Beauty Careers

See also: - Aromatherapist - Body Make-up Artist - Hairdresser - Health & Beauty Technologist - Make-up Artist - Massage Therapist - Model - Somatologist

There are many speciality areas in the beauty business:

Beauticians / Aestheticians specialise in skin care, facial treatments, make-up, manicure, pedicure and waxing.

Beauty Consultants are cosmetics sales staff. They are usually employed in a department store to promote and sell the cosmetics of a particular manufacturer. They advise customers on product choice and may occasionally do a make-up demonstration.

Cosmetologists practise cosmetology, which is the art or profession of applying cosmetics (or of carrying out plastic surgery).

Body Therapists provide a full range of body treatments, both manual and electrical.

Electrologists specialise in the removal of unwanted hair from all over the body, especially the face.

Health & Beauty Therapists work as beauticians, body therapists and also advise clients on health matters, particularly relating to skin.

Massage Therapists perform body massage only, often specialising in Aromatherapy.

Somatologists practise in the field of somatology, which is the science of the human body (or the science of the properties of the body).

Manicurists and pedicurists clean, shape and polish fingernails and toenails.

Scalp treatment specialists apply medicated lotions to treat scalp conditions and hair loss.

Tattoo artists apply permanent designs to the customer’s skin using electric needles and chemical dyes.

Beauty Therapists / Somatologists care for the whole body - providing massage, electrical treatment, facials, make-up, manicures and pedicures. A beauty therapist is in fact, a beautician, a body therapist and an electrologist all in one.

Therapists generally work in a beauty salon, hotel, health spa or on a cruise ship. Somatology is the science concerned with the study of the body and properties of the human body, and is subdivided into anatomy and physiology. Somatologists incorporate reflexological massages, diets, slimming treatments, electrolysis, aromatherapy, and electronic massages in the treatment of their clients. Somatologists concentrate on treating the ‘soma’ or axial part of the human body i.e. the head, neck and spine excluding the limbs.

Today’s somatologists include pedicuring and manicuring as a part of the job. Somatologists also specialise in treating somatologia i.e. pain in the body due to organic causes as opposed to psychogenic pain) by applying highly effective massage techniques.

Image, social and other personal consultants advise clients on their personal appearance, speaking style, manners or other behaviours in order to improve personal or business images. They are employed by beauty salons, fashion boutiques, modelling schools and image consulting companies or may be self-employed.

Cosmetologists practise cosmetology, which is the art or profession of applying cosmetics (or of carrying out plastic surgery), especially for those who have serious disfigurations, to improve their physical appearance. Cosmeticians apply make-up on clients and advise on its use.

Beauty Technologist are concerned with the treatment and prevention of disorders involving the skin and body and are interested in the overall health and well-being of people.

Aromatherapists: See aromatherapist.

Reflexologist: See reflexologist.

Electrologist: Aestheticians, electrologists and related occupations provide facial and body treatments designed to enhance an individual’s physical appearance. They are employed in beauty salons, electrolysis studios, scalp treatment clinics and other similar establishments, or they may be self-employed.

Hairdressers cut and style people’s hair. People working in the beauty business usually work in clean, pleasant surroundings with good ventilation. Good health and stamina are important because these workers must stand a great deal.

Prolonged exposure to some hair and nail chemicals may be hazardous and cause irritation, so special care must be taken when working with these chemicals.

People working full time in these occupations may work more than 40 hours a week. This often includes evenings and weekends, when beauty salons are busiest. Although weekends and lunch periods are generally very busy, people working in these occupations may have some time off during slack periods.

Personal Requirements

  • work well with others
  • normal colour vision and good depth perception
  • good stamina and manual dexterity
  • willingness to work irregular hours
  • enjoy working with a wide variety of people
  • good communication skills
  • analytical skills and flexibility
  • prepared to learn business and bookkeeping techniques
  • entrepreneurial and managerial skills

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

A National Senior Certificate (matric), with a Diploma pass (in order to study a diploma at a university or college)

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences

What to Study

Diploma: Various relevant diplomas - most universities of technology, e.g. CPUT, DUT

Certificate: Various certificate courses - TVET College and private beauty schools, e.g. Ekurhuleni, KZN Coastal, SW Gauteng, Port Elizabeth, Northlink, Cape Town, South Cape. Learners can become fashion consultants, cosmeticians, aestheticians, electrologists, manicurists and pedicurists by taking specialised courses. Some employers provide in-service training


  • cosmetic companies
  • beauty salons
  • beauty clinics
  • television make-up studios
  • skin-care clinics
  • gyms and health clubs
  • health hydros and spas
This career has excellent entrepreneurial prospects as somatologists can open up their own businesses in any one of the above areas or they can contract their services out to any of the above businesses.

Further Information

S A Association of Health and Skincare Professionals
Savannah Office Park
Cycad Building
Corner 9th and Rugby Street
Weltevreden Park, 1707
Tel: (011) 675-6518

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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