• Holiday Retail Strategies to Boost Your Bottom Line, With the Numbers to Prove It!

    Erin CareyAs the holiday season approaches it is an exciting time as spa and salon owners know they will see a peak in retail, service and gift cards sales. It is also the time of year where there is an overwhelming amount of competition, with many customers simply looking for the best deals.

    The latest retail holiday sales forecast is projecting as much as $965 billion in sales between November and January, a 4% increase over last year’s shopping season, pointing to a successful holiday season ahead [1]. Keeping in mind the importance of exceptional customer service, lock in those holiday sales and keep your clients returning to you with the following tips.

    DERM_Store_Training_31869• This is the time of year it’s best to offer a promotion such as gifts with purchases. For example, try offering a gift of the customer’s choice with any gift card purchase of a certain amount. Customers will be more willing to buy if there is an incentive for them in return. Fifty percent of consumers indicated that they plan on buying gifts for themselves while shopping for others this holiday season [2].

    • Train your staff to ask every client if they need any gift cards or retail purchases that might be suitable for their friends and family. Remember that every gift card sold is a potential new client. This is the time to lock in new clients as 46% plan to give gift cards this season and a whopping 58% of recipients plan to redeem gift cards within a month of receiving the gift [2].

    • Offer complimentary gift wrapping during the holidays and display examples of gift wrapping options, including gift cards. Custom gift baskets are another great option for clients by allowing them to customize a gift for minimal or no extra cost. Offering unique and custom gift options will help separate you from the competition. Customers look for special gifts with 42% planning to shop at local independent stores rather than malls [2]. The holidays can be stressful and little perks can make all the difference in a sale!

    Merchandise to encourage upselling opportunities while keeping displays clean and cohesive; focusing on what will help entice and intrigue the customer rather than an abundance holiday decor. Stock up on holiday kits and take advantage of deals vendors are offering. Promote seasonal kits and specials on a focal table that can’t be missed and keep small items near your cash wrap as “impulse buys”, which can make great stocking stuffers. Make sure to also offer a selection of service packages such as a bundled package in which clients can receive larger discounts the more services they purchase.

    Host a holiday themed event with special perks for your customers. This is a great time of year to partner with other local businesses and attract new clients! Offer a discount or credit towards products or services with the purchase of a gift card or holiday set. Each business can offer a bounce back to each other and by joining forces can reach more customers through social media outlets. Consumers are open to change, often looking for new stores and brands to make holiday their purchases, with 41% making purchases from a new retailer in 2014 [3].

    Remember that the holiday season can also help set you up for success in the New Year by taking advantage of the increased traffic. Don’t forget to capture all client information during this time of year, especially emails, getting permission to send your clients special offers and updates!

  • The Genius of Local

    annet croppedThere’s a popular saying that raising a child, “Takes a village,” but that same phrase can also provide a smart template for shaping a business. That is not to say that it takes a village to run a salon or spa, though sometimes I’m sure it feels that way. Creating deep ties within a local community—or village—is the best way to set your spa up for success.

    Channel Your Roots

    As a small business owner or professional skin therapist, you might compete against bigger chain establishments or online “flash” sales from local competitors. These competitors might have muscle in the marketplace, but they cannot offer your personal touch or the knowledge and relationships you have cultivated over the years.

    Consider this: when the dust cleared after the recession, it was the neighborhood spa who knew every client’s name that remained standing. It wasn’t the multi-door medi-spa with the laser hair removal specials and fancy ad campaigns. Humans are social creatures by nature. Connecting with your community should be a key approach in building your business.

    People want local, personal flavor, especially if they need to commute a distance for work every day. Focus your marketing campaigns to a 3-5 mile radius to resonate with this “locavore” mentality.

    Wyle Cop in Shrewsbury, EnglandSupport Your Neighbors

    People want to feel connected, and consumers respond with loyalty to merchants and vendors who care about what is happening in the community.

    Smart businesses are attuned to this. Catch that wave and be part of it! Get to know, and be supportive to your business neighbors, even if you don’t share the same key target market. Owners, their employees and families are all potential clients for you.

    Support each other’s social media pages—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. Not only will your following grow, but you will be building relationships and be more tuned in with the local conversation.

    Join your neighbors and welcome in wanderers by opening your doors late on the “first Friday” of each month. Hold joint events with the yoga studio up the road and feature fresh-pressed juices from the spot next door.

    Tie in to Local Services

    Network via merchants associations and the Chamber of Commerce, and tie your philanthropy into the local services versus branches of huge national companies. Show your support by involving your business in ways that benefit local schools, libraries, women’s shelters, public works and utilities, fire and police departments, animal shelters and more. These organizations are the heartbeat of any local village.

    I live in sprawling Los Angeles, the city that was built on the single-occupancy automobile and the freeway. Personally, I try really hard to always use local service providers like my veterinarian, dry cleaner, hairstylist and electrician. I try not to shop or eat outside of my community, especially on weekends.

    This way, I can ride my bicycle, be more eco-friendly, and also do my part to support small business—after all, selfishly, I don’t want them to go away!

    Share Your Appreciation

    Don’t shy away from telling your clients how much you appreciate them and how much you need their support. Emphasize that you need them to buy their products from you directly, versus going online to a faceless source. People will be happy to support you!

    Proof of this in Los Angeles, New York, and probably your town, is the anti-Walmart proliferation of farmer’s markets for regionally grown edibles, indie coffee shops, or open air stalls offering assorted local wares.

    To quote another popular phrase, “No man is an island!” Make a concentrated effort to become embedded in the fabric of your community, and the locals will thank you.

    This article was originally published in Skin Inc. Magazine

  • 4 Essential Tips to Reach Clients through Social Media Marketing

    Michelle SilvaTake a second to think about how your business is communicating on social media. Are you constantly pushing hard-sell messages to your followers? Are you overtly telling your customers in every post to book an appointment or to buy a service or product from you? If so, you could be guilty of turning off your followers.

    Social media marketing has evolved into an enormous tool for brands both large and small to engage with their customers online and reach new ones too. Like any type of marketing, your social media efforts should include the overarching objective of converting your followers into paying customers. However, it’s important to keep in mind that people don’t want to see a news feed full of sales pitches. In the social space, if you can consistently create content that taps into your target audience’s interests, you’ll stand a better chance of keeping your followers and growing your fan base.

    Social Media Here are a few key things to keep top-of-mind when crafting content for social pages:

    Provide value to your customers.

    Highlight your expertise and position your business as an expert in your industry by curating content that provides value to your followers. People love to learn online and discover new tips—especially about skin care! Share your knowledge by creating content that features tips, solutions and guides on how to care for skin or treat a specific concern. If you’re consistently creating valuable content, your followers might share your content with their friends, getting your business page in front of new eyes. This will help you keep the attention of your existing followers and help you grow your audience.

    TIP: For every question, there’s a piece of content! What are the most common questions your clients ask you? Keep a running list and turn each one into a post!

    Be creative with what you’re promoting.

    So, you just added a new service to your menu and you need to get the word out. Try thinking of a creative way to entice people to try it out, but without the hard-sell lingo.  For example, create an infographic that highlights the top 3 benefits of the service.

    Quality over quantity.

    Don’t just post for the sake of posting. Always ask yourself if it will benefit your audience? Will it inspire them? Will it provide value? If so, post away!

    Be conversational.

    Don’t be afraid to be human! Think of social media as a conversation between you and your customers and an opportunity to build relationships. While it’s important to still be professional and practice good customer service, there’s no need to be overly formal. When writing for social media, keep your copy conversational, concise, and easy to understand.

  • Pregnancy Skin Care Dos and Don’ts

    Derm_Headshot28775BB-e1422475470394-150x150The body goes through many changes during pregnancy and the skin is no exception. Skin changes occur in about 90% of pregnant women in one form or another; and Mom-to-be’s will have some pressing skin care questions on ingredients and treatments.

    There are many opinions between doctors and different studies with varying information, so it’s imperative that your clients consult with their physician prior to the use of skin care products and receiving treatments.

    Here are three of the most commonly asked questions by professional skin therapists when it comes to treating pregnant clients.

    1.  Can I use Salicylic Acid? This Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is an excellent exfoliant and can be used to treat acne. In high concentrations it is considered a risk during pregnancy and should be avoided, especially in professional resurfacing. Small percentages used in skin care (for example less than 2% in a wash off) are considered safe.

    2.  What about the use of aromatherapy? It’s recommended to avoid using essential oils during the first trimester. This topic is controversial between practitioners and there are varying opinions to safety, however, it depends on the type of oil and dilution. Usually approved non-toxic blends around 1-2% dilution are considered safe for body massage and skin products. Hydro-essentials, which are water-soluble fractions of the essential oil, are safe as they do not penetrate the blood stream. Your client should consult her doctor before any essential oil use.

    3.  Can I use technology in my treatment room? The use of electrical modalities is not recommended, which includes Galvanic, High Frequency, Microcurrent, Ultrasonic and Laser. Microdermabrasion has mixed expert reviews, with most stating to use with caution. We would not use microdermabrasion over aggravated acne or dilated capillaries. Be mindful when using it on hyperpigmented skin as causing more inflammation can make this condition worse.

    This handy ingredient checklist (below) can help you decipher the dos and don’ts when treating pregnant clients. When in doubt, have your client discuss their skin care options with their OBGYN and/or general physician if they are currently pregnant, nursing or considering pregnancy in the near future. Always work with caution if the client is in her first trimester and/or has had complications with her pregnancy or previous pregnancies. If she opts to avoid certain ingredients and/or products, the best course of action is to honor her choice. What is most important is that we help the new mother achieve her skin care goals safely and effectively.

    Pregnancy Yes and Nos







  • Teen Challenge: Acneic Skin and Hydration

    Heather HickmanThe American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) reports that acne is by far the most common skin complaint amongst those in the 12 to 17 age bracket, affecting all at least occasionally.

    Being prepared to treat teenage clients with acne is high on our radar as Professional Skin Therapists. We are well versed in the key ingredients to combat the contributing factors of an acneic skin condition, and how to effectively explain to our teenage clients, and their parent, how the skin should be treated at home.

    Yet, often the hardest conversation revolves around the use, or lack thereof, of a moisturizer. All too often, our acne and oily prone clients have an innate mistrust of using non-medicated “creams” for fear it will lead to future or prolonged breakouts.

    Dehydrated skin is highly prevalent amongst those with oily or acne prone skin, especially if they have been using harsh over the counter products that may strip the skin of moisture and impair the barrier function. In addition, prescriptive medications such as isotretinoin further exacerbate the dehydration issue, sometime to the extreme.

    Education is a key factor in ensuring a moisturizer is utilized on a daily basis, specifically the ability to explain the difference between a dry and a dehydrated skin, and the need to add moisture, but not oil. And being able to clearly explain that if an oily skin is dehydrated the skin will produce MORE oil to make up for the missing moisture, potentially leading to more breakouts – that revelation works every time!

    Oil-free is the key, but let us not forget the need for the moisturizer to also soothe the skin and calm any irritation either from misuse of product, side effect of medication or inflammation from severe acne.

    Hyaluronic Acid is one of the best ingredients on the market to quickly, effectively and non-aggressively hydrate the skin. The use of Squalane in a moisturizer restores skin suppleness while also helping to prevent future moisture loss. Mild Vitamin B5 derivatives, such as Panthenyl Triacetate will assist in soothing and restoring irritated skin.

    Let’s not forget to join the “moisture movement” the next time we are treating our teenage clients oily or acne skin concerns – they’ll thank you in the long run.

  • Show Some Love for Your Professional Skin Therapist

    Today we show our appreciation to every single professional skin therapist for your dedication to skin health and for your gift of healing through touch.

    Thank you for allowing The International Dermal Institute to help you grow your passion for skin care into a successful career, for without you we would not be here today. We would also like to give a special thanks to our industry partners in hair, makeup and nails for strengthening and solidifying our place in the business community.

    Happy National Beautician’s Day!














  • It’s Ok for Dad to Grow His Mo!

    Even Dads need to be picture perfect for Father’s Day. The question is: Are they “selfie” ready or not? No doubt, Father’s Day is a day where many kids will be posting selfie shots with their fathers, and fathers with their kids; after all, social media rules our world! And fathers of all ages will want to put their best faces forward (like mothers on Mother’s Day) for the digital world to see.

    Dad’s grooming habits have shifted from the back burner and are now commanding a greater deal of focus. Statistics estimate that the size of the global male grooming market will be worth about $21.4 billion in 2016! This, no doubt, includes skin care, hair care and of course, the now trending Beard care. So the next question is: to “grow the Mo” or no?

    For many men, growing a beard is a rite of passage. It should be understood that there is more to growing a beard than putting down the razor. But one, need not shriek back at the thought of Dad growing his beard. With a simple but proper grooming routine, common concerns can be avoided. Here are some basic tips that can help make everyone else, along with Dad, love his Mo.

    1. Itchy skin. An itchy face is often attributed to the growth of the facial hair. Normally, this subsides after about two weeks. If itchiness persists longer than two weeks, it is likely that the skin is tight and dehydrated. Using stripping soaps will dry out the skin and deplete natural oils, leaving it itchy and tight.

    Tip: Use a non-stripping cleansing bar that contains Allantoin to help soothe, Oatmeal to stop itch and Tea Tree to purify both the hair and skin. Wash with cool water – this helps to not only close and constrict the follicles of the hair, but also to calm the skin.

    2. Knots and tangles in the beard. It’s not just the hair on the head that needs attention. When growing a beard, tangles and knots can become quite common. With regular grooming, this can be easily controlled.

    Tip: While the hair is still wet, use a good wide-toothed comb to comb through the hair for less tangles. This also helps to remove any excessive hairs that may be damaged and are at the end of their lifecycle. Do this daily, or as often as you cleanse the beard.

    3. Dry brittle beard. Whatever you rub on the beard, gets onto the skin. As stated earlier, soaps strip the skin, but they also dry out the hair, causing them to become coarse and wiry.

    Tip: Use non-comedogenic products on the hair to condition and soften the hair. For sparser beards, use a lightweight moisturizer that contains Wheat Germ, Vitamin E and Grape Seed.  This will condition and protect the skin. Use a moisturizer with a minimum of SPF15 for protection from UV rays.

    For fuller beards, use a small amount of beard oil. This can also double up as a great shave oil (when ready to shave). Search for products with Soybean and Silicones (Dimethicone) to soften and condition the hair and use it with a brush to help distribute throughout the beard.

    Whether it’s at the beginning growth stages or a full grown beard, these simple grooming practices can help Dads capture the perfect moment this Father’s Day!

  • SPF and Aging

    A good SPF product is a skin care essential, but clients often struggle with finding the right formula. Here is how to help clients choose the perfect SPF products for their skin at every age.

    20’s: Since oil production is still high, skin may be breakout prone. Clients need a daily SPF formula that does not clog follicles or contribute to comedones; and fragrance, color, Isopropyl Myristate, Lanolin and Mineral Oil should all be avoided. Suggest a lightweight SPF that helps combat and treat breakout prone skin and soak up excess oil, and add an eye treatment with SPF to your clients’ regimens to prevent future ultraviolet (UV) damage like crow’s feet.

    30’s: Recommend a tinted moisturizer! Multi benefit, 3-in-1 products with a wash of color, hydration and built-in broad spectrum SPF are ideal. Another option is to customize your clients’ moisturizers by mixing in a SPF booster. Look for the latest Oleosome technology that also acts as an emulsifier and allows for a higher concentration of sunscreen ingredients without the irritation.

    40’s: Signs of aging and hyperpigmentation are more evident in your 40s, so SPF30 or higher will best address firmness, elasticity and age-related triggers like reactive oxygen species (ROS). Clients can layer an age-fighting skin primer with peptides, Pearl Powder and SPF30 to help combat harmful rays while smoothing lines.

    50’s and up: Skin is significantly drier and more sensitive in your 50s, so a chemical SPF might not be an option. Suggest an ultra-sensitive SPF30 that has physical sunscreen ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, as well as built-in calming complexes to soothe skin. If your clients’ skin is very dry, recommend an appropriate moisturizer under which they can layer SPF.

    This article was originally published on

  • Beauty Sleep – Myth or Truth?

    This topic has always been one of some debate, from a personal perspective it was just one of the many ploys that my mother used to coax me to go to bed when I was a wee one! Today we know more about what actually happens to us when we sleep and the consequences of not getting enough quality shut eye. From credible research that links sleep deprivation to obesity to the abundance of apps that measure how many times we roll over, sleep is a hot topic and big business… Here’s what we know about sleep and the skin, and what happens when you don’t get enough!

    It’s Day Job

    In the daytime, the skin is very active fighting off potential invaders like bacteria and viruses while also neutralizing unstable molecules that cause havoc on cells. These are generated by UV, chemical exposure, smoke, stress, unhealthy diets and pollution. Just another reason why sunscreen is a must and preferably one with built in antioxidant technology. It’s not only you that has to work during the day: your skin has a long list of job responsibilities, too.

    The Night Shift

    At night the skin switches to clean up and repair mode while you rest, new skin cells replace damaged cells and rejuvenation takes place. In fact, cell regeneration increases by double at night and production of collagen also escalates. To help enhance this process, use or prescribe specialized overnight products, specifically those with microencapsulated Retinol and designer peptides that work on repairing skin. As the skin is clean and not in defense mode, it’s more readily able to absorb these helpful ingredients. Most people do best with about 7 hours sleep. Well rested skin looks exactly that — well rested, good tone, plump, fresh, hydrated and bright.

    Burning the Candle

    On the flip side, lack of sleep can be detrimental to both the skin and body. The body uses sleep time for internal housekeeping – processing nutrients, detoxifying, renewing and recharging. If your body is chronically starved for sleep, the effects will eventually become visibly and physically noticeable. Signs like slow healing breakouts or telltale dark circles and puffiness under the eyes are going to give you away, you’ll feel tired and look tired.

    Long Term? Think Zombie Skin!

    Something every party girl needs to know is that when you build up ‘sleep debt’ over time, this has long-term consequences. The aging process will be accelerated and the immune system will be impaired, which means you’ll be more susceptible to skin infections, cold sores maybe even skin cancer. For the body as a whole there are chronic effects like serious health issues, metabolic problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and depression.

    Top Tips For Some Quality Shut Eye

    Ready to change those sleeping habits? Here’s some helpful tips to get you on your way to rest and relaxation:

    •  No caffeinated beverages, tea or coffee after 4 pm (also no sugar at least 2 hours before bed).

    •  Working out after work or doing yoga also really helps not just for the body but for switching off the brain from work.

    •  No phones or bright LED lights next to the bed, or in the room for that matter. Try to black out your room as much as possible or try a sleep masque.

    •  Taking a bath with a blend of relaxing essential oils — the heat from the water soothes muscles, the aromas through you breathing them in will help you to unwind. The best essential oils for sleep are Lavender, Chamomile, Sandalwood, Ylang ylang and Rose.

  • 4 Tips to Maximize the Benefits of Retinoids

    The press is full of the virtues of using retinoids. And rightly so. The scientific data definitely validates them as probably the defining ingredient option of the decade for aging skin concerns. If your clients are using retinoid-based products prescribed by their dermatologist, or recommended by you as a professional skin therapist, it is worth sharing these important tips with them to yield the best results that retinoids can deliver.

    1. Use your retinoid product at night

    Unfortunately Vitamin A ingredients, such as Retinol, are not photo-stable. This means they degrade, or break down, in the presence of ultraviolet light. Not only can this reduce the benefit they will have on your skin, but can increase the free radical load, making skin more sensitive and reactive. So it’s essential to apply after dark and allow the retinoid to work its magic while you sleep.

    2. Introduce the retinoid gradually

    As we age retinoid receptors decline in the skin. But this can be remedied by using the dilutions recommended and building your skin’s tolerance. By applying gradually, you can build up the receptors and you will feel less ‘bite’ or sensitivity as you progress. Applying too much retinoid too quickly risks a dermatitis response that will leave skin very irritated. Use an accompanying buffer cream or your moisturizer to provide a dilution medium.

    3. Moisturize well

    It is not uncommon for skin to experience tightness, dryness or become flaky with retinoid use. The increased rate of skin renewal and desquamation initially causes the Stratum Corneum to thin, although this condition will improve over several weeks. The implications of this are increased dehydration and sensitivity that can make you quite uncomfortable in your own skin. Using a slightly heavier weight moisturizer will compensate for this water loss and ease discomfort, seek your professional skin therapist for a proper prescription.

    4. Always use SPF daily

    While there is a degree of debate on the specific mechanisms of increased photosensitivity with retinoid use, the skin will definitely be more vulnerable to ultraviolet exposure. Don’t worry about the debate, be safe and apply a minimum SPF30 daily and preferably an SPF50. Stop your retinoid at least two weeks before venturing on a sunshine holiday or you will burn faster and be at greater risk of hyperpigmentation issues.

    Taking sensible precautions will ensure you get the best out of your product and maintain your skin health, all while achieving fantastic results.


    Related blog posts:

    Is Microencapsulated Retinol Better Than Ordinary Retinol?

    Dr. Diana on the Benefits of Retinol