Beauty therapists provide professional treatments to the face and body to improve appearance and emotional well-being.
A beauty therapist is professionally trained to carry out a wide range of treatments to the body and face to improve the looks of a client, and also to help them feel better about themselves - to help them look and feel the best they can. If they work in a salon environment, the role can also involve customer service duties such as meeting and greeting customers, answering the phone and taking bookings.
Typical work activities include:
Carrying out facials – cleansing, massaging and moisturising a client's skin
Providing manicures and pedicures – shaping and polishing nails, and massaging hands and feet
Removing unwanted hair using a variety of methods such as threading, waxing and laser removal
Providing massages – using a range of techniques and applying pressure to various parts of the body to relieve tension and stress.
Applying self-tanning treatments in either spray or lotion form.
Body sculpting – using lipo-massage or electro-therapy to sculpt the body and treat cellulite and loss of firmness.
Personal Qualities and Skills
Key skills for beauty therapists
Good communication and social skills
Good at listening
Ability to explain information clearly about procedures to clients
Willingness to work flexibly as required in a small team
The ability to multitask and work well under pressure
An outgoing personality and friendly manner
The ability to be sensitive and discreet
The ability to a create soothing and comfortable environment
Ability to upsell and promote products and services
An awareness of health and safety issues
Confident at talking to new people.
Pay And Opportunities
Once you have the relevant professional qualification (see Qualifications and training below), it is possible to specialise in many of the areas such as massage, hair removal, nail technology or holistic treatments like reiki or reflexology.
The working hours of a beauty therapist can vary according to where they work. Beauty salons, health spas or hotels are some of the most common employers in this sector and working hours are often 9am until 5pm, usually including Saturdays. Beauty therapists can also be expected to work shifts depending on which establishment they work for. However, beauty therapists can also be self-employed and therefore their typical working day may be very different, as this could provide flexible working opportunities or part-time hours.
In the beauty therapy industry there are always new treatments and new products being developed so continued professional development is key to keeping up-to-date. Career progression typically includes progressing to managerial level and taking a management training course to enable them to manage a salon or owning their own salon or beauty therapy business.
Qualifications and training required
To become a professional beauty therapist you will need a Level 2 or Level 3 NVQ/SVQ certificate, or an equivalent qualification such as the ITEC Level 3 Diploma in beauty therapy or a BTEC National Diploma. Some beauty therapists start out as assistants in a salon part-time and study for qualifications while they work, or, alternatively, they might do a full-time course while looking for a job. A beauty therapist will often undergo training on-the-job to learn how to administer advanced treatments or to learn new procedures where appropriate.
In Scotland courses range from those requiring no formal qualifications to HND courses requiring two Highers including English or a science (usually Biology).