Professional Beauty
Professional Beauty


ask the EXPERTS

Ask the Experts

How can I introduce vitamin A to clients who have never used it before?

Vitamin A is the single most important molecule you can use on your client’s skin. It plays a vital role in the metabolic processes and DNA activity, influencing up to 1,000 genes. This means it’s responsible for the way cells behave, including how they differentiate into specialist cells and mature into fully functional, healthy cells.

However, it’s important clients understand the different forms of vitamin A and how they affect the skin. The three key types to tell your clients about are:

• Retinoic acid: This is the metabolically active form of vitamin A and the one that does all the work on the DNA of our cells. It’s prescription -only and can be extremely irritating when used topically.

• Retinol: the alcohol form which is used to transport vitamin A in the bloodstream. It’s very unstable and can be quite irritating on skin, often causing it to peel.

• Retinyl palmitate and retinyl acetate: these milder, more stable, fat-soluble forms of vitamin A are easily tolerated by skin and are stored in the liver, skin and in cells all over the body. In fact, more than 80% of vitamin A found in the skin is in this form.

To avoid reactions, start clients on a low level of vitamin A and build up the dosage – at Environ we use a step-up programme of one (the lowest level) to five. Keep them on the low-level prescription for a minimum of three months and then increase it according to their skin’s response.

If a client experiences a retinoid reaction, common signs being redness and peeling, it means their skin is especially deficient in vitamin A, so they actually need it the most.

Remind clients that this reaction will pass and encourage them to take vitamin A supplements to help skin acclimatise internally as well as externally.

Explain to them that feeding the skin from the inside is just as important as fortifying it from the outside.

Tracy Tamaris is co-founder of the International Institute for Anti-Ageing (IIAA), which distributes vitamin A-rich skincare range Environ, Jane Iredale make-up and Advanced Nutrition Programme. Tamaris oversees the company’s training strategy.


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What’s the best way to spray tan clients with scars and stretch marks?

During my 17 years in the industry, I’ve tanned more than 15,000 people and have found that a spray tan is by far the best way to even out and disguise scars or stretch marks.

An overall golden glow helps to disguise the difference in colour where scaring is but to get it right you need to do the correct prep work. Before starting the treatment, apply barrier cream to scars with a cotton bud to stop these areas appearing darker after the spray tan, as solution will stick to dry skin. This will also stop over-absorption on any scaring.

Layering the tan is another way to help disguise stretch marks but use a warm, subtle colour as opposed to a dark hue for the best results.

Many clients ask if a spray tan will completely hide stretch marks. Unfortunately it doesn’t, but the formula will cover the skin, leading to a much more even tone and appearance. There are even things clients can do at home with self tan to evenly disguise scars and stretch marks.

James Harknett is global creative consultant for tanning brand Fake Bake and has a tanning residency at the Away Spa at W Hotel in London. His celebrity clients include TV presenters Emma Willis and Christine Bleakley.

For example, non-committal wash-off tans are more effective than DHA wear-off ones for covering stretch marks because they’re more cosmetic and can be used like body make-up, adding more where it’s needed.

How do I say no to clients asking for extensions that will damage their lashes?

Being a well-respected lash artist is about creating long-lasting results. However, for some clients, the look they want may not be possible, so managing expectations is an invaluable skill to learn.

An initial consultation is key to gathering information about your client’s expected outcomes and it’s at this point you need to avoid giving false expectations.

For example, if a client is being persistent that they want extralong or thick extensions and you know this is not suitable for their natural lashes, say no, explain why and then offer an alternative look that will work better.

As a lash artist, you understand the difference between a set of extensions that would damage a client’s natural lashes versus a set that would not, so make sure to educate your clients about this.

Spend time telling them about extension sizes, diameters, weights and how different looks are created, and don’t give in to pressure. Remember, you’re the trained professional.

Zachary Falb is global master trainer for professional lash brand Novalash, where he works towards raising health and safety standards in the lash extension industry.

What are the best stretching techniques to use during a male intimate wax?

Positioning your client correctly during an intimate wax is fundamental to an effective service. Using the right stretch movements will reduce discomfort and stop unnecessary skin trauma, bruising or hair breakage.

Communication is key because asking your client to adopt what can be slightly embarrassing positions won’t be well received if he isn’t prepared. Also, to help with the stretch of the skin, you will need your client’s participation. You only have one pair of hands so they’ll often need to contribute to pulling the skin taut.

Talk your client through what will happen and make sure he washes his hands beforehand so that the areas being waxed won’t be at risk of bacteria. When getting on the bed, ask your client to lie flat and place a pillow under his head for support.

Then, position his legs in the number four position – where you bend the leg, placing the bottom of his right foot on the inside of his left leg and vice versa – as this will give a good stretch around the inner thigh and groin area, allowing you to work on the scrotum. Stretch but don’t press the scrotum when applying and removing the wax. Bringing the knees up to the chest and dropping them to the sides, known as the frog position, will keep skin tight to allow you to work on hair on the underside of the scrotum and perineum.

Lisa Stone is a wax expert and educator for Just Wax distributor Salon System. She trains therapists up and down the country and has 20 years’ experience.

Clients will need to assist you in the stretch by pulling skin upwards.

As a nail tech, what harmful chemicals should I look out for in products?

Clients are more aware than ever of which ingredients will keep their nails in top condition and which to avoid, so it’s vital you know your products inside out.

Not being able to tell a client about what’s inside the polish or hand cream you stock could damage the trust you have with them, so research is important. Understanding your products means you’re able to use what’s right for the client, giving them the best results.

For example, if your client is pregnant then there are certain ingredients they will have been advised to avoid, such as some aromatherapy oils, so check that your products don’t contain traces of these.

You should also avoid stocking nail lacquers that contain formaldehyde (a colourless, flammable gas), DBP (the chemical dibuty phthalate) or toluene (water-insoluble liquid), as these chemicals can be harmful when inhaled.

In consultation, find out if your client has any allergies or has experienced reactions to certain products before to make sure you use products free from what they’re allergic too – for example, nuts.

Elisha Micallef is an educator for OPI and has worked with the professional nail brand for 10 years. Micallef also represents OPI on shopping channel QVC, demoing new products.

What’s the best way to increase retail sales without heavy selling?

There are a few things you can do in salon to boost your retail figures without going in for the hard sell.

Loyalty programmes can help you increase sales without feeling like you’re being pushy. For example, every time your client receives a treatment from you they earn X number of points and can use these towards purchasing retail products in salon. This type of programme should boost both treatment and retail sales.

It’s a fact in retail that people look right as they enter a building, so it´s the best place to display your best-sellers, but make sure they’re on eye level and have clear pricing to draw attention. You should also have testers out for clients to play with.

Make sure your retail space isn’t right next to the door as this stops people from looking. If it’s set back and next to your reception area, clients will mooch around looking at products while they’re waiting be collected for their treatment.

Caroline Biggs is founder of natural skincare brand Infinatura and an international distributor for hair and beauty products at KCI Hair & Beauty. She has 34 years’ experience working in and teaching beauty.

Carbon-copy prescription pads are also a great way to boost retail without coming on too strong. Simply fill in your product recommendations and then give the client the top copy to take with them. They will either look for these products in the retail area straightaway or it will nudge them to think about it later when they get home.

Which make-up products are best to use on mature skin?

When working on older skin, you not only need to consider skin tone, type, texture and what is realistically achievable, but which products will provide the best results.

For mature clients, foundations with lightweight formulations or light-reflective properties are best as they prevent heavy build-up on skin that lacks elasticity – a BB cream works especially well as it provides protection while evening out skin tone.

Peach-toned, light-reflective concealers are good for use on thin skin around the eyes as they brighten the area, resulting in a more youthful complexion. Often, make-up artists and therapists overload this area, resulting in a build-up of product that accentuates fine lines and wrinkles.

It’s also important to use shades that are not completely matte as these will make skin look lacklustre, and avoid heavy glitter and sparkle shades on the eyes as these will only enhance thin skin.

A simple and quick make-up application of blusher on the apples of cheeks, eyes and tip of the nose will also suggest a healthy complexion. PB

Steve Douch is a leading make-up artist and has launched his own make-up range STV Cosmetics. His work has been featured in fashion, advertising and commercial shoots for the likes of Dolce and Gabbana, Nike and the BBC.

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

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