If you’re currently breathing, you’ve probably been asked if you’d like an “opportunity to give your family a better life and still get to work from home!” or “afford to take the family to Disney this year, working in your spare time!” These offers sound fabulous, right?
Ahhh, the good ol’ pyramid scheme. The new, less scary name for this type of company is multi-level marketing (MLM). These companies sell everything from life insurance to vitamins to skin care. All you have to do is approach friends and family, show them the goods, and watch the orders roll in. Oh, and you also need to recruit those same people to enroll and sell, too. You know, so you can make money off their sales. Those people will then, in turn, recruit their friends, as well. The cycle is unending.
As an aesthetician, and I think it’s safe to say, I speak for most of us, we do not have any great love for skin care MLM’s.
There is nothing more frustrating than having a client who is on an MLM regimen, hurting their skin because they are doing all the wrong things. They are using the wrong products for their skin type, using those products incorrectly, and refusing to change the products because their mother-in-law sells said products. And, who wants to rock the mother-in-law boat? No one.
We aestheticians can often overcome chain store and department store recommendations, rather easily – especially if the client is having skin issues – by simply explaining to our clients why what they are using is not the best and then offering a solution. Our MLM-supporting clients, however, dig their heels in and refuse to listen. Why? A smattering of guilt for not being supportive and because their friends or family member would never steer them wrong. Of course, these individuals would not steer our clients wrong on purpose. The problem arises when none of those aforementioned people have any experience in skin care. They are going to recommend whatever is written down in their MLM sales book for “XYZ” skin.
MLM skin care consultants, on average, have no formal training in skin histology, physiology, diseases, and disorders. They know nothing about contraindications from medications, lifestyle choices, and health issues. If a client has oily skin, they are going to recommend a bundled kit for oily skin. It will have a salicylic cleanser, a clarifying toner, some sort of drying treatment, and moisturizer that also has a drying agent in it. But, what the client should be assessing is why their skin is suddenly oily? She had normal skin up until a few months ago. Could it be the new birth control pills she’s taking? Could it be she’s reintroduced dairy into her diet?
That’s the problem. The right questions are not being asked. So, where does that leave us, the licensed aesthetician? Unfortunately, in the treatment room with that same client, who now has dry flaky skin, topped with congestion, and a side of itchy irritation from months of using bad products. She’s mad that I want her to switch over to products that are less irritating. She’s mad that I have spent 10 minutes extracting painful pimples from her chin and nose. In general, she’s mad at skin care for letting her down. Is it any wonder we would prefer skin care be left to licensed and qualified professionals?
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.