How to Become a Beauty Therapist

Have you ever dreamt of having a job where you can give other people a rush of confidence, and transform the way they feel about themselves? Making someone feel great about the way they look is a powerful gift, and one that you’ll be able to enjoy every day working as a beauty therapist. After you’ve qualified, you’ll work in a profession where no two days are the same, you see a wide variety of clients, and where you can make a measurable difference to people’s quality of life every single day.

Not only that, you’ll likely become an important person in your clients’ lives: someone to confide in, to be vulnerable with, and with whom they can share their insecurities. Beauty therapists are often known for their friendly, confident, sociable, and reassuring nature, so if you have these qualities and you also have a keen interest in helping people be the best they can be, this might just be the ideal career for you.

What is a beauty therapist?

A woman paints another woman's nails at a beauty salon

A beauty therapist is a qualified professional who carries out cosmetic treatments on a client’s face and body. These might include treatments which focus on enhancing certain features, such as eyelash extension, or treatments which aim to relieve stress and enhance wellbeing, such as a hot stone massage. Ultimately, your main responsibility is to make your clients feel great, and if you’re good at your job, you’ll find that clients keep coming back to enjoy your services, giving you the opportunity to bond and form genuine friendships. Beauty therapists are trained to have a strong understanding of the anatomy of the face and skin, as well as the chemistry underpinning the products they use. You’ll deliver a wide range of treatments, but might choose to focus on an area of specialisation you find you’re really good at, such as massage, nail services, or permanent makeup. Ideally, you’ll stay informed on all the latest cutting-edge treatments – there are always new products, tools, and techniques, and customers are always keen to try them!

Beauty therapists provide a range of treatments, which might include:

  • Facials: massaging, toning, and cleansing the skin
  • Removing unwanted hair from the face and body
  • Nail treatments such as manicures, pedicures, extensions and nail art
  • Spray tanning
  • Eyelash extensions, colouring, and eyebrow contouring
  • Massage
  • Spa treatments, such as mud baths and saunas
  • Aromatherapy and other holistic treatments.

They are also expected to welcome clients to the salon, answer the phone and book appointments, check and re-order supplies, and clean the salon to make sure it stays in tip-top condition.

How to become a beauty therapist

Becoming a beauty therapist isn’t quite as simple as taking your home-taught skills to the salon, it requires training, accreditation and experience. Here, we take a look at what you need to do to become a professional beauty therapist.

What qualifications do you need to become a beauty therapist?

Lots of aspiring beauty therapists opt for a course that will give them a well-rounded introduction to the beauty industry and a thorough understanding of the most popular treatments, such as our Complete Beauty Course. Once you’re a qualified beauty therapist, you’ll likely find that you enjoy some treatments more than others, and would like to specialise. At Oxbridge, we offer a wide range of courses that will help you hone your beauty skills to perfection, whether you choose to specialise in eyelash extension, hot stone massage, or even Russian lash extensions!

Whilst you’re studying, it’s vital that you gain some experience in a salon, as this will give you some hands-on experience of what the real day-to-day life of a beauty therapist is like.

Accreditation and licensing


If you’d like to open your own salon or work freelance, then your customers and employees will likely want to see that you’re accredited. It will also help keep your insurance costs down. There are several bodies that offer accreditation in the UK, such as:

  • The British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTAC)
  • Associated Beauty Therapists (ABT)
  • Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT)
  • Hairdressing and Beauty Industry Authority (HABIA)
  • The Guild of Beauty Therapists.


All Beauty Salons in the UK need a license, which will be issued by your local council. You’ll need a Massage and Special Treatment Premises License to offer certain treatments, such as massage, manicures and light treatments, and a separate license if you choose to offer any treatments which pierce the skin, such as acupuncture.

close up of person painting someone's nails

What does it take to become a great beauty therapist?

As a beauty therapist, you’ll be seeing new faces every day, so it’s important that you’re able to remain approachable, confident, compassionate and polite. Aside from these qualities, we’re able to offer you some insider tips from an industry professional help you go above and beyond in your future career.

Master the art of communication

Everyone knows how to chit-chat and ask someone how their day’s going, but do you know how to tell whether someone is truly at ease? Do you know how to read their body language, and tell whether they’re truly satisfied, or uncomfortable with the experience you’re providing? A lot of beauty treatments require a great deal of vulnerability from your clients, and they need to be able to place their full trust in you as a professional. Being able to truly discern the way that your client is responding to your treatments and providing comfort and reassurance as needed will set you apart from the competition.

Take the time to get to know your clients

You should be trying to build a rapport with your clients from the moment you greet them, and thinking about what your client needs from you. What stresses are they going through, and how can you help?

 Learn to read social cues

Some clients will come to the salon to chat and gossip, and others will come to switch off and relax. If you’re trying to start a conversation with your client and your efforts fall flat, take the hint: they’d rather be left alone with their own thoughts to enjoy the treatment.

Be confident

You can’t expect your clients to have confidence in you if you don’t have confidence in yourself. If you need a boost, ask your clients to fill in feedback forms where they can review your services. This will tell you what you’re excellent at, but also tell you what areas you need to improve. If you’re not feeling too confident, practise self-affirmation, and don’t shy away from challenges.

Woman giving a massage on a table

Be dedicated, and always willing to learn

Being a beauty therapist is rewarding, but it’s also demanding, with long hours spent on your feet. However, if you love what you’re doing, and are excited to meet new customers and help them feel their best, then this attitude will always shine through. The beauty industry is also one that’s full of innovation, so having an enthusiasm for learning is essential.

What are the benefits of becoming a beauty therapist?

For beauty enthusiasts, the most obvious benefit of becoming a beauty therapist is that you get to do what you love all day, every day. Aside from this, there are also practical benefits: many beauty therapists get to choose their own hours, and decide whether they work full-time, or part-time. You can also decide whether you’d like to work for a salon, or strike out on your own and start your own business.

Another attraction is the opportunity to work in a variety of settings: why not become a manicurist on a cruise ship? Or work at a hotel in a luxury spa? A further benefit you’ll enjoy is job security. Beauty is one of the only industries that appears to be recession-proof; people always want to look and feel their best. Ultimately, the biggest attraction for many is that you’ll always be around people who are pleased to see you, and you’ll know that you’re making a positive impact on their lives, helping them to feel confident in their own skin. What could be more rewarding than that?

How much does a beauty therapist earn?

Most beauty therapists will begin by gaining practical experience in a salon, learning how to perform a range of treatments. At this point, you can expect to earn around £15,000 per year, depending on your location. From here, you might decide to specialise in a particular field, such as nail services or massage therapy, and undertake further qualifications which will help boost your skills and knowledge. You can then expect to earn around £20,000 per year.

From there, you might decide to work freelance, work in a health spa or hotel, or take further qualifications in business management and set up your own salon. From here, your ability to earn is limitless, and depends only on your dedication and hard work. Alternatively, you might decide to teach some of the skills you’ve learned, and become a beauty lecturer. You could even choose to work in the entertainment industry, and work on film and TV sets, or get models ready for the catwalk.

If you’d like to take the first step towards a career beauty therapy, Oxbridge could help you secure the qualifications and experience necessary. For more information, head over to our homepage or give our experienced course advisers a call on 0121 630 3000.

How much does a beauty therapist earn?


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