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 • Opinion  • Columnists  • In the Treatment Room with Grace Day  • Why We’re Often Self-Conscious About Seeing an Aesthetician

Why We’re Often Self-Conscious About Seeing an Aesthetician

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Main image – Hannahcriswell/Stocksy

Grace Day is an aesthetician and beauty editor who divides her time between testing and reviewing the latest launches, and providing treatments and skincare routine coaching from her Manchester studio. Each month, Grace shares her learnings and observations straight from the salon, along with her verdict on the latest trends and product launches, here in her series “In the Treatment Room with Grace Day.”

In 2022, Britons spent £6.5 billion on skincare products, while the same study showed that 76% of those surveyed in the 18-34 age category had a regular skincare routine.

The numbers say it all—we’re a nation obsessed with skincare—and yet most of those living in the UK are far more likely to invest in a gym membership or a monthly manicure than a visit to an aesthetician.

In the US, seeing a dermatologist or aesthetician regularly is commonplace—much like seeing a dentist or hairdresser. However in the UK, facials are still very much seen as a one-off or luxury experience—a form of relaxation rather than a means to achieving long-term results and goals.

Indeed most of my new clients have only ever had a professional facial before in a spa setting, and many people can be confused about exactly what it is that aestheticians do. Allow me to demystify.


The difference between aestheticians and dermatologists

Firstly, seeing an aesthetician isn’t quite the same as seeing a dermatologist. Visiting a dermatologist (usually via a referral from your GP) is the thing to do to troubleshoot any unusual symptoms or major reactions, get a mole check, or address stubborn skin conditions that require prescription medication.

Aestheticians, on the other hand, will help with everyday concerns like clearing breakouts, rebuilding your skin barrier, or fading hyperpigmentation. They can offer advice and product recommendations, as well as performing treatments such as chemical peels and micro-needling.

A good aesthetician will take the time to give you a thorough skin consultation, quizzing you about your routine, habits, and lifestyle, before recommending a treatment plan and homecare routine.


Personalised advice

As an aesthetician myself, I stand firmly behind the idea that if you want to see results with your skin, you need to see a skincare professional. Not only for the benefits of regular facial treatments, but for the advice that an aesthetician can give you. Facials may be where the magic seems to happen, but it’s the hard work you put into your everyday skincare routine that helps you to achieve long-term results.

While some might argue that with a bit of savvy Googling (or even TikTok-ing) you can easily build a skincare routine yourself, but one of the most significant benefits of seeing an aesthetician is that the advice you get is totally personalised to you. Plus, you don’t have to spend hours trawling the internet or navigating your way through ads and offers. Taking recommendations from friends and influencers isn’t always the best route because everyone’s skin is different, and no one knows your skin quite so well as your aesthetician does (yep, probably not even you).


Reasons not to be self-conscious

If you’ve never seen an esthetician before then chances are you might be feeling conscious about doing so. Don’t be—we’ve seen and heard the worst of the worst when it comes to people’s skincare habits and we totally understand how easy it is to make mistakes and follow bad advice. The most important thing is to be open to advice, to trust our expertise, and to be committed and patient—basically, trust the process!

Many of my new clients reach out because they have a specific goal in mind, and ahead of your first consultation it’s a good idea to prepare by considering exactly what it is you want to achieve. Maybe you want healthy, glowing skin ahead of your wedding, to address breakouts or the first signs of skin ageing, or simply to have an easy-to-follow skincare routine that you’ll actually want to use.

Much like working with a personal trainer, seeing a skincare professional is an investment in both time and money. But after just a few months of working with an esthetician, you’re likely to be on your way to happier, healthier skin—and chances are you’ll feel a lot better educated and more confident in shopping for skincare, too.


5 new skincare launches I’m loving


Image – Dr Sam Bunting

Dr Sam Bunting Flawless Vitamin C NAD+ Serum

Founded by dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting, this brand is one of my favourites to recommend to clients who need to simplify and streamline their skincare routine. The brand covers all of the basics—cleanser, moisturisers, and SPF—and is now growing its collections of serums, in order to help people hone in on their specific skin concerns. If you’ve previously used vitamin C and experienced sensitivity, try this. It’s formulated with a particularly gentle (but still effective) form of vitamin C.


The Ordinary Saccharomyces Ferment 30% Milky Toner

I see a lot of over-exfoliated skin and damaged skin barriers when I onboard new clients, so exfoliating toners and scrubs are usually the first products I cut from routines. Of course, exfoliation is an effective technique, especially if your skin is dull and textured, but I’d always recommend a gentle approach. This new exfoliating toner from The Ordinary provides a very gentle exfoliation (suitable for sensitive skin) while also helping to maintain the skin barrier to prevent irritation.


CurrentBody Skin Anti-Blemish LED Face Mask

LED light therapy is one of my favourite in-salon treatments for clients who want to clear breakouts or address signs of skin ageing. Of course, it works best when applied regularly and consistently, so for those of my clients who can’t make frequent visits for treatment, I recommend this mask. It’s also the one I use myself at home—just 10 minutes a day, five times a week helps to reduce inflammation and keep my skin looking calm and clear.


Vida Glow Collagen Liquid Advance

Collagen supplements are one of my most frequently-requested product recommendations, but not all collagen supplements are created equally. There are a few reliable ones that I frequently recommend, but if you’re fussy about flavour, I’d try this one. It’s deliciously berry-flavoured and can be sipped straight from the sachet in seconds.


Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Intensive Cream

Helping people to understand just how important moisturising is is a key part of my job. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that 99% of people aren’t giving their skin enough hydration via their daily routines. I recently started using this moisturiser in my evening routine, and it’s made such a difference to my tired post-winter skin. It’s a water-based moisturiser so doesn’t feel rich or greasy but is still intensely hydrating, and the glow and smooth texture I’ve been waking up to is something else.


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Freelance Beauty Writer

Grace Day is the former Beauty Editor of Beauty Bay and a regular contributor to publications like Hypebae and POPSUGAR UK.  A qualified aesthetician, Grace is regularly featured in the likes of The Evening Standard, In Style and Brydie for her expert skincare consultations and facials at Dolls Part salon in Manchester.

Expertise: Skincare, makeup
Education: University of Manchester

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