How to make it big as a facialist
1. You need a passion for anatomy
“After gaining my City & Guilds Beauty Therapy qualification, I was headhunted by Space NK to work at its flagship store in Notting Hill, specialising in facials. I was taught eight different companies’ facial protocols by the brand founders, including Eve Lom, and it was during training that I felt a new movement. I told Eve what was happening and she said, ‘My dear girl, do you not know what craniosacral therapy is? Because you’re doing it’. The realisation that I was doing something different was the turning point for me.
“I didn’t stay a conventional beauty therapist for long. I visited a cranial institute, made the transition to a physician and then developed the Anastasia Achilleos Method, a treatment that taps into the craniosacral rhythms of the body, using my experience in reiki and energy lines to release connective tissues in the face that have become stiff over time to reveal a younger-looking appearance.”
2. Work with the right people
“If you’re wondering how to make it as a celebrity facialist, then I’m afraid it is an extremely unrealistic goal. It’s like saying how does somebody who plays football become Cristiano Ronaldo? It can happen but it shouldn’t be your end goal. For me, my profile grew organically. I worked on editorial and fashion shoots performing my method on models and it was during the time that there was a huge demand for ‘facial lifting’. Before I knew it, the press started writing about me.
“However, there’s no one set formula for making it. To elevate your career, you have to become better at what you do and find new tools to achieve it. If you haven’t learned anything since you qualified, then you will become stagnant. You should align yourself with brands, spas or other big-name facialists who are doing amazing things and try to get under their wings. There are a lot of wellness brands popping up now so there’s lots of new avenues to explore.”
3. Be mentally prepared
“It’s important to remember that as a therapist you’re directly transferring your energy and feelings into the client during treatment, so they can feel if you’re not mentally in the room. For example, if your mind is on something else, like a fight you had with your partner, you need to become more perceptive and leave your emotional baggage at the door. If you don’t connect with your client then you’re going to find it tough to make your mark in this industry.”
4. Make your menu client-centric
“The problem is there isn’t much advanced education for facials on the curriculum to help make therapists better. The industry has kept facial treatments as something that makes money but the focus has always been on developing massage. Now, the industry is stuck in between luxury facials at spas that don’t do that much and just poor facials because there’s no real further education, with just a handful making a difference.
“But, change is coming. Luxury wellness exists, which it didn’t 18 years ago, and clients are now skin savvy – they know what they want. Until the education improves, look at your menu and update it so it’s results-driven because a traditional facial is no longer good enough. Now is the time to change the way you work so you deliver client-centric treatments. Create something transformative but remember, if you fall short of the expectation then you’ll lose the client.”
Anastasia Achilleos is a celebrity facilaist and creator of the Anastasia Achilleos Method of Excellence, which provides a mentoring platform for those working in the spa and wellness industry.