Studying beauty therapy, hairdressing, makeup or anything in that field tends to get a bad rap, with people saying that it doesn’t take any brains, it’s easy, it’s for people who ‘can’t be bothered’… well as someone who has studied all three, I can categorically confirm that none of that is true.
Although two of the best years of my education, they were also two of the hardest, the dedication those subjects require is above and beyond anything else I’ve ever studied. There is a lot of misconceptions when it comes to studying beauty, and you see so many people drop out mid-course because it just isn’t what they expected.
I thought I’d share my findings with you, and let you in on all the secrets of what it’s really like to study beauty therapy in particular, in the UK.
There’s a lot of Written/Theory Work
Although a fair part of the course is practical, you’re going to be saddled with a lot of theory/written work, and you’re going to have to take on board a lot of knowledge.
There’s a lot of homework/course work, and keeping on top of it, and getting it done as you get it is the best advice I can give.
You’ll be learning a lot of science, all to do with the anatomy of the skin, hair, bones and muscles, as well as the chemistry behind the products you’re using.
You’re Going to be Getting Up Close and Personal
Initially, you’ll be practicing on class mates, and then you can try and fill all your assessment slots with friends and family, but there’ll come a point when you’re going to have to do a treatment on a stranger, and the likelihood is, you’re going to be getting up close and personal with them.
Manicures aren’t too bad, but pedicures mean you’re going to have their feet very close to your face, during a facial you’re going to be very close to their face, as well as massaging their shoulders and upper chest, and if you’re waxing, well… not much is left to the imagination.
You need to prepare yourself and if you think you’re too shy or unconfident to get up close to someone you don’t know and gets hands on, then this profession isn’t for you.
You’re Not Going to be the Glamourous One
For many people, when they think of studying beauty, they think of getting loads of treatments done free of cost, and always looking preened to perfection with seamless makeup and neat nails, and in my experience, that isn’t the case.
At my college, you always had to have your hair tied up, no nail polish on your fingers, and your makeup needed to be neat, natural and done before you came in the salon.
You do get lots of pedicures and have permanently pretty toes, but you have to wear closed toe shoes so no one is going to know. You’ll probably also be permanently hairless from the upper lip down thanks to waxing practice, so be prepared for hair growth you didn’t even know your body was capable of!
The one thing I struggled with was facials; a full facial, once a week, for a good few weeks, my skin has never broken out like that in my life, purely because no one needs facials that regularly.
You Have to Take Part in Everything
‘My makeup is looking great today’, is not work as a valid reason to not have a facial. You’re going to have to ‘shut up and put up’ as they say, and grin and bare it.
There’ll be days when you don’t want to take your makeup off, or tie your hair up, take your nail polish off, or get waxed, but you have to remember that its either a salon rule, or someone needs to practice, in which case, it’s only fair to do what you’re asked to do.
You’ll Have to Volunteer Out of College
In my experience, you have to complete 60 hours work experience in a real salon in order to complete your course.
9 times out of 10, this work will be unpaid, and hard work. Not only will you be going to this salon on a ‘voluntary basis’, but you also won’t be allowed to do the good stuff straight away, because you’re not qualified, but if you work hard and build a good relationship with the salon owner, you could turn your work placement, into a great opportunity.
Make the most of this because although it might not be great to start with, if you work hard and pay attention, they might let you practice, or even offer you a job, which is what happened to me.
Beauty Therapy at college is great fun, and I’d really recommend it to anyone that is keen to work in the industry, so don’t let any of these things put you off, but it’s best to be aware of them, so nothing comes as a surprise, and makes you doubt what you want to do.
If you’re embarking on your beauty training journey, then good luck and enjoy it!
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