Being in a service industry, we are taught that the client is always right. However, this may not always be the case. Regardless of the resources available today, many clients still believe common misconceptions and believe beauty myths that have been passed on down for years.
As a Skin Care Professional, how do you overcome these incorrect assumptions and teach your clients once and for all what we as Beauty Therapists know to be true?
How You Word It is Everything
It can be very frustrating when your client is adamant about claims they’ve heard about or achieving results they’ve read about in a fashion magazine. As a Skin Care Professional, it is your job to educate them on what is true and achievable.
Education is key. Skin care is easily misunderstood, so wording is everything. Beauty Therapists are expected to improve the appearance of a client’s skin, yet some therapists unknowingly set unrealistic goals and make unrealistic promises that cannot be achieved. To be respected as a Skin Care Professional, you must take care when discussing expectations with your clients. If the proper message is not delivered, it can result in unsatisfied clients and it will eventually hurt your career. Research shows that one unhappy client will tell 20 other people.
On the other hand, an educated, honest Beauty Therapist will always succeed and excel.
Let’s look at the top four common misconceptions clients have and how to handle them:
1. “I don’t need to use sunscreen because I don’t lie out in the sun.”
Even with all of the resources and knowledge available today about the damaging effects of UV Rays, many clients still don’t understand that sun block must be worn on a daily basis – even on an overcast day. Sun damage is cumulative and can occur even on a grey Winters day. Often the majority of UV damage appears from the least obvious ways. Simply driving to work and back on a daily basis can cause a substantial amount of sun damage. Many clients believe that glass blocks UV rays from penetrating the skin. Although glass can block UVB rays (the burning rays), it does not block UVA rays (the aging rays), which are even more damaging over time.
Whether it is hot, cold, cloudy or rainy outside, the sun’s damaging UV rays are always present. Consider this: if you are exposed to sunlight without sunscreen for only four minutes a day for 10 years, your skin could be exposed to more than 243 hours of damaging UV rays!
How to educate your client:
It is often helpful to show your client photos of sun-damaged skin. There are many great images and resources available today. Ask your skincare supplier if you can't find any on the internet.
|This picture (courtesy of The New England Journal of Medicine) is of a 69 year truck driver who reported that he had driven a delivery truck for 28 years.
There is a significant difference in the effects of sun exposure on the left side of his face that was frequently exposed to UV rays while driving. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays transmitted through window glass, penetrated the epidermis and upper layers of dermis, causing extreme damage.
Chronic UVA exposure can result in thickening of the epidermis and stratum corneum, as well as destruction of elastic fibers.
This image clearly shows the difference between the effects of intrinsic aging (from genetics) and extrinsic aging (from external & environmental factors) that makes up about 85% of visible damage.
Explain to your client that the sun's ultraviolet (UV) light damages the elastin fibres in the skin.
In order to minimize UV damage and see results, an antioxidant moisturizer and sun block has to be applied every morning, regardless of the weather. Protecting the skin from the sun will also greatly reduce the risk of melanoma, which affects more than 4,000 New Zealanders each year, according to the Melanoma Foundation of New Zealand.
2. “I want you to get rid of my lines and wrinkles.”
Remember that lines and wrinkles are caused by a number of factors: ageing, genetics, lifestyle and the environment. Just as your client’s lines and wrinkles did not appear overnight, the same goes for trying to remove them.
Be careful what you promise clients – even if you wholeheartedly believe that your treatments and products will be effective in reducing the visible signs of aging. You cannot control what your client does at home; and her lifestyle choices and consistency of home care play a huge part in the results your client will achieve.
Unfortunately, there are many beauty therapists and product suppliers that claim to have a “miracle” treatment or product that will reverse all signs of ageing, including wrinkles. No debate there are many professional treatments and products available that are effective in reducing the appearance of ageing; however, you cannot promise the same results to every client. Every person’s skin is unique and every client will react and respond differently to rejuvenation treatments and programmes that you offer.
How to educate your client:
Always under-promise and over-deliver. Do not fall into the competition trap by offering unrealistic results just because your competition is doing that. Your clients will appreciate honesty and will be pleasantly surprised if their results surpass their expectations.
To build a successful business, you have to ensure your clients have realistic expectations. You have to explain the process, goals and expected outcomes clearly. Be honest and realistic. Your client must also understand that the best results will come from a “team effort” between them and you; and from using recommended, supportive products at home.
It helps to take photos when you start the treatment programme, so that you have a point as reference when you asses and evaluate your progress and goals. Showing your client before-and-after pictures of the recommended treatment or product can be helpful to show some successful outcomes.
3. “My skin is too oily so I don’t use a moisturizer.”
Moisturizer is very important to maintain a healthy skin, regardless of the amount of oil produced by the skin. Clients who have oily skin tend to think that drying it out is the best option for controlling breakouts. However drying out the skin can often lead to the skin trying to over-compensate by producing more sebum.
It's important that you explain to your client that some products - and often your cheaper Supermarket Brands - may employ comedogenic ingredients. This means if your skin is prone to breakouts, the ingredients will encourage pores to block - therefore causing comedones.
Acne occurs from a combination of dead skin cells, excess sebum and comedgenic ingredients in products, which leads to a buildup of bacteria and triggers inflammation. The human body is made to adapt to changes; therefore, drying out the skin often results in even more sebum production. This excess sebum, along with a dry epidermis, accumulates within the follicles, eventually resulting in more breakouts. Dry skin also leads to other skin conditions, including sensitivity, eczema and signs of ageing.
How to educate your client:
Show your client a diagram on the pathogenesis of acne and point out how drying the skin can actually form comedones leading to acne. Explain the importance of adding moisture to provide a healthy environment for skin to function naturally. In healthy skin, oil is produced to protect the outer layers of epidermis throughout the day and is washed away at night. Before sending the client home with a moisturizer, let her know that it may feel oilier at first, but it is simply the addition of moisture. Start out simple: A hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid is a great introductory product. If your client is scared of buying a moisturizer, give them a sample so they can feel the difference themselves. It's important to explain that by stripping the acid mantle of the epidermis your clients is disrupting the skin's natural "guardian angel".
4. “My skin is sensitive, so I only use all-natural products.”
Many clients will claim that they have sensitive skin when in reality that is not the case at all. There are several explanations for this misunderstanding. Clients may have had adverse reactions in the past with treatments or products that were not suitable for their skin. There are many products that claim to be gentle, especially those including all-natural ingredients. However, just because a product is natural does not mean it is good for you or that it will not cause sensitivities or reaction. In fact, most allergic reactions are caused by natural elements. Some examples of these natural irritants include: peanuts, seeds, coconut, mushrooms, flowers and citrus fruit.
How to educate your client:
Ask loads of questions. Understanding what your client does at home on a daily basis is extremely important. Ask about your client’s lifestyle and experience with previous salon treatments – this will help you determine why they consider their skin to be sensitive. If you believe a client is sensitive due to her lifestyle, home care products and own actions, explain that to them in detail. For example, using perfumed products with high pH levels can disrupt the skin’s acid mantle, creating dryness and irritation. Changing your client’s home-care routine can dramatically reduce the side effects associated with sensitive skin. If the client is wary of trying something new, give samples to show the difference a change in products can make. On the other hand, if your client is sensitive due to a skin condition, such as rosacea, eczema or psoriasis, discuss potential triggers and how to avoid or minimize them.