Business Management

Double Take: Dual Licensing for a Competitive Edge

Have you thought about adding an esthetics license to your credentials? With dual licensing, you can increase your bottom line by offering both nail and skin care services, plus you’ll be that much more in demand by employers.

How about a side order of brow waxing with that set of acrylics? Maybe a microdermabrasion to go along with that pedicure? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, skin care specialists will experience a growth of 38% between 2008 and 2018. Combine this with statistics on the growth of the nail industry (a 38% increase in market size in just the last five years, according to NAILS 2013-2014 Big Book), and you have what amounts to a winning combination.

What this means for you, the nail tech, is a timely opportunity to increase your profits by adding skin care/spa services in your nail salon. And as a dual-licensed professional, you will be a valuable asset in the booming spa industry itself, which widens your career options. The spa industry employs more than 343,000 individuals in the U.S., and the total number of spa visits and overall revenue has steadily increased over the last several years.

“This year’s annual U.S. study paints a very positive picture for the spa industry and reflects what we are hearing from our members,” says International SPA Association (ISPA) president Lynne McNees. “It is encouraging to see the total number of spa visits back at its pre-recession peak and even more encouraging to see total spa industry revenue reach a record high $14 billion.”

The Dual License Advantage
“Having a dual license will dramatically impact the relationship with the client, as well as earning potential,” says Lynelle Lynch, president of Bellus Academy in San Diego, Calif. “Many of our graduates recognize that if they have dual licenses they will be able to maximize their earnings within a salon/spa by providing multiple services to the same client. Owners and directors look for this when hiring, so it’s a win-win situation.”

Kendall Weatherman, licensed esthetician and Pevonia corporate educator, says that having a second license can open up a world of services and opportunities for those in the beauty industry, but particularly nail techs. “Nail technicians, unlike estheticians, have the unique advantage of being out in the open spa or salon area, which makes them highly visible and easy to approach,” says Weatherman. “Plus, the nail client is captive while having her nails done, so it’s a perfect time to share your expertise about skin care. Cross promoting has always been an ideal way for beauty professionals to build their business, and with two licenses, you don’t have to cross-promote with somebody else; you can cross promote with yourself. You already have a database of nail customers who know and trust your work. They will most likely take a chance on you since they already know you.”
Linh Nguyen, owner/educator at Advance Beauty College in Garden Grove, Calif., agrees. “When nail professionals are dually licensed, they already have a certain clientele using their services who trust them. It is easier for techs to talk about the other services and expertise they offer.”

Weatherman emphasizes that, in addition to facials, and other skin care services, you will able to offer waxing services with an esthetician license. “Waxing services are in high and constant demand,” she says. “And many dual licensees offer waxing services ‘al fresco,’ right in the nail chair while their clients’ nails are drying. Clients love this time-saving convenience. Other customers will take notice and want their brows or lips to be hair-free too. Take advantage of this and watch your opportunities open up and your income soar.”

“Clients do like to have multiple services at the same time,” adds Lynch. “Many are used to a mani/pedi combo — but try adding a rejuvenating facial or a quick waxing service with a pedicure — you will likely have gained your client’s loyalty and saved her time.”

Back to School
Based on state law, a cosmetologist is trained in all three areas: hair, skin, and nails, yet the required training for nails and skin is very limited in the cosmetology program. “We see a growing number of Bellus Academy cosmetology graduates who want to refine their skills come back to enroll in either or both the nail professional and the esthetic program to elevate their technical skills,” says Lynch. “Additional training can help people who already have a cosmetologist license become highly skilled in dual or multiple disciplines. And if a nail technician wants to add esthetics to her credentials, a license is mandatory.”

Relatively speaking, obtaining an esthetician license doesn’t have to be a huge investment of time. “Our esthetician course is 600 hours,” says Nguyen. “If a student attends school full-time at 40 hours per week, she will complete the course in 15 weeks. And it will pay for itself fairly quickly. Many nail professionals have told me that they have increased their income significantly just by adding waxing services to their menu. They say that it is more convenient for the clients to come in to their salon and get both their nails and waxing services done. Also, it is a relatively quick service to perform. And eyelash extensions are now even more popular as a service that promises repeat business.”  (See sidebar.)

Working It


Chanda Jenkins, owner of A Lil’ Me Time in High Point, N.C., had her nail tech license for 11 years before obtaining her esthetics license a year and a half ago. “My bottom line has increased by about 20% due to adding esthetic services,” Jenkins says. “And I really love both industries.”

<p>The nail room in A Lil&rsquo; Me Time is a bright, open space.</p>

Jenkins initially decided to become a licensed esthetician in order to offer makeup services in her salon. Though she offers lash extensions and permanent makeup, these are not her major skincare offerings. She now specializes in micro-needling and chemical peels. This is because soon after starting esthetician school, she discovered the rewards would not only be monetary. “I still love makeup,” she says. “But now I’m all about enhancing beauty instead of covering up defects. When I started esthetics school, I realized that I was learning a skill that could give people their confidence back by

<p>Chanda Jenkins has a separate esthetics room in her salon, A Lil&rsquo; Me Time.</p>

helping them clear their skin and the scarring that comes from years of acne. I have been able to be a part of that healing process and I love it. It’s just as rewarding as having a client come in with split nails and helping her see her nails grow out to become healthy and beautiful.”  


Angel Smith of Angel’s Touch Nail & Skin Spa in Duxbury, Mass., has been a nail tech for 26 years and an esthetician for 16. She decided to ­obtain the esthetics license because she loved to do makeup, but then fell in love with skin care while she was in s<p>The pedicure area is cute and comfortable at Angel&rsquo;s Touch Nail &amp; Skin Spa.</p>chool. Smith found that with the ­addition of

esthetics services — especially waxing — her business increased about 50%. And she does cross-sell to her clients, estimating that about 90% of her facial clients are also nail clients. Her ­strategy is to use her facial products on her ­clients’ hands and feet so they can see how much it helps.<p>Angel&rsquo;s Touch Nail &amp; Skin Spa also provides a beautiful nail service area.</p>

“Quite a few of my clients consult me before heading to the dermatologist to see if I can ­offer some remedy before they are given a prescription by their physician. I love ­being able to truly help people, and ­having both licenses also keeps me from sitting at my nail table all day.”


Sarah Elizabeth Kuite of Sarah Elizabeth Skincare & Nail Boutique in San Diego, Calif., worked as a nail tech for a few years, but also worked in cosmetic retail for Estee Lauder, Nars, Hard Candy, and La Mer. That experience motivated her to obtain a license in esthetics. She opened her salon in 2002 and offers both esthetic and nail services. “I believe in creating an <p>Sarah Elizabeth Kiute enjoys making her clients feel beautiful.</p>

environment where people can go to relax and have a great service or or two,” she says. “If a client really likes what you do, you can easily suggest other services and retail to them. If a client asks questions about a service or a product, I give her a suggestion, then link it to another service that will fit her needs. If I have availability for a paired service, and we get a call for one of them, we always ask the client if she would be interested in adding another service. I also like to offer discounts and use descriptive words to entice them to try the other service. I might say something like, ‘Would you also like to enjoy one of our relaxing facials that will leave your skin brighter and tighter? Since it is a last-minute appointment it will be 2<p>The nail and esthetics rooms are separate at Sarah Elizabeth Skincare &amp; Nail Boutique.</p>5% off.’”

Because Kuite’s salon is more of a boutique-style shop, she focuses fairly heavily on retail. Early on, she carried skin care retail and later added hand, foot, and nail products, enjoying about a 25% increase in revenue, and she says it’s ­getting better every year.

<p>Retail is an important part of the business for Kiute.</p>


Renee Parnell of Me Time Skin and Nail Studio in Ooltewah, Ga., has been a nail tech for eight years and an esthetician for seven. “When I went to nail school, I learned about the esthetics program and it really appealed to me,” says Parnell. “So I decided I would work as a nail tech while I was getting my esthetic license.” Parnell now works solo in her own salon and offers skin

care, nail services, waxing, and makeup. She says that esthetic<p>The skin care room at Parnell&rsquo;s Me Time salon is private and relaxing.</p> services are roughly 60% of her bottom line. She believes this is because, while the time involved in delivering esthetics-related services is less in some cases than nail services (e.g. waxing) or the same as nail services (e.g.,facials), the charge for her esthetics services is higher. As far as cross-promoting, Parnell says almost all of her clients started as either nails or esthetics clients and decided to try the other services, and everybody is always interested in waxing and cosmetics. “Personally, I enjoy the versatility of my job,” says Parnell. “I like being able to do so many different things, and having that dual license opens the doors to so many other services and so many other clients. I like always learning new things and bringing such happiness and TLC to my clients and making my salon a one-stop-shop for so many things.”

All About Lash Extensions: Q&A with Novalash’s Anupama Das

Lash extensions have exploded in popularity, so much so that salons specializing just in extensions have been cropping up with increasing frequency. Here are a few things you need to know about this lucrative service.
Q: Is an esthetician’s license required to become certified to do lash extensions?
A: Yes, we require a cosmetologist or esthetician’s license to do lash extensions. If you’re in Texas, we also accept the Eyelash Extension Specialty license.
Q: How long does it take to learn and become certified to do the extensions?
A: We offer a basic, one-day training with a theory section and practical/hands-on section. At the end of the class the student is provided a certificate by Novalash. We also offer a 320-hour curriculum that can be adopted by cosmetology schools.
Q: How much can a skin care professional increase her bottom line by offering this service?
A: The investment for a class ranges from $1,100 to $1,200. Payback on your initial investment is returned after the fifth or sixth set of lashes, depending on how a stylist prices a full set.
Q: How long does it take to do one set of extensions? How often do they need to be filled?
A: Depending on the skill of the stylist it can take anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 hours for a full set. The fills take maybe an hour. The lashes last anywhere from four to six weeks, after which you can touch up the ones that have cycled out — about 50% of extensions remain. The client’s real lashes shed naturally and the extensions shed with it. As new hair grows, the client comes in for a refill.
Q: What are the various types of lashes available and how do they differ from each other?
A: Novalash currently carries synthetic lashes and synthetic mink in various lengths and curvatures depending on the client’s natural lash. If, for instance, the client has straight and downward facing lashes, we would recommend what we call the B-curl, as it will lift up the lashes.
For more information, visit

What’s the best way to work your dual license?

Here are some tips from Kendall Weatherman, ­licensed esthetician and Pevonia corporate educator:
> Stock up so that you have ample professional and retail product on hand to perform treatments, plus recommend and sell home care.
> Ask your coworkers and friends to be your models for added buzz. Take before and after pictures of your practice models to create a facial and waxing “look book” so people can see how good you and your products are.
> During each nail service, tell your nail clients that you offer skin care services and offer to give them a complimentary beauty (facial and waxing) consultation.
> Wear an “I do skin” button, T-shirt, or esthetician smock as an added way to let other customers know you are open for business.
> Place a framed flier to promote your services and current offers. Good spots are the cash wrap and bathroom.
> Do a raffle for an introductory mini facial. Simply have people fill out a slip with their name, phone, and email. Hint: This is a great way to get contact info for potential customers.
> When rebooking for a nail appointment, ask if she would like a mini-facial before or after.
> Let your fingers do the walking. Call to invite ­customers you haven’t seen in a while to come in for a complimentary beauty consultation and skin care sample.
> Offer waxing services “al fresco” (i.e. out of the treatment room) while clients’ nails are drying.  This is a quick and lucrative way to get your business booming.
> Always have your skin looking perfect. As an ­esthetician you are a walking billboard for your service. If you’d like to venture into skin care you can even start by offering something like the Timeless by ­Pevonia Anti-Aging Hand Treatments with just your nail tech license. Use the products on your own hands and face, and clients will likely ask what you are doing differently without you having to say a thing. Your ­results and ­testimony will sell themselves.For more information, visit

You Might Also Like: Nails Troubleshooter: Hand and Forearm Massage

Facebook Comments ()

Leave a Comment


Comments (0)

Featured Products & Promotions   |   Advertisement

Market Research

Market Research How big is the U.S. nail business? $7.3 billion. What's the average service price for a manicure? Dig into our decades' deep research archives.

Industry Statistics for

View All


FREE Subscription

VietSalon is a Vietnamese-language magazine and the sister publication to NAILS. Click the link below to sign up for a FREE one-year subscription.

Get a free preview issue and a Free Gift
Subscribe Today!

Please sign in or register to .    Close
Subscribe Today
Subscribe Today