Beauty & the Beast: Adventures in Grooming
I'm an esthetician. Men almost never know what that means. The most common questions I get when introducing myself and being asked what I do for a living are, “So, do you put people to sleep?” or “What exactly do you do, I’ve never heard of that profession?” Simply put, I'm a skincare specialist. Our skin is the house we live in our entire life, we don't get to move and we are limited to the amount of ‘remodeling’ we can do. We wear everything we have done or what has happened to us on our skin, it tells a story and as “keeper of the skin”, I take my job very seriously. The best part of what I do is to help people look and feel amazing, not just women, but men too. Men and women are equal in this department - we ALL have skin.
So, how do I get the honor of changing someone's life as a skincare professional? That's a
pretty powerful statement, but its amazing to see the transformation that can happen with the
right brow design (yes, men do get their brows designed!), facial peels to control acne, or taming unruly facial hair. As much as it pains me to say this, the power an esthetician has to positively affect a persons life is equaled by the power to negatively affect it. A few concerning questions I often hear, “What qualifications do I look for?”, “Is wax safe or is threading better?”, “Will I look burned after a peel?”, “Do I really need a facial?”, “What is a Brazilian?”, “How much should I pay for services?” ...I could keep going (and I'll get to this stuff in other pieces) but, for now, lets start with how to find the right professional and what you can expect on the first visit.
BEAUTY & THE BEAST
To start, the search for the right esthetician can be as daunting as trying to find the right hair stylist, dentist or family doctor. With social media, we have the ability to read reviews but, when it comes down to it, all the above share one thing - how you connect or feel with the person providing your service. As an esthetician, one of the most effective ways we build clientele is by word of mouth. So if a friend has a recommendation, chances are you’ll shorten the search time. If you are starting from scratch, you can look up your state board and search by name or by license number, this will tell you if the license is in good standing and how long they have been in practice.
For your first visit, consider a consultation then schedule your first appointment for services from there, that way you can get a feel for the person and the environment. Most estheticians will provide a consultation free of charge. When you visit the facility, look for the license to be displayed in plain view with a photo. After your arrival, a pro will ask you to fill out a consultation card. It is important to provide as much information as possible about what health issues you have, products you use and how often, what your diet is, exercise routine, if you use sunscreen, use of medications, and what, if any allergies you have. This information needs to be communicated clearly so its understood what should be avoided in your services. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the professional how long they have been practicing, what certifications they have, what they specialize in and if they have a list of references you can contact. A portfolio of before and after photos are helpful. The esthetician should also provide a thorough skin analysis, giving you a road map of where you are starting, what your expectations or goals are and how you're going to achieve them together.
As for pricing of services, expect to pay a little more for someone who has been in the
business for awhile - if you pay $6 for a chest wax, you’ll get a $6 experience. Check around
your area and see what the average or median price is, but also ask what is included in the
service you’re searching for. When you arrive at the salon, take mental notes of how clean the area is, is there proper lighting, is there wax all over the wax heaters or on the counter or bed, is the bedding clean, are the floors swept, how are the materials stored and placed out on a tray for service and how professionally is the tech dressed. All these will be clues about how sanitary the space is and how sanitary your service will be provided to you.
Caring for our bodies is imperative, not a luxury and that includes our skin (not just your pecs & abs). With a proper daily routine and professional guidance, you can achieve the look you want. Your face is the first thing that people notice and when we look good, we feel better. I hope this provides a little comfort and gives you the confidence to begin taking care of the house you really live in - your skin will love you for it.