Five Esthetician Rules I Live By

Renee Rouleau with a client laying on the bed

As an esthetician who likes both to give and receive facials, I have a very good awareness of the do’s and don’ts needed to have a successful career in esthetics. When I travel to different cities for my appearances, I schedule facials incognito, because as part of my own personal ongoing education, it’s important to be aware of what it feels like to be in my client’s shoes. Through the years, I’ve had many great experiences, and some not-so-great, so I’ve comprised my own list of esthetician rules that I believe ensure a pleasant experience. As I know many fellow estheticians read my blog, I hope you practice these as well.

1. Never chew gum and always have good breath

To maintain a professional appearance, I never chew gum when working with a client, opting for breath mints instead. I’ve also made it a rule that I do not eat garlic the night before I will be working on facial clients to avoid any strong orders (and I never eat tuna fish sandwiches on my lunch break in between clients). When working with clients, my face is literally just inches from theirs so it’s really important to have fresh breath…

2. Never wear perfume, but be sure to choose a good shower gel

Because you are working very closely with clients, it is important to not wear any scents that could be offensive to your clients. No one wants to be distracted with a strong perfume smell, but certainly washing daily with a neutral-scented body gel is crucial for good hygiene. Also, there is nothing worse than having your esthetician smell like smoke so refraining from that is a must.

3. Wear a neutral color nail polish and keep nails short and clean

Because it is important to keep a professional appearance while wearing my white clinical lab coat, I choose to wear a neutral color nail polish (such as pale pink) to maintain a professional image. While I love all the dark and bright polishes that are in style these days, I avoid wearing them when I know I will be taking clients.

4. Stay on schedule

It’s certainly common to run behind schedule with clients, especially when I have someone with a lot of clogged pores that require heavy duty extractions. In addition, clients will occasionally show up for their appointment late, and that could potentially set me behind the whole day. If a client comes late for his or her appointment, as much as I don’t want to shorten their experience, it must be done to avoid running late for my next client. I really try to stay on schedule for my clients because I know their time is sensitive and it’s important to respect that.

5. Remember the clients are there for a facial, not to chat – be a good listener

As a service provider, I am there to meet the needs of my client. Being a good listener involves listening to their skin concerns and anything else important to them they wish to convey. I’m there to listen. It’s important to be mindful of the fact that this is their time and it is important to focus the time on them and to give them a good experience.

To me, being an esthetician is something I take very seriously. Even after 25 years, I don’t take it for granted. I’ve never forgotten how important it is to ensure a client has a good experience, and with these five rules I live by, I can make sure to do just that.

Read: Why I Love Being an Esthetician

Read: Renée Rouleau Shares the Pros and Cons of Being an Esthetician

Read: Plastic Surgeon, Cosmetic Dermatologist or Esthetician: Who Should You See for Your Skin?

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  1. Hi, I’m Katie and I am really curious about how you got your start as an esthetician and how you went about making a successful career out of it. I’m very interested in becoming and esthetician but I am hopelessly lost. I can’t seem to find anywhere that gives me as much information as I need. Also if its not to much to ask do you have any recommendations for good schools? Thank you so much

    Posted By: Katie  | 

  2. Hi Renee,
    I have a big dream of becoming an aesthetician since very young age. It didn’t happen though, i became an economist. Now i am married, but still have a passion to pursue my dream. Reading allot on this topic, many books, websites, watching allot of video educational materials. The issue is that now i cannot afford to study for another year or so , due to some aspects of my life, and looking for online classes. Need to know your advise ,is it possible to become a self taught aesthetician ? if so , what are your recommendations, where should i start from ?
    Thanks in advance

    Posted By: Lucy  | 

    • Anyone can teach themselves anything by reading books and watching online videos but if you want to work as a practicing esthetician, you’ll have to follow the laws in your area related to licensing.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  3. Hi Renee, thank you so much for sharing your tips and tricks. Very inspiring! I am a licensed Esthetician in Florida. I am really trying to get my own business started but I am having a hard time figuring out the best way to start? Would you recommend being a mobile Esthetician, renting a single office space or is it best to go all in and actually have a location with a build out etc? I really value any feedback that you can give me. Thank you so much

    Posted By: Karayla  | 

    • There is no right or wrong answer. You just have to research and see what would work best for you and what your demographic will be. You an read a lot of my career building tips here.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  4. Hi I am Esthetican of 20 years 15 were in day spa I love what I do I haven’t not kept in the industry I am 48 I would very much like to recreate myself . I am stale would love to take classes on dermaplaning love your blog I have had my own studio I am still doing a lot of waxings and facials I have a hard time raising my prices I undercut myself all the time due to low self esteem in the spa it was easier I would love to learn more I feel like old dog who has not been current , Kelly Carey , Cape Cod Massachusetts

    Posted By: Kelly Carey  | 

    • Hello Kelly, For starters, read all of my esthetician posts here. Secondly, why don’t you attend a trade show where you can meet up with other estheticians and share best practices. Immersing yourself with other professionals is a great way to build up your confidence by learning how others run their practices. Good luck, you’ve got this!

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  5. Hello Renee, I am a brand new esthetician in Austin, Tx. I am gearing up to graduate in a couple weeks and just stumbled upon your blog and just waned to give you a big thank you! Your blog is inspiring and so informative. I appreciate every post so much! Excited to one day meet you in the skin world 🙂

    Posted By: jenn  | 

    • Thank you so much, Jenn. And best of luck to you!!

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      • You know I’m in Austin as well, right? 🙂

        Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  6. Hi Renee!
    I have written to you before and you were so helpful. I started my career in Dallas at a Hotel Spa and then at a Hotel Spa in SA, TX. I am now at a Day Spa and it is quite different. Just some questions and wanting your advice! First, what questions do you ask in the beginning ? We get a lot of gift card clients who sometimes don’t really care about the products or their skin…just want a relaxing facial. Any suggestions on how to get them to care ?!!! Everyone always comments on how they love my facials but have a hard time getting them to pre book and not good at retail either 🙁 How do you personally explain to clients the difference between OTC products and Professional products?? Any and all advice would be SO appreciated !!!
    I always read every article you write !!

    Posted By: Sheryl Payne  | 

    • Hi Sheryl, I believe the most important part of the treatment is the consultation. You have to know that people are looking for solutions to their problems so it’s important to ask the right questions to pull the problems out of them. My favorite questions to ask to both understand their skin as well as understanding where they are at are these.

      What are your top three skin concerns in order of priority?
      Is today a good, bad, or normal skin day for you?
      Give me examples of how your skin is sensitive? (Everyone will say their skin is sensitive, but you need to know exactly their type of sensitivity.)
      How oily or dry is your skin?
      If your skin is dry, do you actually get flaky or is it more of a tightness that you experience?
      What type of blemishes do you get most often (cysts, pustules, papules, whiteheads/closed comedones)?
      Where on your face do you get the majority of your blemishes?
      When it comes to caring for your skin at home, do you like a very simple routine like cleanser and moisturizer or do you like to add in additional products to make a more comprehensive routine?
      Prior to coming and seeing me, what have you done with your skin both at home or professionally? What kind of results did you get?

      With the answers you receive, you should be able to give a very personalized treatment as well as products to provide solutions for their skin. Hope this helps!

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      • Thank You SO much ! I actually came up with a consultation form (kept it very simple, but important questions) for us to use at the Day Spa and owner loved it …we used them about 2 weeks because they felt like they were interfering with the time we had to actually do the Facial, which I guess I agree to a point . It takes me the whole 75 minutes to give a good Facial ! One question….How do you explain the difference to clients about purchasing OTC counter products versus Professional products ?? Especially Estee Lauder, Clinique, Lancôme…etc??

        Posted By: Sheryl Payne  | 

  7. Your whole website has been very informative. I am an aspired esthetician. I can’t wait to own my own spa one day too! I’m very motivated & eager to succeed!! I look forward to more of your tips, blogs & answered questions! Thank you for your time Renee.

    Posted By: nikki morgan  | 

  8. Thank you SO MUCH! It defenitely helps me define what I do, in English 😉 Using free translation we use the title skin therapist which is the same as esthetician. //Malin

    Posted By: Skincare by Malin R  | 

  9. So happy to have found both your blog and on Twitter. I live in Sweden and was educated here, can I ask you what the difference is in the terms of esthetician verses beautician? I have tried finding a good translation but none so far. I would like to use my proper title. Thank you! //Malin

    Posted By: Skincare by Malin R  | 

    • Hello Malin, A “beautician” is someone who is a hairdresser. My grandmother, who owned her own hair salon years ago was referred to as a beautician. An “esthetician” (or aesthetician) is someone who practices skin care. Hope that helps! -Renee

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  10. These Top Five Rules should be in the “Oath” of every esthetician. I had the unfortunate experience of someone breaking all but one of above rules….Thank you so much for
    educating those that need the KISS…keeping it simple, silly..

    Posted By: Karlie  | 


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