What Spa Clients Are Thinking But Not Always Willing to Say


Have you ever gotten the feeling that your client had a "just OK" experience instead of a "wow" experience at your spa? Was there something on their mind that they left without saying? Was an interaction between esthetician and client quite awkward or abrupt?

Read my expert insights today to find out what your clients may be leaving without saying so you can make it right.

They weren't sure if they were supposed to tip

For clients in spas and medical spas especially, it's often not clear if they should tip. Some spas make it obvious that tipping is allowed by providing information on their website or little signs that show a suggested tip amount. While others make it clear that their policy is to automatically include a gratuity in the final price of all of their treatments.

If your spa doesn't spell it out quite so well, then be sure to leave hints like a tip line on the credit card slip or small envelopes in the treatment rooms. If your spa leaves it up to the clients' discretion without offering any clues, don't be surprised if they ask about tipping upon checking out for their services.

In lieu of an awkward pause or rude exchange, your best bet is to politely reply: "Tips are never expected but they are always appreciated." This seems to do the trick, every time.

They buy your skin care products elsewhere

If you often have clients who neglect to buy their skin care products off your retail shelves, then you should stop to wonder if they are getting them elsewhere. It's not that they aren't fond of your offering of serums, setting sprays and SPFs, it's just that they have a lot of options these days and will exercise those choices.

Clients are looking to get the most bang for their buck, so to speak. So if they are able to find cheaper prices online or a store that offers a gift with purchase or promotion, then they will choose that option.

In today's online shopping world, free shipping has become the norm, so be sure you offer that as well. Don't let valuable clients walk out the door without their verified, authentic, professional products in hand. As we know, buying skin care products directly from your spa is a safer and more ethical option for your clients.

They wish they could schedule their appointments online

In a world where most everything centers around convenience, we can't blame clients for wanting to be able to make spa appointments quickly and easily online. Clients know they can order a taxi cab with an app or reserve a table in a restaurant with the click of a button, so why not be able to book their facial or massage in a similar manner?

While online booking may not be appropriate for every service your spa offers (i.e. injectables, laser procedures or intense chemical peels) it may be OK for your massages, basic facials and waxing procedures. Offering online booking will make clients feel happy and hassle-free while freeing up your front-desk staff from busy phone lines.

Some members of your staff leave them feeling cold

It's never easy to admit that someone just rubs you the wrong way, but it can happen whether we speak up about it or not. There may be a member of your staff who regularly turns your clients off with their poor attitude or lackluster demeanor.

Make sure to hire people who are agreeable and quick to smile. If not, clients will feel that bad energy but may be unwilling to report it to management. Sadly, even when clients receive exemplary services like facials, massages and waxing treatments, they may not return if the front desk staff leaves them feeling uninspired, unwelcome or *gasp* like a nuisance.

On the other hand, your spa reception staff could be amazingly warm and welcoming, but perhaps one of your estheticians or technicians leaves much to be desired in terms of customer care. Be aware that clients can pick up on these negative vibes.

When clients feel like they receive anything less than the royal treatment, they are unlikely to rebook appointments and return to your spa. What's worse, they may be letting their friends and family know about their chilly reception as well.

They don't appreciate the hard sell

They may not let you know that they are annoyed, but clients can sense when you are pushing them a bit too hard. Oftentimes, when clients are feeling pressured to buy expensive product regimens or commit to lengthy packages of services, they will shut down and leave instead of making a smaller purchase.

When you start to notice many clients saying things like, "not this time," "I'll have to ask my spouse," and "I am all set for today," be sure to monitor your sales dialogues and techniques. Nowadays, clients are savvy about pricing, package options and alternatives before they even step foot into your spa or medspa, so they will be unappreciative of a hard sell.

Let your incredible services and customer engagement skills do all of the selling for you, and they will be happy to invest in services at your spa.

They aren't totally satisfied with your spa menu

Most clients and consumers are acutely aware of what the latest and greatest beauty and spa treatments are, thanks to the internet. They are curious. They are privy to what most celebrities and influencers are doing to improve and preserve their looks.

If your spa menu lacks some of the newest innovations and trends, then you may have disappointed clients on your hands. Clients will show they are unhappy with your spa offerings by continually (and unenthusiastically) asking, "Are you guys doing anything new?" If you are getting constant inquiries about newness at your spa and you aren't delivering, then be sure to evaluate your spa menu.

I am not an advocate of following the every whim of your clients and doing all kinds of extreme and unproven treatments. But be sure to stay on top of the latest trends and equipment so you can answer your clients' questions about them and/or offer some of them little by little. As we all know, the beauty industry is constantly improving and evolving, so we must be doing the same, as business owners and managers.

If you own or manage a spa, salon or medical spa, be sure to read between the lines when it comes to making your clients happy. Clients don't always come right out and say what's on their mind. It's your job to make your spa policies crystal clear and train your staff to execute them properly.

Pay attention to the interactions your staff have with clients because it can give you important clues about what kind of customer care is being given at your spa. Before you lose valuable clients, take some time to evaluate how you could meet their needs better, day after day. Anticipating your clients' needs is just one of the ways we can create happy and loyal experiences for years to come.

How fake beauty experts are changing the skin care industry


If you own a skin care business like a spa, medical spa or salon, then you know skin care product retail sales are an important and lucrative revenue stream. So how would you feel if you found out that people who are not trained in skin health are selling millions of dollars of skin care products to your clients behind your back?

How, you ask? The beauty industry is rife with fake beauty "experts" who are thriving because of the popularity of the industry and the pervasiveness of online sales and social media. If you feel like you are losing skin care sales at your spa, then read my expert advice and take control of your retail revenue.

Why beauty matters

Striving for beautiful skin, hair, nails, teeth and physique is not a new endeavor. To some degree or another, we all want to look beautiful and appealing to others. We want to feel good about how we look because we know it can affect how people perceive us before we can make an impression with our personalities. In fact, Dr. Dale Archer notes that "beauty is an asset, just like physical prowess, charisma, brains, or emotional intelligence."

It's no wonder that we spend so much time and money investing in skincare, hair care and gym memberships. Maybe we know, subconsciously, that the better we look the better we will be treated by others.

Archer makes the case that a beautiful woman can "get away with things that ordinary people can't." For example, he claims that a beautiful woman is more likely to be able to talk her way out of a parking ticket or get a last-minute table at the hottest restaurant in town without a reservation. If this is so, then it behooves us to make ourselves as beautiful as possible because maybe our lives will be easier or more exciting.

We look to popular people for beauty advice

Popularity, these days, equates to web presence and followers. Haven't you noticed that practically every day there are dozens of news items and posts about which celebrity swears by this moisturizer or that facial? Can you keep track of the hundreds of celebrity-endorsed skin care lines and beauty brands? Do you see videos in your social media feeds with the "newest" crazy eyebrow grooming trend or specialty facial mask?

Beauty advice is in your face every day — everywhere you look. The problem for the consumers (aka your clients) is that they are being fooled into thinking that just because it's popular, trending or relevant (for the moment) that it's sound advice.

In fact, Kirstie Clements of The New Daily writes that "self-appointed experts and influencers are duping a generation." She thinks these influencers are benefiting financially off an ignorant consumer. "Influencers don't necessarily have skills or a portfolio of their work" but since they have followers, consumers believe they should be a trusted source of information.

Everyone wants a piece of the beauty pie

The beauty industry is worth billions. In 2017 alone, 40 prominent beauty-brand startups were founded that made over $445 billion in sales. It's big business.

NYX Cosmetics was reportedly bought by L'Oreal for $500 million, Becca Cosmetics was acquired by Estee Lauder for $200 million, and IT Cosmetics was purchased by L'Oreal for a whopping $1.2 billion (yes, billion with a "b"). There's no denying that there is money to be made in the beauty business, and even small, grassroots brands have the potential to be hugely successful.

Making matters worse, because there is so much financial opportunity and incentive in the industry, beauty brands are exploiting our inherent need to be beautiful. Alex P., a writer for Thriveglobal.com writes that the beauty industry "capitalizes on making women feel imperfect and then sells them products to fix a problem that they don't have."

In other words, we are being fooled by not only major companies but also "influencers, bloggers and fake gurus" who have something to sell us. She goes on further to say that these internet influencers regularly receive free products from companies in return for "exposure" on their blog or social media accounts.

Fake beauty experts' claims don't have to be backed by science

As it is, the beauty industry is extremely under-regulated. Unless a skin care product contains an ingredient that is considered a drug like a sunscreen, steroid or hydroxy acid, it is barely regulated at all by the FDA. Most beauty and skin care products are considered "cosmetics" and are given a green light for entry into the market almost 100 percent of the time.

Therefore, fake beauty experts have it quite easy in terms of making claims that do not have to be backed by any type of science. Furthermore, sometimes the claims that fake beauty experts make can be harmful!

Timothy Caulfield of The Atlantic in his article "The Pseudoscience of Beauty Products," says that there are "dubious" claims being made by beauty companies that go "unquestioned and untested." Because there is "little literature produced by independent researchers ... and government research entities like the U.S. National Institute of Health or the Canadian Institute of Health have little interest in funding big double-blind placebo-controlled studies of efficacy."

Therefore, the celebrity-touted bird poop facial, snail slime serums and bee-sting beauty treatments become a "thing" and derail your clients from scientifically sound and safe skin care options.

Your co-worker, next-door neighbor and best friend are fake beauty experts

With the rise of the multilevel marketing (MLM) beauty companies, now everyone can try to be a beauty expert. Companies like Avon, Rodan and Fields and Beauty Counter — just to name a few — are extremely popular and successful.

To the consumer's dismay, everyone is selling them beauty products. It's not just the TV ads, billboards and spritzer girls at the mall anymore — it's their friends, family members and colleagues. MLM companies are home-based businesses and do not require their sales personnel to have formal training in skin care.

As Christine Burke at Moneyish reports, the goal of MLM's is for the participant to "earn a little extra money and score some discounted products" while the company itself makes most of the profits. However, many licensed skin care professionals will say they have a problem with salespeople who try to diagnose skin conditions and treat serious things like acne and rosacea with no training in skin care whatsoever — and you should, too!

Many of our clients are being persuaded by salespeople who work for MLMs to invest in and use thousands of dollars worth of products per year under the guise of whatever rehearsed sales speeches they are memorizing from the companies. It's time to be aware of the thousands of dollars in skin care sales that your skin care business may be losing to MLM companies and empower your professional staff to educate your clients for the better.

How can you beat the fake experts and reclaim your retail sales?

It's time to beat the beauty bloggers and YouTube stars at their own game! Is your spa creating compelling video content for your clients? Do you have a mobile-friendly website with an intriguing blog and photos? Do you empower your estheticians, nurses and MDs to talk about skin care with clients in a free and compelling consultative setting?

Does your spa have a social media presence that is congruent with its brand vision? Do you offer online retail sales for your existing clients and patients? Are your estheticians adequately trained on the protocols and product ingredients that your spa offers? Are you empowering your staff to sell retail confidently by practicing dialogues and setting goals and incentives? Are you aware, as a business owner in the spa industry that you should be leading the way in product sales and not lagging behind?

Just remember that your staff have the privilege of seeing, touching and performing services on your clients and are the most informed in terms of making skin care product suggestions. Ask yourself these important questions and take back your retail sales from the fake beauty experts now.

It's your time to prosper as the true beauty experts that you are!

Four Self-Care Rituals to Add to Your Wellness Routine in 2018


Many of us want to take better care of ourselves to start the new year. Are you hoping to add some self-care rituals to your wellness routine in 2018? Here are my top four suggestions for having a glow from head to toe.

1. Skin radiance upgrades

If you are looking to maximize your anti-aging and beauty routine in 2018, consider adding some professional tools and treatments. Adding a sonic facial cleansing system to your night-time sudsing session will increase exfoliation and allow treatment products to penetrate deeply. Jade rollers are fantastic for cooling inflammation, increasing circulation and lifting the skin.

If you're more apt to add on a clinical anti-aging device, consider an LED mask to treat acne lesions and protect collagen or a handheld microcurrent device for toning and lifting. If you are in need of an at-home facial exfoliation hack, look for a clinical-strength peel pad with glycolic or lactic acids for a fresh and dewey glow.

And nothing gives a hydrated glow like a skin-quenching sheet mask or a moisturizing mud mask. Just adding one of these skin boosting treatments one to three times a week can totally enhance your visage.

2. Smoothing and toning treatments

For many of us, the winter months are frigid, and we spend more time indoors cozied up on the couch. We also tend to get dry, chapped, dead-skin buildup. So if you are in need of increased blood flow and smooth skin, consider adding dry-brushing to your morning or nightly regimen.

A common dry-brushing technique includes using a wooden brush with stiff, natural bristles in upward, sweeping motions on the whole body working towards the heart. Benefits include increased circulation, exfoliating dead skin, smoothing skin texture and aiding in lymphatic draining. Dry brushing only takes a couple minutes and is great to do before a bath or shower.

If you prefer to exfoliate in the shower, using a sugar, coffee or salt scrub is extremely beneficial for winter skin. Scrubs help to increase circulation and slough-off dead skin. You can make your own scrubs at home or find a fabulous scrub at your pharmacy or favorite beauty shop or spa.

3. Spa bathing rituals

Bring the spa home by adding some fragrant, healing and invigorating practices right to your own bathroom. Start by hanging some eucalyptus branches in your shower. Grab your favorite set of cotton terry towels and a fluffy robe and ditch the phone for an afternoon.

Draw a warm bath with naturally detoxifying and soothing salts like sea salt, epsom salt or pink himalayan salt. Salt baths can help to soothe aches and pains, reduce bloat and remineralize the skin. Natural bath bombs and bubble baths are also great bath-time enrichments.

Choose sustainable and organic formulations whenever possible. Look for bath-time products that are made with real essential oils and are free of parabens and synthetic dyes and fragrances. Remember, the skin is not a barrier; it's a carrier.

Warm water and invigorating steam are natural ways to calm the body and lesson congestion in the sinuses and pores, so add some spa flair to your bath time right at home.

4. Spa ambiance in your home

Bring the OM to your home with these spa ambiance essentials. Allow some time to completely unplug from your device and focus on your breathing. Add calming sensory experiences that include aromas from essential oil products, soft lighting and blissful music. Burn your favorite soy candle or add essential oils to your diffuser.

Get into your favorite PJs or robe and flip flops and lounge on soft pillows. Infusing spring water with cucumber and mint or sipping on a mug of herbal tea will ease your tired spirit. Enjoy the soft, warm lighting of a Himalayan salt lamp. Be sure to kick your feet up and enjoy some time away from the hectic day-to-day routine and take a spa day at home.

You may not be able to get to the spa every week, but with these zen spa hacks you can have a spa day in your own living room.

With these wellness rituals on hand, you can decide which options you will be adding to your daily or weekly routine. Pick one or two and see how much better you feel.

2018 is a fresh start to focus on pampering and rejuvenating self-care. You owe it to yourself to add some self-loving, spa-inspired rituals for a smooth and beautiful glow all year long.

An Esthetician's Six Beauty Tips to Her Younger Self

In life, we say that hindsight is 20/20.  We all wish that we could go back in time and tell our younger selves what to do and what not to do so that we could be the best versions of ourselves today.  As a licensed esthetician and skin care expert, here are my top six beauty tips to my younger self (and you). 


1.  Do Not Over Tweeze Or Wax Off Your Eye Brows:  

What I wouldn't give to tell my thirteen-year-old self to "put the tweezers down!".  As we age, we notice that our brows do not grow-in quickly anymore or they've ceased growing altogether.  Bald spots, short brows without proper length and thinning hairs plague many a beauty guru.  Brow tint, pencils and tattoos are awesome but wouldn't it be nice if we had just let our brows live naturally and free from the start?  I would tell my younger self to clean up strays between the brows and rogue hairs on the lids, but keep everything else in its rightful place!  Nothing says youth and beauty like a full set of brows and If I could turn back the clock, those babies would remain mostly untouched.


2.  Wear Mineral SPF Daily and No Tanning:

Without a doubt, I would tell my younger self to wear SPF everyday and avoid suntans and burns.  Suntans seem so appealing when we are young: we look like glowing, bronzed beauties with flirty tan lines to boot.  However, most of those suntans from our youth add up to major, permanent damage later on in life.  UV exposure causes all of those hard-to-hide age spots and makes our skin wrinkle and sag.  As soon as our early thirties and forties, we will notice freckles that don't fade, vertical lines on the mid-face and deepening crows' feet around the eyes.  About 90% of this damage is caused by the sun exposure we maintained in our younger years!  So think twice before unprotected days catching rays.


3.  Start Getting Regular Monthly Facials ASAP:

Nothing prepares us for aging gracefully like regular, monthly, exfoliating facials, from our early twenties on.  Starting facials anytime is great, don't get me wrong.  But when it comes to regular facials: the earlier you start the better!  Making a commitment to a professional skin care regimen as soon as possible is the path to aging prevention instead of years of intense and costly correction.  Regular facials are maintenance not miracles, I always say.  So I would tell my younger self to make and keep my monthly facial appointment to ensure clean and tight pores, dewey skin and amazing muscle tone for decades to come.


4.  Don't Be Lazy: Always Wash Your Face Before Bed:

Being sure to wash makeup and environmental debris off every night is one of the best habits to begin in our youth.  I know it can be agonizing to think about splashing water on your face and sudsing up when you're tired and groggy, but regular evening face washing is key to clear and youthful skin.  Maybe we could avoid acne, enlarged and stretched out pores and premature aging if we had simply taken care to cleanse and treat our faces consistently every night.  I know that if I had to do it all over again, I would be sure to wash my face as soon as I returned home from school or work so it wouldn't get neglected later on in the evening.


5.  Start Using Eye Cream Now:

The eye area is delicate and ages faster than the rest of our face.  Furthermore, we make a lot of facial expressions that involve and crease the eye area (for example, smiling and squinting).  Side sleepers and eye-rubbers are also prone to aging the eye area more rapidly.  Because of this, it is never too early to start using an eye cream.  You don't want to wait until dark circles, puffiness and fine lines start plaguing the area before adding eye cream into your skin care routine.  I would tell my younger self, to prevent premature eye aging before it starts, dab on a quality eye cream as soon as my late teens and early twenties.


6.  Begin Botox and Retinol Before the First Signs of Lines:

Many of us are surprised to hear that neuro-inhibitors like Botox and Xeomin are best used on younger patients.  Their role is to temporarily relax the muscles that move and crease the skin creating wrinkles.  For best results, it is wise to consider these treatments before or just after scowl lines between the eye brows or the horizontal lines on the forehead appear.  Once the wrinkles become deep and set-in, Botox injections will only soften them slightly or prevent them from getting worse - but it will not erase them.  Always seek out a qualified injector who consults with you before the injections about your goals.  


Retinol aka tretinoin (prescription strength or equivalent) is another great product to begin in our twenties and thirties.  Retinol is a clinical strength version of topical vitamin A, and is responsible for healthy skin cell production rates, clearing acne and preventing collagen loss and wrinkles.  You can pick up retinol at a doctor's office and/or medical spa and it usually comes in a little tube in cream or gel form.  I consider retinol the fountain of youth and when I see patients who have used it for several years or decades, I can see they look eight to ten years younger than their peers!  


Don't wait if you are serious about your beauty and facial rejuvenation goals - it's best to start now!  Follow my six professional tips to freeze the hands of time and look younger everyday!

Four Simple Ways to Create Exceptional Service Experiences At Your Spa

When it comes to the spa industry (or any service industry, for that matter) customer service is paramount.  How you make your clients feel via memorable, five-star experiences is key to having a successful business.  Positive experiences that make lasting impressions even after clients leave your spa is what keeps clients coming back and referring their friends to you.

1.  Make sure your staff members act friendly and use a pleasant tone of voice: 

Whether on the phone or in-person, be sure that staff has a friendly attitude.  Only hire individuals that are naturally upbeat, friendly and positive, without exception.  Clients can pick up negative vibes in less than a few seconds so it's crucial to have staff members that smile often with a genuinely caring nature. Remember: a trip to the spa is usually not a necessity: it is a choice.  Clients choose to return to a spa that makes them feel welcomed, listened to and cared for.  

2.  Make your client feel like a star:

Always address your clients by their first name or preferred title.  Use their name as much as possible when addressing them.  There is no sweeter sound to anyone's ears than the sound of their own name…so use it often.  Remember your clients preferences and write them down.  Know any and all allergies, food preferences, music, lighting and locker room amenity choices.  Our clients leave their hectic lives behind to come to our spa and feel pampered.  Focus on giving your clients the celebrity treatment- because if you do not, someone else will.

3.  Create a relaxing sanctuary:

Clients go to a spa to be transported to a place free from stress, noise, obligations, and toxic vibes.  Make sure that your spa has a policy on children in the spa, cell phone usage and pets.  Be sure that phones and other electronic equipment/alerts are not too loud or jarring.  Make sure that treatment rooms are organized so that quiet areas are maintained (e.g. don't put a hair salon with dryers roaring next to a massage room).  Proper lighting and music are key ambient elements to maintain.  Aromatherapy, modern furnishings, cleanliness and fresh flowers make your space top notch.

4.  Always follow through with your promises:

Whether you've promised to call a client back about a promotion, create an appointment, or set them up with a referral: always follow through.  Clients feel valued and exceptionally cared for when you do what you say you are going to do.  It may seem simple or obvious, but in today's age of robot-calls, 36 minute wait times on hold and dropped calls, great customer service is the most refreshing and surprising thing ever!  Keep your clients singing your praises by paying close attention to their needs and requests and actually following through on them.  

Follow these four service standards and see how your clientele grows and flourishes year after year!


Don't Do These 5 Things Right Before A Facial

Many of us know that there are certain things that we should not do right after a facial such as sweating it out at the gym and applying heavy make-up.  But do you know about the the things that are dangerous to do right before a facial?  Here is my expertly curated list of things to avoid at all costs, right before you check yourself in to your favorite spa or medical spa.

1.  UV exposure before a facial is a big no-no:  

Arriving to your facial appointment just after a day on a blanket in the park, swimming in the pool or (gasp) going into a UV tanning bed is extremely risky.  Remember: most facials aim to remove dead skin cells which can be slightly irritating and stimulating for many clients.  So even if you aren't showing signs of a tan or burn, recent UV exposure mixed with a facial can mean redness, irritation, blistering, swelling or unwanted skin pigmentation.  Wearing SPF daily and avoiding the sun before facials are key tips for getting the most out of your treatment.  Be sure to always where SPF protection en route to your facial as well because driving or walking to the spa without sunscreen is a no-no as well.

2.  Hair Removal before a facial is risky:

Whether you've just had an upper lip or brow wax, laser hair removal or a Nair session at home, getting a facial right after is very risky.  Many hair removal methods can exfoliate and temporarily inflame the skin so going into the spa for a peel, microdermabrasion or enzyme treatment can cause damage to the skin in a big way.  Be sure to wait about five days after any hair removal treatments before going in for a facial service.  Trust me, your esthetician won't mind if you have some strays - it's better than the possible side effects of over-exfoliation and inflammation.

3.  Recent injectables need time to settle in before a facial:

Getting an injectable treatment to smooth lines or plump the cheeks are everyday treatments, these days.  However, make sure that your injectables have had at least two full weeks, in most cases, to settle in before you go in for any kind of facial.  Your qualified injector should let you know how long after your treatment you are eligible for facials.  Typically, if facials are performed too soon after an injectable treatment, you run the risk of disrupting the injectable treatment by either moving it or spreading it to an unintended area of the face (think eyelid droop!).  Remember: facials involve a lot of muscle and skin massage and manipulation and injectables shouldn't be moved around when they are still settling in.

4.  Do Not Pop Pimples or Pick at Your Face Before a Facial:

I know, some people can't help themselves.  Even many estheticians are guilty of squeezing a pimple on their own faces, now and again.   But it's really best to leave your white and blackheads for the pros.  An esthetician will oftentimes have to turn you away and reschedule your facial treatment if you come in with scabs, scars and infected lesions on your face.  It is very risky to exfoliate, massage and (generally) manipulate skin that is riddled with wounds and scabs.  You are at a higher risk for infection and other unwanted side effects if you show up for your facial with broken, scabbed skin.

5.  Do Not Use Retinol 72 Hours Before A Facial:

Retinol is a buzzword in the skin care industry and a lot of people are using it to treat acne and signs of aging because it is so effective.  Prescription strength retinol is even available OTC, of late.  However, keep in mind that retinol (especially the prescription strength versions like Retin-A, Renova and Tretinoin can thin the skin and make the skin more susceptible to inflammation from exfoliation treatments and the sun.  Be sure that you are off your retinol containing products at least three days before any type of facial, microdermabrasion or peel so that you don't suffer any scary side effects like redness, irritation or even burns and blisters.   

Follow these guidelines and make sure your visage is in tip-top shape before your facial to avoid any scary outcomes.  

Which SPF is Right For You?

Thankfully, these days, it's not a question of should I wear SPF but which SPF should I wear?  Knowing which type of SPF to wear and when to wear it will keep the guesswork out of protecting your skin from painful burns, and UV damage like age spots, wrinkles and skin laxity.  

1.  Powder SPF  

Powdered SPF in the form of pressed and loose mineral powders, or loose powders packed into a handle of a retractable brush are great for on-the-go SPF touch-ups and re-applications on small areas of the body (think face, neck, chest and hands).  Typically, the powders are comprised of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide which are physical UV blockers that create a shield that reflect UV rays- it's the safest way to go when it comes to sunscreen protection. Powders are fast, instant and clean. Especially great for oily and acne prone skin types, powdered SPF formulations will help to mattefy the skin and will typically not clog the pores.  I recommend powdered formulations when clients wear makeup and do not want to disturb it with cream or lotion sunscreens.  Simply dusting on mineral SPF will take away any T-zone shine and refresh your UV protection all in one step.  The other bonus is that powdered SPF formulations are applied with a brush so you don't have to worry about dirty hands touching skin.

2.  SPF Sprays  

Spray-on SPF formulations are very popular because they are widely available in the drugstores and grocery stores.  They boast extremely high SPF ratings like 50, 70 and beyond and can be easily applied to large areas of the body with the touch of an aerosol nozzle.  Similar to powder SPF formulations, spray-ons are clean and fast but the downside is that after application you may need to manually rub them into the skin with your hands to ensure ample coverage.  The other downside is that the spray-on varieties are typically composed of chemical based sunscreen ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone, octisalate, homosalate and octinozate which help prevent burns but do not prevent tans.  Chemical sunscreen ingredients are designed to make the skin absorb the UV rays and transform them into heat.  So clients who are prone to freckles, age-spots or melasma will tend to see these conditions darken while using chemical sunscreens alone because heat can activate all of these conditions.  The other things to keep in mind about the spray-on formulations is that they need about 20 minutes to cure on the skin before UV exposure and must be reapplied about every two hours or more if you sweat or your skin gets wet.

3.  SPF Lotions  

SPF lotions have been on the market for many years.  They can be in the form of moisturizing creams, lightweight lotions and spray lotions.  They can have a wide range of SPF ratings and usually contain chemical SPF ingredients (see above)  and sometimes a physical ingredient (titanium dioxide or zinc oxide) as well.  SPF lotions need to be applied to clean, dry skin before makeup or any other type of product.  You must have clean hands to apply lotions to your skin and if you are acne or breakout prone then it is imperative to ensure that the formulation says that it is "non comedogenic" on the label so that you do not suffer breakouts post use.  Lotions need time to work on the skin so be sure to apply them about 20 minutes before UV exposure (and always follow the instructions on the back of the packaging).  Lotions can provide hydration and moisture so if your skin tends to be dehydrated, tight or dry, lotions may be the best way to go.  Oftentimes, I recommend applying a SPF lotion to the skin of the face then applying mineral makeup or SPF powders over it, for the rest of the day - it's the best of both worlds.  

4.  SPF Clothing  

SPF clothing has become one of the easiest and safest ways to protect skin from harmful UV rays. SPF clothing includes swim shirts, shorts, long sleeve shirts and hats, etc that have an actual SPF rating on the fabric.  This SPF rating will mean that you are protected from the sun for as long as you are wearing the clothes - no need to reapply!  SPF clothing is a great option for children and adults who are extremely active and want to play all day without constantly reapplying SPF to large portions of the body.  Obviously, the fabric should not interact with the skin in a negative way so skin conditions do not need to be taken into account when it comes to using this option.  Keep in mind, however, that SPF clothing does not cover every inch of the body so it is important to apply and reapply another SPF option on the exposed areas of the body.

Sunscreen concerns seem to be more prevalent in the spring and summer months when we are outside or away on vacation, but year round SPF is really the name of the game for skin cancer prevention and anti-aging. Think about choosing your SPF formulation based on your preferences for applying it.  Each style and formulation has its pros and cons, so find the kind that works best for your lifestyle and skin care concerns.


Reclaim Your Retail Sales

Professional skin care product sales aka retail sales are a pillar of a spa's revenue potential.  Recommending and retailing professional skin care products improves client relationships, prolongs treatment results and creates beautiful, long-lasting changes in clients' skin: so why do most spas fall short in this area?  It's time for spas, medical spas and solo estheticians to reclaim their retail sales and increase their revenue…here are my five tips to do just that.

1.  Start with a Mindset Shift.  

It's time to remind our staff that retail sales belong to the spa and esthetician, without question!  Put simply, we are the trained experts analyzing, advising, touching, massaging, extracting and treating our clients' skin.  Let's own the fact that estheticians are educated experts and will be the most qualified individuals to offer the best advice on at-home product suggestions to clients.  TV ads, sales personnel at the beauty counters, and celebrity-endorsed beauty brands can often mislead clients, in terms of how they appropriately select skin care for themselves.  So stand a little taller, take a deep breath and feel confident about your expert role as a skin care advisor.  Be a trusted resource and beacon of knowledge on which your clients can rely.

2.  Talk Retail Sales in Your Initial Consultation.

Your initial consultation will typically include going over client intake paperwork, discussing goals and concerns, analyzing the skin and discussing treatment options.  However, many estheticians forget to mention that clients need to be advised in their initial consult about the importance of professional skin care products for home use, to ensure positive outcomes.  Be sure to say that compliance with professional skin care products at home is part of your process and make sure they are onboard from the get-go.  A non-negotiable attitude when it comes to retail sales is one that makes the client feel confident in your skills, knowledge and imparts a feeling of care and commitment.  It's not to say that you require a massive purchase right off the bat, but that in terms of creating successful outcomes - customized, at-home professional skin care is a must.

3.  Explain Products Throughout the Service.

Yes, oftentimes, facials are quiet and tranquil services for our clients.  However, with proper timing and style of speaking, you can introduce, explain and recommend retail products throughout the entire session flawlessly.  It's as simple as softly telling the client the name of the product you're using and the benefits of it, throughout the service.  Clients want to know what you are putting on their skin, more often than not, so be sure to share that information.  Of course, there are times when it is not appropriate to speak during the facial and allow the client their quiet time.  However, it is crucial to know when to explain product choices and benefits so that clients can be informed about their treatments and educated on product ingredients.  Moreover, if you are waiting until the end of the service to initiate a dialog about home care products: it's too late!  Clients are off to their next appointment or going back to work and an esthetician may have their next client waiting for them in the lobby! It's better to use your session time to prime your client for retail sales instead of relying on the few minutes available after the treatment.

4.  Pull Products Off Shelves for Clients to Hold.

After the service, it is crucial that you follow through and show clients the actual bottles of product that you recommend for them.  Let clients look, touch, smell, and hold packaging and testers - this will create a connection with them.  Many estheticians make the mistake of signaling to product shelves or pointing to products barely visible through dusty, glass cabinet doors - it just doesn't work!  Help clients feel comfortable and familiar with the professional skin care offerings at your spa by pulling the products off the shelf and creating a customized regimen for them that they can see and hold.  Just like therapeutic touch is a cornerstone of spa services, touching and experiencing retail products will make the client feel more comfortable and apt to purchase them.

5.  Write it All Down.

Just like a physician hands a patient a written prescription for a medication with instructions on how and when to use it, estheticians needs to write down and explain retail product instructions.  It is crucial for a client to see a written prescription style pad of all of the products you recommend for them morning and night with details of how and when to use them.  Be sure to date and photocopy this list so that you can give one to the client and keep the other for your records.  That way, if your client has questions or only purchases a portion of those items on the list, you will have everything organized for future reference. This process will show commitment and professionalism on the part of the esthetician and make the client feel well taken care of and valued. 

Follow these five, easy tips to reclaim your retail sales at your spa or medical spa, today!  Enjoy increased client retention and satisfaction along with increased revenue and profits.