“Did you know St. Ives was sued over their scrub?”
“Does this serum contain magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or l-ascorbic acid?”
“Just making sure you aren’t using a benzoyl peroxide cleanser, since I’m currently on a retin-a regimen.”
Anyone have one of these type of clients? You know the kind. The ones that know just enough to be dangerous. And it’s not just facial clients. Aestheticians who exclusively wax are running into the same issues. Clients want them to use a certain wax or question the wax they are using because it isn’t the color of what their other spa uses. It can make you crazy, resentful, and just plain tired – tired of justifying and defending your choices to clients.
Way back when I became an aesthetician, smartphones weren’t a thing. We were still using flip phones and sidekicks and only a few people had access to the internet over their phones. Now, everyone has a smartphone with the capability of hopping online to peruse a skin care blog, ingredients dictionary, or see what the latest influencer has to say about the use of coffee grounds as a facial scrub. It’s amazing and terrifying to have that much information at your fingertips. So, how do you deal with a client that thinks they know as much as you do?
First and foremost, you must stay informed. Never let your knowledge of the industry lag. Make sure you’re reading trade publications, attending shows, following company and industry accounts across social media platforms, and, believe it or not, following a few of those influencers your clients are always quoting. In order to understand the client, you must know where they are getting their information. And, trust me, most of their information is coming from blogs, vlogs, and Instagram accounts. For good or bad, you, dear professional, must be in the know on social media skin care.
Secondly, be honest in what you don’t know. If a client mentions some new Korean skin care brand that’s all the craze and you are clueless, tell them you don’t know. Never pretend to have the answers if you don’t, indeed, have them.
HANDLE QUESTIONS CAREFULLY
Now, enough about us. What are you going to do about the client? Is it annoying to have someone on your table who is, for all intents and purposes, giving you a skin care pop quiz at each appointment? Yes – yes, it is. But how you handle the questions and suggestions will set the tone for the rest of the service. Dig deep and try to find patience. They are paying for the time spent on your table, so if they want to use some of that time talking rather than having you work – fine. Answer any and all questions clients have about your product choices if they ask. No big deal. But avoid letting a client make changes in a service based on their “internet degree.”
Don’t discount your client’s opinions – it is after all their skin. Simply tell the client that you have a license and the experience and knowledge to understand what their skin needs and deviating from that is not something you’re willing to do. Be firm and professional and stand by your choices.
Shelly Steadman is a licensed aesthetician and educator with over 11 years’ experience in the skin care industry. After spending the last six years of her career behind a teacher’s podium training new aestheticians, she transitioned back into a treatment room. Steadman is currently working as an aesthetician at artistrySPASALON in the beautiful city of Franklin, Tennessee.