An aesthetician


Aestheticians offer skin care treatments. They apply various facial treatments according to their clients’ needs and skin type, such as lotions, scrubs, peels and masks, in order to maintain the skin healthy and attractive. Aestheticians may also give neck massages and body treatments such as wraps. Aestheticians remove unwanted hair on different body parts like eyebrows, upper lip or the bikini area. They perform facial massage and apply make-up for various occasions.

Aestheticians typically do the following:

  • Provide high-quality facial treatments that address skincare concerns
  • Advise clients and suggest treatments related to their individual needs
  • Perform face and scalp massages for therapeutic or relaxation purposes
  • Remove hair by exfoliation, waxing, threading, or with chemicals
  • Apply makeup/perform makeovers and perform makeup applications for special events
  • Perform face and body masks, wraps, sugar and salt scrubs, and compression wraps
  • Perform facial extraction for blackhead removal

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to aesthetician:

beauty specialist
skin care technician
facial treatment operator
skin care specialist

Working conditions

Aestheticians may be employed in salons, day spas, destination/resort spas, upscale hotels, cruise ships, and wellness centers. Their work is in demand in dedicated esthetic spas, medical spas (spas staffed by a licensed medical professional), as well as dermatologist offices and plastic surgery clinics.

Aestheticians may work as employees, as independent contractors in salons or spas, or as freelancers, traveling to exciting destinations for the theater, film, television, and fashion industries.

Self-employed aestheticians may lease space in a salon or spa or set up an independent practice in their own home, in a professional space, or even offer mobile services in which they travel to clients’ homes.

Aestheticians may specialize in a specific area like makeup artistry, or they may work as representatives for skincare product manufacturers or even as wholesale buyers for retailers selling specialty skincare products.

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma or equivalent is generally the minimum required to work as an aesthetician. In some locations, a license may be required too.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Aesthetician is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Aesthetician career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to aesthetician.

hair removal technician
tanning consultant

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of aesthetician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of aesthetician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

body artist
massage therapist
life coach
cosmetics and perfume shop manager
beauty salon manager

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of aesthetician.

  • Cosmetics ingredients: A variety of sources cosmetics are composed of ranging from crushed insects to rust.
  • Cosmetic skin treatment: The aesthetic care of the skin, such as facials, including exfoliation, facial masks, peels, steam, and extraction.
  • Cosmetics: The various types of substances used to enhance the appearance of the human body.
  • Make-up techniques: The various techniques and tools for applying make-up.
  • Cosmetics industry: Suppliers, products and brands in the cosmetic industry.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of aesthetician.

  • Work ergonomically: Apply ergonomy principles in the organisation of the workplace while manually handling equipment and materials.
  • Give massages: Provide clients with head, hand, neck, facial or full body massages.
  • Test make-up: Perform routine tests to determine if make-up products are adequate.
  • Perform body wrapping: Wrap customers with plastic, mud or thermal blankets for de-stressing, rebalancing, firming skin, detoxicating and reducing cellulite.
  • Maintain equipment: Regularly inspect and perform all required activities to maintain the equipment in functional order prior or after its use.
  • Identify customer’s needs: Use appropriate questions and active listening in order to identify customer expectations, desires and requirements according to product and services.
  • Maintain customer service: Keep the highest possible customer service and make sure that the customer service is at all times performed in a professional way. Help customers or participants feel at ease and support special requirements.
  • Advise customers on usage of cosmetics: Provide advice to customers on how to apply various cosmetic products such as lotions, powders, nail polish or creams.
  • Use hair removal techniques: Use techniques and handle tools to remove hair from body parts, such as electrolysis, IPL, waxing, lasering, threading or plucking.
  • Determine skin type: Determine what type of skin a person has in order to use the right make-up for that particular skin type.
  • Perform facial treatment: Perform all kinds of treatments to improve the health and attractiveness of the facial skin, such as facial masks, scrubs, eyebrow tinting, peels, hair removal and make-up.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of aesthetician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Cosmetic manicure: Various elements of a manicure, such as the cutting and shaping of toe- or fingernails, removing excess callouses and cuticle around nails, and applying a protective or decorative coat of nail polish.
  • Hydrotherapy: The practice used to treat diseases or maintain overall health using water.
  • Spa products: Keep up to date with new spa products such as certain oil and nail products being introduced by the market, and implement their benefits in the company or facility.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of aesthetician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Order supplies: Command products from relevant suppliers to get convenient and profitable products to purchase.
  • Offer free samples of cosmetics: Distribute to the public samples of various cosmetic products you are promoting so that prospective clients can test them and then buy them.
  • Manage a small-to-medium business: Manage the organisational, financial and day-to-day operation of a small-to-medium enterprise.
  • Apply permanent make-up: Use needles to apply the pigment into the top layer of the skin in order to perform cosmetic tattooing on specific parts of the face such as the lips or the eyebrows.
  • Maintain relationship with suppliers: Build a lasting and meaningful relationship with suppliers and service providers in order to establish a positive, profitable and enduring collaboration, co-operation and contract negotiation.
  • Offer cosmetic beauty advice: Provide customers with advice and beauty tips for creating a new look.
  • Monitor stock level: Evaluate how much stock is used and determine what should be ordered.
  • Manufacture cosmetics: Prepare cosmetic products, possibly customised for customers with specific needs, such as lotions, soaps, face masks or salves.
  • Dispose waste: Dispose waste in accordance with legislation, thereby respecting environmental and company responsibilities.
  • Support individuals on nutrition changes: Encourage and support individuals in their strive to keep realistic nutritional goals and practices in their day to day diet.
  • Sell cosmetics: Sell a variety of cosmetic products such as lotions, soaps, lip sticks, hair removers, perfumes, tooth pastes, face masks, nail polisher and deodorants.
  • Maintain professional administration: File and organise professional administration documents comprehensively, keep customer records, fill in forms or log books and prepare documents about company-related matter.
  • Administer appointments: Accept, schedule and cancel appointments.
  • Recommend cosmetics to customers: Recommend and provide advice on cosmetic products based on the customer’s personal preferences and needs and on the different product types and brands available.
  • Keep personal administration: File and organise personal administration documents comprehensively.
  • Comply with legislation related to health care: Comply with the regional and national legislation that is relevant to one`s work and apply it in practice.
  • Show social competences: Ability to interact effectively with other people.
  • Process payments: Accept payments such as cash, credit cards and debit cards. Handle reimbursement in case of returns or administer vouchers and marketing instruments such as bonus cards or membership cards. Pay attention to safety and the protection of personal data.
  • Treat facial hair: Shape, trim or shave beards and moustaches, using scissors and razors.
  • Issue sales invoices: Prepare the invoice of goods sold or services provided, containing individual prices, the total charge, and the terms. Complete order processing for orders received via telephone, fax and internet and calculate the customer’s final bill.
  • Train employees: Lead and guide employees through a process in which they are taught the necessary skills for the perspective job. Organise activities aimed at introducing the work and systems or improving the performance of individuals and groups in organisational settings.
  • Manage indoor tanning sessions: Determine the customer’s skin type, advise on the type of sunbed, adjust the tanning time and inform on the health risk and safety measures.

ISCO group and title

5142 – Beauticians and related workers

  1. Aesthetician – ESCO
  2. Esthetician Jobs | Aesthetician Job Description –
  3. Esthetician Job Description Template –
  4. Featured image: Photo by Monstera
Last updated on November 22, 2022

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