By Stephanie Andresen-Stevens, Brilliant Bodywork
There is no doubt in my mind that estheticians are some of the most empathetic and selfless individuals you will ever meet. We work long hours caring for clients emotionally, spiritually and physically. For some, it can be difficult to find and maintain balance at the end of the day. For me, I find balance in investing and honoring my community by contributing and giving back wherever I can. I donate time, energy, talent and a portion of my medspa proceeds to various causes and organizations. I hope to inspire estheticians to go out and leave a legacy in their communities with these impactful, yet simple ideas.
What can you do as an esthetician to give back? Not sure where to start? Here are some simple things that you can do to help others, strengthen your own community and uncover a passion that fuels yourself as well.
Share Your Knowledge
One of the best gifts that you can give someone is the knowledge that you already possess. Education has a direct correlation with the strength and health of a community. By showing others simply how they can make an impact in their own lives, it improves self-worth and builds confidence to overcome whatever obstacles lay in front of them. This can be done by simply teaching a makeup class to women attempting to reenter the workforce. Offer to educate local high school sports teams on the importance of using sunscreen. Host a free acne class at a church or school that teaches teens and adults both about acne triggers and foods that affect acne.
Help by becoming a local leader and get involved with local causes and organizations. Everyone possesses a host of talents that can be used to help others. You have already proven to be an exceptionally talented person just by choosing a career in the skin care industry. Now, use that passion to do something like organizing and hosting an annual food drive. You already have a captive audience at your salon or spa, so recruit your clients to help as well. Do you have a hidden talent? Break it out and use it to positively impact your community. Need an example of a hidden talent? No one in the skin care industry knows that I love to make homemade crafts. This is not a talent that works easily into a conversation when discussing clinical studies on treatments for melasma using an acoustic laser. Anyway, I had heard from a client about the overwhelming number of foster children in the system this year and how most of them would likely not receive anything for Christmas. At that moment, I decided to make a personalized gift for each of the 137 children. With the help of a few good friends, we made 75 elves and 62 blankets that were personalized with the child’s name, and they were wrapped and given to them on Christmas day.
Use Your Esthetic Talents
Possibly one of the most rewarding ways to give back is to help those going through medical challenges or struggling to overcome a previous life. Seeing the gratitude in someone’s eyes when receiving a simple treatment out of love when going through one of the hardest times of their life can be overwhelming. Simple treatments could be teaching those that are going through cancer treatments how they can successfully apply their makeup to boost their self-confidence. Try working with your local American Cancer Society office to offer free or sliding fee scale treatments to those going through a cancer diagnosis (Please ensure that you are oncology esthetics trained).
Pair up with a nonprofit and offer more advanced treatments to those that otherwise could not afford them. A perfect example of this would be the non-profit Restorative Ink. This organization works with victims of sex trafficking and domestic abuse to remove tattoos showing ownership or possession (see Spotlight: Restorative Ink). Unfortunately, most survivors from these situations cannot afford to have these tattoos removed. Typical tattoo removals can cost thousands to remove, and Restorative Ink does all these treatments at no cost to the client.
For the Extra Creative
Do something that is just plain fun. Research has shown that business and personal relationships improve when a person sets aside time to engage in enjoyable activities. Dress up like superheroes or a princess and visit a children’s hospital. Volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club or Big Brothers Big Sisters and play a game of kickball, go swimming or even dress up and play a character to help to brighten a child’s day. Not only will this help a child, but it will most likely recharge your spirit as well.
Random Acts of Kindness
Want to give back but maybe you are a little shy or don’t want the attention focused on yourself? Random acts of kindness are things that you can do every day and require very little attention drawn to yourself. Try brightening someone’s day by buying a bouquet of fresh flowers and choose a random but, deserving recipient. Picking up your morning coffee? Pay for the coffee for the guest behind you in line. Not a coffee drinker? Consider handing out random compliments to those around you. These can be spoken directly to the person or even written out on a card. A simple statement of kindness may be what helps that person get through the day. Contact one of your vendors and ask for trial-sized products to gift to local domestic violence shelters or warming shelters. Another easy one is to fundraise through your own business. Tell your clients on social media that during a specific timeframe, a percentage of revenue raised through services or product sales will be given back to the community through a non-profit or charitable organization.
Spotlight: Restorative Ink
Restorative Ink was created to assist survivors of domestic violence and sex trafficking through the removal of tattooing or physical branding. Many times, these survivors are forcibly tattooed against their will to show ownership with the abuser’s name or a symbol. Imagine being scared for your life and forced to wear this scar even if you break away. Many victims re-live the moments of fear, shame, and despair each time they view the tattoo. They often can’t afford to have a cover-up done, let alone have it removed. This can be a huge barrier to the healing process. Restorative Ink does not charge for these services but does ask that recipients pay it forward after they regain their identities and heal.
How You Can Give Back
The right answer is that there is no right answer when it comes to giving back. Through all my years in the skin care industry, I have met some amazing people and witnessed amazing acts of genuine kindness that have inspired me to greater heights. These acts have been as large as life-changing gifts and some have been the smallest, almost unnoticeable, acts. Witnessing each of these acts of unsolicited kindness has made an impact in my life and has made me into the person I am today. I truly believe that this industry has some of the most caring people that I have met. Each of these influencers possesses unique talents that make what they do special. Please, use the talents that you have and lead a life with a servant’s heart. Never forget to have fun with whatever adventure you choose, and always do it with passion. When you lead a life with a servant’s heart and have a true passion in your soul, you will truly inspire others.