Where Do Estheticians Make The Most Money?

Where Do Estheticians Make The Most Money?

Posted by Diana K. on Aug 30th 2020

Money! Money! Money!

When I first started looking into the “glamorous” field of esthetics I toured a few schools and they ALL talked about how much money I would make. How much they taught, and how well the industry is going to grow. This can be true, but what they failed to mention was how hard it is to find your first job, the stress of gaining clientele, the stress of opening your own business, and the extremely inflated costs of continuing your education in order to be making top dollar.

The beauty industry can be brutal and is not for someone who can’t handle high pressure and pick themselves up after they fall. The sad fact is the majority of newly graduated beauty professionals stop working in their field by year two.

A few of the reasons they quit:

  • They thought they would walk in and be making 50+ an hour

The reality is the average esthetician only makes 32k a year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the annual median salary for Skincare Specialists in 2016 was $30,270. 25% of the industry only made $21,960. How sad is that? You spend 10,000 + on education and you only make $20,000 a year.

  • They thought they could slide right into a career

When you finally get your license and you start your job hunt how many employment opportunities do you see for a newbie like yourself? Not many. Most places won’t hire you with little to no work history. Some estheticians wait MONTHS before they get their first job and it is usually at a chain location making BARE minimum.

  • They open a business right away without knowing what it takes to run a successful business

When someone ventures out on their own right out of the gate they are setting themselves up for failure. Typically new businesses don’t start turning profit for 2-5 years. It isn’t as simple as opening up, posting a pic or two on social media and then have a flood of new clients. It takes blood, sweat, and tears. So many tears to be successful. If you can’t handle staying up late worrying and having all day anxiety until you finally get to a comfortable place. DON”T DO IT.

  • They found out they weren’t passionate about the industry and didn’t care to find their niche/passion.

The industry has so many branches that even if you don’t like the typical spa setting that schools push down your throats in school you don’t have to quit. You just have to get creative.

Hopefully after reading this post you gain some confidence in the direction you would like to take and the realistic expectations of how you will get there.

Money!! What do the top 5% of the beauty industry professionals have in common? It is not that they make the big bucks, although they absolutely do. It is they found what they are best at and perfected that skill. In the industry we call these “niches”.

What are some niches you can get into?:

  • Lashes Lashes Lashes ( this a big money maker if done right. BUT this is not for everyone. They require a certain type of person. Someone that enjoys repetitive tasks, that has healthy hands and eyes.)
  • Spa Facials ( some people find they have a healing touch and spa facials are the perfect place for them)
  • Corrective Facials ( Don’t like the “fluff” then maybe work on a corrective approach and skip the massage, fluffy masking, and techniques that don’t drive results)
  • Waxing ( NOW THIS IS MY NICHE!!! Waxing is inexpensive and easy to market and pre-book. If you are just starting out this is where you should spend your time and money on perfecting your techniques. Once you get a waxing client you can easily convert them to another niche. If your like me and HATE facials, time consuming treatments, or can’t devote alot of time to learning another niche. This one is for you.
  • Medical ( This niche is the most time consuming and expensive to follow, but can be the most rewarding if you enjoy the medical aspect of esthetics. Laser. Botox. Contouring. Etc

These are just a few niches to consider. Now out of all these waxing is definitely where estheticians can make the most with a quick turn around in regards to start up and education. Why is that you ask? Well there are a few points to consider.

  • How much time does a service take?
  • How much money can you make per service?
  • What is the initial investment?

How much time does a waxing service take?

The whole body can be waxed and each area can take different amount of time. There are two main areas that waxers typically focus on and that is Brows and Brazilians. If you can master these two areas you can be rolling in dough before you know it.

Let’s do the math.

Say you charge $25 for a brow service( typical pricing is $10-$40) You shape, and fill every brow and it takes you 20 minutes. You can do 3 brows in an hour. It costs you $3 per brow client including wax, disposables, brow pencil, etc.

$25 - $3 x 3 = $66 an hour. That is a good chunk of change.

Not only do Brow specialists make money it is an easily marketable service. It allows you to get up close and personal with your clients. You can easily add on a lip wax, tint, or recommend other facial services. Thus increasing your hourly wage.

Now let’s discuss brazilians. This is where my heart lies and I am very passionate about this service. It is fun, fast, and makes me money. An experienced brazilian waxer can finish a brazilian wax in 15 minutes or less. This takes practice and lots of experience, so lets say your timing is ok and you complete your brazilian in 30 minutes. Typical pricing for this is $45-$75. Let’s say you can $55 for a brazilian and you can complete two in an hour. Overhead for me is typically $6 a service.

$55 - $6 x 2 = $98 NOW THAT IS SOME MONEY!!

With tips and retail I average $150 an hour on brazilians doing them every 30 minutes, but lets stick with just services.

If you work 5 hours a day and 4 days a week you can make $1960 a week. That is $7840 a month and 94,080 a year. Add in a few upgrades, retail items etc. You just made it to six figures working part time. What other industry can give you that potential?

Even if waxing isn’t your cup of tea. Do the math on any service you want to offer and make sure it fits your goals and your needs.Take a business class or two at a local college and write yourself a plan. Where do you see yourself in 6 month, 2 years, 5 years? Make it realistic and obtainable. Itemize what you will do to get to your goals and follow through. Don’t get discouraged and keep pushing yourself forward. There is enough business to go around. Focus on your practice, clients, and skill. Follow these steps and you will be successful.


Diana is the CEO and Founder of Honeycomb Wax Company. She formulated our depilatory wax and skin care line.