Professional Beauty
Professional Beauty


Ask the experts

How can I help my therapists improve their social skills and form better relationships with clients?

All salons and spas should have their own welcome and departure style that not only sets the experience apart but helps clients recognise it every time they visit.

Part of this experience is connecting with the guest, so it’s vital to stress to your therapists the value of kindness and social skills.

Having a four to six-point process in place that staff can use upon a client’s entry into the salon or spa will help them start to form a relationship, from introduction right up until departure.

A standard four-point process would be something like: 1. greet the client by name as they come in – for example, “Good morning Mrs Smith”; 2. offer to take their coat; 3. guide them through to the relaxation space; 4. ask if they would like a hot beverage or a refreshing cold drink. A simple process like this will really help take the pressure off.

It’s also important for therapists to understand that a treatment begins when the client walks through the door to the salon, not the treatment room. My therapists touch the client’s arm or back when asking them to take a seat before treatment so they feel relaxed and connected. Guests won’t always remember what you said but they will always remember how you made them feel.

A staff workshop on salon and spa social skills – reminding employees of who you are, how you want your business to be perceived, and the kindness and respect they should show to your clients – is also a good way to help those who are unsure on how to behave with guests outside of the treatment room. Younger therapists, especially Generation Z, may struggle with these social skills due to the high intensity of social media and mobile phone use, but you needn’t worry, politeness and professionalism are both traits that can be learned.

Tracey Woodward is chief executive of professional skincare brand Aromatherapy Associates and has more than 30 years’ industry experience. Woodward previously held management roles at Aveda, Clinique, Donna Karan, Estée Lauder and Urban Retreat.


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I’m newly trained in tanning. How can I create the perfect tan every time?

When clients come to you for a treatment, they want a bronzed tan reminiscent of summer holidays and good health. There are a few things you can do to ensure you achieve that flawless tan for every customer.

Exfoliation is key as the skin needs to be prepped in order to achieve the most flawless result. Getting clients to use a skin polish prior to treatment will get rid of dead cells and create a blank, even base to start the tanning process.

When it comes to the tanning solution, less is more in terms of application. You only need a super-fine mist to get the best result. Not only will this create a faster drying tan for your client, it will get you more applications from a litre. It also means your client should be able to walk out of the salon without feeling tacky or wet.

You need to use a barrier cream pre-treatment to protect drier areas of skin such as the hands, elbows, knees and feet from absorbing too much DHA. The cream will stop these areas developing as dark as the rest of body, creating a more natural-looking tan. At the end of treatment, use a damp cloth to wipe away any barrier cream on the palms and fingernails.

Finally, don’t let clients leave without the proper aftercare advice: no contact with water for at least six to eight hours, avoid activities that will make them perspire, rinse in the shower with water only when the tan is ready to come off and moisturise daily with a non-oily product.

Rachel Lewis is head of training and education at professional tanning brand Vita Liberata. She has three years’ experience delivering expert knowledge in the industry.

Which bridal nail looks are set to be big this summer?

Gone are the days of a bride pairing her wedding dress with nails in the palest of pinks. The concept that the nail treatment has to be as classic as the wedding ring is now history, with brides no longer limited to pastels and soft white tones.

Clients are now taking inspiration from the catwalks and social media, pairing their ring with nail art that is just as striking. So, as a nail tech, you need to be daring and offer clients a mix of designs – from classic to the more avant-garde.

It’s common for a bride-to-be to try on several dresses before they find “the one” but they also need to try on more than one nail design to ensure they get the look they want. Keep records and images of your best work so you can offer a wide choice of designs and colours.

You also need to ensure the client looks after her hands and nails in the run up to the big day – recommend regular use of a cuticle oil and hand cream to keep both in top condition.

Planning your client’s wedding-day nail design is also a great way to build your reputation as a nail artist. There are going to be lots of people trying to catch a glimpse of that lovely wedding ring and, as a result, your work on her nails.

Getting your client’s nails right for her big day is a fantastic opportunity to enhance your reputation and showcase your work, and to gain a loyal client for life.

Jacqui O’Sullivan is executive director of education at Louella Belle, which distributes Artistic and Morgan Taylor. She is also a member of the Association of Nail Technicians and has been judging nail competitions since 2005.


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I want to host a make-up workshop. How should I plan and set it up?

For your workshop to be a success, you have to keep the content concise and interactive. Break it down into digestible sections so customers can mimic each step along the way, and be sure to offer lots of practical tips.

Organisation is also key. Prepare for the event by laying out sets of brushes and mirrors for each individual attendee, as well as the basics – tissues, cotton pads, cleansers and moisturisers, as not all attendees will arrive with a clean, make-up-free face.

To keep costs down, have plenty of disposable implements such as sponge applicators, throwaway brow brushes and cotton tips available, and when it comes to lipstick, use a brush to remove colour from the bullet rather than applying straight from the product.

Also, be mindful about the dangers of dirty brushes. You need to clean them before and after every workshop to remove make-up build-up and prevent bacteria spreading, which is particularly problematic on brushes used for liquid make-up.

Cleaning brushes regularly – ideally once a week – also keeps them in perfect condition and gives them a longer life span, so you get the best performance from your make-up. Use the last five to 10 minutes of your workshop to educate your attendees on the importance of cleaning their tools while also using this as a time to retail your brushes, too. Once you’ve completed a few successful workshops, you’ll soon start to build a fan base with customers starting to anticipate your next event.

Kirstie Bower is an educator and national sales manager for Mii Cosmetics and helped to launch the brand, which is owned by Gerrard International, in 2011. Bower trained as a make-up artist at the London College of Fashion.

I’m looking to open a second salon but I’m scared I’ll be stretching myself too thin. What should I do?

I understand these concerns but in my experience, the more you do, the more you can do.

Remember, once you have your first salon established and running smoothly, you’ve tried and tested most business operations and have a great understanding of what makes a salon tick – which will also save you a lot of stress from the start.

This paves the way for you to launch a second business with a lot of the initial problems such as sourcing suppliers, shop fit and budgets already worked out. It’s also massively important to ensure your recruitment process is strict as good managers will be key to your success.

Make sure your managers understand your vision and business structure and that you’ll be able to rely on them when you’re not around. Developing successful leaders is a key part of the process so education should be a fundamental part of any expansion plan.

Training is one of the foundations of my business success. I’m continually looking at ways to keep our affiliates eager and motivated, and this is key in any business looking to expand and keep staff feeling inspired.

Combining your understanding of how business works with a drive to succeed means you’ve already put yourself in a good position to build on a strong set up.

Karen Betts is director and owner of High Definition and Nouveau Lashes, and founder of her own permanent make-up brand KB Pro.


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I’ve heard a lot about combining treatments to get the best results. How will this approach help my clinic?

Nowadays, clients are far more educated when it comes to beauty and aesthetics and want even more from their treatments, including fast results.

In response, clinics are avoiding the one-size-fits-all policy and combining advanced aesthetic treatments to give clients a new level of personalisation.

Combining technologies allows you to give a more effective and flexible offering when treating skin concerns because you can adjust protocols, often changing treatments during a course to deliver the best results.

For example, if I prescribe a course of six Dermaceutic Cosmo Peels that include down time and feel the client is responding well after three or four, I could then change treatments five and six to Milk Peels instead, acting as more of a refinement to the skin. This change will enhance the results for the client and help to maintain overall good skin health.

By offering a bespoke treatment plan supported with advice on a balanced diet, good skin health and recommended exercise programme for a holistic approach to healthy living, you can take full control of the client’s concerns and optimise each session for a positive outcome. The client receives the best results and you gain their trust and loyalty.

Rabbia Aslam is an expert in aesthetic beauty and has been specialising in non-surgical cosmetic treatments for more than a decade, channelling this into her work as clinical director at mini-chain HC MedSpa.

What’s the best way to create the cut-crease make-up look on clients?

Traditional eye contouring is centred around the shape of the eye and tailoring the contour to the individual, whereas the cut-crease trend is a new way to add sophisticated drama, creating depth along the natural arc of the eye, with little or no blending, for a stylish impact. What I love most about this trend is that it gives immediate lift, adds dimension and is easily adaptable to the shape of any lid. Plus, when executed correctly, it can completely elevate your client’s whole make-up look.

My favourite cut-crease technique is to use a mix of cream and powder shadows with a defined gel liner. For the base colour, start with a lighter, creamy shimmery shadow along the lid, blended from the crease down, then set with a lighter powder shadow.

Then, using a cream gel liner in a deep navy, draw a thick line into the natural fold of the eye lid, starting in the centre then sweeping back and forth until you’ve drawn a defined line from the inner corner of the crease to the outer corner, without extending past the end of the eyebrow.

The last step in this bold yet balanced shadow look is to blend a complementary powder eyeshadow along the liner, focusing the pigment along the crease.

To keep your application looking flawless, blend the shadow into and above the defined line, ensuring it doesn’t fall below the crease.

Tiffany Kissler is director of style and artistry for professional make-up brand Vincent Longo Cosmetics. Kissler has worked as a make-up artist for leading brands Bobbi Brown, Guerlain and Trish McEvoy in the US.


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This article appears in the Professional Beauty June 2017 Issue of Professional Beauty

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This article appears in the Professional Beauty June 2017 Issue of Professional Beauty