An esthetician is a licensed professional that specializes in cosmetic skincare. They are skincare specialists that are dedicated to performing treatments that beautify the skin.
Esthetics is a branch of cosmetology, or the cosmetic treatment of skin, hair, and nails. Although they are licensed skin care professionals, they strictly perform cosmetic procedures. Estheticians are trained in skin wellness, most often helping their clients with therapies that are designed to improve the tone, texture, color, and youthfulness of the skin on both the face and body.
It is important to note that an esthetician is different from a dermatologist! Estheticians focus on, well, esthetics. They are trained to perform cosmetic procedures only, and can't legally diagnose and medically treat serious skin conditions or diseases.
While estheticians and derms both focus on the skin, estheticians focus on the surface-level (literally!) and mainly deal with skin examination and can help with the general maintenance of the skin. They can work on the treatment of facial blemishes or problem areas such as dry or oily spots while offering recommendations for certain products and daily practices to improve the skin.
Dermatologists are medical doctors and require 11 years of schooling, so their expertise extends beyond the surface level of the skin. Estheticians can definitely serve as a starting point and can refer you to a dermatologist, if needed.
A licensed esthetician in the state will have completed 260 to 600 hours of training, depending on the state's requirements, at an accredited beauty school. Most beauty schools simply require a high school diploma or GED in order to begin a training program.
After training is complete estheticians also need to pass both a written and a hands-on exam. Estheticians are licensed through the state board of cosmetology or department of health. Estheticians are required to be licensed in 49 states, with the exception of Connecticut.
Receiving a license is just the first step. A great esthetician also completes many hours of post-graduate education such as specialized training in an area like waxing or lash application. Esthetics is an ever-growing industry with constant new developments, and estheticians strive to stay on top of the latest trends. There are a few states that recognize estheticians who have completed advanced training as “master estheticians.”
What Does An Esthetician Do Exactly?
Estheticians perform treatments that target the superficial layers of the skin. They can't give any types of injectables like Botox or facial fillers, and cannot perform deep chemical peels (you’ll have to see a derm for that!). The practice of esthetics focuses on treatments and procedures on the skin that are designed to maintain its health and vitality, improve its overall appearance, and help combat the effects of sun exposure and aging.
Estheticians are often sought out to perform treatments that target surface-level skin issues, such as breakouts, fine lines, or dry skin. They can also help rejuvenate the body through treatments like hair removal (waxing) or massages.
Estheticians and an excellent source for treating your skin to some rejuvenation. Their main goal is to help you feel good in your skin! A trip to your esthetician can definitely be a luxurious indulgence, where you can relax and unwind while also treating your skin to some wonderful benefits. After all, the skin is the largest organ in the body - so estheticians are there to give it the TLC it deserves!
Most Popular Esthetician Services You Can Do At Home
Waxing is one of the most popular esthetician services to do at home! With the shutdown of salons due to COVID-19, individuals flocked to google to find the perfect at-home waxing kits so they could maintain their wax during a time of uncertainty. The best waxing services you can perform at home are:
As we mentioned before, estheticians do put in hours of training to perform the wonderful services they offer (there is a reason they are licensed!). Although there are some esthetician services you can complete on your own at home, there are definitely some services you should seek a professional for! Brazilian waxing, for example, is a difficult service to perform on your own properly due to the area itself. This area is particularly tricky to wax yourself because it is hard to get the proper angle to apply and remove the wax correctly. Any mishaps or mistakes in a sensitive area are not fun, and can cause burns or severe injury. If you want to take the plunge - power to ya! But... you might want to consider calling your esthie for this one if you are not totally confident you can pull it off (literally!)
To properly wax at home, we have three tips from the professional herself - Liz Lugo. These secrets to at-home waxing success will ensure you have the best experience possible and help you to avoid any missteps that can be painful or damage your skin.
Properly Prep Your Skin
Starting with clean skin is the best way to ensure your wax works properly. Dirt, oil, makeup, and lotions can affect how the wax applies to your skin. Even if you just took a shower, applying some pre-wax cleanser or micellar water on your skin beforehand will ensure nothing prevents the wax from doing its thing! This is a step that is never missed by professionals who perform waxing services, but is often overlooked by at-home waxers since it seems like more of a precautionary step than a necessary one.
If you do not cleanse your skin beforehand, the wax has a chance of not adhering properly to the skin. When the wax doesn’t lay properly, there is a huge chance that your strip won't be clean and you’ll have hair left on your skin after removing the strip. This is an easy and necessary step to your at-home waxing experience that will truly make the process so much more efficient!
Nova is a low melting-point wax, so when it is at the proper temperature it should not burn the skin! However, everyone’s skin is different and some of us are more sensitive to temperatures than others.
Nova’s ideal temperature is anywhere from 65-75 degrees (depending on how much wax is in your pot and the temperature of the room you’re in) with a creamy, honey-like consistency. Before starting on the area you plan to wax, it is a good idea to test the wax on your forearm to gauge the temperature and ensure you don’t burn yourself!
Please, don’t wax yourself in your bedroom! Ideally you should wax in a bathroom, but anywhere is really fine as long as you have everything you need within reach. The last thing you need is semi-dry wax dripping down your leg as you run to another area to grab more spatulas!
You should have your warmer, wax, spatulas, pre and post care, paper towels, and anything else you think you might need while you’re waxing all in one place! You can set everything up while your wax is melting in the warmer. It is also a great idea to have an old towel on the floor underneath you to protect your floor from any accidental wax drippage.
In addition to having everything you need in one place, you should also ensure that you have enough room around you to wax properly. Cramped spaces will not only be uncomfortable to wax in, but can also prevent you from getting the right angle to apply and remove the wax properly to get a clean strip. If you’ve read our other blogs, you know we put a lot of emphasis on having enough power behind your removal. So, remove anything in the area that could be knocked over or broken - just in case!
Do Your Research
Waxing is a service that is performed professionally, with a license. It can be dangerous if not done correctly, especially when you’re doing it by yourself without the technical training. You definitely do not want to go into it blindly!
Seek out all the information you can, such as reading educational blog posts and watching youtube videos, before attempting to tackle at-home waxing. After exposing yourself to as much content as possible, you’ll be well-prepared and less likely to make any damaging mistakes. You’ll also have a lot more confidence in your technique!
If you already have a wax kit, practicing on a forgiving area (like the forearm) can help you with learning how to apply the wax, create a lip, and remove it. It will also give you a chance to gauge how the wax feels once it’s on the spatula and placed onto your skin. Since you’re practicing in an area that is hairless If you mess up, it won’t be a big deal!
Evaluate your Skincare
Waxing is a form of exfoliation, so it is not a good idea to wax while you’re using exfoliating skin care such as retinols. Regular retinol users typically have fewer dead skin cells on the surface of their skin, so any facial waxing such as the lip and eyebrow can strip away part of the actual epidermis of the skin resulting in burning or skin lifting. Retinoids can increase your skin’s fragility, so if you use retinols and want to wax you should proceed with caution. You should stop prescription retinoid treatments for one week before waxing, and should not resume using them until the redness on your skin has subsided.
Prescription acne medications such as accutane are also skin thinning and can affect your skin’s reaction to waxing. Due to increased skin sensitivity on accutane, there is a higher risk of irritation and potential scarring since waxing is a form of superficial “trauma” for the skin. Unfortunately, you will need to wait about 6 months post-accutane to consider waxing.
If you’re on any medication at all (even if it is not acne-related) it is always best to consult a doctor to ensure waxing is a safe and effective hair removal method for you!
What Services Can An Esthetician Offer?
Estheticians can offer a multitude of services ranging from facials to body services like waxing and body scrubs. Some estheticians prefer to offer a full menu of services, while others prefer to pick a niche or specialty to really hone in on a particular craft. This is why you see a lot of brow artists that only offer brow and facial services and will not do body treatments!
Facial services provided by estheticians can include:
- Face masks
- Makeup application
- Pore cleansing
- Moisturizing treatments
- Acne treatments
- Chemical peels (light to moderate only)
- Laser skin rejuvenation
- Light therapy
- Facial waxing
- Eyelash extensions
- Eyebrow tinting
- Eyebrow lamination
Microneedling is another service estheticians can offer, depending on if their state allows it. The restrictions vary by state and some only allow medical doctors like dermatologists to perform it, while others allow estheticians to only perform microneedling with a restricted needle size. Be sure to check the state laws to ensure you are seeing an esthetician that is allowed to perform this procedure in your state.
Some body treatments estheticians can offer are:
- Body masks and wraps
- Body scrubs (salt and sugar scrubs) and other types of exfoliation
- Hot stone therapy
- Spray tans
- Laser hair removal
- Scalp and shoulder massages
Estheticians are skin beautification gurus, and definitely put in the work to own that title! They require a lot of training to master their craft, and their education covers a lot of bases! If you’re considering trying an esthetician service on yourself at home, such as waxing, taking the time to learn from estheticians can really help your process!
Waxing at home is incredibly popular, but it’s not to be taken lightly! With our tips from an esthetician herself, you’ll have the confidence to wax yourself almost like a pro! Who knows, maybe this at-home waxing experience will inspire you to pursue a career as an esthetician!