• spring-clean your business model

    Spring is here, and while some economists talk a good game about the recession being over, consumers aren’t buying it, pun intended.

    Luckily, skin care is resilient, though not exactly recession-proof. Clients who have made an investment in healthy skin want to continue to do so; they simply cannot afford the price-tag ($75 and up) or the time (an hour or more) when they’re feeling squeezed.

    So make it easy for your clients to keep giving you their business in these important ways:

    Stop selling luxury, pampering, indulgence: These concepts were never part of our skin care concept, and now these promises are really out of synch with current values. Frugal is cool – excess is gross. And results are a must! Offer 20 minute MicroZone Treatments which address a specific condition or problem, and skip the rose-petals.

    Reach out to young clients: Teens, even tweens steer household decision-making in terms of brand loyalties. And teens and tweens continue to spend their allowance (or inheritance??) on personal items. Here’s a chance to bump up your social media skill-set: tweet, FB, youtube and blog to teens about the need for summer sun protection, and offer free consultations for back-to-school skin care planning.

    Make skin care an event: Now is the time to create a Skin Bar in place of your (yawn) waiting area. Create a space which will seat four, with an easy-clean counter surface and comfortable stools. Provide steamers, headbands, mirrors, cotton swabs and unlimited samples—and invite local newscasters, newspaper editors, athletes and other influencers to get FaceMapped and play with product. Sales are never pressured, but nearly always inevitable.

  • don’t get burned

    Hate jury-duty? Cringe when you watch “Judge Judy”? Then do us all a favor and go easy on exfoliation, or you could end up in court.

    What you need to know right now: the majority of litigious action—i.e., getting sued—taken against skin therapists involves over-exfoliation of the client’s skin. Beware! It’s better to do too little than too much.

    How can you tell if you’re overexfoliating? Screaming could be a clue. But seriously, if the client’s skin turns blood-red, or she complains of intense or persistent stinging, you’re overexfoliating. And if the client’s skin peels afterward, you’ve crossed the line. This could be dangerous for the client’s skin, and also could potentially trigger legal action.

    A slight tingling during exfoliation is probably okay, but it should be mild, and should pass quickly. If your client expresses ANY significant discomfort, remove the exfoliant immediately and apply a soothing agent (gentle cleanser followed by a cold towel). Even if the product is not damaging the client’s skin from a technical or clinical standpoint, why take the chance? And why annoy your client? Remove the product, and switch to something gentler immediately, to demonstrate your care and concern for your client.

    The best approach to dealing with overexfoliation, however, is prevention. This means asking lifestyle questions, and doing a patch-test as a precaution. FaceMapping is your best friend when it comes to preventing problems before they happen. And remember these key-words: CHECKING, QUESTIONING, READING.

    Here’s a brief checklist to get you started:

    Does the client have allergies, cold, runny nose? Constant nose-blowing can leave the tender nostril and upper lip area chapped and raw—do not exfoliate this area under these conditions.

    Freshly waxed? Don’t exfoliate. Same for a sunburn. Allow at least 48 hours for skin to stabilize.

    Ask about medications, especially for drugs like Isotretinoin (previously known as Accutane) and generic versions of this acne prescription. These medications treat acne by speeding up cell turnover, which is turn makes skin more reactive to exfoliation. Typically, allow 6 months after the completion of these medications prior to exfoliation.

    For medically prescribed topical products including Retin-A Micro, Differin, Ziana Gel, Atralin, Avita, Refissa and others, wait at least 2 to 4 weeks after the medication cycle is complete before exfoliating.

    Frappaholic client? High caffeine intake (diet pills as well as coffee) can make skin reactive to exfoliants.

    Ditto for low-fat diets, frequent air travel in dehydrating plane cabins and use of alkaline soaps: all diminish the skin’s protective acidic lipid layer.

    Question the client thoroughly about professional resurfacing procedures such as chemical peels, laser facials, microdermabrasion. Also get details of the client’s at-home exfoliation habits, such as aggressive scrubs, strips, pads, etc. Factor these into your choice of exfoliation product and method.

    Bear in mind that the standard patch-test—applying product behind the ear, waiting ten minutes—may not be an accurate measurement of how the exfoliant will react with the more compromised skin on the client’s face and chest.

    If you have doubts, get a note from the client’s doctor. Don’t feel strange about asking for this.

    Three other tips:

    Never leave the room when exfoliating. Think of exfoliation as an open flame, a burning candle. There is risk. You need to be present to step in at any moment.

    And, remind your client that AHAs and other exfoliation techniques can leave skin more vulnerable to UV damage. Be sure that your client is fully on-board with sun protection!

    And protect yourself with constant education, especially when it comes to precise and impactful procedures such as exfoliations. Learn—and don’t burn!

  • at your service

    The latest buzzword in marketing is “butlering”. You don’t need to wear white gloves to master it, but this approach does require a shift of focus. And it’s the best way we can think of to ensure that your skin care business will thrive as our world-economy continues to give everyone a bit of a rough ride.

    “Brand butlers” are features of a brand which focus upon “assisting consumers to make the most of their daily lives”, according to They’re making a distinction here between selling a lifestyle/identity and assisting the consumer in the form of a service-oriented persona.

    One of the hottest examples is the creation of a helpful iPhone app. An example: Whole Foods offering an app which features recipes using its products. These apps are the newest go-to, as you know, for finding skills and advice.

    Time, convenience, control and independence are the new currencies. These qualities are what people are seeking. The mood: practical and pragmatic. What does this mean to your business?

    You already know that luxury, pampering, indulgence and silly stuff like caviar and gold-dust facials are off the menu forever. Since serving is the new selling, start by homing in on what your clients really want. What do they talk about when they come in? We’re guessing they mostly talk about their time, and how little of it there is. They will say that they are “crazy-busy”, even if they do not have a job, per se, and even if they do not have children to care for.

    Your mission is to offer them service which does not waste their time, like MicroZone treatments, products which deliver results, and an overall experience which perfectly meets their needs, like an immaculately dressed butler appearing with a pitcher of iced martinis exactly when you need them (now wouldn’t THAT be nice?).

    Most important: keep listening.