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Last updated: September 13, 2018

How Old Is Too Old To Get A Cosmetology License?

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How Old Is Too Old To Get A Cosmetology License?

They say age is just a number but how old is TOO old to get a cosmetology license? A 30-year-old woman who is considering beauty school in a few years reached out with that exact question, so we went straight to the BTC community for their advice. Keep reading to find out what they had to say!


“Long story short, I am a 30-year-old woman working a full-time job currently. I have always had an immense interest and love for the beauty industry. I practically grew up in my mother’s salon, and I have worked with makeup and skincare before. Anyhow, I am considering going to beauty school for the first time in the next 1 to 2 years. My fear of course is that I am 30, I’m not an 18-year-old fresh out of high school with tons of energy and no debt. What is your stance on this? Do a lot of people enter the field a little bit later in their career? I am just looking for any bit of advice or opinions from professionals. Anything helps. Thank you so much in advance.”


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It’s Never Too Late!


“I went back to beauty school when I was 33. I think I actually had an advantage over the younger girls. I had life experience and I took my education seriously. I was spending my money on education and I wasn’t going to waste a minute of it. I graduated top of my class, months before I was supposed to, and now have a job at the best salon in my area. I’m not gonna lie, the first year is TOUGH—building a clientele, relearning everything they taught you in school and trying to keep your head above water—but it’s worth it. You can do it. And don’t doubt yourself or give up.” – Ginger Lynn Close


“YES! Be open. Be coachable. And find a mentor that will look past your age and years of experience. The right one will value your self-awareness and humility in taking the risk to start fresh!” – @xo.farhana.balayage


“Do it! I’m not saying that 18-, 20-, 22-year-olds, etc. aren’t successful in this career (because clearly they are!) but your life experiences and desire to learn are HUGE assets to this career! Don’t compare yourself to younger students. They have benefits but so do you!” – Peggy Geerhart


“I love this. I got married right after I graduated high school, had four boys who are now 25, 23, 20 and 18 and I started cosmetology school last year. I’m 44. I’m the oldest student in school and I love it! I think I appreciate it much more than I would have at 20. I never had daughters and now I have about 15. It has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and I would choose the same path over and over again. My opinion? Go!” – @thegoodwife73


“I have a masters degree in counseling and went to beauty school 2 years ago at age 40. Best decision I ever made! I worked at a spa chain for 5 months and got great experience. Now I’ve built a home salon and have a full clientele after 3 months! People have no idea how long I’ve been doing this unless they ask, and I love what I do! It’s never too late.” – Lindsay Cope Holdsworth


“I started cosmetology school at the age of 28! Best decision I ever made. The way I see it, at an older age you know what’s in it for you, you have life experience to mesh well with clients and—this is not a put down to any fresh out of high school stylists—but clients tend to gravitate toward someone who is more mature. At least the regular clients who will be your bread and butter. At 28 I had a family to support and I needed to hustle and I did. There are so many amazing stylists who are very young, so this isn’t to put them down at all. It’s just that now some of the older, more regular clients will view them as too young. Thirty is a great age to go and if you stay consistent and work your butt off, you’ll get there!” – @jojolovier


“Do it and go all in! Soak up as much info and make as many contacts as you can while in school. Take advantage of everything your school has to offer and have a plan for when you get out. I’ve seen a lot of classmates jump from salon to salon but it will definitely help to have a plan or idea of where you want to be afterwards. I graduated in 2017 and am 26 and my class ranged from 18-year-olds to 40/50-something-year-olds! Age definitely doesn’t matter—passion and planning does!” – @taylorkula



But It’s A Very Physically Demanding Career


“If I could go back in time I wouldn’t be in this line of work. It’s hard on your body and exhausting. I dream of sitting at a desk job that offered benefits all the time. I’m 39 and tired. That’s my thoughts though—to each their own and good luck.” – @ineedsteph


“I’m 31 and started 7 years ago. I wasn’t the oldest, but I definitely wasn’t the youngest either. At 31, my body feels so much older because of the strains of my career. I wish someone had warned me going in just how hard this job is on your body! I can’t imagine starting with even more miles on my body. That being said, I ADORE my career and you see hairdressers in their 70s still doing what they love, so go for it! Just make sure you are wearing great shoes and taking care of your back/neck/hands/wrists from day one. I get a full body deep tissue massage once a month to keep me behind the chair!” – @talleydeb15


“Do it! There’s plenty of women and men that decide in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s to go to cosmetology school. It is a highly rewarding career but very physical. If you have any health issues such as a bad back or knees, I’d take a second to think about the longevity of work.” – @heatherrm13


“I started doing hair young. All I know is it didn’t pay enough to keep me at it forever. And my body just can’t do it full time anymore and I’m 32 now. It’s not a forever job for most people. Carpal tunnel and other physical problems come with doing hair, and it’s unlikely you’ll find a position where you make good money with good benefits. It’s a great skill to have for your family and friends and just to be social, but it’s a lot of work to do it full time. I miss doing it, but I’d never go back to doing it full time. I like to be able to choose who I spend my time with while doing their hair. So I’m glad I have the skills, but I work another job that pays more for less work. Benefits and vacation pay and sick leave are worth me leaving the hair industry.” – Tracy Stanley


And It Can Be Costly


“I say it depends on your financial situation. If you have retirement benefits and a pension, go for it. If not, I don’t suggest it. It breaks your body, literally. We have very high co-pays (7k) so the shots I get in my hips, my neck, my feet, my elbows and therapy at $50 a pop 3x a week eat up my salary. I can spend a month’s salary in a week in testing and shots. I love my job but after 25 years, I wish I never did it no matter how much I love it.” – Kimberly Durham Sibley


“I went to college and got my bachelor’s degree, worked for a bit in corporate America and then at 25 went back to get my cosmetology license. There were plenty of other students who were becoming second career stylists so don’t let that deter you! You can do it! The only rough part is the student loan debt I gathered on top of my college loans, but honestly, I would rather pay it doing something I love instead of working a job I don’t love.” – @rachmartiniiiii


“Do it! I entered beauty school at 27. And yes, there’s a maturity difference between you and the other students for sure. But beauty school is only temporary and your career is a lifetime. There’s good debt and bad debt, and beauty school is good debt so long as you use your license after you get it. Do what you love! That is what life is all about! Hope that helps.” – @porvidabeauty


“I started my hairdressing education at 30! It hurts at first but only financially. My goal was keeping my eye on the prize—My license. The finish line. The big picture. The long term benefits. Best decision I have ever made regarding my career choice! Go for it! Look long and stay strong. You being 30 puts you leagues above the ‘fresh’ 18-year-olds. They don’t wanna work, you do. Go get it!” – @stella1973


“Beauty has no age to it. If you have the passion for it and you’re eager to learn, you can do it! I had many different age groups in my graduating cosmetology class and honestly, it was the best group of people ever! I definitely recommend touring a few schools just to see how they are and get the vibes on them before you enroll. Sometimes at junior colleges it is cheaper and you can get financial aid to attend.” – @lacymiaamanda


“I went to vo-tech in high school for cosmetology. I graduated without finishing my hours, worked at a few salons as an assistant, went to college, had dead end jobs and then had my daughter at 23. I went back to cosmetology school at 29, got my license and have been working as a cosmetologist since. I’m not going to lie, it’s been a tough climb starting from scratch, building my book and gaining a steady paycheck. (By the way, I am a single mom, raising and providing for my daughter with no child support.) However, I love what I do so it doesn’t feel like I’m working. The pay isn’t always steady but I budget well and, to me, it is worth it. It’s a struggle and it’s a climb but at the end of the day I’m happy. My daughter and I have food in our belly, a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs. The point is, if you want it, it’s a passion and it makes you happy, it won’t be a wrong decision. Will you struggle at first? Yes, but it won’t be a regret if you really want it.” – @neo.tress.visage



Just Make Sure It’s What You Really Want

“Oh goodness. I did the same thing. I entered beauty school at 38 and was so out of place. I felt like the odd one out the whole time. In fact, I dropped out with only 75 more hours to go. It wasn’t for me and I’m so happy as an entrepreneur. Take a look at all of the different ways to get to where you want to be. School might not be necessary. Regardless of my experience, I wish you the very best!” – @marcellaherbal


“I went when I turned 30 and let me tell you it wasn’t fun! I went to a very busy beauty school that only cared about the bottom dollar and not their student! New classes started every 2 weeks and they could have at least recommended a class with some my own age (I wasn’t the only 30 something but for some reason I was shoved in a class with 18-year-olds). I had an awful experience, so definitely do your research on schools beforehand.” Allison Raymond


“Just make sure you are interested in the true industry and not the fantasy of what social media shows you. Very few clients give you free reign. There is a portion of your work that you won’t be interested in or care to have your name attached to, but you should do it to pay the bills and satisfy the client. My staff would ask me why I did something and I would say, ‘Because she asked me to and she was happy with it.’ If you’re going to tell a nice grandma that you won’t do her roller set, your attitude won’t get you far. You need to look at those things as more skills to add to your bag of tricks. Age means nothing. If you think you know how to cut hair because you cut your husband’s hair, don’t do it because you can’t be taught. I’ve seen it a hundred times. You will learn things and you’ll have to relearn. If you can roll, knock yourself out.” – @robertrsell


“My advice: Don’t use ‘no energy’ and ‘debt’ as excuses. You’ll either do it or you won’t, regardless of how you feel or how much is or isn’t in your bank account. Realistically, you’ll be paying off student loans if you’re financially stable or not. I had NO money at 16 when I enrolled in beauty school. I’m 26 now and still paying off my cosmetology school loan (hopefully will have it paid in full next year!). My point: Don’t make excuses. If you really want to be a hairdresser, don’t let anything or anyone stop you. But if for a split second you think it will be something easy and fun where you’ll just get to hang out with your girlfriends and do hair all day, you’re wrong. If you know the road will be anything but easy and you don’t care about the finances or the struggle to get where you want, then you shouldn’t be thinking about it—you should be doing it!” – @kianawaltz


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