Beauty School Superstar: Confessions from an esthetician in training
When I first started thinking about a career as an esthetician more than 10 years ago, I merely thought of the words “beauty school” and I immediately cut to images of Frenchie from the 1978 hit film Grease. You remember her – the bubble-gum-chewing cosmetologist with matching pink tresses being crooned to by a dreamy Frankie Avalon.
Fast forward more than a decade and my interest in organic and natural beauty products has surged. I’ve been an independent representative for Miessence since 2014, and I finally decided that becoming a licensed esthetician would be a natural extension of connecting with all of you beautiful people through My Organic Beauty Bar.
I’d like to say that all beauty schools are NOT created equal. I’ve researched many schools in various cities that I’ve lived in over the past 5 years. Once my boyfriend and I decided to relocate back to Southern California, choosing Bellus was a no brainer.
And to boot, Bellus Academy won the prestigious award of “Best Academy in North America Continent 2015” by Intercoiffure, an influential organization in the beauty industry.
Bellus Academy came across professionally in all aspects of communication; from email and phone to the open house I attended prior to enrolling. See for yourself in this video that highlights the master esthetics program:
I’m not gonna lie. On my first day, I suspected I might be surrounded by bubble-gum chewing gossipers fresh out of high school. But much to my delight, there is a lovely assortment of mature and fun gals in my basic esthetics class. They range in age from recent high school grads who are very mature all the way up to women in my 40ish age bracket, as well as ladies in their 20s and 30s. I love diversity and our class is great mix of local San Diegans to girls who came from as far away as Seattle, Detroit, and even London!
We are guided by the confident and stunning Ms. Lorissa. She is the perfect teacher for esthetics if I could ever dream one up. She is a Russian beauty with an accent to match. She has a knack for balancing discipline, fun, and curriculum to a melting pot of eager students. She is like having a skin care fairy godmother. She tells it like it is but you can tell she truly loves her students and that she wants each and every one of us to succeed.
We have a test on the previous week’s theory every Tuesday. So far, I’ve scored a 92% or higher (but I’ve only taken 3 tests). They are typically multiple choice, but I wouldn’t call them easy. Just make sure you study, and you should be fine.
Classes run Tuesday-Saturuday. Tuesday through Friday, we usually have several hours of business and esthetics theory in class each week, practice for the state boards, a product/procedure demo, and practical hours where we get to practice what we’ve learned.
Saturdays are our “clinic” days. Right now we can invite friends and family to come to the school where we practice our newly learned techniques. In return, they receive a facial with professional Murad skin care products, and they only pay $15!
I was surprised at how confident I actually felt for my first clinic facial. I attribute that to our fearless leader and the support of the other girls in the class who have been very encouraging, along with my hours of facial massage practice. I also have my own mentors outside of school, including the talented and amazing Dawn Fall.
When I met Dawn, she was an experienced esthi (slang for esthetician!) at a local day spa close to where I lived. Today, Dawn is the proud principal of Dawn Fall Spa on Main. She is a HUGE reason why I wanted to get into this business. She was my esthetician for more than 10 years and I hope she will continue to be my mentor as I enter this industry. (If you’re anywhere near Hopkinton, MA, and want your skin to look and feel amazing, I highly recommend booking a treatment with her, pronto! Dawn is a natural in this industry. She loves what she does and she loves helping people to relax, feel pampered, and tackle their skin concerns. She uses amazing products and gives THE BEST scalp massage I have ever had.)
Getting back to Bellus, we each have a mannequin-type head that we can practice on, too. It’s mainly for when we take our state board exam, but it’s better than nothing when you don’t have a model to practice on.
I love, love, loved learning the facial massage techniques. I have always wondered how an esthetician can flow their hands over your face as it seems like they are never losing contact with your skin. I’m learning. It’s fun. And it’s a lot easier than you might think. It just takes a lot of repetition to get it down. I’m still working on perfecting it.
My biggest barrier so far: WAXING! I have been SO afraid of learning how to wax. I’ve only been waxed a few times myself. They weren’t horrific experiences, but I’ve opted for laser and electrology over the years, and have often wondered why anyone would ever opt for waxing. As it turns out, waxing is big business in the beauty world and can be a great way to keep your schedule full. Out here in CA, we have whole storefronts dedicated solely to waxing! I’m not thrilled about waxing, but I’ve already started visiting potential spas I’d like to work in, and many of them require you to be able to wax efficiently, so I’m determined to improve my technique and not be so timid.
While waxing a fellow classmate, I kept stopping to ask, “Are you okay?” I felt like I was torturing her. Waxing is a physical job. Very physical. But as our Waxxxpress demo teacher told us, “It’s just hair and skin.” If you can look at it that simply, I suppose you can just get down to business. But I’m still in the I’m-not-so-sure-how-I’m-going-to-do this phase.
Thankfully, most everyone in class is pretty new to it, too. So we’re all learning. Some are taking to it naturally and absolutely love it. I want to love it, but I’m just not there yet. (It’s only week 4! I’m thinking of signing up for private waxing lessons in hopes it will help me be more confidant so that I can tackle any wax before me. Stand by for that update!)
What do I love most about school so far? Connecting more with people. I love our clinic days when friends and family come in for facials and I get to show off my new vocation. Every week I have more and more services to offer, and my new clients are seemingly quite impressed with how professional my treatments are considering my short tenure at Bellus.
I also love my classmates. There is camaraderie among our class that I hope continues through to graduation. There’s no drama, no pink hair (though I love pink hair!), and no crooning Frankie Avalon.
During my first week of class, I had the pleasure of meeting with Lynelle Lynch who is the Bellus Academy President. I was so inspired by her story and how she is on a mission to revolutionize the beauty industry one student at a time. I’d say with all of the industry recognition that she and Bellus have already received, that they’re well on their way.
Week 4 started with a presentation from the folks at Oozle Media who gave us tips on how to promote ourselves online. Hopefully, these will come across seamlessly as you’re visiting my other social channels. 😉
The hardest part of my schooling, believe it or not, is the commute. I live about 45 mintues (without traffic) from the school. But since we are in Southern California, I’ve been averaging about 3 hours each day total drive time. That’s a lot of time to be in the car. Luckily, it’s only temporary, and it’s all for a worthy cause. And that makes my 5:45 a.m. wake-up calls much easier.
I only have about 4 months and 1 week left of my program. It’s zooming by and I still feel like we have so much more to learn, and I’m certain we do. Stay tuned for more updates on my Bellus experience.
Have you thought about going back to school for esthetics, maybe even at Bellus Academy? Let me know if there are any questions I can answer.