Tuesday, 23 October 2012 15:26


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Create an at Home Skin Program for Your Clients to Build a Robust Business

Enormous changes have rocked the worlds of the skin care center, salon and spa since 2008. While we take hope in the news that the economy may be sparking back into life, it is fair to say that professional service bookings are still not what they were. As skin care professionals, we need to view this not as defeat, but as a call to action to step up our game!

It is a curious fact that your skin care client will come to you for your expertise and treatment, but is often perfectly content to shop for her cleanser, toner, moisturizer, serum and sun protection online, on a home shopping TV channel, in a drugstore or department store. This can lead to cherry-picking and an inconsistent regimen at home – not to mention a negative impact on your earnings when you consider that 40 to 50 percent of our income needs to come from product sales.
Prescribing home products and designing a program for our client at home is very much part of our role today and is part of the service. If the client is using products that you have not recommended, they may be inappropriate to her actual skin condition, contain less than skin “healthy” ingredients, and lack the necessary active or cosmeceutical ingredients that actually get results. Therefore her skin will not be at its greatest. If she has a problem or a condition, it will not be solved. In fact, the hit-and-miss approach may trigger new issues – including inflammation and sensitization.
Guess who she will blame? You. She will conclude that her monthly treatments with you must not be working and therefore are not worth the investment. This will impact your business and possibly your reputation as a professional. With this in mind, it is imperative that you approach your client’s total skin well-being, realizing that she may be booking appointments with you less frequently during economic hard times. But remember: most of your client’s skin care practice goes on at home, not in your treatment room!

Just like working out with a personal trainer and following their recommendations on diet to reach your goal weight, it is a partnership and commitment. Getting results when treating conditions like oily congested skin, acne, or hyperpigmentation requires the same partnership scenario. The monthly skin treatment without the right products being used at home – further sabotaged by a few antagonistic lifestyle habits (stress, lack of sleep, processed foods, exposure to cigarette smoke, et cetera) – means that the client’s health goals for her skin will not be met. You need to set this parameter at the start, and this requires self-confidence, confidence in your skin knowledge, technique in the treatment room and in the product line that you are using. If you do not know your product back to front and upside down, you will never confidently prescribe a lip balm!
However, the truth is we may not be seeing our clients as regularly as in the past for that one hour skin treatment; you need to offer alternative, more cost-effective options like shorter, express treatments and complimentary skin checks. Encourage clients to come in monthly for a complimentary face mapping skin analysis or for a personal skin lesson; to learn about their skin, fine-tune their routine and gain tips and skills on double cleansing, exfoliation or treating the delicate eye area. This is perfect before a night out or special occasion.
To expand your client base, encourage your client to bring a friend with them to their next appointment in exchange for two free gifts (one for each of them) or a free add-on treatment when they book a service (this is a great way to build clientele). Serve them the appropriate products for their concerns after mapping their skin and comparing their skin condition to their last visit on their client record card.
Use this time to answer questions and talk with her about her primary concerns. If you observe new areas of hyperpigmentation, for instance, it is your responsibility to mention them — but her primary worry may be creases forming around her mouth or new lines around her eyes. Share your observations with her, but definitely give her own concerns the top priority, especially when prescribing product.  

Most consumers today suffer from what branding experts call “the paradox of choice.” Too many products on the shelf, too many claims all equates to TMI — and lots of misinformation and hype scrambled in with the actual information. Your task is not only to analyze, service and treat the skin, but to help your client sift through the barrage of marketing messages about skin health.
One way to start is to ask the client to bring in whatever skin care products she is currently using at home. Consider this like a skin care audit! This will reveal many things, including your client’s level of sophistication, interest and commitment to her skin care. If she includes a bar of soap in her bag of tricks, that tells you she is old-school and possibly very time-pressured. If she has a jar of the world’s most expensive designer cream, you will know she is status-conscious, and possibly more concerned with the image of the brands she uses than the performance of the ingredients. If she produces a treasure-trove of trendy names, showy packages and heavily fragranced products, you know that she is making purchases based on sensory and emotional impulses rather than scientific results (in this latter case, switch her over to non-fragranced products, but gift her with a luscious scented candle to pleasure her perfume-cravings).
Of course, do not critique her current routine. Use this revelation as the basis for conversation and education. If she stubbornly insists on keeping one or two old favorites, take the gradual replacement approach. And if she is simply using whatever she is using as the result of random Internet browsing, supply her with a detailed face map, skin analysis and an array of samples targeted to her specific conditions.

Only by taking responsibility for how the client treats her skin at home can you truly take command of her overall results. And more consistent results mean happier clients and a more robust bottom line for your business.

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