A Global Service Outlook

By Linda Harding-Bond

As the world becomes smaller and new demographic markets emerge, the opportunities to work on a global clientele are increasing. If you want to attract a multicultural audience, you must have a global service outlook that will suit every ethnicity. Following is a cheat sheet for skin care professionals who want to attract and keep an ethnic clientele.

Smile. A smile is a universal welcoming signal that crosses all boundaries and immediately puts your client at ease. Initial chatting may be more expected among different ethnic groups, so bump up your charm a bit.

Interview your client. Every client’s skin is different, based upon how she lives her daily life, genetics, and what she uses on her skin. Don’t assume anything; just ask.

Don’t categorize your clients. Knowing the Fitzpatrick Classification Scale is not enough. Check skin for hyperpigmentation, which may indicate trauma, and will provide considerable information for you about what products can be used on the client’s skin.

Make the client comfortable. If your wraps and robes are skimpy and you have a plus-sized client, recommend that she forgo the wrap and just climb under the sheet. Also, if your client has a hairstyle that is not washable, offer her an additional headband or even a shower cap, especially if heavy steam is involved.

Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse. The more glamorous ethnic clients are often huge fans of cream-to-powder makeup formulations and pigment-rich eye shadows. Consider using makeup remover and work it into the skin first before cleansing. Never hesitate to perform a third gentle cleansing if necessary, but do not scrub the skin.

Use your loupe. Look past the color to the skin. I recently had a Latina client who had fine capillary activity and redness on her cheeks that was visible only under the loupe. It turned out that her father was Irish and suffered from rosacea. I modified her facial accordingly.

Be gentle. It is a common belief that the darker the skin tone, the rougher the skin can be treated. The opposite is true. Here’s the rule of thumb: If it causes pain to your client, it is probably causing hyperpigmentation, as well. Be gentle!

Avoid extractions during the initial facial. A good rule for the first facial is to provide clients with skin that is polished, luminous and smooth to the touch. They always return, and this is when you start focusing on in-depth cleaning.

Watch your time. Because there is such a dearth of information and skin care professionals who truly understand ethnic skin, many ethnic clients will have a myriad of questions. Add a minimum of five additional minutes to the normal amount of time you allow yourself for product recommendations when working with a new client with skin of color.

Check in later. This, of course, is customer service 101, but with your ethnic clients, you are certain to score huge points if you call them later in the week to see how their skin is doing after a facial. This is also a perfect way to offset concerns about possible skin reactions. Just be sure to allow yourself sufficient time to chat.