Whether you work as a freelance makeup artist or spend your days in a salon and your nights dreaming of starting your own business, you know how to hustle.
In fact, you probably spend a good chunk of your free time thinking about how to improve your skills, land more clients, make more money — and generally live the good life.
The good news is: There are a ton of free online cosmetology courses to help you grow.
The beauty of this industry is that you can constantly explore new trends and directions.
It’s why we love hair and beauty conferences so much — and why we host so many webinars with beauty experts.
Yours is a profession where it pays — quite literally — to never stop learning.
But if you can’t make it to an in-person event or enroll in an in-person cosmetology program because the cost is just too steep, these free online cosmetology classes will scratch that self-improvement itch just fine.
PS. These courses are supplemental to a state board licensing exam to become a cosmetologist. These free learning opportunities can also help you decide if you should pursue your beauty interest as a full-time career.
8 Free Online Cosmetology Courses
1. Beauty Tips and Tricks: An Introduction to Applying Makeup (Skillshare)
If you’re considering a career as a professional makeup artist for the first time, this is a pretty great class to test the waters. Skillshare offers a free trial to get you started, so you can explore learning beauty basics for free with makeup artist Chelsie Baker.
BTW, here’s our list of the items that every freelance makeup artist must have in their kit — should this class (or its 4,000+ students) inspire you to get started.
2. Beauty Therapy Course (Upskillist [formerly Shaw Academy])
This in-depth course promises “practical training in carrying out treatments, as well as in-depth theoretical knowledge” on topics including skincare, body treatments, and hair removal. You’ll start with basics, flow into advanced skincare, then straight into professional makeup techniques.
According to Upskillist, this course can be completed in four weeks — which is exactly the length of their free trial…
3. Makeup and Nails Certification Course (Upskillist [formerly Shaw Academy])
Want to dive even deeper?
This sixteen-week course with almost 52,000 online students will get you certified in advanced techniques.
(Note: after Upskillist’s 4-week trial, learning will cost $69.99 per month)
This cosmetology certification is designed for beginners but could also be used as a refresher for long-time makeup artists.
As one reviewer puts it, “I am glad I actually took this program because it has enlightened me on so many things I normally take for granted when applying makeup.”
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4. Beyond Black Friday Holiday Sales Course (Schedulicity)
We partnered with beauty industry expert, Nina Tulio, to offer a completely free 4-week online course dedicated to generating more revenue during the busy holiday season as a small business owner.
Specifically designed with hair and beauty industry folks in mind (though all service providers are welcome!), online booking software Schedulicity sends classes straight to your inbox, so you can watch them whenever it’s convenient.
5. How-to Beauty Courses (Huda Beauty on YouTube)
“YouTube is not an online cosmetology course!”
Ok, fair, but hear us out!
Some of the most talented makeup artists out there are self-taught — or at least self-taught lite — and even many certified makeup artists rely on YouTube to learn all the new techniques that surface constantly.
Our point: Don’t write this free online education off!
This channel by celeb makeup artist and beauty influencer Huda Kattan is a great one to start with if your goal is to stay current and pick up the occasional skill between client sessions.
6. Hair Color Industry Classes with Shannon VanFleet (YouTube)
Another gem available for free on YouTube, these mini classes are taught by hair extension specialist and YouTuber Shannon VanFleet.
And, if we’ve sold you on the idea of learning by watching, we’ve rounded up a bunch of our favorite hair and beauty industry YouTube influencers over here.
7. Alison Courses in Cosmetology
If you haven’t heard of Alison Courses, you’re missing out.
It’s similar to Upskillest and other certification programs. It offers Certificate Courses, which last between 2-4 hours, and Diploma Courses, which last between 8-10 hours.
You can sign up and learn more from certified award-winning beautician Kristina Bagrova about:
- Fundamentals of Cosmetology
- Professional Nail Care and Treatment
- Mesotherapy for the Face and Lips Using Hyaluron Pen
- Permanent Eyebrow Makeup with Machine
- Pedicure Treatment and Nail Polish Application
8. Get Free Cosmetology School Education via Financial Aid
If you’re looking for a true cosmetology school experience, don’t assume that it’ll force you to go into debt. Many programs offer financial aid if you dig hard enough and reach out to the appropriate people.
In 2021, many of these makeup courses have also moved online. We recommend Googling “cosmetology programs near me,” and then heading straight to the Financial Aid page of local programs to see what pops up.
Peach Phillips, a YouTuber in the hair and beauty community, got a free cosmetology degree through some serious financial savviness — plus a few meetings with the financial aid department at TCAT.
Here’s her video that breaks down exactly how she did it:
If you want a little extra credit, Schedulicity is perfect for beauty school students and beginner cosmetologists and estheticians. It gives you up to 10 bookings per month and access to all our education resources!
(If you’re looking for something a bit more robust, we also offer Schedulicity Unlimited.)