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  • A lady is lying on a treatment couch with a purple cover over her.  A beauty therapist is standing behind the couch, massaging the lady's face.

    Beauty therapists carry out treatments on people to improve their appearance, and to help them relax. These include facials and massage.

  • A lady is looking through some beauty products that are arranged in rows on a shelf.

    Choosing the correct product for a client's skin type.

  • A lady is lying on a treatment couch with a purple cover over her.  A beauty therapist is sitting behind the couch, applying some cream to the lady's eyelids.

    Treating the delicate skin around the eyes.

  • A lady is standing by a wash basin, washing her hands.

    Washing hands; hygiene is important in this career.

  • Two ladies are sitting on opposite sides of a treatment couch.  One lady is filing the fingernails of the other lady.

    Beauty therapists also provide manicures and apply nail polish.

  • A lady is sitting on a chair in a reception area.  Another lady is standing in front of her, handing her a clipboard and pen.  They are smiling at one another.

    Asking a new client to fill out a health form. Customer service skills are important in this career.

  • A lady is lying on a treatment couch with a purple cover over her.  A beauty therapist is standing behind the couch, plucking the lady's eyebrows with tweezers.

    Tidying the client's eyebrows by plucking with tweezers.

  • A lady is sitting by a treatment couch, writing on a record card.

    Completing the client's record card with details of the treatments given.

  • Beauty Therapist

Beauty Therapist

Introduction

As a Beauty Therapist, you will use different treatments to make people look and feel better.You'll do facial and body massage, using their hands or special massage equipment. You will also do eyebrow and eyelash tinting. You might even perform face-lifts using electrical currents!

Also known as

  • Masseur/Masseuse
  • Aesthetician
  • Beautician
  • Aesthetic Therapist

Video: - Pauline: Beautician

Video: - Jackie: Beauty Therapist

Video: - Victoria: Beauty Therapist

Video: - Diana: Beauty Therapy Lecturer

Video: - Jessica: Beauty Therapist

Work Activities

As a Beauty Therapist, you will carry out all sorts of beauty treatments, such as facials, massage, hair removal, makeovers and eye treatments. You'll also do massage and treatment on the hands (manicures) and on the feet (pedicures).

First, you will talk to your client to find out what kind of treatment they want, and explain what it involves (if it's their first visit). This is called a consultation.

You'll use the information the client has given to you, and your knowledge of the different types of treatment available, to decide which is the best treatment to use. You'll also look at the client's skin type to decide which are the most suitable products to use on it.

Facials

You will carefully prepare the creams and equipment needed to do a facial. You'll use a range of products such as cleansers, toners, masks, moisturisers and gels with active ingredients to help the skin. Often, electrical steamers are also used to help open the pores in the skin.

Electrical equipment can be used for non-surgical facelifts - electric currents are used to stimulate the face muscles and improve skin tone.

You might also offer eyelash and eyebrow tinting.

Massage

Beauty Therapists also do facial and full- or part-body massages, to stimulate blood circulation and promote relaxation. A full-body massage includes the back, the legs and feet, the abdomen, the arms and hands, and the shoulders. You'll carry out the massage using either your hands or special massage equipment.

Some Beauty Therapists are trained to give special body treatments for conditions such as cellulite, which is a dimpled effect on the skin, or sports massage for sports-related injuries.

Aromatherapy can also be used with specially blended oils to target specific problems such as headaches.

Hair removal

Sometimes a client will ask for unwanted hair to be removed. You will be trained on how to do this using warm wax or sugar, or electrolysis.

Electrolysis is a method of removing hair permanently - you'll insert a fine needle into each hair follicle (root) and applies a low electric current. This weakens the hair root and, over several sessions, prevents further growth.

Electrical treatments

As a Beauty Therapist, you might specialise in the advanced use of electrical treatments, which can remove thread veins (small veins which form beneath the skin), skin blemishes, moles and skin tags (small growths of hanging skin).

You could also do electrical treatments for slimming and toning, and give advice on exercise.

If you work in a salon, you might have to answer the telephone and take bookings, deal with payments and re-order stocks, as well as keep the salon clean and tidy.

You might need to create a relaxing and stress-free environment, for example, by playing gentle music or lighting candles.

Many Beauty Therapists are also trained and qualified to offer other services and therapies, such as holistic treatments, reflexology, reiki, nutrition advice, aromatherapy, tanning and, in some cases, laser hair removal.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Beauty Therapist, you need:

  • stamina; you could be on your feet a lot
  • to enjoy working with a wide range of people
  • good interpersonal skills
  • to be good at taking details from clients and giving advice
  • the ability to put clients at ease if they feel nervous about any treatments
  • an outgoing and friendly personality, to build up a good base of clients
  • the ability to create a relaxing and stress-free environment
  • a clean and well-groomed appearance
  • to pay attention to detail
  • to keep up to date with your skills and knowledge of new products and techniques

A good business sense is useful.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £14,500 - £15,500
  • With experience: £16,500 - £18,000
  • Senior Beauty Therapists earn £19,000 - £20,500

Hours of work

Beauty Therapists usually work 35 hours a week, which often includes working on Saturday. Late finishes on one or two evenings a week might also be required. Opportunities for part-time work are usually available.

Where could I work?

Employers include high-street beauty salons (which could be one-person businesses or might employ several people), hairdressing establishments, luxury hotels, day spas, health hydros and cruise ships.

Beauty Therapists could also take on lecturing roles in, for example, further education (FE) colleges.

Opportunities for Beauty Therapists occur in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Self-employment

Opportunities occur for experienced beauty therapists to become self-employed; either as a 'mobile' Beauty Therapist - visiting clients in their homes, by renting space in a large salon, or by working from a room in their own home.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local newspapers, in specialist magazines, on Find a Job and at Jobcentre Plus.

Vacancies can also be found on job boards and on the websites of spas, and health, leisure and fitness organisations.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

The most common entry route is through a relevant course at a college of further education (FE) or a private, fee-paying college specialising in beauty courses.

An Intermediate Level Apprenticeship or Advanced Level Apprenticeship is a great place to start. You may be able to study for a NVQ as part of your apprenticeship.

Training

Practical training in a salon is combined with study of anatomy, physiology/biology, nutrition, and the chemistry and biochemistry of skin care and cosmetics.

FE colleges run a variety of courses leading to NVQ certificates/diplomas at levels 1-3, as well as BTEC qualifications.

Some courses lead to diplomas or certificates from other awarding bodies such as:

  • City & Guilds
  • Confederation of International Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (CIBTAC)
  • Comite International de Esthetique et de Cosmetologie (CIDESCO)
  • ITEC (formerly known as the International Therapy Examination Council)
  • Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT)

Alternatively, there are a number of courses at private fee-paying colleges. Courses vary in length from short, intensive study of one aspect of beauty therapy to longer, comprehensive courses that cover all forms of treatment. You should check the costs and the degree of recognition given to the qualifications.

Work Experience

Previous experience working in beauty therapy or retail sales are useful for this career.

Progression

Foundation degrees, HNCs and HNDs in beauty therapy, and hair and beauty management, are available at a number of universities and colleges.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

With training and experience, it might be possible to move into supervisory or management positions. Many Therapists become self-employed.

Others might become Beauty Therapy Lecturers, or might specialise in one or more complementary therapies and treatments.

Qualifications

Entry requirements for beauty therapy courses vary considerably. Courses leading to NVQ certificates/diplomas in beauty therapy might not require any formal qualifications, but applicants are usually interviewed.

To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and maths.

Various vocational BTEC and City & Guilds qualifications are available and could help you to get into this career, including:

  • BTEC level 3 - beauty therapy
  • BTEC level 1 - hair and beauty
  • City & Guilds level 3 - beauty therapy
  • City & Guilds level 2 - technical award in hair and beauty studies

For entry to a BTEC level 3 qualification, the usual requirement is:

  • 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including science (or equivalent qualifications)

For entry to a foundation degree or Higher National Diploma (HND), the usual requirement is:

  • 1/2 A levels
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 4 subjects

Alternatives to A levels include:

  • the BTEC level 3 qualification
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

However, course requirements, vary so check college websites very carefully.

Science subjects are preferred for entry to all courses, along with English and maths at GCSE.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Entry

Intermediate Level Apprenticeships and Advanced Level Apprenticeships in Beauty Therapy might be available in your area.

Courses

Colleges will usually consider applications from candidates who don't meet their usual entry requirements. You should check the admissions policy of individual colleges.

Relevant short courses are also available from various centres and schools.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

City & Guilds

Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD

Tel: 020 7294 2468

Email: learnersupport@cityandguilds.com

Website: www.cityandguilds.com

The British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (BABTAC)

Address: Unit 1, Ambrose House, Meteor Court, Barnett Way, Gloucester GL4 3GG

Tel: 01452 623114

Email: enquiries@cibtac.com

Website: www.cibtac.com

VTCT

Awarding organisation for hairdressing and beauty

Address: Prysmian House, Dew Lane, Eastleigh, Hampshire SO50 9PX

Tel: 02380 684500

Email: customerservice@vtct.org.uk

Website: www.vtct.org.uk

Guild of Professional Beauty Therapists

Address: Guild House, 320 Burton Road, Derby DE23 6AF

Tel: 0845 2177383

Website: www.beautyguild.com

ITEC

Tel: 020 8994 4141

Email: info@itecworld.co.uk

Website: www.itecworld.co.uk

Hairdressing and Beauty Industry Authority (Habia)

Address: Oxford House, Sixth Avenue, Sky Business Park, Robin Hood Airport, Doncaster DN9 3GG

Tel: 0845 6123555

Email: info@habia.org

Website: www.habia.org

British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTAC)

Address: Ambrose House, Meteor Court, Barnett Way, Barnwood, Gloucester GL4 3GG

Tel: 0845 2507277

Email: info@babtac.com

Website: www.babtac.com

Connect2Beauty

Tel: 07981 356730

Email: info@connect2beauty.co.uk

Website: www.connect2beauty.co.uk

Roberta Mechan International College of Beauty

Irish enquiries

Address: 115-119 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1FF

Tel: 028 9024 6999

Website: www.robertamechan.com/college/about.html

Bronwyn Conroy Beauty School

Irish enquiries

Address: 329 Antrim Road, Belfast BT15 2HF

Tel: 028 9035 2662

Email: info@beautytraining.com

Website: www.bronwynconroy.com

Complementary Therapists Association (CThA)

Tel: 0845 2022941

Email: info@ctha.com

Website: www.ctha.com

Belfast Metropolitan College

Irish enquiries

Tel: 028 9026 5265

Email: admissions@belfastmet.ac.uk

Website: www.belfastmet.ac.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

Skills Active

Address: 2nd Floor, 8 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London, SW1X 7SH

Tel: 0330004 0005

Website: www.skillsactive.com

Register of Beauty Professionals

Address: 2nd Floor, 8 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London, SW1X 7SH

Tel: 0330 004 0004

Email: sales@habia.org

Website: www.registerofbeautyprofessionals.co.uk

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