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Stepping Up to Downsizing

By: Michelle Balmer and Julie Logan
Posted: April 29, 2011, from the May 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

In November 2010, MSNBC anchor Brian Williams reported on the “living more with less” trend and, although getting back to basics and reducing unnecessary products and possessions to have more space and time for experiences, family and socializing sounded good, how will it work in the marketplace? More specifically, how could this work for esthetic professionals whose bread and butter depends on selling beauty products to their clients?

Some clients are simplifying their lives by choice. Others are doing so because financial pressures give them no other option. Either way, following are six methods to deliver a high-end message to even low-maintenance clients.

  1. Offer possibility. What is being sold when selling skin care products and services is possibility ... the possibility of looking younger, of having clearer skin and more. Even minimalist clients or those who are cutting back still want all the skin-improving results that high-maintenance regimens bring. Because they also want the optimism and emotional lift that comes from using products that really deliver, your attitude counts for a lot here.
  2. Understand priorities. The Mintel Facial Skin Care Report 2010 notes that buyers are willing to spend more on products designed to slow or stop the aging process than on any other skin care item. Although anti-aging products generally cost more than basic moisturizers, toners or cleansers, consumers are willing to incur those costs if they believe they will reap the most benefit.
  3. Market multitaskers. Products designed to offer more than one benefit simultaneously—such as moisture, anti-aging ingredients and SPF benefits—have never been hotter with consumers. Why? Because they save time, money and effort—and who doesn’t appreciate that?
  4. Look to multitasking actives. Active ingredients can also give a clue as to multitasking capabilities. For example, the popular humectant hyaluronic acid can perform multiple functions. According to CEO and founder of Fountain Valley, California-based Benchmark Cosmetic Laboratories, Susan Goldsberry, “Everyone knows hyaluronic acid as a highly efficacious moisturizer, but new research shows that it also has powerful benefits to skin as both an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory.”
  5. Educate with multitasking tips. Create extra value for premium product recommendations by coming up with multiple uses for them. Your clients will love you for these because they will make them feel like skin care insiders and enable them to get more bang for their buck. Double-duty favorites include the following.

6. Power cleansing. Market research shows that many clients are making drugstore purchases, particularly with cleansers. But new, noninvasive cleansing devices, such as sonic, microcurrent and safe, low-level lasers, can enhance any cleanser as well as accelerate product absorption after treatments. Although the initial investment is high, the device can be used for many years and will enable clients to get more mileage out of their skin care routine, no matter how basic. And by selling this type of high-ticket item, you’ll be able to make a little extra, as well.

A story to tell

What multitasking products give the skin care professional is something of true value: a story to tell clients and consumers in a fun and clever way that’s applicable to real life. By showing clients an insider tip or two on how they can work a product in more ways than one, you’re acting as an invaluable skin care mentor, providing practical advice and becoming an indispensable expert.

Michelle Balmer is a product development, branding and training consultant. Julie Logan is a writer and branding consultant who lives in a small town near Los Angeles.