Find Your Career in Beauty Therapy
with Lori Ward
A career in beauty therapy can take you places you may not have considered before. From a career in the traditional spa to a career educating future beauty therapists, there are incredible opportunities available in the beauty industry.
This week on the “A Career in Beauty Therapy” series, we catch up with Lori Ward – all the way from Idaho, USA. Lori is the owner and founder of LW Skin Care – a skin clinic that specialises in age and acne management. We loved speaking with Lori about all things business, skin, and education.
Everyone, let’s meet Lori!
My name is Lori Ward. I’m an Entrapreneur, and an Aesthetician. My story began 3 years ago when I joined my daughter Rilee and attended Aesthetic School together every day for 4 months. It was her dream to learn about skin and makeup, but I had never had a facial before – I just knew I liked connecting with people and I wanted to take better care of my own skin. Plus, I liked helping other people feel good as well! I was the oldest in my class at 42!
When we graduated Rilee worked at the Paul Mitchell School front desk and I started my own skin business inside my house. I kicked my hubby out of his office and painted the room and installed a new door. A year and a half later, I created another treatment room out of a large pantry, hired Rilee and another Aesthetician. Two years after graduating from Aesthetic School, we moved out of our home-based clinic and into a beautiful brick and mortar building on Main Street with four gorgeous treatment rooms and a large front area, plus a product room for clients to feel at home and safe in.
My job has gone from being a solo Aesthetician 6 days a week to just one day a week. Now I manage a team of five staff. Running the business full time and creating all the content for my social media accounts is a FULL-TIME JOB in itself! That transition was really hard for me because I wasn’t sure where I belonged. That mental transition from being so hands-on as a therapist, to being hands-on in a different way, took about a year for me to feel comfortable in what I was doing behind the treatment table and behind the computer!
But back when I first started, I just tried it all- waxing, lashes, spray tans, you name it. And I loved learning all those things- but I wanted more. I wanted to fix a problem. I loved thinking and problem solving and finding solutions. I was really drawn to treating acne because I wanted people to have options besides only treating acne with prescriptions. Three of my four kids did several rounds of Accutane each and it always came back, plus it was really frustrating to see them suffer from extremely dry and painful skin during the process and I didn’t know how to help them.
I started looking at acne as fun to treat and felt confident in clearing every type of skin that came through my doors. I cut out lashes, waxing, and spray tanning and focused exclusively on the skin and that’s when my business really took boomed!
In America, you have aestheticians who are specially qualified and licenced. For the Aussie readers, what does an aesthetician do and how do you become one?
In the state of Idaho in the United States, the requirements are 600 hours which is around 4 months of education. We are also required to pass 2 state board exams. For most of you reading this, you’re probably gasping at how little our education is compared to yours which is SO TRUE! Because of that, many Estheticians feel like they didn’t get enough schooling and I would agree- however there are excellent schools and online training to further your education after school. You never stop learning and with the internet, you can take a class anywhere anytime. In other states, the hours may be longer to graduate, but for Idaho, it was a short amount of time.
An Aesthetician learns waxes, spray tans, facials and chemical peels. I learned microneedling, dermplaning, advanced chemical peels, nutrition and wellness as well as acne after school. I love being an Aesthetician in Idaho because we are allowed to do so many things without being under a Doctor’s supervision. But that also means you must really know what you’re doing and be sure to do it RIGHT! It’s important to network with other estheticians online and in person so that you can stay up on better ways to do treatments etc.
Let’s talk career.
My career has been relatively short if you were to compare me to someone else whose been in Aesthetics for years. When I just got started in my business, I hired a life coach and that was the best investment I ever made in myself and my business. I was able to work through a lot of fears and personal issues that held me back from being successful and because of that I feel it really helped me to accelerate my growth and achieve everything I set out to accomplish. (I still have a coach!)
I also hired a business coach who is also an accountant and runs a successful clothing business with his wife. He helped me create systems and to organize everything necessary to move from a home-based business to a brick and mortar clinic. Moving into our clinic was the highlight, the greatest triumph, and the biggest struggle mentally and emotionally that my entire team overcame. It was not easy! It took months of preparations, but we did it! Everyone needs a coach- you can’t get to the Olympics without one and if you are trying to accomplish big things in your life that scare the crap out of you, you need someone to help you! I attribute my success to hiring a coach!
You’ve recently opened your brand-new clinic. What has it been like running your own business?
Running my own business has been a work in progress and it starts with my team. Without them we could not help the amount of people that we do. I put a lot of time into training and keeping in communication with them. Leading a team is work but I wouldn’t want to do anything else! I feel so much gratitude towards them every single day and I do not take them for granted! I’d say the hardest part of running a business is finding the right person to join your team. They must be confident, work hard and love what they do AND love their clients. Confidence must be in their DNA! That’s why I’m a confidence fanatic- my clients require US to have the confidence to get them get clear!
What is your approach to achieving healthy skin?
Our approach to healthy skin is to first start with educating our clients- I can’t stress enough the importance of a successful and detailed consult with your client! We cover nutrition, being consistent with a daily skin routine and regular treatments as well as realistic expectations and goals setting to help them achieve their best skin. I never really understood the connection between nutrition and good skin until I started studying and reading more about it after school. Skin is a holistic approach and everything from eating sugar, drinking water, sleep, mental wellness, hormones and the foods we eat play a huge part in achieving healthy skin! Everything is connected, so we spend a lot of time helping and supporting our clients in making the changes to have lasting beautiful skin. I love the relationships we develop along the way with our clients. They trust us and see us practicing what we preach as well!
Your clinic specialises in acne and ageing skins. What is the reason behind this?
I felt compelled and inspired to treat acne -not only as an aesthetician but from a mom’s point of view because my own kids were very self conscious about their skin and went the Accutane route several times. It was very frustrating for me because I didn’t know how to help them and now, I do- and because I am older my clients trusted me as a mom while helping them. Age management is very dear to my heart because I am 45 and care deeply about being an advocate for aging well. You don’t have to look worse and hate yourself at each birthday- you can be proactive about aging and have better skin then you did the year before by always wearing sunscreen, changing your diet, using pharmaceutical grade skin care, doing regular skin treatments, and putting yourself first. I don’t agree with the saying “age gracefully” I say “age beautifully’! My goal has always been to look better each year then I did the last! Change up the hair colour, spray tan, take advantage of anti-wrinkle injections and fillers – this is a great time to be alive! Acne and Age management is our jam!
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in beauty therapy?
My best advice for anyone is to ignore how old or how young you are and go for it. There is room for everyone and in fact, I feel like the older you are entering the aesthetic world, the better because of all the wisdom, knowledge and life experiences you bring to your clients. Never EVER feel like you’re too old to go for it! So many women I meet through Instagram feel they are too old to start over and that is just not true!
If you are curious about aesthetics, go for it.
If there are a million estheticians out there, no one can do it like you. Go for it anyway.
If you connect with others by serving, Go for it.
If you love making people feel good, Go for it.
If it scares the crap out of you, Go for it.
If you like problem-solving and being in charge of your future, Go for it!
If you want to make a difference in someone’s life, Go for it!
If you like results and a good before and after, Go for it!
I guess the point I’m trying to make is Go for it. Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Study hard, put in the work and plan on lots of continuing education. Network with others, get clear on your goals and who you want to serve. Focus on your client like your life depends on it and give them the service and treatment that you would want to have- I teach my team to think like a client! At the end of the day, the way you treat your client and the results you help them achieve is all that matters! Always have integrity, honesty and above all else, HAVE FUN!
To find out more about Lori and her amazing clinic you can:
Find LW Skin Care online at
Get social on Facebook:
Check out LW Skin Care’s Instagram:
We are so incredibly grateful to Lori for sharing her experience in the beauty industry.
For more guidance about your future career in beauty therapy, chat to the expert team at ACTI at 02 6176 3411.