Cosmetology Kit: A Comprehensive Guide

Cosmetology Kit

The Essentials of Your Student Cosmetology Kit

A student cosmetology kit is a necessary component of your cosmetology school experience—every student needs one to get started. Many cosmetology schools roll the cost of a student cosmetology kit into tuition, while other schools allow students to purchase a kit as a separate expense. Still, some cosmetology schools offer students the option to hand-select items and build their own student kit based on a list of required items.

It is important to always check with your school’s requirements before striking out on your own to assemble a custom kit.

Even if a student cosmetology kit comes as part of your school tuition, you may also choose to begin adding to the kit as you prepare for your career.

Pre-assembled student cosmetology kits may be purchased from your school or through Amazon:

A basic, pre-assembled student cosmetology kit usually consists of a rolling suitcase or duffel-bag-style case. The interior of the case includes pockets and/or drawers that allow you to keep your items organized and readily accessible. If you plan to purchase a pre-assembled student kit, make sure it includes all the supplies and tools your school requires. Many schools will recommend specific kits and specific retailers offer kits with all the required items.

Most student kits range in cost between $300 and $500 and include all of the tools and supplies necessary to engage in hands-on activities while in cosmetology school. You will use it to train on mannequins, fellow students– and eventually your clients.

Although the tools in your kit will be somewhat different than the tools for another cosmetology school, generally speaking, your kit will likely contain the following essentials:

Selecting the Right Tools and Assembling Your Student Cosmetology Kit

Usually building a cosmetology kit will cost more than purchasing a pre-assembled kit. Still, some cosmetologists enjoy building their own kit, as it allows them to personally select items and choose tools of better quality

Selecting and building your own student cosmetology kit is an exciting endeavor, allowing you to research and learn more about the best cosmetology tools and supplies and begin building a kit that will last you throughout school and well into your career.

It is important to set a budget beforehand, as building a cosmetology kit can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to well into the thousands of dollars. Your goal will be to find the best quality tools and supplies within your price range.

When considering the budget for your student cosmetology kit, keep in mind that you will also need to purchase supplementary items (gloves, hair spray, lotion, etc.) throughout your time in school.

Here are a few of the essential items in any student or professional cosmetology kit:



A pair of professional shears will likely be one of the most important tools in your kit, so you will want to make sure they fit comfortably in your hand and are of high-quality, ice-tempered stainless steel. Most high-quality shears are ergonomically designed for maximum comfort and include adjustable tension. If you have difficulty finding a pair of shears that comfortably accommodate your fingers, you may want to consider a pair with removable finger inserts.

Many of the most expensive shears are handmade, featuring special blade grinding technology that ensures minimal resistance. Many are also nickel-free—ideal if you have a sensitivity to nickel.

Make your money go further by looking for shears with a lifetime warranty and lifetime sharpening. Many times, you can save money by purchasing a set, which typically includes cutting shears and thinning shears.


Brushes and combs
Brushes and combs

Brushes and combs can be of varying quality, so selecting the right vent brush, nylon bristle brush, and styling brush are always worth your time. Depending on your cosmetology school requirements, you may need to purchase a number of brushes, including thermal brushes of varying diameters.

The sheer variety of brushes can be pretty overwhelming. You will find that many are created for specific types of hair (long, coarse, or thick), made of different materials (wood, plastic, or ceramic), and made with different types of bristles (synthetic, boar, or mixed). Cosmetologists will have differing opinions on which type is the best for which client, so it is always best to research your options.

Most of the time, you will find that purchasing a brush kit with several types of brushes will save you money over buying them separately.

Your cosmetology kit must also contain a number of combs, including:

  • Cutting combs
  • Rat tail combs
  • Wide-tooth combs

Just like brushes, it is best to purchase combs as a set to save money.

Some examples of brushes and combs are recommended for cosmetologists.

Cosmetology Case

Cosmetology Case

Your cosmetology case will be an important component of your student cosmetology kit, as you will want something that will keep your valuable tools and supplies secured and organized.

Aluminum, briefcase-style cases, duffel bag-style cases, and rolling, suitcase-style points facilitate transporting your supplies, while wheeled carts are ideal for organizing your tools in one location. Depending on your personal preference, you may choose a hard-sided or soft-sided case.

When choosing a cosmetology case, make sure it is large enough to hold all of your tools and supplies and has enough room to add to your cosmetology tool collection. Also, ensure that it has plenty of compartments/pouches/drawers so that your tools and supplies stay organized and that it locks to prevent any accidents during transport or storage.

You can show your personal style with your cosmetology case, as many retailers offer a wide variety of colors and designs.

A number of retailers carry professional cosmetology cases, including:

Hair Styling Tools

Hair Styling Tools
Hair Styling Tools

Hair styling tools are a must-have component of your cosmetology kit. The cost of hair styling tools like hairdryers and styling irons can range from $100 to $400, yet most cosmetologists concur that quality always outweighs the price.

Your kit should include a high-quality hair dryer with a diffuser, a marcel iron, and a flat iron.

When shopping for a hair dryer, look for features such as:

  • Multiple heat and speed settings
  • Titanium/ceramic grills for even heating
  • Long, flexible cords
  • Lightweight/long-life motor
  • Excellent manufacturer’s warranty
  • Ergonomic handle

The following are the features to look for when shopping for a flat iron:

  • Titanium/ceramic plates
  • Temperature control
  • Lightweight, slim design
  • Excellent manufacturer’s warranty

When shopping for a marcel iron, look for features such as

  • Locking/rotating handle
  • Titanium/gold-plated/ceramic barrel
  • Excellent manufacturer’s warranty

Some of the largest manufacturers/retailers of hair styling tools include:

Maintaining Your Cosmetology Kit

Because your student cosmetology kit will be used during the course of your cosmetology education and beyond, your goal should always be to maintain your kit and keep it in top-notch condition. Not only it makes your life easier, it also reflects your level of professionalism and commitment to your cosmetology career.

Infection control and safety are always stressed as part of a cosmetology program, so you will want to inspect your kit on a regular basis, replace any broken, lost, or damaged items, and ensure all of the tools and supplies are cleaned, sanitized, and ready for use.

So there is our comprehensive guide to building or buying your cosmetology kit. We hope you found it useful. If you have any further questions, don’t be shy, shoot us a message.

Practice our practice test and prepare yourself to get your Cosmetology License. You can also check out our article on how to apply for a Cosmetology License in the state of Michigan.

Frequently Asked Questions

What essentials should every cosmetology kit include?

Every cosmetology kit should include basic hair styling tools (hair dryer, straightener, curling iron), a range of makeup products (foundations, eyeshadows, lipsticks, etc.), skincare items (moisturizers, cleansers), manicure and pedicure tools, various brushes and combs, scissors, and capes for hair cutting and coloring.

How do I choose the right products for my cosmetology kit?

Choosing the right products involves understanding your needs or your clientele’s needs, considering the type of services you offer (hair, makeup, skincare, nails), and selecting products that match the skin and hair types you often work with. Quality and durability should also be key factors in your decision.

Can I build a cosmetology kit on a budget?

Yes, you can build a cosmetology kit on a budget by starting with essential items and gradually adding more specialized tools and products. Look for high-quality, affordable brands, and take advantage of sales and professional discounts offered to beauty industry professionals.

How do I maintain and sanitize my cosmetology kit?

Maintaining and sanitizing your cosmetology kit involves regularly cleaning tools with soap and water, using disinfectants on non-porous items, and sterilizing tools that come in direct contact with the skin. Brushes and sponges should be washed after every use, and products should be checked periodically for expiration dates.

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