Estheticians, Electrologists and Related Occupations - What They Do

Estheticians, electrologists and workers in related occupations provide facial and body treatments designed to enhance an individual's physical appearance. They are employed in beauty salons, electrolysis studios, scalp treatment and hair replacement clinics and other similar establishments and in cosmetic departments of retail establishments such as pharmacies and department stores, or they may be self-employed.

Job duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:


  • Give facial and other body treatments using specialized products and techniques.


  • Advise customers on the use of make-up and other beauty products and apply make-up to customers; may specialize in applying make-up to models or other individuals for special occasions.


  • Remove unwanted hair permanently from client's face or body using needle only specialized electrical hair removal equipment, laser or other equipment.

Manicurists and pedicurists

  • Clean, shape and polish fingernails and toenails and provide related treatments.

Scalp treatment specialists

  • Apply medicated lotions to treat scalp conditions and hair loss.

Tattoo artists

  • Apply permanent designs to customer's skin, using electric needles and chemical dyes; may also apply temporary designs to customer's skin.

Hair replacement technicians (non-medical)

  • Prepare and apply custom-made hair pieces to customer's scalp, weave customer's hair to hair pieces and provide scalp treatments.

Job titles

  • cosmetician
  • electrologist
  • esthetician
  • manicurist
  • pedicurist
  • scalp treatment specialist
  • tattoo artist
  • electrolysis technician
  • hair replacement technician
  • beauty treatment operator
Employment Requirements

This is what you typically need for the job:

  • Completion of high school, college or beauty school programs for cosmeticians, estheticians, electrologists, manicurists and pedicurists is required or On-the-job training is provided.
  • Electrologists usually require certification from an electrologist's educational or training institution.
  • Membership in a provincial or national electrolysis association may be required.
  • Completion of a registered dermal therapy program may be required to provide electrology laser and vascular treatments.
  • Estheticians usually require certification from an esthetician's educational or training institution.
  • Apprenticeship for electrologists, estheticians and nail technicians is available in Manitoba. Trade certification for these occupations is compulsory in that province.
  • A business license is required for workers in this group who are owners/operators of businesses offering these services.
  • Practitioners offering these personal services are required to adhere to infection control procedures.

Essential Skills


  • Read instructions, precautions and other short comments on labels and packaging, e.g. read product use instructions on labels affixed to sanitation supplies. (1)
  • Read client history cards to learn about customers' previous treatments, skin types and preferences. (1)
  • Read fact sheets on chemical products for information about their composition, use and emergency first-aid procedures. (2)
  • Read flyers, brochures and other promotional material to learn about new products and application techniques. (2)
  • May read articles on websites and in trade magazines, e.g. read websites and trade magazines to stay informed about industry trends and new business opportunities. (3)
  • Read manuals to learn about their firm's policies and procedures, e.g. may read policies describing step-by-step sterilization procedures. (3)
  • May read regulations, contracts and agreements, e.g. read regulations and bylaws to determine licensing requirements and allowable practices for tattoo and body-piercing establishments. (4)

Document use

  • Read labels on product packaging to learn about ingredients and safety hazards. (1)
  • Complete a variety of forms by entering data, such as names, costs, counts and times. (1)
  • Review bookings and calendars to determine their shifts, availabilities and upcoming appointments. (1)
  • May use product and colour charts to mix cosmetics to customer specifications. (2)
  • Follow procedures described in line art diagrams and photograph sequences to apply tattoos and body piercings and explain procedures to clients, e.g. use diagrams of hair follicles and skin and nail diseases to explain treatments to clients. (2)
  • Review suppliers’ catalogues to locate costs and the specifications of equipment, tools, supplies and materials. (2)
  • May complete client history cards by recording data, such as treatments, products used, presenting problems and allergies. (2)


  • Write reminder notes to themselves and co-workers, e.g. write reminders to themselves about work to be done. (1)
  • Write short comments on a variety of forms, e.g. write short comments on customer cards about services rendered and client medical histories. (1)
  • May write letters to manufacturers expressing opinions and concerns about products and services. (2)
  • May write advertising copies for flyers and brochures to promote their products and services. (3)


  • Accept payment by cash, cheque or credit card and make change. (1)
  • May schedule appointments. They consider their availability and the time needed for different services. (1)
  • May measure liquid volumes of emulsions, creams, sterilants and other products. (1)
  • May measure body parts using scales to determine the ideal location of tattoos and piercings. (1)
  • Compare measurements of time, temperature and fluid volume to specifications outlined in product information sheets and colour charts. (1)
  • Estimate by sight quantities of powder and volumes of liquid needed to mix products. (1)
  • May prepare customers' bills by totaling fees and adding discounts and taxes. (2)
  • May reconcile cash floats and prepare financial summaries. They separate, count and record cash and credit receipts. They calculate totals for deposit slips and closeout books. (2)
  • May determine how many packages of supplies, such as scalpels, to buy based on the number of units required and the number of units per package. (2)
  • May estimate the time and number of sessions needed to complete particular treatments. (2)

Oral communication

  • Speak with suppliers to place orders. (1)
  • Speak with clients in person and by telephone to schedule appointments. (1)
  • Exchange information with helpers, e.g. provide instructions to helpers about proper sanitization techniques. (2)
  • Exchange information with co-workers, e.g. speak with other estheticians and electrologists to co-ordinate schedules and discuss new products. (2)
  • Participate in staff meetings, e.g. speak with co-workers during staff meetings about new policies, product trends and matters relating to customer service. (2)
  • Talk to customers about a wide range of topics, e.g. talk to customers about new products, fashion trends and pricing options. (2)
  • May talk to dissatisfied customers, e.g. question customers to determine the reason for their dissatisfaction, provide explanations and discuss possible solutions. (3)


  • Fall behind schedule because of delays created by late and double-booked customers. They reschedule appointments and request help from co-workers to get back on schedule. (1)
  • Decide the timing and length of appointments. They consider their availability and the type of service being provided. (1)
  • Select tools and products for use and sale. They select from a variety of tools and products, such as nail clippers and nail polishes. (1)
  • Judge the performance of products, such as nail polishes and hair removal systems. (1)
  • Refer to client files for such information as past treatments and known health problems. (1)
  • Find that treatments are not effective. They speak with suppliers and co-workers to determine the cause and possible alternate approaches. (2)
  • Choose treatment processes. They consider customers' preferences and needs and the services being provided. (2)
  • Evaluate the condition of skin and nails and determine treatment and style options. They evaluate the health and condition of skin by observing features, such as dryness, porosity, elasticity and texture. They assess the condition of nails by noting texture, thickness, colour and signs of fungi and infections. (2)
  • Judge the suitability of customer product choices. For example, they consider the mental states of clients before agreeing to tattoo their bodies. (2)
  • Create their own work schedules through appointment bookings. They order their tasks for greater efficiency. There are daily disruptions to their schedules due to no-shows, tardiness and last-minute appointments. Unless they own and operate a one-person shop, they may need to co-ordinate with co-workers and supervisors. (2)
  • May locate product information by visiting manufacturer and supplier websites and by speaking with customers, co-workers and colleagues. (2)
  • May locate information about skin and nail conditions by conducting Internet-based research, reading textbooks and speaking with co-workers. (2)
  • Find information about fashion and fashion trends by observing hairstyles worn by models, musicians and actors and by talking with suppliers and other hairstylists. (2)
  • May decide upon fees to charge for services, such as hair removal, manicures, tattoos and piercings. They consider the fees charged by competing service providers and factors, such as the location of their salon, the size of their existing customer base and the number of walk-in clients they get. (3)

Digital technology

  • May use text messaging software to communicate with customers and co-workers. (1)
  • May use calculators and personal digital assistant (PDA) devices to complete numeracy-related tasks, such as calculating material requirements and the cost of products. (1)
  • May use word processing software to write letters and produce promotional material, such as flyers and signs. (2)
  • May use databases and contact management software to input customer names, appointments and inventory levels. (2)
  • May use databases to query product specifications, inventory quantities and upcoming appointments. (2)
  • May use specialized bookkeeping, billing and accounting software to input sales and commissions and produce financial reports. (2)
  • Use communication software to send and receive email. For example, they may send email messages to confirm appointments with customers. (2)
  • May use Internet browsers and search engines to access websites operated by suppliers and product manufacturers. (2)
  • May use the Internet to access training courses and seminars offered by suppliers, employers and training organizations. (2)
  • May use the Internet to access social media tools that allows them to share information and photographs with co-workers and customers. (2)
  • May use the Internet to access blogs and web forums where they seek and offer advice about fashion trends and skin and nail conditions. (2)
  • May operate point-of-sale equipment, such as electronic cash registers, bar scanners, scales and touch-screens. (2)
  • May operate computerized electrolysis and skin treatment machines to remove unwanted hair. (2)
  • May use advanced features in computer-assisted design (CAD) programs to create, modify and print tattoo designs. (3)

Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Estheticians, electrologists and workers in related occupations mainly work independently, providing services to clients. However, they may consult with co-workers to provide and receive information and to co-ordinate schedules.

Continuous Learning

Estheticians, electrologists and workers in related occupations have an ongoing need to learn. Maintaining up-to-date skills and knowledge about new techniques, industry innovations, products and research is important to workers in all specialty areas.