There is a lot of confusion when it comes to continuing education in the Esthetics industry. There is a huge lack of generic skill and technique training and an abundance of product knowledge seminars put on by skin care companies cloaked as general information or technique training.
Technique and knowledge-based education helps you grow as a practitioner. Skill based training gives you the ability to apply knowledge to specific situations that are developed through practice. These seminars do no focus on specific products or their formulations, they discuss techniques, skills and individual ingredients from clinical perspective.
These courses can also provide you with insight on how specific ingredients by themselves work and the physiological changes that take place on the skin so you can make appropriate choices to effectively manage your clients/patients needs. They will help you make choices on what products or product lines you bring into your skin care practice.
Skin care product companies often have their products tested in house, which can bias the results. Some do use outsourced testing, the results of which are believed to be more accurate, but even these usually test specific formulations with ingredients that work together, and you don’t necessarily learn what the individual ingredients do by themselves.
A good example of this can be found in chemical peels, one of the most popular exfoliation treatments in our industry. This is an example of a conversation I have overheard many times when setting up for class. “I just bought this peel from so and so company; it is 50% glycolic acid!!! I am so excited to try it my skin is really going to peel and look great.”
What a shame the product representative failed to inform them that the PH is so high the physiological effects on the skin will be minimal at best.
This is a good example because if you were to take a class from a company that wasn’t sales based you would learn that you could have 3 bottles of 50% glycolic acid in front of you and each would behave differently and why.
Product knowledge classes sponsored by skin care companies are often labelled as continuing education classes. The vast majority of continuing education classes in our industry are in fact product knowledge classes conducted by skin care companies. These classes range in price from’ free’ to quite a bit of money, but let’s not forget that these classes are a marketing tool for the sponsoring company. This type of class focuses on teaching you how to use and sell their products and includes a transfer of information about their product. You are being groomed and taught to be a part of their sales force, and as I mentioned, sometimes paying a lot of money to do so!
Your clients come to you because they trust your recommendations as a professional. Choosing to partner with a specific company by retailing and using their products is like choosing a business partner. This arrangement is a team effort as you are selling their products for them, so you should be provided all the information needed to be properly equipped with knowledge of the strengths and benefits of all the retail and back bar products. In my opinion these types of product knowledge seminars, often cloaked as continuing education seminars should always be free.
Please don’t misunderstand, these classes are not bad. I have picked up jewels of information from almost every seminar I have sat through. I think it is important to be informed and educated on industry news, changes and what is available. Being informed helps us to make good decisions, but you should pay close attention to where your hard-earned money is going when you invest in continuing education.
Here is a rough example of a technique, skill building class vs a product knowledge class. We would love to hear your opinion on the subject!