And a Happy National Aesthetician Month, as well! 

National Aesthetician Day was originally launched in 2016 by the skin care brand, Cosmedix, to recognize those dedicated a/estheticians everywhere who help us achieve healthy skin; who grant us the confidence to shine by making our complexions shine less; who give us the upper hand in the battle against blemishes and breakouts; and who wrap, mask, thread, peel and wax us to a silky smooth, rejuvenated, show-stopping glow. 

Let’s celebrate by looking at the past, present and future of this growing field. 


Where Does Aesthetics Originate? 

A/estheticians get their name from esthetics, a field of cosmetology focused on the health and appearance of skin. This word is derived from the Greek work aesthetikos, meaning “of sense perception.” It is also the name of a philosophy concerned with the appreciation of beauty in art, nature and elsewhere. Fitting, right? 

Papyrus featuring ancient Egyptian women handling flowers, herbs and other cosmetic ingredientsSkin care and cosmetics were used by many cultures throughout history. The ancient Greeks and Egyptians used honey, goat’s milk, olive oil and other natural ingredients to renew their skinThe ancient Romans developed solutions for hair removal and exfoliation using rose oil, vinegar and various herbs, such as oregano. This field has been around for a while.

Christine Valmy, born Cristina Xantopol in Romania in 1926, is widely considered the first modern esthetician. A lawyer by education, Valmy opened her first salon in Bucharest in 1948. In 1965, she founded the first esthetician school in the United States, located in New York City. A world-renowned skin care consultant, entrepreneur and creator of the Valmy Method, she has been called the patron saint of esthetics and cosmetology in the U.S.  

Try topping that resume. 


Aesthetician vs. Esthetician: What’s in a Name? 

Both aestheticians and estheticians are licensed skin care specialists and consultants who often perform many of the same services. While their names are sometimes used interchangeably, there are some technical differences. 

Estheticians generally work in salons, spas, resorts and similar environments. They focus on cosmetic treatments such as facials, superficial chemical peels, body wraps and makeup application, as well as hair removal procedures such as electrolysis, waxing, sugaring and laser therapy. 

Aestheticians often have a more clinical focus and work in medical settings alongside, or under the supervision of, dermatologists, oncologists, cosmetic surgeons and others. Among many other things, they administer chemical peels, laser therapy and potent acids. Some titles include: 

  • Medical AestheticiansMedical estheticians may use restorative treatments for patients with skin conditions or diseases, teach burn victims how to conceal scarring or help chemotherapy patients care for extremely sensitive skin. 
  • Paramedical AestheticiansA paramedical esthetician offers skin care and beauty treatments to patients before and after surgical procedures. 
  • Holistic A/estheticiansHolisitc a/estheticians develop sustainable skin care routines based on a range of factors, including diet, hormonal imbalances, stress levels, physical activity and even bowel movements. Talk about a “big-picture” approach. 
  • Master Aestheticians: Master estheticians receive more training hours (several hundred hours more, in fact), learn more skin care techniques and receive licensure that allows them to perform a greater range of esthetics services. 

Wherever an a/esthetician works, every one of their clients is unique. We don’t just mean their style preferences, either. Some have different allergies or skin issues, such as eczema or psoriasis. Vagaro offers HIPPA-compliant features that help a/estheticians keep track of their clients’ needs wherever they work, from detailed intake forms to patient SOAP notes. 


Face Forward: A/Esthetics Trends

Good skin has always been the foundation of any aesthetic treatment. Here are a few skin care trends, treatments and philosophies that are expected to continue gaining traction. 

  • Beautiful woman showing off her natural, healthy skinProtect the Barrier: Your moisture barrier, or stratum corneum, is the outermost layer of the skin. Essentially, it keeps irritants out while locking hydration in. A strong moisture barrier means dewier, bouncier, more elastic skin. Using cleansers close to your skin’s natural pH, applying plant oils and taking care not to over–exfoliate are just a few ways to protect your moisture barrier.
  • High Acidity: Acid layering involves using skin-friendly, topical acids (no skull-and-crossbones on these bottles) to increase collagen production and treat acne, pigmentation, uneven skin tones and other issues. The most common categories are alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). Figure out which ones work best for your skin type.
  • Keep it SkinimalCleanse, moisturize, apply sunscreen. Less is more with Skinimalism. Skinimalism is a call to embrace our skin’s natural look and texture rather than hiding it behind layers of makeup. It posits that reducing the number of products that we use on our faces gives our skin the ability to repair and rejuvenate on its own.  
  • Head in the Clouds: Or, your face. Cloud skin, which offers a counterpoint to glass skin, dolphin skin and other glow-based trends, started in the U.K. and focuses on using products to achieve a soft, hazy look. Imagine sunlight filtered through a wandering cumulus cloud. Dreamy. 
  • The CBD Train: We know, it’s everywhere. But CBD skin care and beauty are picking up steam thanks to the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties of cannabidiol. CBD oils, balms, creams and lotions can help reduce swelling, pain and redness from existing breakouts or irritation from skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis. 


Rise of the MedSpa!

Bed in med spa treatment roomMany licensed medical aestheticians work in MedSpaswhich are growing in number and popularity all over the world. MedSpas supply Botox injections, laser skin resurfacing, microdermabrasion and injectable dermal fillers, among other services. Vagaro supports the continued growth and unique business needs of MedSpas by providing the tools they need to thrive.

For fun, let’s look at some fascinating modern treatments that have taken off in recent years. These aren’t science fiction, they’re aesthetics reality, performed by dermatologists, plastic surgeons and other professionals at MedSpas: 

  • Vampire Facials: Luckily, the science of this treatment is less invasive (and less gothic) than its namesake. Vampire facials involve injecting platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into the face via microneedling. This stimulates collagen production, which helps reduce fine lines, folds, wrinkles, open pores, and pigmentation.  
  • Vampire Facelifts: A vampire facelift forgoes microneedling and instead injects both plasma and a hyaluronic acid filler into the face. The procedure can make skin look less wrinkled, firmer and more elastic. 
  • Oxygen Facials: A high-tech compression machine pushes oxygen and other small-molecule skin care products (like hyaluronic acid, vitamin treatments and botanicals) into the skin via a pressurized stream of air. 
  • Cryotherapy Facials: “Frotox,” as it is often called, involves having liquid nitrogen (dry ice) pumped over the face for 2 to 3 minutes, resulting in a glowing, youthful look. 
  • Radiofrequency MicroneedlingAdding radiofrequency waves enhances the effects of standard microneedling, enabling the skin to grow back thicker and smoother. 


Jar of natural, organic skin cream next to a medicinal plantClean, Natural and Organic…What do they Mean?

The natural, organic and clean beauty movements have really taken off in recent years but be wary. 

Many people assume that natural ingredients are safer, which is not necessarily the caseThere’s still a chance that natural, organic or clean ingredients can potentially cause adverse or allergic reactions in people. Moreover, while some chemically synthetic ingredients can irritate the skin, many of them are safe when formed in a laboratory.  

Let’s break these down: 

  • Natural: Natural beauty products are pure, non-synthetic and contain plant-based ingredients that aren’t subject to any lab time, except for safety testing purposes. They are made without elements proven to be harmful to people and the environment. 
  • OrganicOrganic beauty products contain ingredients grown without pesticides, artificial fertilizers and any other synthetic ingredient. To be considered organic, a product must be made with at least 95% synthetic-free ingredients. 
  • Clean: Often used interchangeably with “nontoxic”, clean beauty products are defined as being plant-based and free of any toxic materials outlined by The Environmental Working Group. 

Rather than give another list of popular clean or organic and natural beauty and skin care products (go ahead and click—it’s cool) we want to introduce you to what these terms mean so that you can decide for yourself what kinds of products to use. Don’t fall victim to disingenuous marketing and greenwashing. 


Is A/Esthetics right for you? 

Esthetics is a rapidly growing field. The long-term job growth for a/estheticians in the United States is exceptional, according to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics. The most Aesthetician-friendly U.S. state, in terms of salary range and the overall number of licensed estheticians, is Washington, according to Zippia.  

If you are creative, empathetic, enjoy working with people and have an innate passion for skin care and the beauty industry, this is the field for you. To become a certified esthetician, you must complete an approved cosmetology or esthetician program that typically consists of about 600 hours of coursework, then pass a state licensing exam. Earning professional certifications are optional but can advance your career. 


From scheduling and intake to effective client management, Vagaro is proud to help support hardworking a/estheticians everywhere. If you’re thinking about embarking on this career path, we look forward to working with you someday. Until then, have a happy Aesthetician Day and be sure to tip your a/esthetician generously. 

P.S. If you own or manage a business that charges rent and fees, learn more about how you can do that with Vagaro’s new Automatic Rent & Fees feature.