As part of the Glowday Practitioner Spotlight series, I spoke to the fabulous Claire Lavery – Independent Nurse Prescriber and owner of Claire Lavery Aesthetics. She shared her journey with me, as well as the advice she’d give to anyone starting out in the industry.
Hi Claire! How did you get into aesthetics?
I’ve been a nurse for 20 years, and I did think about moving into aesthetics a long time ago, but there wasn’t much training around at that time, and also I just didn’t feel ready. But it was always in my career plan, so I continued to do some research and finally found a great training provider.
I always found the impact of aesthetics interesting both on physical and emotional health, and I knew from day one of the training that this was for me. I was fascinated by what you could do with the right techniques and products, and the positive effect this has on a patient's confidence and self-esteem. At first, all I knew was foundation techniques, which I spent time developing. I went on to do further training to consolidate what I had already learnt, moving on to advanced techniques, and I haven’t looked back since.
What’s your aesthetic style?
Being very natural is really important to me. I wouldn’t want anyone to walk out of a treatment and for someone to say - “oh my - you’ve had a load of work done”. The best compliments I ever get are when patients tell me people have been saying they look “really great” or “so fresh”.
I have no issue with anyone who wants to have big lips, but that’s not my style.
The majority of my patients are around my age group - women in their 30s upwards. So, from that point of view, I can really relate to them and what they are looking for in treatments. Our faces and our skin are constantly changing, and what’s right for you when you’re 30 might not be right for you when you’re 40 and upwards. When a patient tells me after treatment they had the confidence to apply for a job they have always wanted or have gone on a date for the first time in years, that’s what gives me the greatest satisfaction.
What excites you most about working in the aesthetics industry?
One of the most exciting things is that treatments are constantly developing. Since I started in the industry in 2016, the range of filler products that we have has grown significantly. This has enabled us to have greater product selection to treat a particular concern and achieve the best result for a patient. We now also have injectable skin treatments such as Profhilo, which I love.
The aesthetics industry is listening to what people want. It’s now much more than just lip fillers and wrinkle relaxing. We work on the skin and what we can do to improve it, to give our patients even better results using medical grade skincare. There are more and more treatments and so much more training.
What advice would you give to anyone going into aesthetics?
Find a circle of support. It can be very overwhelming when you start out in the industry, so reach out to other practitioners. There’s a huge amount of support out there - all you need to do is just ask. Find someone who’s been in the industry for a while and ask for help, and surround yourself with people who have really good ethics and are in the industry for the right reasons.
Practitioners are often a bit worried about asking for advice, but there really are people out there who are willing to help. When you come from an NHS background where you have more than likely worked as part of a multidisciplinary team, working alone in your aesthetics clinic can feel quite isolating. Reaching out to other practitioners, joining medical aesthetic forums and attending local meetings will really help you learn, and is a great way to network.
I have a fantastic network of medical aesthetic colleagues who are so supportive, and every single one of us is always happy to answer any questions or give advice.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt since becoming an aesthetic nurse?
It’s ok to have your own style and say who you are and what you want to offer. Just because everyone else is offering a certain trend, doesn’t mean you have to if it doesn’t suit your skill set or your ethos.
Also, it’s ok to go out and ask your patients what they want from you. You want your patients to feel themselves and be comfortable and confident, so it’s important that you are too.
Use your platform to educate the public about medical aesthetics and what they should look for when researching a clinic or a treatment.
I would also say, don’t worry if you don’t have a flood of patients through your door when you first start out. It takes time! Use those early months to develop your skills and build your reputation. Develop your social media presence, as this is so important in this industry. Show your personality, your work ethic and why someone should choose you.
What treatment could you not live without?
I’d have to say midface volumisation as it can really transform your face. Many patients, during their consultations, will say they feel they look old and tired. By adding filler to the cheek and midface you can really make someone look so much fresher. I had my first treatment a year ago and I don’t know why I didn’t get it sooner.
Also, I definitely couldn’t live without Botox - it is absolutely my favourite injectable treatment.
What’s been the biggest challenge of starting out and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was my confidence in my own skills. The responsibility that comes with injecting someone’s face can be daunting and can be quite overwhelming in the beginning.
You see so many amazing practitioners, all these fantastic medics who are creating wonderful results for people and you do think, “Will I ever be like that?” But I just focused on developing my skills, continued to invest in training, asked for advice from more experienced practitioners and soon my confidence in my own skills grew. It just takes time.
With regards to business, I think a lot of medics would have the same thoughts. Coming from this caring, medical background, business seems so complicated; there’s so much to learn. How do you deal with accounts? How do you set up a business? What are the rules and regs? What I’ve learnt is that you just have to ask.
You can run a business it just takes time.
Thanks so much for sharing your story, Claire!