The Cosmetologist Glossary 

Elite Beauty Society Offers Affordable, All-Inclusive, Liability Insurance.

Cosmetologists are truly multifaceted masters in the fields of beauty, health, and wellness. Just to obtain licensure, cosmetologists must demonstrate proficiency in hair styling, nails, esthetics, and so much more. The sheer volume of information that a cosmetologist needs to retain to provide great client care is astounding; treatments, conditions, and styles must be mastered in addition to laws, regulations, and business acumen. To help newbies and seasoned pros alike, we’ve put together this ultimate repository of cosmetology terms that today’s beauty pros need to be aware of.

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The Ultimate Cosmetology Glossary of Terms


Acne Treatments 

Use of chemical and non chemical cleansers to limit bacterial growth and/or encourage the shedding of skin cells for the purpose of unclogging pores to treat and prevent acne outbreaks.


Artificial nail system that is professionally attached over the client’s fingernails and usually last around two weeks. Two components are blended to form a tough coating over the nail making this one of the strongest coating options for nails.


A special chemical used during the bleaching process that helps the process go faster and minimizes damage to hair.

Additional Insured 

This is a person or organization that’s not already on your insurance policy and gets added. For example, with cosmetology liability insurance this could be a business owner requiring booth renters to name them as additional insureds on their renter’s policies.


This is the total amount of all claims that will be paid under your cosmetology insurance during the term. With our cosmetology liability insurance policy, you get a $3 million individual annual aggregate for claims falling under Professional or General Liability.

Airbrush Designs 

Use of a small handheld device that sprays foundation, paint, and other media. Airbrushing is most often used in makeup applications and nail decorations.

Allergic Reaction 

Adverse reaction to a product used during treatment. This can range from mild redness, blistering, and in the most severe cases, anaphylaxis. With cosmetologist insurance, you receive up to $2 million for claims related to product liability like allergic reactions.

A.M. Best Rating 

Trusted credit rating service, specializing in the insurance industry. Always check your insurance program’s rating with A.M. Best. We are proud our underwriters are rated A (Excellent) by A.M. Best.



A highlighting technique that involves brushing color onto a client’s hair to produce a silky soft sun kissed appearance. Considered to be an advancement to traditionally foiling, Balayage comes out looking more natural and downplays regrowth lines.

Body Scrub 

Almost like a facial for the body, body scrubs help exfoliate and rehydrate skin. The result is soft and smooth skin. For the scrub, you will need an abrasive substance, such as sea salt or sugar, and mix it with massage or essential oils. Body scrubs are one of more than 350 different treatments covered under our cosmetology liability insurance program.


By joining our cosmetology insurance program, you will have instant access to hundreds of dollars worth of exclusive member benefits. We’ve partnered with leading names like Paul Mitchell and Redken to offer you discounts and early access deals on top gear and accessories. Other benefits include a free professional website, access to great business resources, and a subscription for a Creative Age publication of your choice.

Body Wraps 

Wrapping or covering the body during a treatment intended to create heat and sweating. Usually combined with body scrub, wash, and lotion to help detoxify and beautify skin. Some also profess the weight loss benefits of this treatment.

Breathing Zone 

Important safety consideration when using chemicals around clients is to maintain at least two feet around the head - called the breathing zone. This helps minimize the chances of chemical inhalation. A client passing out from chemicals and injuring themselves is just one example of the many forms of liability that can present itself and highlights the necessity for comprehensive insurance.


Chemical Wave 

Using a slightly diluted form of a perm solution and special wand, stylists are able to help client’s hair maintain a wave that’s healthier on the hair than a traditional perm.

Chemical Peel 

Using a chemical solution to make the client’s skin blister and peel off. New skin will appear smoother and less wrinkled. This treatment can help hide scars and wrinkles, reduce fine lines, and even help with some forms of acne. However, a client’s mishap with a chemical peel could be incredibly costly without the assurance of cosmetologist insurance

Cosmetic Massage 

Gentle massage to the face and neck area meant to improve blood flow and circulation to the area. Cosmetic massage is one of more than 350 different treatments covered under our cosmetology liability insurance program.


Allowing clients to add a little extra “bling” to their nails, desired charms can be attached using a top coat, nail glue or resin, or gel polish.


Damaged Fingernail 

Many different factors can create a damaged fingernail. You will need to analyze and recognize the right course and treatment for repairing split or damaged nails.


Exfoliant treatment that uses a scalpel to remove hair and dead skin from the skin’s surface. The popularity of dermaplaning has risen for its ability to both remove unwanted facial hair and to make skin silky smooth without the use of chemicals.

Design, Cut and Style 

A cornerstone of cosmetology is the ability to consider your client’s hair volume, head shape, and more and still be able to produce a desired style. Haircutting involves using implements like clippers, scissors, or shears to cut and shape head and facial hair. Hair stylists employ a host of instruments like curls, rollers, irons, and dryers, in addition to many freehand techniques, to produce the desired style.


As a cosmetologist, you will need to analyze and recognize various disorders and diseases of the skin, hair, scalp, and nails. Providing a treatment to someone with a certain disorder could cause great harm and open you and your business up to undue liability. The most cost effective protection for yourself and your career is cosmetology insurance.


Eyebrow Shaping

Process of using tweezers, trimmers, and small eyebrow razors to tidy up the eyebrows in a style that best suits the client's facial shape. Because of the close proximity to the eyes and face, extreme caution and skill need to be exerted with this service. Cosmetology liability insurance helps you focus on crafting the perfect line rather than the what ifs of a future claim.

Eyelash Extensions 

Cosmetologists must be skilled in the application of a synthetic or natural material to client’s eyes to enhance a desired trait such as fullness or length.

Eyelash Tinting 

Hair dye meant just for eyelashes. Helps to produce a look that is similar to that of mascara, that is the length, fullness, or right shade, just without the annoying smudges.


Process of using specialized clips, glue, or a hand sew to attach additional hair to add length, fullness, or a specific style.


Involves removing dead skin cells on the skin’s surface using any one of a variety of different means. Special machines, scrubs, or chemicals can all act as exfoliants. 

Exothermic Wave 

Combines different chemicals to create a reaction which gently processes a client’s hair without the application of heat. The result is long lasting and conditioned curls.



Skin care regimen for the face which can include a multitude of different treatment options like facial massage, exfoliation, lotions, and many others. It is typically used as a beauty treatment but also has many health benefits and can also be used to treat specific skin conditions.

Facilities License  

To provide services as a cosmetologist, most state boards require you to do so in a licensed facility. Failure to do so could result in a suspension of your professional license. State regulations can vary so always be cognisant of your state board’s specific requirements.

Finger Waves  

A long-popular method for setting hair with fingers and special styling gels or hairspray to produce the wave hairstyle. Hair is pinched between fingers and combed in alternate directions to make a sort of “s” shape.

Frosting - special effect used in hair coloring and lighting that involves bleaching individual hair strands to produce an eye-catching blend of dark and light hairs.


General Liability Insurance 

Commonly called “slip and fall” insurance because it protects you from third party claims for injuries or damages in or around your premises. Our cosmetologist insurance program provides up to $2 million per claim and a $3 million individual annual aggregate for general liability claims.


The art of applying glitter nail polish or material to the nails. Always start with a clean, trimmed, and shaped nail then move on to applying base coats and glitter. This service sounds tame but consider if a client has a terrible allergic reaction to the glitter you use and they have mountains of medical bills as a result which they say you are responsible for. Without cosmetology insurance, you’ll be left paying these expenses out of pocket.


Hair Coloring 

The process of changing a hair’s color typically with a chemical dye. 

Hair Removal 

Using any one of a number of techniques to remove unwanted hair from specific areas of the body.


Identity Protection Plan 

Our cosmetology insurance plan includes the best all around coverage option available because we include comprehensive protection measures like $25,000 worth of identity recovery services through our provided Identity Protection Plan.

Immediate Certificate of Insurance 

One of the best perks of membership through EBS is the immediate availability of your certificate of insurance upon check out. No matter where you are, as long as you have an internet connection you can have a COI in minutes.

Implements and Equipment 

One of the pillars for obtaining your cosmetologist license is being able to demonstrate your knowledge of the safe use and maintenance of the implements and equipments of the trade. This includes wet and dry sanitizing, properly storing and disposing, and maintaining a clean work area.


Liability Insurance 

Our liability insurance for cosmetologists comes with generous general and professional liability coverage limits to protect professionals providing services. In addition, we include product liability coverage, rental damage coverage, stolen/damaged equipment coverage, and even an identity protection plan all to create the best real-world protection possible for our members.


Coverage limits are the most amount that your insurance policy will pay for a given claim. With our general and professional liability insurance, you will have up to $2 million for each claim up to a $3 million individual annual aggregate.


Make Up 

Application of specific materials in order to alter the appearance of the face or some other portion of the body. For cosmetologists, this involves the skillful application of any one of a number of different products to make clients feel beautiful inside and out. 


This cosmetic beauty treatment for nails and hands involves a number of techniques including trimming, clipping, massaging, and polishing.


Eyebrow enhancement process involving the use of a tiny handheld device resembling a scalpel that has many tiny needles within it. The needles are used to physically add pigment directly into the skin to give a desired shape and fullness. Microblading professionals should exercise extreme caution and skill, and always carry professional liability insurance.


Procedure used to help skin tone and texture appear more radiant. Helps with damage caused by the sun, wrinkles and fine lines, and other scarring and conditions. A cosmetologist will skillfully employ an instrument with abrasive materials to remove outer skin layers.


Nail Extensions 

See also acrylic nails.


Occurrence Form Coverage  

Important coverage distinction that says no matter when you file a claim, as long as the event occurred while the policy was active, you are covered. This means even if you file after your policy expires you will still enjoy coverage for an event that happened when the policy was active. We only provide occurrence form coverage with our cosmetologist insurance.

Out of Pocket

Without comprehensive cosmetologist insurance, you can be left paying claims for injuries or damages out of your own pocket. Even when claims are frivolous, legal defense fees can be costly and prove financially devastating without the protection of liability insurance.



Cosmetic treatment for the feet and toenails. Beautification of the feet and nails is achieved through various techniques and also typically coupled with relaxing massage to ease stress and anxiety.


The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is. This is incredibly important for hair care when pH needs to be balances around 4.5 - 5.5. Knowing pH levels in hair and shampoo helps cosmetologists provide the right scalp and hair care regimen.


Our insurance coverage follows within all 50 U.S. States even if you change jobs or move away. 

Professional Liability 

Also called “malpractice” insurance, professional liability insurance provides coverage for claims relating to the services you provide. For example, a client may claim that your microblading session injured their eyebrow area and their medical bills and expenses are your responsibility. Our policy would provide up to $2 million per occurrence for claims such as these.


Product Liability 

Provides coverage when a  client has an adverse allergic reaction to a product used during the course of their session. Our cosmetologist insurance provides up to $2 million for product liability claims.



For one year of cosmetology insurance coverage, take advantage of our special intro rate and pay just $159 for a full year of coverage and instant access to exclusive member benefits. You can save further with a two year rate at $279.95. We also have a cosmetologist student option at only $25 for a year. 


The degree to which one state will recognize the legitimacy of a license issued in another state. State boards can be a little different so this varies greatly but some states will fully accept your out of state license and just require a few forms and fees for a new license. Other states will require additional education or testing in order to issue you a cosmetologist license in their state.


Skin Sensitivity Test 

Beauty products can cause an allergic reaction in many people so it’s best to always do a skin sensitivity or “patch” test. This entails placing a small amount of product usually inside the elbow or behind the ear. For best results, allow the client to go home and return 24-48 hours later to analyze any reactions. Having a client have an adverse allergic reaction is an example of a liability that would fall under Product Liability coverage of our comprehensive cosmetologist insurance.

State Board 

Each state has its own licensing board that dictates the requirements of the profession in order to achieve and maintain licensure. Be sure to be aware of the unique requirements your state board has for cosmetologists.


Hair styling technique that flattens and straightens hair for a smooth and sleek look. A variety of techniques exists for straightening but it typically involves using a hot iron or chemical relaxers.

Student Rate 

To help foster the next generation of cosmetology pros, we offer all of the same robust coverage limits and member benefits of our professional policies for only $25 for a full year to students enrolled in an accredited cosmetology program. 


Thermal Styling 

Encompassing many techniques, at its core thermal styling simply means the application of heat to curl hair. Utilizing heated rollers would be an example of a thermal styling technique.

Third Party 

This is someone other than the person who is insured or the insurance company. For example, general liability insurance provides coverage for third-party claims for injuries or damages. 


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Ultrasound Facials 

Gentle treatment that is generally considered safe for most skin types and various conditions such as acne and rosacea. Ultrasound waves are used to penetrate the skin without using chemicals or abrasion.



Also called nail polish, nail varnish is used to decorate and/or protect the nails of the hands and feet.

Venus Freeze™ 

Patented device that is used to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and make skin look more youthful and energetic by tightening skin and reducing cellulite. The Venus Freeze™ is one of more than 350 different treatments covered under our cosmetology liability insurance program.

Vitamin C Peel 

Utilizing L-ascorbic acid in Vitamin C, cosmetologists use the peel to exfoliate the client's skin and also create a hydrating mask.



Hairstyle usually used with clients with curly hair where their curls are brushed and flattened which creates a ripple-effect. 


Employing a variety of different techniques, waxing usually uses a hot wax and paper to remove unwanted hair from different areas of the body. Waxing presents many claims against cosmetologists as skin can easily ripped during the process. Without a robust insurance policy, you could be left paying the costs of a claim out of pocket.


See also hair extensions.

Wet Styling 

Styling hair immediately after a shampoo and conditioning while still wet. Different tools can be employed to create a desired look such as a curling or straightening.

Wig Stylist 

An important element of cosmetology school and licensure is being able to demonstrate proficiency in coloring, cutting, and shaping wigs and hairpieces. Maintaining this skill as a professional is a good way to expand a cosmetologist’s service offering.

Still Have Questions?

Our live customer service representatives are available 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EDT. We want to be sure you feel confident, so we have an after-hours line, too! If you need to update your policy information or have any questions about our program, simply email or call us at 1(833) 507-6843.