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Ask the Experts

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

How do I perfect my dermaplaning technique?

Dermaplaning is a physical form of exfoliation that is designed to remove the thickening layer of the epidermis. As we get older, our cell renewal starts to slow down so we need to give it a little boost.

Dermaplaning removes dead skin without causing any trauma to the skin, and by doing so you are revealing a fresh layer of skin that is brighter and smoother, ready to absorb ingredients into the skin to maximise your facial treatment. It’s also a great treatment to target signs of ageing, pigmentation and scarring.

When you first learn to dermaplane, it can be quite daunting and nerve-wracking but with a little bit of practice and a good technique it all starts to feel natural.

Here are some of my top tips for perfecting your dermaplaning technique:

• Practise – this is the only way that you will improve and start to build confidence.

• Make sure the skin is cleaned and prepped because you don’t want to have any make-up or dirt, so cleanse and sterilise first of all.

• Use a professional dermaplaning tool such as Million Dollar Facial’s Dermaglide. Being able to manoeuvre the handle to work around challenging areas without putting strain on the technician makes it easier to dermaplane.

• Use a professional skincare balm to provide a glide to reduce irritation and create a barrier on the skin, making the dead skin easier to remove.

• Make sure you are at the right angle and move around so you are always working towards yourself. This will mean you can work more efficiently and safely.

• Stretch the skin and pull it tight because this will reduce the likelihood of creating any nicks.

• Work methodically in small sections; you don’t want to miss any areas or rush the process.

• Avoid any raised areas on the skin, including breakouts and moles. You are also advised to avoid any terminal hairs.

Once you have completed your dermaplaning treatment, the skin is more vulnerable so always finish with an SPF.

Guidance and aftercare is so important for your client, so tell them to:

• Keep the skin protected outdoors with an SPF and don’t expose it to the sun for at least seven days.

• Avoid touching the skin and keep it clean.

• Keep skin moisturised and be aware that it may feel a little dry in the coming days.

• Stay away from heat treatments, saunas and steam rooms for at least 48 hours.

• Avoid exfoliation or peels for at least seven days.

Kate Lowrey is a brand trainer for Million Dollar Facial with 19 years of experience in the industry. She has worked as a brand trainer for over 10 years and travelled around the world educating on skincare and treatments.

How can I effectively diagnose and treat my clients’ pigmentation?

Do you feel confident in treating hyperpigmentation in your business? Do you offer professional choices that are safe and effective across all Fitzpatrick skin types?

The demand for glowing, radiant skin is growing, with customers seeking safe effective results. Pigmentation is a common and challenging skin concern that we face in the treatment room.

There is considerable discussion about the emotional toll that acne or inflammatory conditions like eczema take on the skin, but we often hesitate to address pigmentation concerns, including conditions like melasma, with the same openness.

Effectively managing pigmentation is crucial for achieving a bright, glowing complexion. Smooth, even skin reflects light for a luminous appearance, while uneven pigmentation can give a dull and aged impression, emphasising the need for targeted solutions.

Constitutive skin colour is the genetically inherited melanin composition, without any influence from factors like sun exposure or hormones. It’s determined by quantity and type of melanin (eumelanin vs phaeomelanin), as well as the size and distribution of melanosomes.

Genetics play a pivotal role in establishing the ratio of eumelanin to phaeomelanin, influencing the intensity of melanogenesis (melanin production) and the specific properties of the synthesised melanin. Importantly, the richness of melanin in different skin types can significantly influence their responsiveness to various treatments.

We need to consider that in addition to our clients’ genetic predispositions that govern their constitutive colour, three other factors play a significant role in influencing or contributing to changes in this skin tone (referred to as facultative skin colour):

• Hormonal changes, including those that directly stimulate melanin production and other hormonal imbalances

• Exposure to ultraviolet radiation

• Inflammation.

These factors can give rise to different forms of hyperpigmentation, with common examples including melasma, sunspots and post-inflammatory pigmentation.

Prior to treating your client’s hyperpigmentation, it is crucial to identify the underlying cause. Addressing the trigger is essential, as the effectiveness of the treatment is often compromised if the causative factor persists.

For instance, heightened stress levels lead to increased cortisol production within the body. This hormone is directly associated with melanin production and can activate melanocyte cells, prompting pigment creation.

When treating hyperpigmentation, it’s important to use ingredients that interfere with the “recipe” required to create the melanin but also in the distribution of those melanosomes. Key ingredients like azelaic acid act as effective tyrosinase enzyme inhibitors. Tranexamic acid and retinol also inhibit specific enzymes, disrupting melanin production for a more even complexion. Glycolic and lactic acid serve as peeling agents to target pigmentation and promote skin tone balance.

We have utilised these actives and more in our latest professional skin treatment, Dermalogica’s Melanopro Peel System. This is a clinical-strength peel programme that delivers visible results in less than six weeks.

As skincare professionals, we are in the perfect position to use our expertise to navigate the complexities of hyperpigmentation. Taking our clients on a journey to skin confidence, considering their lifestyle, managing expectations and educating in the importance of commitment and consistency.

Angela Taylor is education director for the UK and Ireland at Dermalogica. She has over 20 years’ industry experience, from skincare therapy, education, launch implementation and departmental strategy.

How can I use storytelling to help grow my business?

Stories have been around since the dawn of time. Prehistoric people etched them onto cave walls; they’ve been used throughout history for entertainment, communication and for passing information from person to person or generation to generation.

It makes perfect sense to me, therefore, that stories should be a part of every business owner’s marketing toolkit. But the sad reality is that most businesses tell precious few stories, and are worse off as a result. Another thing I see business owners – especially salon owners – doing little of is sending emails.

When these two things – telling stories and sending emails – are combined, that’s when magic happens. When Hollie [Salonology’s co-founder] and I still owned our day spa and salon in Bournemouth, we had nine treatment room columns to fill. That’s a lot of pressure on the marketing department.

When I tell people what our number-one way to fill those columns was, many are surprised. It wasn’t Google, it wasn’t Instagram, it wasn’t even paid ads. It was good old free-to-use email – seriously.

The main way we built bonds with our clients using email was through storytelling. You see, just blasting information or discounts at people over and over again until they buy something (which is what most people do via their newsletters) is only ever going to get you so far.

A much better strategy is to share stories. Stories humanise your business, and even as the world continues to embrace artificial intelligence, we still want to deal with humans. Stories help to bridge the gap between stranger and friend. They bring people closer through commonalities and shared beliefs. They are also just about the best under-the-radar way you can possibly sell; you’re selling without people even knowing it.

You can tell stories about pretty much anything, too, and as a business owner you have no end of potential topics: what happened in the salon today, what your team got up to on the weekend, how you’ve spent all morning in the vets with little Malcolm the dachshund. I promise you that your clients are interested – in fact, they’ll be asking how Malcolm is the next time they visit the salon.

Most people massively overcomplicate storytelling when really it’s one of the simplest and more natural things to humans. After all, we’ve been doing it for around 36,000 years (if my Google search is to be believed).

If you’d like to learn more about how you can craft simple stories that sell, you’ll want to attend my talk at Professional Beauty London. I’m back on the Business and Digital Skills Stage on Sunday, March 3, at 11am with my all-new presentation; How to use simple email stories to build bonds, get more clients and make more money.

Ryan Power is a salon coach, mentor and the co-founder of Salonology, which offers coaching, networking and motivation for salon owners. Find out more about his PB London talk at

This article appears in February 2024

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February 2024
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