Under the surface

Post-pandemic, we are looking at the importance of offering skincare treatments within your salon to ensure clients are feeling more like their normal selves. We caught up with some industry experts as we explore the need for relaxation and how adding skincare treatments to your repertoire can boost businesses.

It is more than likely that clients may have had fallouts with their skin due to the stress of the recent pandemic, they have probably been pining for some TLC from the professionals. Everyone deals with stress in different ways but a coping mechanism that could benefit you, as well as your clients, are skincare treatments such as facials and chemical peels.

Adding on extra treatments is always a win-win, whether it be gel nails, massages or eyelash extensions – these are all ways of increasing income. As a business owner, you need to ensure your offerings are in line with the current climate, this may mean adding to, or adapting, your treatment list regularly. We are aware that introducing a new line of skincare treatments doesn’t just happen overnight, but here we are giving you some food for thought. Think to yourself, do you offer a particular treatment that allows a client to relax and switch off? Therapy sessions, we’re sure are about to see an influx; a global pandemic was a lot to take on for all of us!

Graham Clarke, Sales Director at IMAGE Skincare UK, feels the focus is more on quick-fix treatments, such as peels, at the moment.

Now that protective face masks are the norm, so is a form of acne most people are just learning about: ‘maskne’ What is maskne? Technically called acne mechanica, this type of skin issue is caused by repeated friction, pressure and irritation from using face coverings regularly. As you can guess, the breakouts typically occur right where the mask physically touches or covers: the nose, cheeks and jaw area: “To help with this, we recommend you encourage clients to cleanse and moisturise twice daily with regular exfoliation and at-home mask treatments.”

Graham admitted that within the first few weeks of the lockdown being announced, he saw a rise in the need for self-care at home. At this time, IMAGE UK offered a postage-free drop ship service to all IMAGE partners. The brand plans to continue this crucial service for the remainder of the year to help businesses that will struggle to retail. We have noticed that currently it is about adapting to the current climate and figuring ways around potential challenges, and this is a great example.

From the perspective of Vladimir Trisic, Founder of HEINRICH BARTH, making the client feel confident and genuinely relaxed in your salon is just as important as the treatments you offer: “If they are worried about which bacteria or germs may be circulating, this is not going to encourage them to return for a follow-up or more treatments in the future. PPE must be strict, but not limiting.”

Secondly, and perhaps as a result of COVID, Vladimir believes that clients’ senses will now be more alert than usual, searching for unusual noises, smells, sounds etc. and worrying about what they mean: “Anything that can be done through the treatment to bring an atmosphere of reassurance, relaxation or calm will surely help; like lavender, rosemary, ylang-ylang or lemongrass. We recommend a treatment that transports your client to somewhere light, calm and warm.

Vladimir also touched on the fact that ‘maskne’ is becoming a genuine concern for those who are bound to their masks for long commutes on public transport, or who are in the service industry. As masks and ‘lockdown skin’ have taken such a hold, now is the time when consumers can seek professional help for their skin concerns.

“We predict a huge trend towards facialists and dermatologists, as both men and women start to emerge from their PPE and realise that their skin may need longer-term assistance to get back into its normal cycle.

“This will be a difficult time for salons who don’t already offer some kind of skincare treatment, as communicating new offerings and treatment solutions to clients may be a challenge. However, there is no better time to expand your menu, as people look to extensive skin health and treatments that encourage youthful, healthy skin. During the lockdown, searches and articles informing readers on ‘how to do the best at-home facial’ rose tenfold, so demand is certainly rising.” Added Vladimir.

Darren Williams, CEO of SCRUBD, identified the impact of COVID, and the subsequent lockdown, has brought severe financial stress to a lot of the UK; with countless businesses and families struggling to make ends meet. This should, of course, not be underestimated. On top of this; in the light of hair and beauty salons being closed for several months, it was a long time since people were able to block out time for themselves, to concentrate on self-care moments like caring for their hair, skin, nails etc.

“This is a perfect time for both businesses and customers to try something new! Clients are still rushing to salons and barbers to look and feel better, so why not deepen the level of understanding, and offer them a choice of well-curated products they can enjoy at home? Some could even be built-in or recommended in conjunction with treatments, to prolong the effects. It’s important to be mindful that many of your customers may be spending less (outside of the ‘essentials’), however that ‘impulse buy’ they may have been used to could be a great opportunity for your business, and for them to discover something new.” Explained Darren.

The biggest question is: How do you still provide that self-care, relaxing experience, whilst following all COVID-secure guidelines in a way that makes both your team and your customers feel safe and secure? This is without a doubt an ongoing challenge that needs to be revisited regularly, as the UK-wide measures change and attitudes of your customers develop.

Darren added: “Communicating with your customers about health and safety measures, appointment times and any additional elements/necessities will make this process much smoother. This is something we’re still focusing on perfecting, even with online deliveries. Learning to live and trade with the virus present is, we hope, something that we will all learn if the virus stays active for a prolonged period. The path of the coronavirus, how it evolves and changes, will of course determine the endpoint of this, and making that path as short as possible is our responsibility.”

Tracey Wilmot, Murad International Education Director, revealed that during lockdown, Murad’s most successful tutorials were for at-home treatments that could closely replicate the spa experience such as self-massage, exfoliation, at-home peels, relaxation and stress-relief techniques to enhance sleep.

Common questions on the Murad virtual consultations have been around anxiety and stress-related skin disorders, including the effects of wearing masks for long periods: “As much as self-care at home is a great way to keep the skin as healthy as possible, nothing quite beats the benefits of a relaxing facial and body massage, and the social element of meeting with your beauty therapist who knows your skin’s needs better than anyone.” Added Tracey.

Tracey believes offering clients a range of services is always a great way to stay connected, now more so than ever.

“I am a great believer in providing home care to clients to use between services. The relationship between therapists and their clients is built on trust, so why not advise the client on what to use at home to strengthen the skin barrier, protect from the environment and lengthen the benefits of the professional services they have invested in.” During lockdown, these retail services have been a lifeline for salons and spas and for keeping in contact with their clients, so if you don’t already offer them, you could boost your business further by doing so.

The long-term relationship with a client starts from the very first visit and when results are seen, clients know the difference which can be made. Tracey explained that the stress hormone cortisol has impacted levels of stress like never before, so reaching out to these clients with more than just personalised skincare services, but advice on diet, exercise and mindfulness is key.

Depending on the individual circumstances, the skin went through a lot of changes. Your client’s skin might feel tight and dehydrated with visible irritations and breakouts, especially around the mouth area, due to the wearing of face masks.

Linda Blahr, National Head of Science and Education for SkinCeuticals UK/IRL, has seen the influx of people wanting to restart their skincare treatments with calming and soothing protocols to re-balance their skin. To do so, Linda recommends a light, superficial chemical peel to activate skin rejuvenation and remove dead skin layers without being too harsh.

Skin is our largest organ and to understand and treat it properly, broad-spectrum expertise is required. Although we are seeing the present as the perfect opportunity to offer a new skincare treatment to your repertoire, this can’t happen overnight. Nevertheless, salons could start with specific treatments such as hand masks or massages as the risk of damage is low and these are very relaxing.

“Achieving individual skincare goals is a marathon, not a sprint. One in-office treatment won’t help to get your client’s skin back to normal.”  A consultation that includes a holistic treatment plan with cleanser, specific serum and/or moisturiser and SPF should be the foundation of a facial appointment. You must educate your clients to understand the need for continuous use of proper skincare regimens at home.

“There shouldn’t be any skincare professional performing treatments without retailing products. You would need to start from scratch again with every visit.” Said Linda.

Skin is a delicate and very intimate topic and, as we’ve established, introducing skincare treatments to your salon isn’t something that can happen overnight. However, we would like to highlight the fact that there is no time like the present as many clients’ skin will have, and still are, taking a battering. Through the help of the experts, we have learned that it is also a great way to build up an intimate and trusted relationship with a large client base by providing relaxing skincare treatments. And finally, streamlining your retail offerings as a bolt-on to these sought-after skincare therapies will only benefit your business further.