The Top 3 Mistakes Estheticians Make Over and Over ... and How to Fix Them!

Three easily avoidable mistakes can derail any facial. Find out if you or your team members have ever made any of these and learn their simple fixes!
Three easily avoidable mistakes can derail any facial. Find out if you or your team members have ever made any of these and learn their simple fixes!

What makes the difference between a good facial and a great facial? How do you get clients to rebook? One of the reasons I love my role as the director of education for Bioelements is that I’m able to talk with skin care professionals every day about what happens in the treatment room--the good and the bad. I’ve spoken with thousands of estheticians, and throughout my almost two decades in the industry, I’ve noticed that the same three easily avoidable mistakes can derail any facial.

Mistake No. 1: Stimulating without sedating.

A client receives a facial at her neighborhood spa. When it’s over, she tells her esthetician her skin feels like it’s tingling and is uncomfortable. What happened?

In this case, the client told the esthetician she had sensitive skin. In the treatment room, after exfoliating with a physical scrub, the esthetician used a microdermabrasion machine for additional physical exfoliation. After this “double exfoliation” process, she used nothing to calm or sedate the skin post-treatment.

The fix. Here’s the rule: If you stimulate, you must sedate. Any time you exfoliate, you must immediately follow with a skin-sedating professional-grade mask to prevent negative reactions. It’s a crucial step to instantly take down any redness and calm skin’s nerve endings, as well as any cellular irritation. In this case, it was absolutely necessary, since this esthetician incorrectly performed a double exfoliation on a first-time client with sensitive skin (another mistake that should have been avoided).

At any point in your treatment, if you see excess redness or if the skin feels hot or if, at any point, the client complains of itchiness, discomfort or burning, that’s your clue that the skin needs sedation. Be prepared to create an emergency soothing mask with ingredients, such as soothing colloidal oatmeal and hydrocortisone.

Mistake No. 2: Not knowing contraindications

Do you know all the different generic prescription names for Retin-A? An esthetician named Erica had a client tell her she was not on Retin-A, but when Erica waxed her, the skin lifted right off. It was only then that the client said she was on Atralin. Erica politely explained that Retin-A has many names, in order to prevent this from happening again.

Here’s another situation: Esthetician Kate asked her long-time client if anything had changed since her last visit, and the client said no, so the facial proceeded. However, during exfoliation, Kate saw that the skin was lifting. She immediately sprayed the skin with cool water and applied a cool towel as she began trying to determine what was happening. She asked the client if there may have been something she forgot to share during the assessment. The client explained that she was now taking an antidepressant, but was too embarrassed to tell the esthetician earlier. Kate looked up the drug and, sure enough, a side effect was thinning of the skin. She got through the treatment with a soothing, custom-blended mask, and she’s still Kate’s client today.

The fix. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, almost half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug. There are a lot of prescriptions your client can be taking, so it’s more important than ever to be your own investigator. A SkinReading® is so vital. Pre-read the skin under your lamp, and look for clues--is her skin severely dehydrated, flaking, irritated or thin? It’s important to explain to your clients WHY you are asking the questions you ask; it’s their skin that’s at stake!

Pro tip. Know your contraindications. For example, keep a list in the treatment room of the various names Retin A can be listed under. Post it on the wall or keep it easily accessible.

Mistake No. 3: Skipping the at-home recommendation

What would you do if, two weeks after receiving a facial, a client returns to you saying that the facial caused her to breakout? This happened to an esthetician who called me asking for advice.

The first thing I did after hearing this story was to ask the following: Did she perform a SkinReading and professionally recommend the right products for her client to use at home? Her response? “No.”

The fix. Your service doesn’t end when the treatment finishes. In fact, you totally lose control of your treatment results once the client leaves your room if you don’t send her home with the right at-home products. You run the risk of the client assuming the facial is the cause of any future skin problems, which the client did in the example above. When you professionally recommend the appropriate at-home agenda of professional skin care products, you’re completing the "circle of treatment" clients expect. At-home products are your insurance to maximize your facial results, make them last and ensure client satisfaction.

You can learn more about the entire Bioelements professional skin care line at www.Bioelements.com/pros. Chat with me and other Bioelements experts at www.facebook.com/bioelements; don’t miss our skin care blog at www.Bioelements.com/blog and sign up for our newsletter to get tips, news and offers from Bioelements.


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