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The Top 10 Professional Skin Care Industry Trends for 2013

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: November 29, 2012, from the December 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
The Top 10 Trends for 2013

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In September 2012, the Global Spa and Wellness Summit (GSWS) released an extensive study exploring the challenges faced by this growing industry confronted with a talent gap. The study examines the difficulties the industry faces in hiring qualified management personnel, the root cause of this high demand for talent and recommendations to address the workforce gap. The report was commissioned by the GSWS after 95% of delegates attending its 2011 summit reported lack of training/education as the greatest challenge facing the industry, and hiring qualified spa managers and directors the largest obstacle to the continued growth of their own businesses. This is not a new problem for the professional skin care industry, but it is becoming more of a threat than ever before. Although recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates jobs for licensed estheticians are predicted to increase the most out of all the jobs in the beauty industry over the next decade, the question is: How will those new estheticians climb the ladder and learn the business skills needed to go to the next level and help spas—and the industry itself—succeed?

4. Farm-to-treatment table services

Many professional skin care clients are seeking results, as well as an experience and a more wholesome way of living. These are often the same clients as those who have adopted the progressive skin wellness philosophy. Skin care facilities throughout the country are appealing to these clients’ desires by offering farm-to-treatment table services, allowing clients to experience an ingredient in its natural environment, harvest that ingredient and then enjoy a treatment—and sometimes a meal—using the plant they harvested with their own hands. This back-to-nature experience lets clients put knowledge behind their treatment, allowing them to assign a positive emotion to your skin care facility. If a client goes on a tour of a lavender farm, cultivates lavender, enjoys a lavender treatment and goes home with a lavender product, she will always equate this wonderful experience to your facility every time she smells lavender. What a memorable way to keep clients coming back for more!

5. Pedicures with purpose

A nice foot massage, smooth tootsies, trendy polish with an even trendier name ... who doesn’t like a good pedicure? However, it is becoming more apparent that pedicures require more education and training that originally thought. Between the challenges of diseases, such as diabetes, equipment sanitation and multiple contraindications, pedicures are not always to frothy treat that some clients—and spas—think it is. “Podology” is a term that helps distinguish a professional who has advanced training and knowledge in pedicures from the standard nail technician. This advanced education involves knowledge ranging from foot structure, to what techniques are appropriate to use for which clients. Clients are going to soon learn to ask whether the professional giving their pedicure has been trained in podology. Is your skin care facility going to be able to answer affirmatively?

6. Specialty spas

The phrase “Focus on what you’re good at” has never been more applicable than it is to these facilities. Instead of trying to please everyone all the time, these businesses know what they are good at and only focus on that. Whether it is lash extensions, waxing or express treatments, skin care facilities are popping up all over the country with a specialty. Finding a niche and excelling at it can often result in a more loyal clientele than spas that try to do it all featuring a huge menu, but mediocre services. Expect to see more and more of these specialty businesses in the future for those clients who only want the best.

7. Culturally inspired treatments

Compared to the rest of the world, the professional skin care industry in the United States is in its early years, and it can learn a lot from looking beyond its own borders. Spas are reaching out to global cultures for inspiration on how to provide unique and effective professional skin care services for clients who want an experience along with results. Globe-trotting services that are spanning the hemispheres are coming from countries as diverse as India, Thailand, Russia and the Middle East. International travel may not be in your clients’ budgets right now, but providing them with a treatment that opens the door to a different region can help provide insight into the skin care values shared by the world.

8. Active ingredients

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