Retail me not

Have you ever found yourself at the tail end of a facial service, relaxed and feeling grounded and revitalized and moments later you get the feeling you're being pressured into purchasing a whole new skin care regimen? Furthermore, your current home regimen and product line is pretty simple so you're smiling and nodding but inside thinking "just be quiet please, I don't want to be in this situation right now...."???

There was a story I was recently told where a client came in for a pretty basic facial, her at home products were ones we can all buy on a shelf at any major retailer for less than $10, her main concern was her oily complexion and dark circles under her eyes and some hyperpigmentation scattered about her face.
She ended up walking away from the facial with close to $300 in products that target dehydration, dryness and aging. Furthermore she was instructed that it was okay to mix some of the products together if she felt like it or didn't have time to do the steps correctly.
Wait, wwhhhaatttt?????

Let's break this down:
1. When a client comes in and tells me that right now they use bar soap & water as their cleanser, never exfoliate and use a body lotion for face lotion, I will admit I do gasp internally for a wisp of time. But what it does is start me on a track about IF I were to retail them a product - I probably don't want to start with a 17 step process. This tells me they were they are at compared to the clients that cleanse with champagne and unicorn kisses - get my drift? There is a scale running from basic to super complex when it comes to what can be done at home. My first step is finding out where you are on this scale and where you want to be going forward.

2. When you come in and fill out your intake form and answer each of the questions, we then go into further detail about them and you may be asked questions like "what is your overall concern today regarding your skincare and what is your expected outcome from today's service?". I'd be able to take away key points: oil, acne, dryness, flaking, etc. AND at the same time know if they are there just to focus on their skin, talk product and knowledge, or do they want to fall asleep while I do my magic?

These first two steps are all about reading the client's needs - spoken and unspoken.
Okay, great, so what's the big deal? If the person didn't want to buy the product they didn't have to.
There's this one little thing though that I value a lot...peace of mind. Knowing that if someone were to ever walk away with all that product, that they'd be a poster child of my service. Why sell someone products that are not for the right skin type, do not target any of their concerns and then tell them to use them incorrectly?
This does not make sense.

If these are the problems how do we solve them?

If you are not interested in an esthetician trying to sell you product after the service, feel confident kindly stating it at the beginning of the service.
"I'm here today mostly because I'm concerned with X and am looking more for pointers rather than new products."
If the person persists at the end of the service simply say "Oh no thank you, not today".
Believe me - we get told "no" a lot and can handle it and you won't get the stink eye!

If you are interested in purchasing product ask the esthetician if they have any samples or a buy back program. This allows you to do the 'ole "try before you buy" test to see if you like how it works, smells, feels on your skin, etc. There is nothing worse that wasting money on skincare products.
Salons and spas that have retail shelves are not going to have a rush of people come in and buy all of their products in one day leaving you barren of this golden skin saving will be there...go home with your samples and do your research. This is a big one for me - go to the company website and look at product reviews, ingredients, or Google it to see what people are saying in other forums. If you use the samples and think this is something you'd like - then go back and make that purchase. (Just be sure to let them know who recommended it in case your esti is commission based). 

What to do about the esthetician giving out poor advice and capitalizing on pressuring people? I believe all of us esthetician's have the same access to higher education courses. Most salons and spas cover some costs for in house training, tradeshow attendance, seminar style classes and CE credits. We are all pretty much connected at the hip to technology nowadays and there are a ton of forums you can participate in on social media. There are magazines such as SKIN, Inc. and many others that send articles to your email daily. You could even follow pages for dermatology to gain an even higher degree of inside scoop. Learning from each other and helping each other is the end goal. The only way for me to learn a new technique is for another esthetician to teach it to me. Be a sponge - ask lots of questions - then share with others! And be up front with your client - ask them what they want from the experience - everyone feels better when boundaries aren't crossed.

This is a two part post I'd mentioned above, the client was given an improper product application process so one of the things I want to talk about next is how to use products appropriately.

If you have ever been in this situation before I urge you to trust this is not the norm. Give it another try - you, and your skin, are worth it!

Brooke BatemanComment