What Does An Esthetician Do?

"I’ve been getting interested in cosmetics recently, and I was thinking maybe I would like to do something with that after school. I was curious, what is an esthetician, and what does she do? It’s a word I’ve heard thrown around at my salon before, but I haven’t been there in a while and somehow I never thought to ask what it was. Now that I’m graduating high school though it’s time to start thinking about career choices. Please tell me more about the day to day job duties of someone working in this role. What types of procedures do estheticians usually perform?"

asked by Vanessa from Houston, TX

In a typical workday, estheticians perform a lot of tasks aimed at making their clients look more beautiful without surgery. As skincare specialists, estheticians work in salons or spas, and do not only care for their clients’ skins but provide the pampering they need so that they can relax. Giving facials is the most common procedure that estheticians do but they are trained to do so much more. They also know how to clean the pores of the skin to remove dirt, oil and sweat that are embedded on it to prevent the occurrence of pimples and acne. They can also perform exfoliation treatments to remove the old and dead skin cells and leave the skin smoother and more refreshed.

Although estheticians work mainly on the face of their clients, they are also trained to provide body wraps and body scrubs. They can provide foot reflexology and aromatherapy treatments as well. Clients go to estheticians in order to get a more youthful glow of their skin. Thus, these skincare specialists know how to perform such techniques as chemical peeling to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and take away age spots. They also perform microdermabrasion which is a procedure that utilizes microcrystals and not chemicals to remove dead skin and reveal younger-looking skin. They may also be asked to remove hair through depilation and waxing. Most of these procedures typically require estheticians to perform gentle massage as a way to both relax and stimulate the skin before each cosmetic treatment is carried out.

Estheticians also know how to apply make up to clients, especially for special occasions when regular makeup isn’t sufficient. They can also tint lashes and shape eyebrows when asked to do so. They can also remove unwanted facial and body hair through such methods as depilation and waxing. They may also perform other procedures necessary to hide a customer’s skin imperfections.

Estheticians are not medical professionals so they are not trained to provide medication for skincare problems that are beyond their skill, expertise and scope of their license. However, they can spot these problems easily and when they do, they would recommend that their client go to a dermatologist for further assessment and treatment. There are also a number of estheticians who undergo further studies and training to work as a medical or paramedical esthetician in a healthcare setting. Instead of doing purely cosmetic procedures, they will be helping patients who have suffered trauma to their skin due to accident, surgery and medical procedures like chemotherapy.

Before estheticians begin their work, they would usually check their appointment calendar to see who are coming to meet them and the procedures that they will perform on each client. During vacant times in their work the previous days, they would usually call clients to remind them of their appointments. Doing so reduces the chances of clients forgetting their appointments and allows estheticians to accommodate other customers in case a client cancels. Many estheticians have regular patrons who rely on them for their skincare and beauty needs.

They also see to it that their workspace is clean and that all the equipment and tools that they are using are hygienic and sterilized. They disinfect equipment so that diseases are not spread from one person to another. Since they will be examining the client’s skin condition, they need to ensure that their lighting is working. They also don on protective clothing since they will be working with chemicals in some procedures.

Before performing the skincare procedure, estheticians consult with their clients about the kind of services they require. They also ask for histories of skin allergy and other conditions that could be affected by the procedure. They also analyze the skin of their clients so that they can also make their recommendations based on what they find. This is also a good time for estheticians to get to know their clients more so they will know what their preferences and interests are. It is also a good time to develop their esthetician-client relationship which would help cement relationships and bring in more clients through referrals.

Before initiating the procedure, the esthetician sees to it that the client is comfortable. She answers any questions that the client may have and puts her mind at ease, especially if this is the first time that she has undergone such treatment. If the client is asking for makeup to be applied on her skin, the esthetician sees to it that the surface is first cleaned before the colors are put on. She also makes sure that the makeup fits the occasion and the outfit that the client is wearing.

After the procedure, the esthetician will inform the client of any special care they need to do to ensure that its benefits are maximized. For instance, they may warn the clients against going out into the sun for the first 24 hours. They may also recommend creams and lotions that would help make the client’s skin softer and suppler. If these products are available in their spa or salon, estheticians may also sell these directly to the clients. They also try to book the clients for future appointments before they leave and offer them special promos and discounts to encourage repeat visits.

Estheticians who run their own businesses would also need to perform other administrative tasks to ensure that their business thrives. They may hire employees and train them. They also do their own accounting or in larger establishments, supervise the work of their hired accountants. They also see to it that the salon’s supplies are well-stocked and order those that are already close to running out. They also think about marketing strategies that would improve business. Some self-employed estheticians also visit the homes of their clients and do the procedures there.

Work as an esthetician requires long hours, with evening and weekend schedules as part of the job. Most procedures are done standing up so they need to have the physical stamina to do the work. Having manual dexterity is necessary because they are handling tools, equipment and chemicals that could potentially cause injury to themselves and their clients.

Career Spotlight: Esthetician



People come to see estheticians in order to enhance the beauty and appearance of their skin. Estheticians perform a variety of facial treatments. They perform chemical peels, waxing, and body treatmen[...]

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