Skincare specialists cleanse and beautify the face and body to enhance a person’s appearance.

Duties

Skincare specialists typically do the following:

  • Evaluate clients’ skin condition and appearance
  • Discuss available treatments and determine which products will improve clients’ skin quality
  • Remove unwanted hair, using wax, laser, or other approved treatments
  • Clean the skin before applying makeup
  • Recommend skin care products, such as cleansers, lotions, or creams 
  • Teach and advise clients on how to apply makeup and how to take care of their skin
  • Refer clients to another skincare specialist, such as a dermatologist, for serious skin problems
  • Disinfect equipment and clean work areas

Skincare specialists provide facials, full-body treatments, and head and neck massages to improve the health and appearance of the skin. Some may provide other skin care treatments, such as peels, masks, or scrubs, to remove dead or dry skin.

In addition to working with clients, skincare specialists create daily skin care routines based on skin analysis and help clients understand which skin care products will work best for them. A growing number of specialists actively sell skin care products, such as cleansers, lotions, and creams.

Those who operate their own salons have managerial duties that include hiring, firing, and supervising workers, as well as keeping business and inventory records, ordering supplies, and arranging for advertising.

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Work Environment

Skincare specialists held about 44,400 jobs in 2012, of which 51 percent were in the personal care services industry. About 27 percent of skincare specialists were self-employed.

Skincare specialists usually work in salons, health and beauty spas, or, less frequently, medical offices. The job may involve a lot of standing.

Because skincare specialists must evaluate the condition of the skin, good lighting and clean surroundings are important. Protective clothing and good ventilation also may be necessary, because skincare specialists often use chemicals on the face and body.

Work Schedules

Skincare specialists typically work full time, with many working evenings and weekends. Long hours are common, especially for self-employed workers.

Education and Training

Skincare specialists must complete a state-approved cosmetology or esthetician program and then pass a state exam for licensure, which all states except Connecticut require.

Education

Skincare specialists usually take a state-approved cosmetology or esthetician program. Although some high schools offer vocational training, most people receive their training from a postsecondary vocational school. The Associated Skin Care Professionals, the largest organization devoted to these workers, offers a State Regulation Guide, which includes the number of prerequisite hours required to complete a cosmetology program.

Training

Newly hired specialists sometimes receive on-the-job training, especially when working with chemicals. Those who are employed in a medical environment also may receive on-the-job training, often working alongside an experienced skincare specialist.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

After completing an approved cosmetology or esthetician program, skincare specialists take a written and practical exam to get a state license. Licensing requirements vary by state, so those interested should contact their state board.

The National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) provides contact information on state examinations for licensing, with sample exam questions. The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) and the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS) also provides information on state examinations, as well as offering other professional links.

Many states offer continuing education seminars and programs designed to keep skincare specialists current on new techniques and products. Post-licensing training is also available through manufacturers, associations, and at trade shows.

Personality and Interests

Skincare specialists typically have an interest in the Building, Helping and Persuading interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Helping interest area indicates a focus on assisting, serving, counseling, or teaching other people. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people.

If you are not sure whether you have a Building or Helping or Persuading interest which might fit with a career as a skincare specialist, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Skincare specialists should also possess the following specific qualities:

Business skills. Skincare specialists who run their own salon must understand general business principles. For example, they should be skilled at administrative tasks, such as accounting and personnel management, and be able to manage a salon efficiently and profitably.

Customer-service skills. Skincare specialists should be friendly and courteous when dealing with clients. Repeat business is important, particularly for self-employed workers.

Initiative. Self-employed skincare specialists generate their own business opportunities and must be proactive in finding new clients.

Physical stamina. Skincare specialists must be able to spend most of their day standing and massaging clients’ faces and bodies.

Tidiness. Workers must keep a neat personal appearance and keep their work area clean and sanitary. This requirement is necessary for the health and safety of their clients, as well as to make the clients comfortable enough to want to return. 

Time-management skills. Time-management skills are important in scheduling appointments and providing services.

Pay

The median hourly wage for skincare specialists was $13.77 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent of skincare specialists earned less than $8.39 per hour, and the top 10 percent earned more than $24.95 per hour.

In May 2012, median hourly wages for skincare specialists in the top five industries in which these specialists worked were as follows:

Ambulatory health care services  $17.87
Other amusement and recreation industries 14.12
Health and personal care stores 13.31
Personal care services  12.91
Traveler accommodation 11.25

Skincare specialists typically work full time, with many working evenings and weekends. Long hours are common, especially for self-employed workers.

Job Outlook

Employment of skincare specialists is projected to grow 40 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.

The increase in employment reflects demand for new services being offered, such as minisessions (quick facials at a lower cost) and mobile facials (making house calls). In addition, the desire among women and a growing number of men to reduce the effects of aging and to lead a healthier lifestyle through better grooming, including skin treatments for relaxation and well-being, should result in employment growth.

Job Prospects

Job opportunities should be good because of the growing number of beauty salons and spas. Those with related work experience should have the best job opportunities.

For More Information

For more information about skincare specialists, visit

Aesthetics International Association

Associated Skin Care Professionals

For information about cosmetology schools, visit

American Association of Cosmetology Schools  

For information about the spa industry, visit

International Spa Association

For information about state licensing, practice exams and other professional links, visit

National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology

Professional Beauty Association

FAQ

Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

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This information is taken directly from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Truity does not editorialize the information, including changing information that our readers believe is inaccurate, because we consider the BLS to be the authority on occupational information. However, if you would like to correct a typo or other technical error, you can reach us at help@truity.com.

I am not sure if this career is right for me. How can I decide?

There are many excellent tools available that will allow you to measure your interests, profile your personality, and match these traits with appropriate careers. We recommend the Career Personality Profiler assessment ($29), the Holland Code assessment ($19), or the Photo Career Quiz (free).