And here you thought we were done with schooling.
I may have gotten my weeknights back, but my esthetics education isn’t quite over. Sometime in the next six months, I’ll be taking the State Board’s written and practical exams to become a licensed esthetician. (I don’t know precisely when yet, because Beauty U has to send in my paperwork and then the exam peeps send me a letter with some dates.) Now I’ve already done the Beauty U versions of these tests, but as you may recall, I didn’t exactly blow anyone out of the water with my results.
So I’m setting up a little study plan for myself, to review a textbook chapter every week or two until test time. Which is lucky for you, because to keep myself on track, I’m launching a new weekly (or okay, maybe sometimes biweekly — too much structure being stifling to the creative spirit and all) post where we’ll talk about what I’m (re)learning. Wednesday is now Milady’s Day in Beauty Schooled world.
So let’s start with something super basic. Like the official definition of esthetics, from Chapter 1: Skin Care History and Opportunities. On page 10, Milady’s says:
Esthetics, from the Greek word aesthetikos (meaning “perceptible to the senses”), is a branch of anatomical science that deals with the overall health and well-being of the skin, the largest organ of the human body. An esthetician (or aesthetician) is a person devoted to, or professionally occupied with, the health and beauty of the skin.
So it’s the darndest thing. I’ve been looking all over the place, and I can’t find a single scientific body that endorses esthetics as “a branch of anatomical science.”
The government’s National Science Foundation doesn’t list it among its program areas, nor has it awarded a single grant for an esthetics-based research project.
The National Academy of Sciences, established by an Act of Congress “to investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art” fails to list esthetics among its 31 disciplinary sections. And they even let fluffy stuff like political science make the cut.
And the American Association of Anatomists, a nonprofit organization founded in 1888 for the “advancement of anatomical science” doesn’t include it among its 71 areas of research, practice and education. I’ll grant you that the site notes this is only a “partial list.” But typing “esthetics” into the search field yields a response of “no files found” anywhere on the entire site.
So someone should make an announcement or something, because the fact of esthetics being a branch of anatomical science appears to have entirely escaped the notice of the (one hopes otherwise razor-sharp) scientific community.
I’m being quibbly. Milady’s does make sure to remind us in the next paragraph that “unless an esthetician is also a licensed dermatologist, he or she cannot prescribe medication or give medical treatments.”
But on the facing page there is a photo of an esthetician performing microdermabrasion. She’s wearing a white lab coat, a paper face mask and safety goggles. I’m sure she’s very smart and well-trained in the matter of micro ( and taking appropriate precautions — you have lots of scary suction and crystals flying all about, so goggles and a mask are a good idea). But dressing her up like that might make you think that she has training and expertise that she does not. Which might make you spend more on her services or trust advice that sure can border on medical-sounding.
And reading that official definition — with the word science stuck right in there — in your early weeks of beauty school might make you think you’re going to gain more training and expertise than you actually will. Making you think you’ll earn more money and work in different places than you actually will.
I remember when we read the rest of Chapter 1, which lists all the potential careers you can have an esthetician: salon or day spa esthetician, makeup artist, manufacturer’s representative, and then a whole slew that fall under the heading of “medical esthetician:” cosmetic surgery, dermatology, medi-spa, hospital or clinic, laser center.
And how that was the page that everyone was most excited about.
[Image from Milady’s About Page.]
PS. Unrelated, but to make sure y’all know: The No More Dirty Looks ladies are hosting another challenge — this time a day without makeup! I am so in.