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Viewpoint: Male Estheticians Need More Respect

By: Jason Spain
Posted: November 25, 2008, from the December 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Editor's note: The opinions expressed in this Viewpoint are those of the author and not necessarily those of Skin Inc. magazine.

My name is Jason ... from that, you can tell I'm a guy. I’m also an esthetician. That puts me in a small group of other men who work in the skin care industry as estheticians. If you’re a guy and an esthetician, you’ll know exactly where I’m going with this column. If you’re a female and an esthetician, I invite you to read on and discover a whole new perspective on skin care from a guy’s point of view.

I’ve been an esthetician for five years, and I work in a terrific spa in San Francisco that provides services for a health club and a five-star hotel. I only mention this because I have a wide array of clientele, ranging from athletes to hotel guests, both male and female. So I’ve had to learn how to give facials and other skin care treatments, including waxing services, to all kinds of people. And I’ve had to learn how to do all of this by myself.

There’s very little support or education available to address the male esthetician. Even in esthetic school, I had to adjust everything to the fact that I am a man. Simple things, such as the size of my hands, the pressure I used during facial massage, glove sizes, extractions, everything was different for me than what I was being taught in school and what I saw my female colleagues doing.

And then there’s waxing and the whole “male waxing a female” conundrum. I like to refer to it as Pandora’s wax pot. Is it appropriate for me to be giving a female client a bikini wax? The five-star hotel I work for says “No way,” and I have to respect its rules. But I often ask myself, “Why not?” I’ve found that some of my female clients would rather have me do their waxing. They trust me, they know they are safe and in a professional environment. Their modesty is completely and strictly maintained both for their comfort and mine. I mention waxing as a classic example of how our industry really hasn’t addressed the issue.