A beauty therapist specialises in beauty treatments for the face and body and is responsible for helping clients make the most of their physical appearance and more importantly help clients feel less stressed and more confident about themselves.
Common services offered by therapists are;
- Hair Removal. Temporary hair removal (depilation) via waxing and sugaring and permanent hair removal through electrolysis.
- Nail Treatments. Manicures, pedicures, nail extensions and applications of nail art.
- Massage. Either focusing on part of the body (i.e. head, neck & shoulders) or full body. There are many different types of massage; aromatherapy, Shiatsu, Thai.
- Facials. The facials offered by a therapist are tailored specifically to a client's needs taking into account their skin type and condition, age and requirements. Therapists normally offer a range of facials using different products and techniques; acne, aromatherapy, bio-lift. Sometimes therapists can gain additional qualifications to offer electro-therapy treatments.
- Eyebrow & Eyelash Treatments. These may include eyebrow shaping & tinting and eyelash perming & tinting.
- Specialised Treatments. These often require additional training to be qualified to carry out and include specialised use of electrolysis to remove red veins and skin tags
- Cosmetics and Skin Products Advice. Salons often stock professional products not available on the high street and because therapists are professionally trained in the appliance of cosmetics and in skin diagnosis they frequently give advice and sell skincare products to match a client's personal needs.
Skills and Personal Qualities
Being a good beauty therapist involves far more than being able to simply administer beauty treatments. They must be able to portray the following qualities;
- Professionalism. It's essential that beauty therapists maintain a high degree of professionalism at all times protecting a client's privacy and giving them their full care and attention.
- Personal Hygiene/Grooming. Therapists work in close proximity with their clients and have to ensure they adopt high standards of personal hygiene and grooming at all times; bathe daily, regular use of deodorant, fresh breath, hair tied back if long, subtle makeup etc
- Warm & Open Personality. It's essential that therapists make their clients feel at ease by being polite, friendly and conversational
- Stamina. Therapists often have busy schedules sometimes involving back to back appointments and spend a lot of time on their feet. It's essential therefore to have good stamina.
- Good Time Management. Especially in a busy salon with packed out appointments it's essential that a therapist has excellent time keeping skills. Clients should not be kept waiting for their appointment and neither should a treatment be rushed because your last appointment over ran.
The vast majority of employers require therapists to have undergone formal training. Some salons will accept junior trainee therapists at NVQ level 2 but most will only accept fully trained NVQ level 3 or equivalent. Courses include;
- NVQ/SVQ level 3
- BTEC Higher National Diploma in Beauty
- Spa Manager BA Honors degree
- SQA National certificate modules
- ITEC International Therapy Examination Council
Potential Salary and Benefits
Therapists can continue to train throughout their career in different products and treatments. The more treatments that a therapist trains in the more attractive they are to prospective employers and the higher their earning potential. Therapists can undergo training on different beauty products (i.e. Thalgo, Dermalogica), advanced beauty treatments (i.e. intense pulse light, electrolysis) and in different techniques (i.e. Reiki, Shiatsu).
Because a therapist's earnings are dependent on so many factors; location, business type, therapist experience, qualifications we can only give a rough guide to salary expectations.
Newly qualified therapist £10K - £13.5K
Therapists that have several year's experience - £15K - £19K
Salon Managers £20K - £25K, and on occasion upwards
Most therapists supplement their basic salary with commission from product sales.
Opportunities and Progression
The beauty industry is constantly evolving and developing and there is a constant flow of new products being introduced into the market place. The excitement in this industry is illustrated by the number of new salons and spas that are opening and as a result of this, the many exciting job opportunities that have become available.
Whether you are a job seeker looking to break into the industry or an ambitious therapist wishing to progress your career there are many options such as;
- Beauty therapist positions within salons, health & fitness clubs, spas, cruise liners, airports, hotels, holiday resorts and even hair salons. Most enter the industry, post graduation, at junior therapist or therapist level but can quickly climb the career ladder to becoming a senior therapist and ultimately a salon or area salon manager.
- Salon or Spa Manager - Combining your hands on skills with an ability to manage others and an understanding of profit and loss and sales targets.
- Self-employed Therapist. Some therapists become self-employed; operating a mobile beauty service that visits clients in their homes, renting a room within an established business or running a beauty service from within a room in their own home.
- Specialism. Therapists sometimes choose to specialise in one area by becoming for example a speciality waxer, makeup artist or nail technician.
- College Lecturers. You may feel that your communication skills lead you towards sharing your skills by teaching others.
- Field sales representative for a product company. Because of the speed with which new products come on to the market many opportunities are available for those with sales ability.