So, you are sort of a beauty buff. You like to apply make-up on yourself and others, know what to do to make facial features pop. Of course, you are also a skin guru. You know how to take care of skin after makeup removal and know what products to use to retain its youthful glow. Know how to treat acne using the right ingredients? Check. Know what skin care routines to suggest to complement a person’s skin type and appearance? No problem. Basically, you have what it takes to make someone look their best.
This is how a facialist begins – with a passion for health and a passion for beauty.
What is a Facialist?
However, a good facialist demands someone with an eye for science, an aptitude for service, and most of all, hard work. It is not enough that you have a curious mind and interest in the field. If you are unable to communicate a client’s needs properly, that is one problem. If you are unable to practically apply what you know to others, what then?
Though passion is a good motivator, a good facialist requires a science and research-oriented mind to ensure the safety and efficiency of your methods. Without learning about skin structure, subjects might be exposed to incorrect techniques. Without learning about ingredients, optimal results might not be achieved and may leave the customer in worse shape. This applies to the most basic forms of facials such as masks and peelings, as well as more advanced techniques like laser skin resurfacing and microdermabrasion. Furthermore, use of tools such as a facial steamer, and exfoliating brush is, of course, expected.
Secondly, you need to have people skills.
Each customer will have different skin care goals. To be able to assess their needs is great, but you must also effectively convey this in layman’s terms. This is an important aspect of becoming a facialist as there will be many consultations involved in your work. Here, there is opportunity to build trust with others which will eventually gain you returning customers.
But it does not stop here. A facialist values experiences and learns from their customers. As you expand your business, you must also expand your knowledge in the industry. Go back to course studies, focus on a specialization, or work with others to learn new methods. This way, you can offer new or advanced techniques to people after having developed your own skills as a facialist.
Theory, practice, technique. This is what makes a good facialist.
What services do facialists provide?
The services that facialists provide range from basic facials, exfoliation, and waxing to color light therapy and chemical resurfacing. Typically, a full facial treatment includes the following:
Cleansing removes makeup and dirt from the skin. This allows for a clean surface to work on for further treatments.
Once the face has been dried, the skin is examined using a magnifying glass to determine skin conditions and customize treatment according to client needs.
While cleansing removes dirt, exfoliation takes away dead skin cells using an exfoliation brush.
Steaming unclogs pores and flushes excess dirt through sweat ducts. This is done to prepare the face for extraction.
Here, blackheads and whiteheads are removed using fingers or a metal tool to better remove built-up sebum from pores.
The face is then stimulated through a massage. This encourages blood flow and healthy skin growth.
A mask is applied to further nourish the face. A clay mask is used for oily skin types, while hydrating masks are applied to dry skin. Mask application is usually accompanied with more massage.
As a final application, a serum is applied to target issues. Examples of this are vitamin C serums, hydrating serums, and skin brightening serums.
How do I become a facialist?
You have the passion and the curiosity. Where do you learn theory and practice?
- Facialist Courses
Many world-renowned facialists began their career with an interest in skincare. What made them truly excel was their curious inquiry into biology, physiology, and chemistry that helped them understand the processes behind facials.
To become a facialist, the first thing you need to do is undergo formal education in the form of entry-level facial courses online or on-campus. There are various programs available that will get you ready in a few weeks, months, or even just one day. It all depends on what course fits your personal goals and preferences.
Completing a course is no easy task. You will have to learn concepts such as bacteriology and massage techniques, accompanied by demonstrations and exams to assess your learning at the end of the course. In some programs, case studies are one of the requirements to acquire certification.
However, these do not guarantee confidence in practice. After completing a course, the next step would be to hone your skills at home by providing services to friends and family.
Once you have gained confidence in your skill, an internship or apprenticeship is a good way to test your abilities. This will serve as your training hours, especially if you feel you need more time and hands-on practice in a salon set-up.
Look for local salons or spas where you can start out as a beginner. Here, you aim is not only to keep practicing, but also to observe and learn from peers and more experienced personnel. Use this time to add to your knowledge so you can move up to higher positions.
This is exactly what Nichola Joss did. Nichola Joss is best known for her lymphatic drainage technique called an ‘Inner Facial.’ Before she was able to develop this, she took an apprenticeship in Malaysia to better understand holistic massage and its benefits.
Thanks to the facial course you attended, you may have the accreditations needed to start your own business and begin on your own terms. Most facial courses give you the ability to charge for your treatments and have your salon insured upon certification. Here, you will be able to customize your own menu and environment among other things.
Inspired by Jo Malone, Georgia Louise Vassanelli, started her own business on King’s Road. She was only eighteen years old!
- Continuing Education
Whether or not you decided to start your own salon, continuing your education is a must if you want to become a successful facialist.
From an entry-level facial course, you can choose to take a specialized program, branch out to other services, or study more in-depth like Tammy Fender. Popular for her organic facial remedies, Tammy studied with an aesthetician France and took courses in iridology, aromatherapy, botany, and thalassotherapy. Driven with a love for nature and health, she used her knowledge to create her own natural skin care products.
With higher level courses and more experience, you will be able to offer more services for your business or take on other positions as a facialist, maybe even creating your own treatments and techniques like Nicholas, Georgia Louise, and Tammy.
What training is available to become a facialist?
Depending on program structure, location, and accreditation, many beauty schools offer training that span from one day to a couple months. While online classes let you study at your own pace, they lack the equipment and facilities needed to prepare you for practical application. On the other hand, in-person classes are more expensive but provide you with nearly everything you need from start to finish. You may also opt for one-day diplomas which are in-between virtual and on-campus learning in terms of price but can overwhelm you if a short course does not suit your learning style.
You can stop at one course or undergo further education by taking higher level classes. This will widen your career options and institutions in which you would like to work.
Accomplished some coursework? Apprenticeship training could be the next step.
As a formal relationship between you and your instructor, an apprenticeship will give you valuable knowledge and experience to aid you in your future endeavors as a facialist. Along the way, you will meet many clients in a professional setting, allowing you to be exposed in the ‘real world’ before you become an independent facialist.
What job opportunities are there?
Entry-level facialists move out of the classroom and step right into the beauty industry working at salons, spas, or even resorts. Once licensed, more windows are opened for you. You can choose to work in the medical route as the following:
Esthetician/Skin Care Specialist
While facialists focus on facial treatments, estheticians work on the skin as a whole. Aside from chemicals peels, exfoliation, and cleansing of the face, tanning, waxing, and hair removal in other parts of the body falls under this job description.
While a Medical Esthetician and an Esthetician have similar tasks, the former has additional training that allow them to perform specialized treatments in clinical settings.
Medical Spa Manager
Besides providing treatments, a medical spa manager oversees all operations in a spa setting. This includes managing staff, facilities, and patient records. At a medical spa, medical applications are combined with the experience of a day spa. These provide treatments that center on anti-aging and aesthetic treatments.
Esthetics School Instructor
Instructors in this field teach others the fundamentals of skin care, tanning, waxing, facial and body treatments, and make-up. They are responsible for making sure theory is understood in-depth and methods are performed correctly.
On the other hand, you can also choose to work in cosmetics in positions like:
With the face and/or body as a canvas, a Make-Up Artist’s task is to transform the look of a person using make-up, wigs, and other accessories. With knowledge on anatomy, they have the ability to alter bone structure with only a brush and a palette.
Eyelash and Brow Specialist
While a Make-Up Artist covers the face and the body, an Eyelash and Brow Specialist (sometimes called Eyelash and Brow Technician) focuses on the eyes. They provide waxing, threading, and permanent brow tattoos, along with extensions, semi-permanent, and permanent application of eyelashes.
Wax/Hair Removal Specialist
Hair Removal Specialists use different methods to remove hair from the body. These range from different types of waxing to laser hair removal.
Whichever path you choose, beginning as a facialist is a good start to pursuing a career in the beauty and health industry.
How can I find a position in facial services?
Where you find skin care products and services is where you will find employment. For those starting out, your local salons and spas is a good place to begin your search. If your location is tourist driven, hotels and resorts may have openings for facialists. Fortunately, social media has driven the market for such services. It would be wise to look for opportunities online and do research on the beauty businesses around you.
OK, so where do I start?
If you are feeling paralyzed from the many options presented to you, remember – start small and go from there. It also helps to know what your goal is before deciding on something. Are you dead set on working as a facialist? Great! It is time to apply for a facial course.
Square one is often the most difficult part of starting anew. But as someone who already has the passion and curiosity for beauty and science, you are well on your way to becoming a facialist.