In the past, beauticians started off as apprentices and learned on the job, but in today's qualification-oriented society, companies increasingly want job applicants to have professional qualifications.
Beauticians generally have to complete 300 hours of training to gain a diploma in beauty therapy approved by the ITEC (International Therapy Examination Council) or CIBTAC (Confederation of International Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology). These are internationally recognised education organisations offering courses in health and beauty therapies. The training includes knowledge about the human body, skills in doing facials, hair removal and other therapies.
Newcomers usually start as an apprentice. They assist beauticians and help carry out other chores, such as greeting clients and making bookings.
After a year, apprentices are ready to move up and become a beautician. As a beautician gains more experience, he or she will be able to serve higher-profile customers.
The work of a beautician can be quite boring, as one has to do the same therapies repeatedly, day after day. The challenge is to keep up the high quality of service for every client. Beauticians with three or more years of experience can be promoted to senior beauticians. For long-term prospects, beauticians can move up to be a tutor, or start up their own businesses.
Race to the top
Getting a diploma is only the beginning; it is important to gain experience and keep improving yourself. And don't think that you needn't study a lot to be a beautician.
The technology and equipment used by the beauty industry are constantly changing. Hence, a successful beautician must follow trends closely and keep up to date with new treatments and products: the learning curve is never-ending.
A good beautician should be an excellent communicator who understands what clients want and does his or her best to serve them.
Rewards and benefits
Apprentices can expect to start on a basic monthly salary of less than HK$10,000. But beauticians can earn commission by selling products and beauty treatment packages. They also receive income for providing beauty therapy, which is counted on a job-by-job basis. Senior beauticians usually make more than HK$20,000.
Where to apply
Beauty centres and skin-care products companies.
A day in the life
Beauty centres usually open from 10am to 10pm, with beauticians working shifts. There is the early shift, from 10am to 8pm, and the late shift from 1pm to 10 pm. A beautician starts off by organising the equipment and beauty products, before serving clients. A beautician serves one client at a time, with each facial or therapy lasting from 60 to 90 minutes.
RF - Radiofrequency, which can be used to stimulate metabolism - chemical processes that help produce substances and energy to sustain life. The method is used by beauticians to tone a client's skin.
MTS - Micro-needle Therapy System. This uses very fine needles which puncture the skin to stimulate collagen production, helping to reduce wrinkles.
Arbutin - This common ingredient in skin products has a whitening effect. It can be extracted from wheat and the skin of pears. Arbutin can prevent the formation of melanin - the substance that colours the skin - so it is used as a skin-lightening agent.
Interviewee: C. K. Wan Sze-ki, beauty tutor from Beauty Tech