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The Definitive Guide: How To Become A Beauty Therapist

Published on: 28 Jul 2017

If you’ve ever been for a pampering day at a spa, you’ll know just how great it feels when you leave the building following your treatment. If the therapist was good at his or her job, it’s likely that you were ready for some shut-eye as soon as you got home.

Of course, we’re talking about the beauty therapists out there who also perform facials and massage – and can therefore leave you feeling as light as a feather post-treatment.

Now wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could make people feel that way, too? There’s nothing like a spa treatment, or a small cosmetic boost – such as eyelash extensions or semi-permanent make-up – when it comes to giving you a rush of confidence. And it’s wonderful to have some time out to experience the joy of massage or full-body exfoliation.

So, if a career in beauty therapy has ever crossed your mind, you’ve stumbled upon on the right day. Here, we’re bringing you all the details about a job in the industry. You’ll learn how to become a beauty therapist, the salary you can expect to be paid, and the kind of working hours you’re likely to keep. Intrigued? Read on…

What is a beauty therapist?

So what exactly is a beauty therapist – and what exactly does it entail?

  • Job Description

    As a beauty therapist, what can you expect your role to entail?

    Working their magic on clients to ensure they leave feeling fantastic, a beauty therapist will generally be skilled in all manner of cosmetic – and sometimes holistic – treatments. Some therapists have a specialism, though, while others will know how to do everything from manicures and pedicures to tanning and hair removal.

    To do well in the role, it’s important to keep on top of all the latest trends – such as micro-needling (also known as the ‘vampire facial’, of which Kim Kardashian is a fan) – and how to perform them.

    Like hairdressers, beauty therapists will also be required to have good customer service skills, too. Being a ‘people person’ will certainly help you out if you’re thinking of applying for a role in this industry, as well a passion for the job and a creative flair.

  • Hours of Work

    Beauty therapists keep fairly regular hours. If you decide to join the profession, you’ll usually work a 9am to 5pm day, including some weekend or evening work where necessary.

    While some beauty therapists work in a beauty clinic or spa, others will find themselves honing their craft on a cruise ship, or even as a freelancer. Becoming a self-employed beauty therapist will, of course, give you the flexibility to make your own hours and only work on the days you choose.

    Be aware that for most of the day you’ll be on your feet; a sensible and comfy pair of shoes is an absolute must!!

  • Main Responsibilities

    What will be your main responsibilities in your role as a beauty therapist? Of course, these can vary from company to company, and will depend largely on whether you’re a therapist who performs several treatments or someone who specialises in one or two.

    Your day-to-day responsibilities may include any of the following:

    • Greeting customers
    • Answering the telephone
    • Booking appointments
    • Giving facials
    • Applying make-up
    • Shaping and colouring eyebrows or eyelashes
    • Giving non-surgical skin treatments
    • Giving manicures or pedicures
    • Offering hair removal treatments
    • Offering spray tanning
    • Ordering supplies
    • Devising treatment programmes for clients

    While some beauty therapists will focus entirely on the cosmetic side of things (manicures, pedicures and makeovers), some will take a holistic approach and offer feel-good treatments like reflexology and aromatherapy massage.

Vital Beauty Therapist Skills

What kind of skills do you need to succeed in the beauty therapy industry? There are several routes you can go down, with CIBTAC and CIDESCO offering some handy information to anyone looking to embark on a career in the industry.

If you’d like to become either a hairdresser or a beauty therapist, it’s worthwhile looking up The Hairdressing and Beauty Industry Authority for relevant information.

Still not sure about completing a course? Why not go down the apprenticeship path, which gives an opportunity to learn on the job while receiving a small wage.

Key Beauty Therapist Qualifications

So, what qualifications do you need to be an accountant?

Unless you decide to enter the industry via the apprenticeship route, there are a few key qualifications you could gain to give yourself an advantage.

Check out your local college for beauty therapy courses and enroll at your earliest opportunity. If you’re currently working in another industry, it could be that you decide to go to night school to fit in your studies that way.

If you don’t fancy doing the qualification, or you simply haven’t got the free time, think about building up some relevant experience. Can you start as an assistant, perhaps? You could work in a salon or spa and shadow somebody higher up the ladder to learn more about the role and its responsibilities.

Consider putting yourself forward for a work placement; it could be exactly what you need to do to get your foot in the door in what is quite a competitive industry.

Once you’re in the door, you may decide to take a qualification after all. Doing so will obviously help you improve your skills and expand your knowledge. Here are just a handful of courses you could look into taking:

Completed one of those courses already? Think about taking an additional course in a specialist area; this could simply be any area that interests you. Want to learn how to remove hair? Try an epilation techniques course. Or maybe you’d like to make your manicures really stand out? Book a course in nail art techniques, if that’s the case.

Keeping abreast of all the latest trends and techniques will help you when it comes to deciding what your specialism might be. Every beauty salon or spa is different, of course, with each offering a slightly different treatment menu. If, however, you apply for a role at a spa and you have a skill or two that no one else has, you’ll definitely be in with a good chance of securing a position as a beauty therapist.

Specialisms or techniques like piercing, UV tanning or even laser and light treatments will put you ahead of the competition, so make sure you think about ways you can expand your skillset.

What is a Beauty Therapist Salary?

As a beauty therapist, what kind of salary can you expect to be on?

Most beauty therapists want to enter the industry due to a passion for cosmetics or beauty. While starting salaries are generally fairly low (£15,000), there is scope to earn a lot more once you’ve really honed your craft.

The average salary for a beauty therapist working in the leisure and travel sector is £18,591, so it’s certainly a good living wage.

Remember that monetary tips from clients will also boost your income and the rewarding element of the job is the reason many enter the profession.

As a general rule of thumb, the more treatments you can offer, the more money you’ll take home at the end of the month – particularly if you’re self-employed. If the latter’s the case, keeping your prices competitive will ultimately mean you gain more business, so be aware of that when creating your treatment menu.


How To Become A Beauty Therapist

If you’re still wondering what it takes to become a beauty therapist, wonder no more.

Perhaps you enjoy creating hairstyles or offering makeovers to your friends? Or maybe you just have an interest in the latest cosmetic techniques and treatments. Here are some other reasons you might decide to take the plunge:

  • You enjoy applying make up to yourself; creating new looks is inspiring and rewarding
  • You like to make people feel good
  • You have a creative flair that you’d like to unleash

All these things and more will equip you with the basic skills and personality traits of a soon-to-be successful beauty therapist.

How To Develop Beauty Therapist Career

So, once you’ve proved yourself as a beauty therapist and you’ve been in the role for a good few years, is there much scope for progression? The answer is a big, fat ‘yes’!

You could move on to become a salon manager, or you might even decide to apply for a beauty therapist role on a cruise ship, or even abroad. The ultimate goal for you might simply to become self-employed as a mobile therapist, or you might have designs on owning your own salon or clinic and taking on staff.

In some cases, those who are really good at their job end up becoming make-up artists to the stars. Nilam Holmes-Patel, the founder of High Definition brows, for example, made her name as a celebrity make-up artist and her brand is now pretty much a household name!

Did you enjoy this guide? Take a look around the Leisurejobs site for more career-related guides just like this one.

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