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If I Could Choose...

Most aestheticians love their job; they live, breath, and constantly discuss their work. Their vacations are spent at skin care shows, and their gifts to friends and family are free treatments. But they usually have a favorite service they do, and most have at least favorite one that they dread when they see it on their book. During my research for this article, I asked aestheticians across the country about their favorite and least service services to perform.
Who knew that there would be an aesthetician out there whose favorite part of her services is to sell home care?

Linda Orsuto, spa director and working aesthetician, 800 West Salon and Day Spa, Marlton, N.J., said her favorite thing to do for her clients is to recommend and explain the home care products they need. “I love to explain product to them, how they work, why certain ingredients are important in them, and how they must use them,” she says. She’s proven over the years that selling home care increases the results of treatments and retention of clients, she says. “I have an article I give to my clients on the difference between over-the-counter and professional products,” she adds. “They are very open to purchasing after they are educated.” None of the services on the menu really make her cringe when she sees it on her book, she says. But she does work really hard to perform a total exfoliation of the skin prior to performing Body Bronzing. “I dread the possibility of having streaking after this treatment,” she says, “so I concentrate on preventing it during the exfoliation step.” She never has problems with it now, but she feared it in the beginning.
Some of us have a love/hate relationship with a service, as Millie Haynam, owner, Natural Beauty Salon and Spa, Twinsburg, Ohio, says she has with one type of service. “My most favorite and least favorite is the same treatment: acne care,” she says. “I love to be able to educate the client about the correct home care, dispel all the incorrect information they have accumulated over the years, and watch their progress through photo documentation. I watch their self-esteem grow and have the satisfaction of making such a difference in their life.” But she hates this service, also. “It’s not a very relaxing treatment for the client or me!” she says. “I feel like I am causing discomfort when extracting, even when being ultra careful and constantly monitoring for comfort level. And sometimes it gets downright gross.” She also doesn’t like that she isn’t able to perform a traditional facial massage on this type of client. “Of all people, they deserve it, but can’t have it.” She substitutes an acupressure instead, but feels it just isn’t as relaxing as the traditional massage. When Haynam sees this service on the book, she knows all about the highs and lows. “Therefore, I try and manage both my clients and my own expectations of what each visit can accomplish through conversation, photographs, and education so we both feel we are working towards a common goal,” she says. She believes a thorough consultation is key in alleviating any initial apprehension for the client, “but it’s still there,” she says. These people live with this type of feeling, something Haynam doesn’t like to think about.
Carolyn Boomershine-Borba, Tranquility Day Spa, Madisonville, Ky., loves doing skin care, but her favorite treatment is a smoothing, brightening, and lifting treatment on a middle age to senior client new to skin care. “Most don’t know what they’ve missed until they look in the mirror after an anti-aging and lifting facial,” she says. “Their skin is softened and hydrated with fewer visible lines and wrinkles than in years; their skin glows and they love it.” Boomershine-Borba upgrades these clients to perfectly arched brows, sometimes adding tint to give them color they haven’t had for a long time. “That lady looking back at herself in the mirror is a new person and she wants to do whatever it takes to maintain that beautiful face.” I love seeing their new appreciation for their skin, she adds.
Boomershine-Borba’s least favorite facial is the higher-grade acne facial. “Treating acne is a process, so the end result of a single treatment is not as dramatic and satisfying to me, as an aesthetician,” she says. “I can help them, and do, but so much of the problem still exists, and I am sad about that for them.” She still performs these treatments, and keeps a good attitude for the suffering client. “I know that over time we will see improvement, and I do like that, but I’m a ‘now’ person, I guess.”
One thing in common among those questioned was how much they love skin care, overall. They all had to take time to think about what services they loved over the others, and which ones they disliked. Karen Wyatt, owner and skin care therapist, Karen Wyatt Skin Care, Fairfax, Va., says, as the others did, that she loves skin care and there’s no treatment that she really dislikes and dreads performing. "That said, I especially love to offer a high performance exfoliation facial to a new client who has dull, rough, and under-exfoliated skin,” she says. “It’s so great too see the skin go from dull to luminous, from rough to smooth, and it’s especially rewarding to see the client’s reaction to their new and improved skin.” As for her disliking a service, originally Wyatt wasn’t a big fan of full leg waxing... “It exhausted me and it was so messy,” she says. But then she increased her waxing prices. “Somehow I enjoy them much better now.” she says.
Waxing is the most mentioned least favorite service among the aestheticians interviewed. Laurie Wilson, The Skin Studio, Cameron Park, Calif., does not enjoy the large areas of waxing, such as full leg or backs. “It's still on my menu because it's good money and I'm fairly good at it,” she says. “But it's just not a service I like to do.” Evidently, she has managed not to show her dread when she performs the service as she has a solid waxing clientele, but still dreads when clients call to schedule it. Her favorite treatment is a dual modality, microdermabrasion/LED treatment, because she enjoys performing the service and the results it provides for her clients. “I always enjoy seeing them loving their skin again,” she says.
Diane Buccola, aesthetician and owner of SpaBizBoard.com and DB Esthetics, Sacramento, Calif., also dislikes leg waxing. “I was terrible at it. I had wax in my hair, up my nose, on my clothes, everywhere. And I could never get all the hair off of the legs!” How did she handle it? She’s her own boss so she stopped offering the service. “I limit myself to doing what I am good at, and that does not include leg waxing,” she says. “I finally realized that if you are not good at something, it's OK not to offer it.” She refers clients to someone else for this service. Buccola has a successful skin studio so she’s not worried about losing a potential facial client if she sends her to someone else for leg waxing. Her favorite services are treatment facials. “I love seeing the improvements in their skin and I especially enjoy how good it makes them feel about themselves.” Buccola has developed a strong clientele of clients who come in once a month and turn themselves over to her to do whatever she thinks they might benefit from that day. “They allow me to use new serums and equipment, to develop new skin care therapies and treatments. They are what keep me motivated and keep me from getting bored,” she says.
Buccola also doesn’t do paraffin wax treatments, and never has. “We learned it in school and at that time, as far as I know, the only way to apply in facials was to dip a brush into the paraffin wax pot that the nail techs also used,” she says. This never seemed sanitary to Buccola nor did the cleaning of the brush seem appropriate, so she chose to stay away from it. “But it sounds like things have come a long way since then,” she says, “so I may give it another look in the future.”
JoAnn Meckes, Skinthetics at Creative Cuts Hair Design, Brunswick, Ohio, just generally dislikes causing pain to clients, so services such as waxing and extractions are her least favorites. She cringes when she sees a bikini wax and/or extractions on her schedule. “I know we all handle pain differently, so when I see these services on my schedule I have to wonder what I'm getting in to. How will this client handle the service? How will I handle this client? How much drama will be involved? Will this take me three to four times longer than it should? It can't – I'm booked solid all day. Then I remember, I'm a professional and patience is a virtue I possess, and move into the service.” Meckes’ passion is educating clients on achieving the beautiful results they want, then working with them on achieving their goals progressively, not aggressively. It works, she says. “I believe we only have the one skin we're in and we must take care of it in a progressive way. If we are too aggressive in our skin treatments and/or care, it can be more detrimental in the years ahead. Thin skin is NOT in!”
Different from Wyatt, Wilson, Meckes, and Buccola, Roni Parish, Advanced Skin Care by Roni at The Skin Studio, Loomis, Calif., loves waxing. “I think it has to do with the final results of seeing the skin clean and smooth,” she says. Her absolute favorite waxing service is a brow wax on virgin brows. “What a difference that can make in someone's appearance!” she says. Possibly this passion for obvious results is what influences her favorite choices on her facial menu: treatment facials such as peels, microdermabrasion, and ultrasound. “I love giving them, but love even more seeing the changes and improvements in their skin.” she says. When someone comes into her shop with dull, lackluster skin, and then leaves with fresh, glowing, firm, dewy skin, she feels fulfilled. “My clients make comments about my obvious joy in seeing them look and feel better," she says. Her least favorite treatment involves any alternative massage techniques. “Although I love to perform traditional facial massage, I don't enjoy performing other types,” she says. “To compensate for this I try to have plenty of other relaxing amenities around, such as a warmer on the bed, soothing music, specialized hand treatments, cozy hand mitts, and warm neck wraps.” She has taken courses on lymphatic drainage and pressure point therapy, however, and offers them when appropriate as they help the client to relax while still having therapeutic treatments.
One thing evident in the answers from these practicing, experienced, and successful aestheticians is that they all love skin care, but are divergent in their preferences and dislikes for performing services. This probably is why clients go from aesthetician to aesthetician until they find one with whom they are comfortable and whom they trust. Then, they are loyal to her to the end, returning often, listening to, and accepting her recommendations.

Janet McCormick, M.S., is a licensed nail technician and aesthetician, a former salon owner, seasoned instructor of nails and skin care skill, consultant, and author. McCormick has achieved status as a CIDESCO diplomat and holds a master’s degree in allied health management. She has authored over 200 skill and business articles in industry trade magazines. Her newest book, Spa Manicuring for Salons and Spas, describes a new, profitable focus for the industry: skin care based manicuring. McCormick may be contacted via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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