Do you find yourself paging through beauty magazines or watching beauty tutorials on YouTube? Are you interested in beauty products, and love make-up and fashionable nails? Do your friends come to you when they need to dress up and look fabulous? What do you need to become a beautician? How do you find out all the ‘tricks of the trade’?

Although studying to become a beautician is not a requirement in the beautician industry, it is highly recommended. I interviewed a beautician, Ofelia, to find out all about it.

1. What made you interested in the beauty industry?
I had a skin reaction as a teenager. I had breakouts at high school and people used to tease me and call me a ‘fruit cake’! I used to look at Facebook and I’d see a photo of someone with heavy breakouts and then a picture of the same person with a clear skin. I wondered about the treatments they used. I used everything, even dishwashing liquid, but that didn’t help. I also went onto You Tube and looked at waxing and nails. Before all of this, I wanted to be a nurse, but I don’t like blood so I thought beauty was the right thing for me.

2.Do you need matric to study to be a beautician?
I didn’t get matric. I was in Grade 10 and I decided I wanted to go to college. I applied to the Crawford College of Cape Town but they sent me to their Wynberg campus because that is where they offer the beauty and hairdressing courses. You can start studying to be a beautician from Grade 9.

3. How did you know you really wanted to do this when you were so young?
Once I went to their Open Day I was really sure.

4. Tell me about your studies.
I studied for three years. It is like studying Life Sciences. I had to learn all about skin and muscles. You start off by learning to wax, doing mini-facials, head massages and some make-up skills. After that I moved up to doing leg and bikini waxes, seated massages, and I learnt how to work the skin machines like the Botox machine and other skin machines that use micro currents to improve skin quality. In Level 5 I went deep into all of this and studied stretch marks and cellulite as well as micro blading when you create eyebrows if someone doesn’t have any. This isn’t tattooing – it’s different.

5. What qualities do you need to have to be a beautician?
You are always working with people, so you need to have a good personality and work easily with people. You need to be very patient and you can’t let your frustrations out. You need to leave your personal problems at home.

6. What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy everything. I love facials. I talk to the young people who come in with skin problems and tell them not to give up. I had blackheads and acne and I tell them that in time it will go away and they’ll be fine. I also love massages. I was told by my lecturer that I had good hands.

7. What do you aspire to in your career?
I want to travel and I have the chance to go on cruise ships and work. I’m getting my ITEC (International Therapy Examination Council) certificate through The Cape Town College and then I’ll be able to travel.

8. Can you make a good living from this?
While I was studying I worked on my days off for a daily rate which wasn’t that much. Now I get a basic monthly salary which is better. I also earn commission on the number of clients I see. If I go and work at hotels, spa or on the ships I will earn much more. I will be able to afford a car and a house. So you can make money in the end. Nothing will come to you, you have to search for it.

9. Are there job opportunities in this field?
There are lots of opportunities. You can’t run away from books and education though. I thought I could but then I did my three years and you must study to become something. I tried to run away but life is tough and it’s what you make of it. If I can make it, you can make it.

10. Have you get anything else you’d like to add?
When I graduated my grandfather said to me that I’d come so far and (crying a little), I have. Jy sal dit mark (You will make it).

Ofelia has worked hard to get where she is today and knows that there is a bright future ahead for her. Her passion for her job shines through her comments. Her tears at the end of our interview were tears of pride. She suddenly realised that she really has done it, despite all the difficulties she has faced in her life.

If you want to study to be a beautician here are some places you can study at:

Cape Town College (SETA)
Wynberg Campus
Tel: 021 797 5540
NSFAS funding available

College SA (non-accredited courses)
Distance Learning
Tel: 0861 663 663
NSFAS funding not available

Northlink College (ITEC)
Parow Campus
Tel: 08600 65465 / 021 970 9000
NSFAS funding available

Sorbet Beauty Therapy Institute (ITEC)
Rivonia, Johannesburg
Tel: 021 4040556
No funding available but all graduates get a preliminary job interview at Sorbet Salons nationwide

The Beauty Clinic (SETA and ITEC)
Tel: 031 201 3300
No information on funding

There are a number of private colleges that offer both short and full time courses for studying in this sector. It’s important to understand the accreditation you are offered when completing these courses.

Here is some useful information:

• SETA registered (Sector Education and Training Authority) courses
This means that they are considered to have met the governmental education and training quality standards in South Africa.

• ITEC registered (International Therapy Examination Council)
This is an international certificate which can be done as an additional qualification (which Ofelia is doing through the Cape Town College which offers this after the SETA training has been completed). This advanced certificate allows you to work internationally on cruise ships.

There seems to be work available in the local South Africa market and internationally. You don’t have to take a trade test to become a beautician so you can also work informally in this sector.


Tell us: would you be interested in becoming a beautician?