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Hair Removal in Hard Times

By: Abby Penning
Posted: March 27, 2009, from the April 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Book, wax, repeat—if only hair removal treatments nowadays were so simple. Fierce competition, economic effects and at-home treatments are all factors that have to be considered when weighing those hair removal services on your menu. Add to that the sanitation and training needed to perform waxing, laser, electrolysis, threading or tweezing, and it might just have you wondering whether hair removal offerings are worth keeping.

A look at the client desire for these professional treatments, however, still shows an immense demand. “Hair removal is something that a lot of women aren’t willing to let go by the wayside,” says Nona Daron, co-owner of Flying Beauticians, which has locations in San Francisco and Mill Valley, California. “And it’s women from all different cultures and generations who want that smooth skin and to feel feminine in that way—basically, they want that hair gone.”

The need for multiple, recurring hair removal maintenance treatments is something that is still driving the sales of these services, too. “People want to maintain what they’ve started,” says Ann Derenne, owner of the Skin Tight Medi-Spa & Salon in Colgate, Wisconsin. “If you just let it go, that’s like money out the door.” But more than that, hair removal services tend to be affordable for spa clients, as well as for the spas themselves, and they can easily make a large impact on both. Mandy Ford, operations team leader for the Nuovo Salon Group, three Aveda Lifestyle salons in Sarasota, Florida, says, “Something as simple as a brow waxing and shaping can really help boost morale and confidence for such a small expenditure.” There are a few keys to keeping your hair removal services at the height of demand, and knowing what to watch out for can keep your clients coming in again and again.

Keep clients close

Knowing your clients and the hair removal options they need are the first steps to staying relevant. Ford, whose facilities are in Florida, a popular tourist destination, explains that Nuovo keeps its main local clients in mind at all times. “Although we’re happy to have seasonal clients, the people we see on a regular basis are key for consistency,” she says.

Understanding each and every client, as well as their needs and issues, also comes in handy when creating that all-important relationship of trust, so slacking off on critical questions is a bad idea. “At times, estheticians forget to ask clients if they are taking any medications or using topical ointment treatments that might affect hair removal. Intake forms should be completed each and every time,” Ford says. “All it can take is one bad experience to create a negative impression. As a service provider, you work to build and maintain a high-trust relationship, and finding out the clients’ needs is really part of that. Listening is something that is so essential—consulting with each client is crucial and, believe it or not, spending that one-on-one time with clients creates a point of difference from the rest. The client feels heard and a relationship is created.”