Educating With Science

The backbone of all successful skin care facilities is a combination of business, skin care science and treatment techniques. In December’s online “Vocal Point” survey, we asked our audience “How do you use science to back up your treatment and retail recommendations,” wanting to hear more about how you are using science to help clients get the results that they are seeking, and also educate them at the same time. The majority of you told us that you do this through education.

“I always use science with my client education,” says Gregory Coltren of Syeni Salon & Spa in Apex, North Carolina. “Clients are more likely to listen and purchase products based on your information regarding peptides, lipids, hyaluronic acid and other ingredients. I also give them the Science 101 about why these ingredients are important for fantastic skin. I provide information about why a particular ingredient may be important for that client. For instance, products that contain licorice are great for redness, slight sensitivities and can help rosacea clients with controlling the redness and irritation. This information gives you a backing with your clients and helps foster a level of trust.”

Susan Wright of Radiant Day Spa in Huntsville, Alabama, also uses science to back up what she says with every treatment and skin care product recommendation. “I have taken cosmetic chemistry classes and in-depth skin analysis/physiology classes. I feel very confident using the science and latest research that really began with those classes,” she emphasizes. “I am able to inform my clients about why some products work better on them and why certain procedures will speed up the results that they are seeking.”

Rachael Cerullo of Positively Young Salon & Spa in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, tries to simplify what she is explaining to her clients so it is something they can relate to. “For example, when I am trying to explain about keeping collagen fibers healthy, I will give the analogy of a tree having strong branches. If the tree is not properly taken care of with the right nutrients and water, it will begin to break down,” she explains. “Clients can then understand that having treatments and using retail products that feed the skin is part of the total picture. I also try to explain retail ingredients to them and show an example of a product that has that ingredient in it.”

Janet McCormick also considers the science in the products as important as educating the client in home care at Spa Techniques in Frostproof, Florida. “Every active ingredient has a purpose and can be communicated to the client as beneficial, which stimulates home care sales,” she says. “As for recommending treatments, the science of the ingredients is key to choosing and suggesting treatments for every client.”

Working science into treatments is also something that Kelly Mack at Absolute Precision Skin Care in Chicago does. “Since most of my clients are not exfoliating and are breaking out, I talk about how acne is a bacteria and feeds off of dead skin; if they’re not exfoliating regularly, they’re basically feeding that bacteria, which creates the vicious cycle of acne,” she explains. “When I use the professional exfoliation in treatments, I discuss the enzymes in the product that are eating away at the dead skin and the hydroxy acids that are penetrating into the skin to speed up cell renewal.”

Training is also key when working science into your everyday business. “Ummelina strongly believes in the science of product and the results,” says Meghann Lawrence of Ummelina and Yakima Valley Spa Retreats in Seattle. “If you can’t tell your client more than that the product smells good, then you will not make the sale. We believe in inspiring our clients,” she emphasizes. “When you tell them something they do not already know about an ingredient they are more likely to purchase it. All of our training starts with this. We ask our staff to start off remembering two ingredients and build from there, choosing the most important ingredients.”

Again, education is a key factor to business success and, when combined with results-driven treatments, a strong training program and a thorough understanding of the products used, you can better serve your clients while increasing profitability.

Editor's note: Check out Skin Inc. Video Education at to begin your spa team's advanced science training today!

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