everything esthetician hero

Industry • Perspective

Everything Esthetician: The Complete Guide

Estheticians are an important part of the salon ecosystem, but their role is often misunderstood.

An esthetician keeps their clients’ skin looking clear and vibrant, but their services don’t stop there. Estheticians have to master everything esthetic to become a champion of their practice, tackling body hair, lasering, and way more. Here’s a breakdown of everything estheticians do, what beauty salon owners need to know about them, and how skin care experts differ.

What is an esthetician?

An esthetician is a skin care professional that performs facial treatments, massages, and other esthetic maintenance. There’s no single esthetician definition or esthetician meaning, as individuals will often specialize in specific areas. Waxing specialists are one of the most prominent examples of estheticians, often treating facial hair, body hair, and the bikini line. Estheticians need to be licensed to legally practice their work; each state will have its own regulations covering which services estheticians can perform, as well as varying fees and renewal periods for the proper license.

Want to know more? Read our blog post “What Is an Esthetician? What Every Spa Owner (and Client) Should Know

Essential esthetician services

It’s easy to confuse cosmetology and esthetician services because of the overlap between the two fields. But the esthiology definition specifically points to skin care as an esthetician’s area of expertise, whereas cosmetology is broader. If you’re planning to hire, become, or visit an esthetician, it’s important to understand what they offer. 


Estheticians work with a lot of wax in a lot of places on a client’s body. Facial waxing, bikini waxing, and body waxing are all under the esthetician umbrella, being such a central part of the profession that some estheticians only perform waxing services. Highly skilled waxing specialists may even refine their services further, only performing waxing on specific areas, such as a client’s eyebrows.

Microneedling and microblading

Microneedling and microblading sound similar, but they are distinct services. Microneedling is the practice of pricking facial skin with a small, sterilized needle, causing your body to increase collagen and elastin production in the treated area. It clears imperfections and makes the client look younger. Meanwhile, microblading is the process of drawing “hairs” across the eyebrow to give them a fuller look. These hairs last about a year before they begin to fade, and some states will require estheticians to be licensed tattooists to perform the service.

Deep extractions

Popping whiteheads and blackheads can be grossly satisfying for some, but simply popping them or digging them out can leave you with permanent blemishes. Deep extractions are a professional way to have the lamentable lumps removed with minimal damage. An esthetician will use special tools — and some nimble fingerwork — to remove each blemish with as little damage as possible.

Looking for more on esthetician services? Read our blog post “7 Essential Esthetician Services That Keep Clients Coming Back.”

What is an Aesthetician?

Aesthetician is often used interchangeably with esthetician, but they mean different things. You’ll often hear aestheticians referred to as medical aestheticians, as they’re typically in medical offices working with patients — in many cases cancer patients and burn victims — rather than the usual bookable clients. This means that most aestheticians are found in Medspa environments or in physician’s offices. While they operate in clinical environments, the services aestheticians perform are minimally invasive. A medical aesthetician will receive more schooling than estheticians to be fully legally licensed, as they’ll need fine skills with instruments like scalpels to carry out all of their duties.

Check out “What Is An Aesthetician & What Do They Do?” for more info.

Should you be an aesthetician, esthetician, or dermatologist?

Getting stuck on the differences between skin care roles? That’s common. There’s a ton of overlap between the services offered by estheticians, aestheticians, and even dermatologists. However, these jobs have distinct roles and responsibilities in the beauty and medical world. 

Esthetician vs aesthetician

The licensing requirements for both roles are similar, but a medical aesthetician will go through more training and schooling to earn their title. However, the extra training pays off. People in esthetician roles can expect to earn a median salary of $37,300 a year, while medical aestheticians working in physician’s offices earn a median salary of $44,190 a year


Dermatologists are the most advanced form of skin care expert, completing 12 years of school to earn the title. Dermatologists are able to identify and treat 3,000 skin conditions, and clients will typically need a referral for dermatologist visits to be covered by insurance. A dermatologist’s expertise does have a sizable financial payoff, as they can expect to earn $302,740 a year

Read our blog post “Aesthetician vs. Esthetician vs. Dermatologist: Understanding Skin Care Experts” for a deeper explanation.

No matter what type of skin care expert you choose to become, hire, or visit, the field is growing. There’s currently a 29% predicted increase in skin care jobs due to demand, fueled by a growing demand for their services. If you’re interested in skin care but need help managing growing demand, Boulevard can help. Boulevard’s client management software makes it easier to book clients, send promos, and improve relationships.

Want more tips on how to run your spa (without running yourself ragged)? This guide can help

CTA - Spa Manager s Handbook Blog Footer 1

Share Article

 /  /  /  /