We cover textbooks in more detail below.

Yes. It is expected that students will use the supplies from their student kit both throughout the training at school, and on the practical licensing exam. Your school should  help you prepare for the cosmetology board licensing exams , and you should receive a list of exactly which supplies you need to bring and how they need to be organized for the exam. It usually includes organizing your supplies in individual transparent bags with clear labels of the contents. Take great care of your supplies during school so they will be in great condition on exam day. Many cosmetologists advise to bring extras of whatever you can for the exam, in case you were to drop something or if one of your supplies were to malfunction.

If you invest in a high quality student kit and take great care of your supplies, many cosmetologists end up continuing to use the shears and other supplies from the student kit well after graduation.


A cosmetology tool belt is a much more limited storage of your tools that you wear on your person. This is an actual tool belt where you can store your most critical tools that you use most often. Many stylists and makeup artists choose to wear a cosmetology belt with their favorite brushes, combs, shears and other tools so they are quick and easy to access in the middle of a style.

Mannequin heads or hands are also an essential part of the beauty school student kit and also one of the top cosmetology supplies you will need. Your mannequin heads and hands are your first set of hair and nail "clients." These mannequin heads will help you practice the things you learn and develop your cosmetology skills. These mannequins will usually have varying hair textures and weights to help you learn hairstyling skills with a variety of different circumstances.


If you take part in Studio Luma®, you can go beyond just your typical beauty classroom setting. Studio Luma® was designed for students who want work at their own pace, using a mixture of videos, animations, open-book tests, and illustrations.

Each week you will focus on a single class which teaches you how to deal with all sorts of real life salon situations including:

  • Salon management
  • Helping indecisive guests
  • How to get along with other stylists
  • Hair cutting, coloring and styling
  • Skin & makeup application
  • Natural & artificial nails

While using Studio Luma®, you will also get hands-on practice in the student salon with teachers who are always available for one-on-one help. The average completion time for a full-time program is about a year. Be sure to check your state’s minimum hour requirement for cosmetology school. If a full-time schedule isn’t for you, some campuses may offer part-time programs as well.

Curious about what to expect in beauty school?

Congratulations on choosing beauty school as your future career path! As you’re preparing to choose a school and enroll, you are probably wondering what to expect from the program outline and curriculum. While each state and school may handle the curriculum a little differently from one another for the different programs (cosmetologybarberingmakeup artistrynail technology, and esthetics among others), there are some common components that most schools share. For example, many schools use the same curriculum foundation and the same set of textbooks. Beauty Schools Directory has compiled information about what to expect from the curriculum and the vendors you may encounter when you enroll. 

What does a sample cosmetology school curriculum look like?

Each state has unique curriculum requirements for each of the programs for which they offer licenses, so we always urge you to  contact your own state licensing board to find out what your state requires schools to teach. Each state may also require a different amount of training hours to get licensed for the individual programs. Below is a sample cosmetology school curriculum, and it may not apply to your state or school.

  • Science: Infection Control, Chemistry, Electricity/Light Therapy, Anatomy, Physiology, Trichology
  • Hair Technique: Hairstyling, Hair Cutting & Shaping, Hair Coloring, Chemical Texture Services, Scalp Treatments, Hair Treatments
  • Other Technique: Skin Care Treatments, Cosmetics Application, Nail Technology Services
  • Professional Development: Ethics, Communication, Payment/Compensation, Licensing Requirements, Licensing Laws, Business Management, Client Record-Keeping

Again, you should speak to the individual schools about their specific curriculum outline. Look at the programs the school offers, and the list of courses each program includes. Read through the descriptions of the courses, and find out whether the class will be measured in credits, clock hours or competencies. Understand what instructional methods the teachers are using, and their grading procedures so you know how you will be assessed. Ask the admissions representatives what the expected outcomes of the program will be, and how they will prepare you to not just pass the exams and get your license, but to have a successful career in the long-term.

Milady is the most common series of textbooks you’ll see in use at beauty schools across the United States. They have textbooks for barbering, cosmetology, esthetics, makeup, nail technology, massage therapy, salon and spa management, and instructor training. They also have accompanying eBooks, an online licensing exam preparation tool, CourseMate with online learnings, and several accompanying workbooks to choose from. Milady has been setting the standard for beauty and wellness education since 1927. They also have a number of books about business fundamentals, career advice, a cosmetics ingredients dictionary, an industry terms dictionary, retail management, anatomy and physiology, hair structure and chemistry, professional “soft skills,” and many other related topics that can help you become the best possible beauty or wellness professional.

Many cosmetology schools are showing signs of this online evolution by adopting high-tech products and services that supplement students’ classroom education.

What virtual beauty school tools & approaches are we seeing?

  • iPads provided by schools in place of traditional textbooks
  • Computer-based games that result in learning outcomes
  • Practice tests and quizzes to prep for Board exams

Milady , the largest cosmetology textbook provider in the industry, is providing a number of new high-tech supplements to the cosmetology classroom, such as eBook downloads, CourseMate online teaching tools, and a digital curriculum accessible from mobile and tablet devices. Many of Milady’s tools have also helped instructors be more effective in monitoring students’ progress and grades, and be able to give one-on-one support to students who need a little extra help.

Take a look at Milady’s Online Haircutting Simulation, for example. For under $50, you can refresh your haircutting skills through a 3-D interactive, game-like atmosphere.

This e-learning beauty program includes:

  • Reports that gauge and critique your performance
  • Personalized virtual clients to meet the needs of your desired skills
  • Different modes of skill and difficulty help you advance and learn at your own pace
  • Two-year access period where you can use the program as many times as you want

Quotes about online cosmetology learning from Milady’s Director of Marketing, Gerard McAvey:

"Right now a lot of it is incorporating the technology in the classroom, like distributing iPads or having computers within the school," McAvey said. "While students are technically in the confines of the school, they are actually using the devices and working on their own,going through activities, lessons, and videos, and being able to dip their toes in the water."

McAvey goes on to note that beauty schools that integrate online and virtual learning tools for cosmetologists typically don’t look back. He see a necessary balance between online and campus cosmetology course options...

"One of the benefits [of online hybrid learning] is the flexibility of going through a lesson and being able to go back through again later," McAvey said. "It's difficult to accommodate 25 students and their individual needs, but this allows them to review and reinforce specific areas that require more attention. It puts more power and control into students' hands, which makes them more comfortable and open to learning." 

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Who is Milady?

Milady  is the biggest name in textbooks associated with beauty education for more than 80 years. Chances are, if you are a licensed beauty professional, you used one of the Milady Standard Textbooks at school and when you prepared for your licensure exam. More than 10 million beauty professionals have become licensed using a Milady product and more than 90% of all current students in beauty related education use Milady educational products.

Milady's Standard textbooks for Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Barbering, Makeup, Massage Therapy and Salon & Spa Management incorporate fresh, innovative approaches to education. The books are very visual and eye-appealing, and most of the texts are offered in both English and Spanish. The textbooks are comprehensive and contemporary, and the student resources are abundant, addressing the many learning styles you may have.

Milady also offers a completely digital curriculum with CourseMate, eBooks, and they incorporate cutting edge technology in a variety of platforms: print, CD-ROM, DVD, web-based, mobile and tablet lessons and more, all created with the creative and digital learneres in mind.

What is Pivot Point?

Pivot Point International  is considered to be the premiere curriculum in cosmetology education. Founded by Leo Passage in 1962, Pivot Point is the global leader in hair and beauty education and with a Pivot Point International network of millions of graduates, the most widely taught beauty school curriculum. The Pivot Point curriculum teaches students to see, think, create and adapt as a beauty professional. The curriculum marries art and design, as well as the most innovative techniques used in the industry today – not just the “how,” but also the “why” of everything you do. The Pivot Point curriculum teaches foundational design principles of form, texture and color, and then incorporate these with practical applications, such as sculpting, long hair design, texture and color. You will also learn how to adapt every aspect of the design to your clients’ needs. This helps make students of Pivot Point schools valuable assets to any high-end salon or spa. Pivot Point schools get support for education, students, faculty, staff, admissions, marketing and more through Pivot Point’s Member School program. Their educational library includes six subject modules: Cosmetology Fundamentals, Sculpture, Hair Design, Color, Texture, Salon Success and Meta (an international trend collection).

What is the CLiC Certification Program?

The  CLiC International  system, or "Certified Learning in Cosmetology" system, is another cosmetology curriculum program. They offer a series of textbooks and accompanying teachers’ guides with detailed text, diagrammed illustrations and modern photography. The CliC system provides a basic cosmetology foundation, then builds on it by introducing artistic and visual concepts that nurture creativity as well as interpersonal and sales skills. It is presented in a simple-to-complex format that measures the learning process each step of the way and helps set standards in the industry. An international certification from CliC means students have mastered the skills and been tested to perform them at salon ready levels.

The CLiC Certification Program provides schools and salons a certification system to meet the need for varying skill levels and to refine the assessment of cosmetology and people skills. The Certified Learning in Cosmetology (CLiC) System helps students master the skills and knowledge to become professional cosmetologists. CLiC incorporates principles of architecture, theatre and other art, forms as a framework to tie together scientific and mathematical concepts in addition to elements of biology and fine arts. CLiC is designed to offer an education in the art, math and science of haircutting, hair designing, hair chemistry, hair coloring, makeup, nails and success dynamics - all the skills needed to be successful in today's progressive salons.

  • "Certification is a good way of knowing a stylist is qualified and can actually do what they say they can do!" Martin Parsons - International Educator
  • "A Certification with a grade from an educational institute would twice enhance a candidate's chances for a positive career and a profitable future in the field of cosmetology." Scott Parks - Principal Bucks County Technical School
  • "The benefit for a student becoming certified is the recognition that they are knowledgeable in the arts of cosmetology." Geno Stampora - International Educator.