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Selling the Traveler's Treatment

By: Christine Spehar
Posted: June 17, 2008, from the July 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Traveling is one of life’s most rewarding experiences—new adventures await at every destination. Skin, however, doesn’t always seem to comply with the jovial mood a good trip can bring. It’s often finicky, reacting to a new climate in the most unexpected and downright inconvenient ways. As a skin care professional, it’s your job to help your clients’ skin look beautiful, no matter where their travels take them.

Marketing travelers’ skin care doesn’t have to be complicated—facials, wraps and peels for vacationers can be devised from options already on the spa menu. In the summer months, when vacationing increases, take advantage of your clients’ urge to explore by offering skin therapies to match their escapades. Once you learn how to address common complexion problems experienced on the road or in the air, you’ll be able to help any jet-setter—from mountain trekker to museum hopper—look great.

Airplane air

Anyone who has ever flown knows that airplane air is dehydrating and irritating to the epidermis, resulting in flaky, dull-looking skin. Kirsten Marcotte, a former flight attendant for Southwest Airlines and the owner of the Boulder, Colorado-based esthetic company Skinsations, suggests offering travelers a better skin care option than the bar soap they typically use when trying to pack light.

“The biggest problem with skin care for travelers is being diligent about using a good line of products. They commonly use the soap in the shower to wash their faces, because they’re tired or didn’t pack anything else,” says Marcotte. “The problem with using bar soap is that it has a pH balance of 9.5–10.5. However, it’s important to use a product that has a pH balance of less than the skin’s pH of 4.5–6.8.” In the spa, she recommends offering travel-size bottles or packs of skin care treatments that clients can purchase before their trips. This will increase sales revenue, as well as generate client trust and loyalty.

Because the air on planes is so dry, it also is important to use the right kind of moisturizer, especially one that does not contain humectants. “When used in the right environment, humectants work wonderfully. But they require moisture, and if there is none in the air, they take it from the skin. This is an obvious issue on airplanes because there is no moisture in the air,” says Victoria L. Rayner, the founder of the Center for Appearance & Esteem in San Francisco and the Institute for Career Advancement in Washington, D.C., which provide esthetic training and esthetician licensing preparation. If a client does not have oily skin, recommend that they use an occlusive product that will seal in moisture while on the plane or in a dry environment. “An oil-based product is best in this situation,” Rayner notes.

Harsh conditions