How to Become an Esthetician

Estheticians work is an incredibly exciting part of the cosmetic industry. Skincare is a fundamental part of health and beauty that is rapidly evolving and quickly gaining wider public recognition. The treatments and procedures an esthetician performs gives their clients confidence and visual inspiration. Estheticians get to spend their careers helping people feel happy in their own skin.

What do Estheticians Need to Know?

You will need to know and do certain things related to skincare in order to become a successful esthetician. Some of these are qualities and skills you may already possess. Some of these skills will need to be learned. You are going to need specialized information and training to get the proper certifications.

Whether you have committed to the idea of a career as an esthetician or are considering it, there are some things you need to know. Let’s take a look at areas you can develop and information you will need to learn before becoming an esthetician.

Esthetician Skills

Becoming an esthetician requires formal training and certification. However, there are qualities outside of your cosmetic training that will be important to your success. In fact, the skills you already possess may will make it much easier for you to achieve your professional goals. Here are some of the personal skills you work on to become a great esthetician.

Quality Customer Service

First of all, an esthetician understands the importance of positive client interactions. It will help fuel your work and drive you to continue educating and enhancing yourself. Good customer service skills helps to build a strong reputation among both clients and colleagues. Because of this, happy customers are more likely to leave great reviews and also provides opportunities for personal recommendations.

Good Communication

The importance of good communication skills cannot be overstated. This is especially true in the cosmetic industry. When you are dealing with appearances, you want to very clear. Written and verbal communication will be a crucial part of several aspects of your career. You will need to manage and navigate your client, employer and co-worker relationships in a professional manner with communication that is clear and appropriate.


Being organized gives your full attention to your client when you are doing your job. Knowing where your tools/supplies are located, being aware of your schedule and keeping your space organized keeps your schedule running smoothly. In addition, organization keeps you from looking inexperienced and disorderly.

Focus and Attention to Detail

There are many things about an esthetician’s job that are methodical. The kinds of systematic tasks you will perform are useless when you overlook a step in the process. It is important that you focus on the task at hand without distractions. Your attention to detail can also be useful and helps your clients spot problems on their skin that may have a significant impact on their health or appearance.

Manual Dexterity and Moderate Physical Stamina

There are some procedures and treatments that will require a greater degree of accuracy and precision than others, but most require at least a little of both. Steady hands and decisive execution can set you apart from others in the industry. You will also likely need to be able to stand, sit and have good range of motion through your arms, shoulders and back.

Learning How to Become an Esthetician

Specific training programs may vary in terms of teaching methodology and certain application techniques. Instructors have different ways of conveying information and the educational requirements may be different based on where you live. Institutions will have different curriculum pacing and vary in specialization opportunities. The fundamental information covered will be the same.

Anatomy of the Skin

To begin, you are going to need a basic understanding of the skin’s anatomy and biological functions. Before you begin to work with clients, these skills will need to be successfully learned. Knowing how these areas of the skin function and how they differ is where you begin. Here are things you will learn about the skin in a physical, anatomical capacity that will make it possible for you to be an ethical and effective esthetician.

Fundamentals of Dermatology

You will learn the different parts of the human skin in your fundamental dermatology training. You will discover things like how it grows, repairs, changes, and is pigmented. You will also learn how it can be damaged. This anatomical information is what you will use to learn how different treatments effect the skin.

Skin Analysis Techniques

Learning how to analyze skin for irregularities allows you to assess your client’s skin before procedures and treatments. This helps you ensure their health and safety. In addition to this, the knowledge gives you an informed way to determine what procedures and treatments would be most appropriate. Skin is not uniformly pigmented or textured across the body, and your education helps you to understand these changes.

General Signs of Skin Disorders

Knowing the signs and presentation of common skin disorders is a fundamental part of being a good esthetician. Etheticians may see a problem and address it either directly or through a referral to a medical professional. Basic knowledge of these signs will help keep you, your clients and your colleagues safe and healthy.

Cosmetic Products and Personal Care

Furtheremore, there is more to being an esthetician than performing skin procedures and treatments. An esthetician also answers many different questions people have about their personal skincare. For example they may ask you what you know about a specific product they have been using. Moreso, your client might ask for your opinion about a new routine they are considering. Here are some of the things you will need to learn about before you are able to answer those questions confidently and competently.

Cleansers and Moisturizers

These are among the most common skincare products people use. You might get questions about a specific brand or asked to make a product recommendation. You will need to know how various components of moisturizers and cleansers effect and interact with the skin before giving any professional advice or direction to anyone. You will also want to avoid any endorsement or recommendation of a product that you aren’t familiar with.

Home Hair Removal Methods

Waxing and laser hair removal are also typical facets of most esthetician jobs. However, you might also be asked for advice or input on home hair removal methods. For example, you may be asked about shaving, tweezing and other techniques used to remove hair at home. For this reason, having a basic knowledge of how these methods work will help you give your clients helpful tips and educated warnings.

Homeopathic and Holistic Treatments

It is possible that you will come across a client that wants to take an all-natural or a holistic approach to their skin and cosmetic treatments. These requests may include customized procedures or require unique ingredients. Most importantly, you must be sure you are accurately informed before jumping into anything. You don’t want to encourage the use of any products or treatments that are dangerous or deceptive.

Nutrition and Nutritional Supplements

Having a basic understanding of how a person’s nutrition effects their skin can help you make a tremendous difference in your clients’ lives. You can help encourage them toward life habits that will help their skin stay firm and healthy from the inside out. You may also be able to recommend supplements that will help them balance their nutrition in favor of vital, glowing skin. However, it is important to be sure you don’t set a client up for disappointment with a product. Stay optimistic but realistic when giving pointers and recommendations.

Extensive Skin Treatments

You will need to be trained to provide professional skincare treatments to people, but especially for the more technical, in-depth treatments. There are some procedures that are more extensive and go beyond basic professional skincare. You will need to be proficient in these treatments for almost any esthetician job at a salon or clinic.

Laser Treatments

This category of skin treatments uses lasers (light) that stimulates layers of the skin below the surface. This can be used in different ways to achieve different results. Laser technology targets and eliminates hair growth. It also smooths and improves the overall appearance of the skin.

Chemical Treatments

Treatments that involve the use of chemicals are usually used for smoothing and firming skin and for evening skin tone. These treatments require a fluid knowledge in highly technical areas. Knowing the different chemical solutions, their variations and how they affect the epidermis is important for both the satisfaction and safety of your client. You will also need to apply the solutions precisely and confidently. Making mistakes during chemical treatments can cause serious harm and painful skin damage.

Relaxation/Rejuvenation Treatments

Facials and wraps are examples of relaxation and rejuvenation treatments that you will need to know how to perform. Treatments like these are usually utilized as luxuries or indulgences. Knowing how to cultivate an experience and enhance a client’s appearance at the same time is not always easy. Blending the support of their skin health with the experience of soothing treatments can help heighten their self-esteem and elevate their mood.

Innovative Treatments

New procedures and techniques are being developed and tested at a rapid pace. Being a good esthetician means staying current on the latest trends in your profession. It also means knowing how to determine when a new trend might be risky or misleading. Some of the procedures developed may require you to seek additional certification whereas others may only require research and practice.

When people are having skin issues, they often feel more secure turning to a trained professional for advice or solutions. Being an esthetician means having the information and skills necessary to provide the cosmetic skincare help your clients will need. Being prepared both socially and strategically will position you for long-term professional success within the industry. Progressing your personal skills and choosing the right vocational program will give you a solid starting point for an exciting and fulfilling career as an esthetician.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about how to become an esthetician interest you? If you have a passion for skincare, you could begin your career as an esthetician at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC).  Our Esthiology Diploma Program is designed to be completed in under 5 months (600 clock hours) with full-time enrollment.  Our esthiology diploma program has been developed by talented, caring, real-world professionals, many of whom still work in the field.  We give our esthiology students experience in skincare, waxing, make-up, application of facials, and more.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming an esthetician and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

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