The Small Business Times

What Can I Do Without An Esthetician License?

What can you do without an esthetician license if you still want to work in skincare and beauty?

Many ask this intriguing question, and the answer may surprise you.

Perhaps you’d like to work in the skincare and beauty industry without an esthetician license.

In that case, a few options are available to you.

But the crux of it is that you can perform certain types of cosmetology treatments and procedures without a license as long as you don’t receive compensation for the service.

Typical career paths include cosmetic sales, management, consulting, and more.

That said, obtaining your esthetician license isn’t difficult and is always the best option for a gratifying career in this field.

However, let’s take a closer look at the types of jobs you could possibly pursue as an unlicensed cosmetology enthusiast.

Career Options for Those without an Esthetician License

Spa or Salon Owner or Manager

One of the options available to you is owning or running a spa or salon.

This can be done without an esthetician license in many regions, as long as you’re not the one performing the treatments. 

However, you’d need to hire licensed estheticians to carry out the various procedures offered by your business.

And you’ll need to obtain a license for your business in line with your state board requirements.

Certain states may require the owner or manager to be a qualified and licensed esthetician. But others do not, and you should contact your state board to confirm this.

Cosmetics Sales and Marketing

A sales or marketing role may be ideal if you’re an extrovert who enjoys meeting and talking to people.

And every industry needs sales and marketing representatives, including the fields of cosmetology and esthetics. 

There are several career paths available to you in this line of work. But, essentially, you’d want a sales or marketing-related role at a company that makes or sells skincare and beauty products.

Working for a major skincare or cosmetics brand would likely be your optimal job.

As a sales representative, you would be responsible for selling in-store or to salons, department stores, and the like.

You may also be called upon to conduct demonstrations for groups and individuals or train staff.

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However, without an esthetician license, you cannot receive any form of compensation for these demonstrations or applications.

In the absence of compensation, these don’t qualify as treatments, and you wouldn’t be in violation of state board regulations. However, you can receive compensation for the sale of the product itself.

You could choose to work for a company that manufactures or sells beauty and cosmetic products on the marketing side.

Alternatively, you could become a freelance marketer or start your own agency specializing in the skincare and beauty industry.

Marketing comprises multiple disciplines, such as advertising, SEO, copywriting, social media management, content creation, sponsorship, and so much more.

Skills such as videography, graphic design, and web and app development can also form part of this career path.

Beauty, Skincare, and Cosmetics Buyer

Have you ever wondered who is responsible for selecting the skincare, beauty, and cosmetic products displayed at a department store?

That would be the job of the buyer. A buyer sources great products and negotiates pricing with the manufacturer to resell the product in-store.

Buyers may also be tasked with finding materials or ingredients for a manufacturer or store to make their own products.

While this kind of role might require some technical knowledge, it can be learned through the company.

Therefore, you can easily do this work without an esthetician license.

Beauty Writer 

So, you’re not qualified to carry out a chemical peel or laser hair removal.

Nothing is stopping you from writing about it. Writing for an existing beauty publication is one approach.

The alternative is to become a freelance writer or start your own beauty blog.

Having an esthetician license would provide you with more experience in the field. But if you’re passionate about the industry, you’ll pick up the knowledge you need in no time.

With time, you’ll become a specialist in the field and be sought after as a beauty writer.

Hair, Wardrobe, and Makeup Stylist

When people think of stylists, they often think of celebrities. But they aren’t the only ones who hire stylists to help them with their clothing, hair, and makeup choices. 

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Big clothing and cosmetics brands use stylists for promotional or endorsement photo shoots. They work on television and film sets to oversee costume and makeup teams. 

And stylists are often employed to assist fashion designers with their vision for makeup and hair at a runway show.

You’ll also often find an in-house stylist at the most prominent media houses that publish fashion and beauty magazines and blogs.

This is also a job you can do as a freelancer or through your own stylist consultancy. And there’s no reason why you cannot do this without an esthetician license.

As long as you’re overseeing the process and not doing any treatments or makeup applications yourself, you’re fine.

Beauty Consultant

A beauty consultant provides advice to others on all things related to beauty. So, this will include everything from makeup and skincare to nail care, hair removal, hair styling, and more.

As with a stylist, a beauty consultant will provide advice but won’t perform any treatments or procedures themselves. The work can, therefore, be done without an esthetician license.

Beauty consultants can also work for prominent publications, work as freelancers, or start their own companies.

They could be called upon by high-profile individuals for private consultancy. Or they could be hired to advise individuals with skin-related ailments and provide product recommendations.

Some notable beauty consultants are influencers who have made a name for themselves through blogging or vlogging.

In these instances, they may apply makeup or do specific treatments on themselves as a  demonstration. However, this is still within the parameters of what is considered permissible by the state board.


Many successful individuals in the beauty and skincare industry have obtained their esthetician licenses.

And in doing so, it has given them credibility and authenticity as an expert in their chosen field. 

However, this is not an absolute must. There are multiple career options for those passionate about skincare and beauty but without an esthetician license.

And as long as you follow the regulations set by the state board, you can still enjoy a tremendously successful career.