It is virtually impossible to provide a facial, waxing, body treatment, or other esthetics services with 6-feet of space between yourself and a client. Esthetics is one of those careers that require prolonged personal contact.  Unfortunately, today we have a COVID-19 pandemic, which is an invisible threat to all who come in contact with an infected individual. This deadly virus is also known to spread through close personal contact.  So how can an esthetician protect themselves from COVID-19 during esthetic services?  The best answer to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to self-isolate, and there are other protection measures such as increased sanitation, reduced exposure, and so forth.  But, if you cannot self-isolate and you must work, then there are a few esthetics social distancing approaches that an esthetician can provide to reduce their COVID-19 exposure.  Esthetics social distancing can be practiced with the following approach:

Provide the greatest amount of esthetics service in the prone (or face down) position to reduce exposure to a client’s airway.  Body scrubs, wraps, and extremity waxing should all be performed with the largest amount of service in the prone position. Try rotating a client’s arm or leg on the table in a prone position to gain greater access to the service area rather than turn the client over to a supine (or face-up) position.  Our goal is to prevent an esthetician from working too close to where the client is breathing, given we know that COVID-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets emitted from a client’s airway.  The most likely risk of viral transmission in an esthetics treatment room is when the esthetician is sitting or standing directly over the client’s airway in the supine position – so attempt to avoid this position and social distance far from your client’s airway whenever possible.

Body scrubs and spa wraps are a better esthetics social distancing service choice over something like a spa facial (if your esthetics license allows you to practice body treatment services).  If a client wishes to redeem a gift certificate before the pandemic ends, then suggest services such as spa scrub or body wrap.  Scrubs and wrap services can include an aromatherapy shower or spa bathtub soak which will also increase your esthetics social distancing given the client can enjoy these without the esthetician being present.

When providing a spa scrub or body wrap to a client, try performing the entire service in the prone position.  The product can be applied to a client’s lower leg by bending the client’s knee which will place their foot in the air.  Once the client’s knee is bent, the front of the lower leg can be worked, and the product can be “scooped” underneath a client’s upper leg or thigh while the client’s foot is in the air (if the product is not too abrasive to do so).  A client’s arms can easily be serviced by hanging each off the side or front of the esthetics table.  And the client’s hands are accessible when the client’s arms are lying next to their own body on the table in the prone position.  Approach working on the client’s back from a client’s waist rather than from the top of the table. The entire esthetics social distancing approach is to increase space from the client’s airway without compromising the quality of the esthetics service.

If a client insists on lying supine or face-up during their esthetics service due to vertigo or any other issue, but is open to different treatment suggestions, try offering a foot makeover with a foot soak, scrub, mud mask, and moisturizing massage to be provided entirely on the foot (some will include the lower legs with this service).  Remember that any esthetics service that keeps the esthetician furthest from the client’s airway is the goal.

There is one small caveat with prone position services. A client’s sinus pressure could increase when providing services in the prone position for extended periods of time.  Try raising the forward legs of the esthetics table one notch higher than the back legs of the table if the table legs have buttons, notches, or pegs.  Or if you have an electric table, slightly elevate the top of the table if this is possible.  This will help with the client’s sinus drainage when the client’s head and upper body are on a slight incline.

Of course, the client’s face should be in a hole or cushion on the esthetics table that allows them to face and breathe onto the floor in a prone position rather than turn their head sideways on the table.  Estheticians can provide a thicker face cradle cushion during prone services to help alleviate a client’s sinus pressure as well.

When providing make-up application, estheticians should stand to the side of the client instead of in front of them. Never allow a client to breathe directly onto you.  Create as much esthetics social distancing as possible between yourself and the client’s airway.  When possible, position a fan in a place that can blow the client’s breath away from you and towards an open window or door to allow greater ventilation of airborne contaminants.

Esthetics social distancing should also include completing all necessary paperwork for service such as a client’s health intake form over the phone, via email, or within a secure website.

Regardless of esthetics social distancing practices, the client, esthetician, and all individuals within the esthetics establishment should always wear face coverings. Wearing a face shield in addition to the face-covering could help increase protection against airborne contaminants, including COVID-19.

While there is no way to guarantee safety during an esthetics service against COVID-19, there are various practices to reduce risks and exposure.  Get creative and think out-of-the-box on how to avoid a client’s airway without compromising their service with esthetics social distancing.


Author Selena Belisle is the Founder of CE Institute LLC in Miami FL. She is a retired professional athlete and has been practicing massage and spa services for over 30 years. Selena is an approved CE Provider by NCBTMB & the Florida Board of Cosmetology. She now teaches full time for the Cosmetology and Alternative Health Care Industries. You can learn more about Selena’s training and CE classes at