“Aesthetics” is actually a term used to describe a philosophical approach to appreciating things of beauty, reverence and artistry. It’s quite fitting, then, that the practice of skin beautification in the health and wellness industry is also referred to as esthetics- sometimes even going by its original spelling, “aesthetics.”
Estheticians are skincare specialists responsible for performing a variety of facial and body treatments designed to increase, improve, or maintain the health and appearance of the skin.
Estheticians do not diagnose or treat medical conditions or diseases of the skin; instead, their work is focused solely on skincare as it relates to general health and beauty. However, their training allows them to detect skin problems that may require medical attention, so it often falls to them to refer clients to dermatologists and other medical professionals.
Depending on their work setting or job title, estheticians may perform a wide spectrum of services, from simple facials, exfoliations and depilatory hair removal; to laser therapy, microdermabrasion, body wraps and even makeup application.
Though the treatments and procedures that estheticians perform are primarily designed to keep skin on the face and body healthy and attractive, many times these procedures are meant to simply relax or rejuvenate clients, allowing them to enjoy an indulgent spa experience.
Find Esthetician Career Info For Your State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Estheticians must be able to show employers proof of current licensure in the state in which they practice. A state-issued estheticain license is required in all U.S. jurisdictions other than Connecticut.
What do Estheticians Do?
Employers generally expect estheticians to be able to skillfully and proficiently:
- Provide high-quality facial treatments that address skincare concerns
- Advise clients and suggest treatments related to their individual needs
- Perform face and scalp massages for therapeutic or relaxation purposes
- Remove hair by exfoliation, waxing, threading, or with chemicals
- Apply makeup/perform makeovers and perform makeup applications for special events
- Perform face and body masks, wraps, sugar and salt scrubs, and compression wraps
- Perform facial extraction for blackhead removal
In addition to the use of lotions, oils, masks, creams and ointments, estheticians may also use mechanical and electrical apparatuses and devices to perform procedures. Some of the devices that today’s estheticians use include:
- Microdermabrasion machines
- Facial steamers
- Galvanic current machines
- Rotary brushes
- Microcurrent machines
- Paraffin heaters
- LED Light therapy machines
- Vacuum/spray facial machines
- Electrotherapy machines
In salons where estheticians work alongside hairdressers and stylists, they are often responsible for eyebrow waxing, facials, and pore cleansing. In a spa setting they may perform everything from seaweed wraps and aromatherapy treatments to head and scalp massages and sugar body scrubs. In esthetic media-spas, they may perform more specialized services like laser therapy, micro-needling, microdermabrasion, extractions.
Although job duties for different settings may differ, estheticians are trained and licensed to perform a full spectrum of face and body treatments, though certain equipment like lasers may require specialty training and licensure.
In virtually all settings, the job duties of an esthetician would involve:
- Greeting guests and suggesting the appropriate therapies and treatments
- Performing consultations, both in person and over the phone
- Performing skin assessments to identify problems and the right course of action
- Scheduling spa/salon services
- Maintaining client reports and notes
- Educating clients on spa/salon therapies and services
- Actively pursuing daily sales goals, including retails sales
The Personality Traits and Qualities of a Great Esthetician
In addition to possessing knowledge and expertise in salon or spa services, treatments, programs, and products, qualified estheticians also possess specific personality traits and qualities. Therefore, employers often look for skincare professionals who:
- Are polite and well-mannered
- Have excellent interpersonal and communication skills
- Are well-spoken and articulate
- Are able to quickly and adeptly assess the needs and wants of their clients
- Have excellent time management skills
- Can solve problems and handle multi-tasking
- Can work well both alone and with a team
- Have a neat and polished appearance
- Have the physical stamina to stand on their feet for long periods of time throughout the day
- Always maintain professionalism, tact, and discretion
- Have a friendly, outgoing personality
Well-qualified estheticians are always:
- On time for their shifts and for client appointments
- Able to provide consistent services and treatments in accordance with state laws and salon protocols
- Supporting of the needs of the salon/spa
- Ensuring the proper care of salon/spa equipment
- Ensuring safety, sterilization, and sanitation procedures are satisfied
- Able to work weekend and evening hours
- Communicating with staff and management to ensure the salon or spa runs smoothly and according to schedule
Where Estheticians Find Employment
Estheticians may be employed in salons, day spas, destination/resort spas, upscale hotels, cruise ships, and wellness centers. Their work is in demand in dedicated esthetic spas, medical spas (spas staffed by a licensed medical professional), as well as dermatologist offices and plastic surgery clinics.
Estheticians may work as employees, as independent contractors in salons or spas, or as freelancers, traveling to exciting destinations for the theater, film, television, and fashion industries.
Self-employed estheticians may lease space in a salon or spa or set up an independent practice in their own home, in a professional space, or even offer mobile services in which they travel to clients’ homes.
Estheticians may specialize in a specific area like makeup artistry, or they may work as representatives for skincare product manufacturers or even as wholesale buyers for retailers selling specialty skincare products.