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Work Duties for an Esthetician

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Estheticians treat clients in salons, day spas or dermatologists offices. Becoming an esthetician requires a cosmetology school certificate, passing a state licensing test and getting work experience under the supervision of a licensed esthetician. While the work might be glamorous and exciting, estheticians are not top wage earners, making a mean salary of $32,080 annually in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


One of the main duties of an esthetician is providing facials. To perform a facial, an esthetician cleanses your skin with astringents or mild facial cleaning solutions. They analyze your skin, determining if it's normal, dry, combination or oily to decide what kind of products to apply. The skin is steamed and the esthetician massages it. If present, she extracts pimples and blackheads. She applies a nourishing mask and lets it work into your pores for a short-time period. She removes the mask, again cleansing your face and applying the appropriate moisturizer.

Skin Treatments

Estheticians who work under the supervision of dermatologists administer skin treatments, such as mild chemical peels and treatment masks. During a chemical peel, an esthetician thoroughly cleanses your face, using the same techniques employed during a facial. She applies a chemical solution, typically containing glycolic acid, salicylic acid or phenol to small areas of the face for the recommended period, until it begins to make the skin blister and peel. She then gently cleanses your face, applying cool compresses if needed.

Hair Removal

Lasers, waxes or tweezers are common implements estheticians use to remove facial or body hair. When waxing body hair, estheticians apply a thin layer of wax with disposable wooden sticks. If applying hard wax, the esthetician allows it to cool and harden, and then grasps the edge with his fingers and quickly removes it. If using soft wax, the esthetician covers the waxed site with a thin muslin cloth strip. The esthetician quickly removes the strip, along with the unwanted hair.

Makeup and Beauty

Estheticians apply makeup for special occasions, such as weddings or graduations, or do general consultations to help customers choose products and to teach them correct makeup-application techniques. Typical services might include recommending a skin-care regimen, advising clients on what colors are most flattering, selling cosmetics, tinting eyelashes and eyebrows, teaching makeup classes or answering questions once customers take products home. This part of the business requires finesse, because an esthetician often has to scale unrealistic expectations into a realistic, yet satisfying result.