7 mins


Our beauty experts answer your questions about every aspect of running a salon or spa business

How do skincare delivery systems work and what are the main types?

There’s a plethora of choice when it comes to skincare products and if the marketing hype is to be believed then they all claim to deliver results. However, it’s important when selecting a range for your salon or clinic that you understand your objective as a skincare professional and have a good grasp of the science.

A targeted facial will give a results-led performance, and it’s the performance we will explore more deeply. The corneocytes in the top layers of the stratum corneum are in their dying phase, so while it’s always important to preserve the integrity of the stratum corneum for optimal barrier health, to effect change we need to target at a cellular level. In other words, we need the active ingredients to penetrate deep down into the skin.

This sounds simple but in fact it’s not, because the barrier is designed to be waterproof and impenetrable to prevent trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) and the invasion of parasites and micro-organisms. Most topicals, professional or otherwise, have a molecular size that is just too large to penetrate the skin barrier. Research shows that only molecules of 500 daltons or less can pass through the corneal layers. So, products may well contain phenomenal ingredients but if they can’t get through the barrier to where they need to be, then they will just sit on the surface of the skin.

This may be acceptable if you’re needing an occlusive barrier to protect against TEWL, but not so if you wish to encourage impactful cellular change. So, how do we get deeper into the skin if the molecules are too large? This is where our sector has looked to the pharmaceutical industry which, for years, has been using delivery systems to make topical applications bio-available.

In essence, cosmeceutical skincare ranges have combined the innovative science of carefully designed delivery systems with potent, active, and proven ingredients to encourage targeted and sustainable results.

By encapsulating molecules – which is a costly process – with ingredients that are compatible with the lipid bilayers of the skin, we can effectively trick the skin barrier into green-lighting absorption. The most widely used delivery systems in the cosmetic industry are liposomes.

Liposomes are an empty vesicle with a phospholipid shell. The active hydrophilic or lipophilic molecule is placed inside, and this keeps it stable, until it is slowly released at its point of destination. Risk of degradation and dissipation of the ingredient are diminished in the process, ensuring minimal irritation and potent efficacy.

There are other delivery systems – transfersomes, niosomes, microparticles and nanoparticles – and research will keep improving and fine-tuning these.

Maria Rylott-Byrd is a facialist, owner of Maria Rylott-Byrd Skin Health and Transformation in Buckinghamshire, and a member of The Skin Collaborative – an online platform that educates the public on skin.

What language should I use on my website and consultation form so it’s inclusive to non-binary and trans clients?

Titles and pronouns are a big part of the day-to-day language we use when addressing or referring to other people. As beauty therapists, we regularly meet new customers who could be binary, non-binary (also known as enby), cis-gender or trans.

Most of our booking systems ask for the name of the client and then we all happily assume the person’s gender.

As a trans awareness educator, I talk about pronouns daily and see far too many gender references made regularly in our industry. Gender is a spectrum and with 2% of the population being trans, the chances are you have met, employed, or treated someone who didn’t feel comfortable sharing their gender identity. So, what can we do? Let’s start with the easiest step you can make in your business – sharing and asking pronouns.

The ones we know are “he/him” and “she/her”, but some people – typically those who identify as non-binary – might use “they/them”. This may be a hard one to get used to as we know these as plurals, but you’ll find you use them all the time without even realising. For example, “My last client left their coat”. This really does mean the world to a trans or non-binary person and shows you respect their identity.

Using the wrong pronoun, known as “misgendering”, for some non-binary or trans people is massively disrespectful, can affect their mental health, and make them feel deeply uncomfortable and even unsafe. So, what can you do?

booking system with the options, include them on your consultation forms and when talking to a client on the phone, ask, “Can I ask what pronoun you use please?”. Also, add your own pronouns to your email footer, under your teams’ names on your salon website, and on your business cards. Things like this can start to normalise this behaviour.

A quick note on saying “preferred pronouns” – this isn’t advisable because it infers that it’s not that person’s pronoun, just one they prefer. If someone uses multiple pronouns, they may have a preferred one, but I would stay away from this for now.

Also, if you’re asking for titles on your booking system or when doing a mailout to clients, make sure the gender-neutral one is there – Mx, which is pronounced “mix”.

As a partner of someone who identifies as non-binary, the number of times I’ve filled in forms for them and had to select “Miss” because the option hasn’t been there is tough. All we need to do is to respect how labels and language evolve. Years ago, the term for visually impaired people was blind, which is no longer used. Times change and we need to adapt with them.

Sam Marshall is owner of salon The Beauty Guru in Manchester and a trans awareness educator, holding monthly webinars to help educate the beauty and hair industry.

How can I write a better professional biography for myself?

Whether you have been asked for a biography by another company or brand, or for an article you’ve written, writing about yourself can be very difficult. Yet, if you break it down into the key points then it becomes much less daunting.

Your bio should be short and to the point, including details like:

• Your name

• Your role and business (what you do and where)

• Your education/experience/accolades (why the reader should trust you – it’s ok to brag a little bit here)

•A snapshot of your life – passions in the industry or outside of it

• Contact info, although it’s up to the publisher how they include this.

For your personal-use biography – for example, on your salon or clinic’s website, this can be extended and bring in more of the “why” of your business, plus more detail on awards, passions, partnerships and, most importantly, a bit of personality.

Once you’ve got the bones of both a short (50–150 words) and long (250+ words) bio, you can then tweak it each time you’re asked for it to better suit the audience it will be put in front of, much like a cover letter for a job. However, if it’s an opportunity to push your clinic in front of the public, include a call to action such as “You can book an appointment with Dr X at ...”.

A biography should always be written in the third person using your name and third person pronouns (she/her, he/him, they/ them) rather than first person pronouns (I/me). This is more formal and gives you the opportunity to use quotes in first person if you choose.

Once completed, get someone to read over the bio for you to check your spelling, punctuation and grammar. Avoidable mistakes can discredit how well you sell yourself and don’t look very professional, especially when sending your bio to a third party, but you’ll likely miss these things when checking yourself.

This might seem obvious but lying or overinflating your accolades, experience or achievements can also come back to haunt you. Be specific and give examples to present yourself as an expert and justify why your audience should trust you in your field, but don’t get carried away.

Your biography is a fluid document and will change throughout your career. Keep your templates up to date and change details such as your latest qualifications, awards or practice locations as and when changes happen. It’s best practice to review your biography on your website, along with the rest of its content, every six to 12 months.

Personally, I would recommend reaching out to a journalist within the industry and paying them to pull together your bio. Their time and advice are a sound investment because they have clarity that only comes from an outsider’s perspective, and they know what that specific audience wants to know about you.

Alex Bugg works for Web Marketing Clinic, a family-run digital agency that builds websites and delivers marketing campaigns for aesthetic medicine professionals.

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This article appears in November 2021

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This article appears in...
November 2021
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