Overcoming the Challenges Faced in Beauty Therapy
In actual fact the career of the beauty therapist can be very challenging both mentally and physically. It is a job choice for those with excellent common sense and certainly not for the under achiever to “fall” into as an easy option.
It is a job that requires tact, diplomacy and impeccable professionalism. A beauty therapist working in a salon or spa can be faced on any working day with a number of difficult situations that, with the correct attitude and knowledge, are easily dealt with or avoided altogether.
Here are some of the challenges encountered in the average beauty salon:
It is a well-known fact that treatments in beauty salons are very much governed by the clock.
If a beauty treatment runs over time it will have a “knock on” effect on all the other appointments for potentially the rest of the day. This in turn will give the impression of an un-professional establishment to some clients.
More often than not it is the fault of the clients arriving late for their appointments and demanding that the therapist still sees them.
And I’m sure most therapists will agree with me that the only way to make up the time is by skipping breaks or lunch.
Also some treatments can take more time than initially booked e.g. a waxing client may have left it a little too long between her last treatment booking and there is more “work” than normal to do!
Treatment timing is so important in beauty therapy and can put many newly qualified therapists under a great deal of stress if their new skills are not up to the speed required by their employer.
The only advice I can give to lessen the anxiety of running over a booking time is to practice, practice, practice! It’s the only way to get your skills up to speed, especially with waxing. When I was first qualified (back when dinosaurs still walked the earth!) I used to take a good 45 minutes to do a half leg wax whereas now I can get it done in 15 minutes from start to finish.
Good working relationships
Beauty therapists work in a close team in salons and it is essential that the team are supportive towards one another at all times.
It is so important that you all maintain good professional relationships as there is nothing worse than disrespect between colleagues. Now by this I don’t mean becoming best friends or living in each other’s’ pockets, what I am trying to say is work can be hard enough without “cat fighting” amongst staff.
Long hungry days on tired feet
As a therapist it has often been expected of me to work 12 hour shifts with lunch “on the hoof” as we have been fully booked or a staff member is off sick and cover is needed.
This in itself is extremely challenging as this work is both physically and mentally demanding.
We work these hours knowing that we cannot let our clients down.
I always came to work prepared with high energy snacks in my bag and made sure I kept hydrated. And I never went to work without having a good breakfast.
Another problem I used to face was when I was full of cold and still having to perform treatments on clients. There is nothing worse than stifling a cough during a massage and I’m not going to go into details about runny noses apart from the fact its handy that cotton wool can be used as a nose plug so no drips occur during facials!
It can be really hard maintaining a cheerful disposition while dealing with clients if you are having problems in your personal life.
As I have written in previous articles a beauty therapist is never down and never has problems of her own.
We are expected to be excellent listeners and must never impart our own woes onto the client. I feel this is one of the most difficult parts of the job.
Also keeping your calm with clients that are rude and demanding, or dealing with any complaints can be incredibly stressful.
When things go wrong
We are all human; we all make mistakes at some time in our lives, but what if those mistakes are in the salon environment? One of the biggest challenges in the times we live in is not to be sued by an unhappy client.
Treatments can go horribly wrong if they are not performed correctly or health and safety is overlooked.
It is the therapist’s responsibility if a treatment damages a client in some way, for example if the therapist has been negligent, burning the client with wax and not patch testing it on themselves prior.
If a client has an allergic reaction to a treatment however, it may not necessarily be the therapist’s fault.
All beauty therapists are encouraged to have professional insurance which hopefully will never be called upon.
There is nothing worse than a phone call from an unhappy client and dealing with complaints is not a pleasant task.
I’m sure there are many more challenges faced daily in salons that I have not included, but I do hope any future beauty therapists reading this are not put off choosing this extremely rewarding and fun career path, and will firmly respond when asked what they do for a living:
“I’m a beauty therapist, it's damn hard work, and I’m proud “.
View our latest beauty therapist job vacancies
Visit our career hub for more workplace tips