You only get one face and it will inevitably show signs of wear and tear. What starts off as smooth, buttery soft skin quickly starts changing as the result of sun, stress and the passage of time. Some people start caring for their skin early while others wait until there is a problem they can no longer ignore. Aestheticians see it all.
“The skin on your face shouldn’t be a luxury,” said Rachel Lee Lozina, an aesthetician and the owner of Blue Water Spa in Long Island, New York. “It’s the first thing that everybody sees and is more important than any handbag, jacket or shoes you’ll ever buy in your life because, at the end of the day, those items are not going to last you.”
We talked to top aestheticians from around the country to learn what they can tell about us based on the state of our skin ― and what we should know about how to care for our skin at home.
They can tell how invested you are in taking care of your skin.
Aestheticians start sizing you up, and developing a treatment plan, as soon as you walk through the door.
Emma Smith, a licensed aesthetician at Glowbar (a no-frills facial studio in New York and Connecticut) told us she first notices a client’s “demeanor and how they treat the front desk staff.” However, no matter how unpleasant someone may be, Smith says that “everyone gets the same love” and their treatment isn’t affected.
Lozina said when clients arrive she sees “how put together they are, what kind of handbag they’re wearing.” These things tell her “how focused they are about their appearance and how they want to be perceived,” she said. Clients that dress nicely “are a little bit more focused on their appearance,” while clients who show up late or “sloppy” indicate that “their commitment level” to their appearance isn’t as high, she added. Knowing this is important to Lozina, who said, “If they don’t have the commitment to their own skin care routine at home, then their outcome will not be as great as I would hope for.”
Elizabeth Moran, an aesthetician and adviser to Droplette, a smart skin care device, says she notices right away how her clients carry themselves. “If someone’s skin is radiant and glowing, their body language will reflect that. If someone is dealing with a skin condition, they tend to walk with their head down, and generally, we can tell that they are not their most confident selves,” she said.
They can’t figure out your medical history, so you need to tell them about it.
Aestheticians typically ask about concerns and skin care routines to be sure they address their clients’ individual needs.
However, they usually need more than basic information. Emily Trampetti, an aesthetician and founder of Skin Property Virtual Esthetics, told us, “The best types of aestheticians will act as a sleuth when it comes to skin. You have to uncover all the facts to get the whole story.”
“For example, if they are dealing with adult acne,” she said, referring to clients, “I might inquire more into their medications, gut health, stress levels and current regimen.” Knowing what is causing an issue is essential to figuring out the right treatment plan.
They can tell if you’re uncomfortable in your skin.
Crystal Shaffer, an aesthetician at Exhale Med Spa in Little Rock, Arkansas, learns a lot by listening to how her clients answer questions. “Are they expressing that they are feeling self-conscious or uncomfortable? They might have a concern that is really bothering them not just physically, but mentally and emotionally,” she said.
Lozina gains a lot of insight by observing her clients. “If they chronically apologize for small, insignificant things, it tells me they have some low self-esteem issues they need to work on,” she said. Clients who overshare or talk too much “don’t feel really comfortable with themselves as a person because they are not allowing themselves to just be present and take care of themselves,” Lozina explained.
They can tell what quality of skin care you use and whether you have any bad habits.
Anna Hall, the head aesthetician for Argentta Spa at The Watergate Hotel, says clients with the best skin cleanse their skin twice a day, exfoliate and moisturize. She can also tell who uses effective, high-quality products and SPF by the state of their skin.
According to Taylor Worden, an aesthetician and founder of Taylor Worden Skin, clients with problematic skin tend to “try the hot new product instead of sticking to their protocol.” Shaffer said that “clients who have the worst skin typically use poor-quality products, wear too much makeup, use dirty makeup brushes or sleep in their makeup.” Those with the worst skin are usually “not drinking enough water, eating junk food, or getting too much sun exposure,” she added.
Trampetti adds that she can tell if someone smokes, drinks too much alcohol or caffeine, isn’t getting enough sleep, or is experiencing a lot of stress by the condition of their skin.
They can tell if you have unrealistic expectations.
Trampetti encounters many clients who have unrealistic expectations about what an aesthetician can achieve. ”There is a huge disconnect about what is and isn’t realistic when it comes to skin goals. Media, filters, advertising and celebrity Photoshop have warped our expectations when it comes to what healthy skin looks like,” she said. “I have people come in and say they can see their pores. Of course they can. Pores are human and some of us just have bigger ones genetically than others.”
Hall has to tell her clients that there aren’t any quick fixes. Most people’s skin concerns can’t be addressed with one facial or treatment. Instead, clients who want better skin “need to be dedicated to a series of treatments, and most importantly” a home skin care routine, she said.
Here’s what they want you to know about caring for your skin at home.
Trampetti stresses that the single best thing everyone can do for their skin is to wear sunscreen. “Sunscreen is not seasonal. Every day it should be applied, no excuses,” she said.
Another important step everyone can take? “Get off Google, TikTok and Instagram,” Trampetti said. Hall has similar advice. She stresses that influencers “are not professionals” and often give misinformation.
Many aestheticians also want everyone to know that it’s OK to keep things simple. “It’s quality over quantity,” said Colleen Carey, an aesthetician and founder of Skin Rx. Trampetti agrees and recommends consistency “with a bare minimum routine: cleanser, moisturizer, sunscreen” to get great results.