Choosing the Right Formulation
Let us start with the basics: Should you choose a lotion, oil, cream or gel formula? First, determine what kind of service you will be performing, which will then determine what level of glide or slip you need in order to perform your strokes.
Oil formulas will provide you with an excellent glide, allowing you to cover large areas without having to reapply multiple times during the service. They can be highly moisturizing, but be mindful that some clients may prefer formulas that feel a bit lighter on the skin. Some oils can leave a light layer on your client's skin post treatment, so be aware of how much you use during the service. While searching, also look for water dispersible formulas, which can be easily washed out of your linens. If you are looking for something a bit lighter, try using a lotion. Lotion has a lighter feel than oil and absorbs quicker into the skin. These formulas are great for services that require slightly deeper bodywork; however, the lighter texture may result in a few more applications during your service.
Creams are very popular formulas because they are ultra-rich and usually very nourishing, giving you better glide than lighter lotion formulas. Be mindful that with these formulations, a little goes a long way. This principle applies not only to massage creams for the body, but also for the face. Facial massage creams are important because they are specifically formulated for delicate skin on the face and décolleté. Massage creams intended for use on the body will sometimes congest the pores when the product is worked into the client's facial skin, resulting in dreaded breakouts.
Gel formulas provide great glide without leaving behind a greasy feel on the client's skin. They are very versatile products that can be used in all sorts of treatments, including hot stone massages. They are also great formulas to have on hand for clients with a significant amount of body hair. The gel will allow you to cover the surface area without dragging on the hair itself.
Massage balms are relatively new and are great tools for treating areas like the feet or even deep tissue work to help your clients achieve deeper relaxation. Be aware that many balm formulas are too thick to be squeezed out of tubes or pumped out of bottles. Spatulas and treatment bowls are necessities if you plan to use a balm as the product will have to be scooped out prior to each service.
Body butters are ideal finishing products, especially after any sort of exfoliation service. Look for vitamin-packed formulas that will hydrate and nourish the skin. Butters are also great to sell in small retail sizes at your guest checkout area. Suggest that clients purchase a body butter to continue pampering their skin before their next spa service. You can also gift body butters during special occasions or as a special incentive.
Now that you have determined what formula is right for you, it is time to explore some key ingredients that make a product worth purchasing.
Ingredients in Depth
- Aloe – Promotes skin healing, minimizes scaring, and helps moisturize even the driest, most irritated skin; helps lock in moisture and increase skin firmness.
- Arnica – An effective ingredient for treating overworked muscles, minimizing bruising, and reducing pain and inflammation.
- Avocado – Promotes skin softening with its intensely moisturizing properties. Also known to help increase collagen levels, reduce skin spots, and protect skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
- Coconut – Its highly emollient properties result in softer, smoother skin; protects the skin from ultraviolet rays; treats burns, scrapes, itchy skin and acne; helps reduce muscle inflammation and joint pain.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – This enzyme is naturally produced in the skin, but levels decrease during the aging process. This powerful antioxidant is an essential component of the most powerful anti-aging facial creams because it helps increase collagen and elastin production.
- Grapeseed – This oil is full of antioxidants to help protect skin from free radicals, while helping to even out skin tone; contains fatty acids, which are easily absorbed in the skin, leaving your clients with a more hydrated, glowing look to their skin.
- Jojoba – An extremely versatile oil that quickly penetrates skin, keeping it soft and supple, while reducing the appearance of fine lines, stretch marks and fading scars. It is also an ideal choice for clients with sensitive skin or skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema.
- Olive oil – This oil is chock full of vitamins E and K, as well as powerful antioxidants. It helps repair skin and increase elasticity, while soothing any irritation. It is also said to brighten and even out skin tone.
We work in a constantly evolving industry where new products are introduced to the market on a daily basis, making it difficult to decide what products truly deserve a spot in your treatment room, mobile kit, or your spa's back bar. Your space and time is limited, so streamline the selection process by selecting multi-tasking, high-quality products that will help you make the most of each service throughout your day.
Erika Perez is the marketing specialist for Bodyworkmall, a premier resource for massage, skin care, spa and salon needs, and the primary product and consulting affiliate for one of the largest massage therapy schools in the nation. Perez graduated from Florida International University with a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. She joined the Bodworkmall team in 2011 to oversee the company's marketing efforts and become part of a growing customer service team in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Perez is passionate about catering to the diverse business needs of massage and skin care professionals, as well as spa and salon owners.