The Definitive Guide to Esthiology

Patient at esthiology clinic being seen by esthetician

Interested in becoming an esthetician? Esthiology is the cosmetic practice of caring for a person’s skin. An esthetician is a trained professional who uses various tools, products, and techniques to help clients maintain the health and beauty of their skin. Enhancing the appearance and integrity of someone’s skin takes a lot of different skills. It can be difficult because everyone’s skin is different, and we all have different goals for our appearances.

Practical Skills of Esthiology

If you want to get into esthiology it’s probably best to know what will be expected of you in terms of performance. These are some of the tasks any esthetician would be required to perform day-to-day.


A facial is a process that uses products such as creams and cleansers to help clean and hydrate skin. This is typically part of a larger skincare process and can include some exfoliation component, as well. Facials can range from the serenely minimalistic to the lavishly elaborate depending on the needs and wishes of the client.

Skin Treatment

Skin treatments deal with keeping skin smooth, firm and evenly toned. These treatments are can be invasive and intense. They include skin solutions such as chemical peels, laser treatments, light therapies, heat-based options, and injection treatments.


Applying makeup isn’t usually something that a client seeks an esthetician’s help for directly. More often they will seek out a specified makeup artist for makeup assistance. However, there a lot of people who prefer to seek makeup advice from estheticians because they want to keep their skin safe from products that might damage it. So even if makeup application isn’t a daily thing, it is still important to know the products.

Hair Removal

Getting rid of unwanted hair is a big part of esthiology. It is an incredibly significant part of most estheticians’ days and there are several different ways of getting the job done. A couple of the ways an esthetician will be asked to remove hair directly is by waxing or threading. Laser, sonic and thermal treatments are also hair removal solutions, but they require specialized equipment and training.

Physical Academic Knowledge of Esthiology

Studying esthiology doesn’t require you to go out and get your doctorate, but it does require you to know a little bit about the human body. Since esthiology deals directly with people’s bodies it only makes sense that there is a basic understanding behind that interaction.

Basic Dermatology

Again, esthiology in no way requires you to become a dermatologist. But if your whole job is dealing with the appearance and health of other people’s skin it is a good idea to know what you’re working with. Understanding the different layers of skin, the functionality of skin and skin variations is vital to safely and successfully practicing any part of esthiology.

Human Anatomy

Different parts of the body have different types of skin. For example, the skin that makes up the bottoms of your feet is different than the skin that makes up your eyelids. An esthetician must understand these differences in order to understand how different treatments or procedures might affect a client’s skin. What may be an effective skin treatment on one area of the body may not be on a different area of the body.

Cosmetic Skin Analysis

Being able to assess a person’s skin is a visual skill that is important for professional success as an esthetician. A proper cosmetic skin analysis can help determine the origins of a skin problem, identify the boundaries of a skin tone difference, or ensure that an area of skin is safe to work on. It is necessary that anyone in the field of esthiology perform a proper analysis for the safety and satisfaction of their clients.

Common Skin Disorders

Becoming familiar with common skin disorders is helpful for a couple of different reasons. First, it allows you to quickly identify any conditions that may be hazardous or contagious. Quick identification can help keep yourself and other clients safe. However, not every skin condition is dangerous. Another reason to familiarize yourself with common skin conditions is to allow you to be more sensitive and helpful to any clients you may encounter who have them.


Nutrition doesn’t seem like it would be an obvious part of esthiology. However, there is a significant amount of skin health that can be altered and enhanced through diet. What we see on the outside is, in many cases, a result of what happens on the inside. Esthiology can help give you a deeper understand of the relationship between the vitamins and nutrients we get in our diets and the way that our skin looks.

Social and Motivational Skills of Esthiology

As with all cosmetic professions, esthiology is a people profession. Dealing with people’s skin appearance can be touchy and stressful. There can be communication challenges, self-esteem issues and high demands. To be a successful esthetician you will need to know how to interact with others while maintaining your inner calm and enthusiasm.

Lifestyle Advice

Clients may seek an esthetician’s advice about areas of their life that affect their skin. For example, a client may ask if a certain habit they have is affecting their skin’s appearance. Or they might ask if a product they like will interfere with a procedure they are considering. These exchanges can be a bit touchy if you aren’t paying close attention to your words. Basic communication skills go a long way here. Choose your words wisely when asking questions and be understanding of your client’s sensitivities.

General Passion for Skincare

Loving what you do can mean the difference between being great and being merely satisfactory. A passion for skincare isn’t necessary to become an esthetician, but it is required if you want to be a good at it. Passion provides an attention to detail and a level of dedication that doesn’t seem to be matched by people who aren’t enthusiastic about what they do. Excitement can help focus that reinvigorates your work.

Eye for Beauty

An eye for aesthetic never hurts in a cosmetic profession. Beauty and appearance are the artistic portion of an esthetician’s job. Having a keen sense of what is appealing can give you the edge when it comes to client satisfaction. However, it is important to remember that the job of an esthetician is to make the client feel attractive and confident. This sometimes means a difference of opinion in what exactly is “beautiful.” Never let your artistic eye be prioritized over what a client wants done (or not done) to their own body.

Helping Others

At the heart of it, esthiology is about helping others look and feel as good as they possibly can in their skin. This can mean major alterations to help them feel more like themselves. It can also mean simply enhancing a client’s natural glow. There is certainly a sales component to the job of being an esthetician, but you should never try to make a client unhappy with themselves on purpose just to increase your profits. Try to increase your service and product sales with supportive suggestions instead of destructive ones.

Learning New Things

If you are going to be effective in esthiology you should have a love of learning. There are new techniques, products, and equipment available in the field all the time. Tech enhancements and new products are made at an incredible speed. Every time a new procedure is discovered it is an esthetician’s job to learn about it if they hope to stay competitive in the field. You will also have to stay alert to any new skincare products or lines that a client may ask you about. Continuing your learning can involve learning the steps of a process, how to use new tools, and keeping up with the latest industry and customer reviews of a new product. Staying up to date with current trends and the latest developments in esthiology will allow you to give your clients the most options and the best service available.

Client Appeal in Esthiology

There are a lot of different reasons that a client might call and make an appointment to see an esthetician. Even though the specific reasons might be different, all clients come to an esthetician for help with their skin in one of three areas.


The most common reason that someone will seek out the expertise of an esthetician is because they aren’t happy with something about their skin. This self-consciousness can lead into a crisis of confidence that can be difficult to get out of without professional intervention. An esthetician has the ability to solve all kinds of confidence issues relating to the skin. It could be some stubborn, embarrassing hair that your client needs help removing. It might be that they are having an issue balancing the tone or texture of their skin. Whatever the case is, someone trained in esthiology is going to be able to help make a client feel better by helping them highlight what they like about their skin and helping correct what they don’t.


Generally, people go to a dermatologist if they are having a serious problem with their skin. Dermatologists are qualified to give definitive diagnoses and prescriptions for skin related issues. However, there are minor skin issues that can easily be addressed by a cosmetic professional rather than a medical one. Acne, oiliness, and dryness are among the most common. There are a lot of different products and treatments that can help balance out the health of a client’s skin without having to involve a doctor.


There are times when a client might feel like making an appointment with an esthetician for no reason at all. They don’t have anything that they need help with, necessarily, but getting a facial or skin treatment seems relaxing. These are wellness appointments. Even though these treatments have different benefits for your client’s skin, sometimes it isn’t their skin that needs the work. Making an appointment for a relaxing day at the spa with an esthetician is a fantastic way to show oneself a little TLC.

Did learning about esthiology 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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