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Everyday Truly Essential Hygiene

City & Guilds Beauty Therapy September 1993

So here we are first day of training in one of the most glamourous jobs we could imagine, working in the beauty, personal health and well-being industry.  How lucky were we to train and hopefully qualify as beauticians in an emerging scene of the mid 90’s.

I did not take the usual route of gaining appropriate results at school. I had already done as a mature student a two years hairdressing qualification which included, small beauty treatments, manicure and pedicure stand-alone qualifications.

On my progression, it came as no surprise our first lesson would be health and safety, client and personal hygiene.

Hands & Nails

Working with the vast array of 90’s fashion vibrant colour pop shades, false nails and high fashion nail trends. Anyone joining beauty training would imagine it being the most interesting, and glamourous job in the world.

Interesting it still is, however glamour was limited to only high days and holidays for the beauty therapist, a principal I still practice today.

Working with clients we soon learned long nails, plastics, nail glue and colour, possibly harboured bacteria, germs masked dirt and debris and nail infections and conditions.

So to be able to work with clients safely, to limit cross infection, our nails had to be cut & filed short, no nail polish worn when treating clients.

Hands had to be washed prior and post treatment, using sterilised and protective, disposable equipment where possible.

At home I protect myself and family, by washing hands as soon as I enter the house. Using a nail brush, a reliable cheap, affordable purchase. Early lesson, which I have never forgotten, from our science teacher, who pointed out with graphic scientific images and data just how important it is not to forget this area.


Long layers, big styles, power dressing, using gels, spiral perms and the Jennifer Aniston layered on to the face look were all the rage.

Not so for the beautician at work, long hair had to be washed and styled regularly it also had to be tied back, in a bun or pony tail, loose hair had to be clipped off the face using bobby pins or a fabric headband. 

Two reasons for this

1. Stop hair falling onto the clients face during treatments.

2. To discourage the beautician from touching her face, aim to limit cross infection in both directions stopping the transfer of germs and bacteria.

Rings Jewellery & Watches

Metal and leather, jewel encrusted bling. Totally out of the question when working.

All trap unwanted creams, oil, exfoliator, wax, germs and bacteria, make washing hands effectively impossible. 

Watches were worn on our tunics, now having a mobile phone I have never regained the need to wear a watch.

The only jewellery to be worn, were gold or silver stud or sleeper earrings and a wedding ring, this had to be removed when treating a client. Just remembered writing this, I have a piercing qualification.

Perfumes & Body Sprays

Beauticians were discouraged from wearing heavy perfumes and body sprays including fragranced body lotions. Hopefully to not exacerbate any allergic reactions their clients may have. Particularly helpful with hay fever sufferers or anyone with medical conditions or breathing difficulties.

Aerosol air fresheners were also discouraged in beauty rooms preferring natural or adequate forms of ventilation.

Val Preston make up artist yorkshire

Twenty Five years of Truly Essential Beauty Treatments

This image shows a more relaxed less clinical therapist. Not wearing my uniform today, it’s a very special occasion, I want my bride to feel relaxed and confident.

On this occasion my Fitbit was my timer, I usually don’t wear a watch. Keeping me paced with a bride, mother of the bride and four bridesmaids to make up. Hair tide up as always and my hands washed prior and post treatment for everyone receiving a makeover.

Although I do manicures and gel nails on my treatment list, I usually keep my nails colour free and filed short. Whilst working, I use Jessica nail colour and treatments kind and gentle for my clients. For personal use colour is and always will be for high days and holidays only.

On reflection with the consideration of Covit-19 virus which we are currently dealing with. The first class lesson, the routine hygiene practice which I have followed throughout my career is simple and effective protecting my clients and most of all myself, simple changes of hand hygiene which could be followed by everyone.

With a simple message, please remember to wash your hands.

Val Preston Truly Essential Holistic & Beauty Therapist