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12 mins

Ask the experts

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

How should I advise my clients on sun safety?

As summer approaches and outdoor activities become more enticing, it’s essential to remind clients of the importance of sun safety. Whether they’re hitting the beach, going for a hike, or simply spending time in the garden, protecting their skin from the sun’s harmful rays should be a top priority. Here are some tips for advising clients on sun safety:

• Educate on sun protection basics: Start by educating your clients on the fundamentals. Encourage them to use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, applying it generously and reapplying every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Advise them to seek shade during peak sun hours, typically between 10am and 4pm, and to wear protective clothing, including hats and sunglasses.

• Advocate for sun-smart activities: Encourage clients to choose activities that minimise exposure to UV rays. Suggest outdoor activities early in the morning or later in the afternoon when the sun is less intense and recommend seeking out shaded areas whenever possible.

• Promote year-round protection: Emphasise that sun protection is not just for sunny days or trips to the beach. UV rays can penetrate clouds and cause damage even on overcast days so it’s crucial to make sun protection a daily habit, regardless of the weather or the season.

• Encourage regular skin checks: Remind clients to monitor their skin regularly for any changes, such as new moles or spots, and to promptly report any concerns to their GP. Early detection of skin cancer can significantly improve outcomes, so encourage them to be proactive about their skin health.

• Stress the dangers of tanning: Remind clients that every exposure to UV radiation increases their risk of skin cancer and accelerates skin ageing.

• Lead by example: Lastly, lead by example by practising sun safety yourself and incorporating these habits into your daily routine. Clients are more likely to follow your advice if they see you prioritising your own sun protection.

Advising clients on sun safety is a crucial aspect of promoting overall health and wellness. By educating them on the importance of sun protection, recommending sun-safe activities, and advocating for regular skin checks, you can help them reduce their risk of skin cancer and maintain healthy, radiant skin for years to come. Remember, when it comes to sun safety, prevention is key.

William Foley is a celebrity facialist and aesthetician with 15 years’ experience. His career has spanned collaborations with skin and spa brands across the UK, and he has been a finalist at the Professional Beauty Awards and Aesthetic Medicine Awards.

What treatments can I perform for clients with thinning brows?

Your clients’ brows can become thinner over time due to many reasons, including age, hormonal changes, skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, autoimmune diseases, thyroid imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, compulsive habitual pulling (trichotillomania), overzealous tweezing, waxing, threading and some side effects from medications. Here are a few key points you can consider within your treatments to help benefit clients looking to reverse their thinning brows.

1. Growth serums Growth serums are recommended for strengthening and conditioning existing brow hairs. Ingredients such as biotin, panthenol, keratin and hyaluronic acid are commonly found in these serums. Consistent use over a few months is necessary to see visible improvements in brow thickness and strength.

2. Time to tint Tinting brows is an effective way to make them appear fuller and thicker. There are two types of tints available: oxidized and non-oxidized. Oxidized tints last longer (four to six weeks) but require patch testing due to potential allergens. Non-oxidized tints, while staining the skin for a shorter duration, can last longer on hair (up to four weeks). The choice between these tints depends on individual preferences and sensitivities.

3. The power of powder Brow powder is a versatile solution for filling in gaps, extending brows or enhancing the arch. Mineral powders with quality pigments offer long-lasting results, making them a popular choice for daily brow grooming.

4. Let it grow Clients should be advised against tweezing at home to maintain the shape achieved by professional treatments. Commitment to home care, including the use of recommended serums, is essential to preserve the results of brow treatments and ensure healthy brow growth.

5. Look to laminate Brow laminations are ideal for transforming thin or unruly brows into fuller, fluffier ones. This treatment lasts up to four weeks and requires daily conditioning serum application to maintain optimal results. It’s particularly beneficial for clients with coarse, thick or resistant brows, as it helps open up the hair cuticle for better tint penetration.

6. Semi-permanent solutions Semi-permanent solutions, such as microblading or traditional tattoo brows, offer a makeup look with natural-looking results.

However, they require careful consideration due to their semi-permanent nature. Clients should undergo a thorough consultation to discuss their preferences, medical history and suitability for the chosen technique. It’s advisable to schedule the consultation and treatment on separate days to allow time for thoughtful consideration before committing.

Brows are such an important part of the face. They frame the eyes, balance out proportions and can even make your clients look younger and more awake if you get them right.

When results are long lasting, like semi-permanent make-up or aesthetics, stay away from fashion and trends – leave that to clothes, handbags and shoes because what’s in fashion one day is out the next!

But, ultimately, be confident with your expertise, ensure you give an excellent consultation and work with your customers to create a workable thinning brow growth programme together.

Ruth Atkins has been a Salon System educator for over a decade and holds qualifications from Cidesco, City + Guilds, ITEC and Cibtac.

How will the new Tipping Act legislation affect my business?

Change is coming to the way tips are handled in the UK, with a new law coming into effect from July 1, 2024. As the beauty industry prepares for this change, it’s essential that business owners understand its impact. Did you know that according to Government Statistics, 80% of UK tipping is now occurring on cards, so if a salon doesn’t have a suitable card system to receive tips then your team may be missing out on 80% of potential tips, which can equate to up to 25% of their earnings.

The Government’s new Tipping Act introduces three significant changes for your salon team:

1. 100% of qualifying tips or service charges left by customers must be paid directly to employees. Employers cannot deduct any charges for admin or transactions.

2. The allocation of tips must be transparent and fair, with a clear written policy provided to employees.

3. Employers must withhold and pay taxes (PAYE and Employer and Employee National Insurance) on all tips received.

You might wonder how to ensure fair distribution of tips. The Government is developing a code of practice, which will offer practical guidance on fair allocation.

Typically, tips left by a client go directly to the service provider(s) who carried out the service. Salon owners must have a transparent policy on how tips are collected and allocated, with changes communicated to employees. It’s important to note that this only applies to tips that are employer-received. This usually includes tips paid by card but also includes a cash tip jar or cashback from the till.

The new legislation means that you need to decide on a set tipping policy – this can either be taking no tips (which probably won’t go down well with your team or clients), running your tipping distribution via your payroll (though be aware that this will incur additional costs to you with NI payments and extra admin), set up an independent tronc (this involves lots of admin and can mean up to two months before the tips are passed on) or you can use a software system (such as the new Phorest Tips) that helps streamline the process, so tips are paid directly to your employees’ accounts upon receipt.

This means tips are non-qualifying, saving your business time and money, and ensuring your employees get the most tips possible, as quickly as possible.

It’s also good to remember that it’s down to your employee to report their tips to HMRC to stay compliant with income tax laws. If your business accepts tips, then you need to acknowledge that change is coming but hopefully this has helped you understand the issue a little better.

Mark Ronayne is head of payments at salon software brand Phorest and has a background in payments, tax and accountancy, including prior experience working for a large tax firm.

How can I use oxygen facials to treat signs of ageing?

It has been commonly perceived that skin receives its oxygen supply from internal circulation. However, recent investigations have shown that a significant amount of oxygen may enter skin from the external overlying surface. Upper-layer skin cells receive a significant amount of oxygen directly from the air rather than the blood.

Similarly, the outer layers of the skin absorb oxygen directly from the atmosphere.

Since the skin is exposed to the air, it makes sense from an efficiency standpoint that the skin would get its oxygen both from the blood and directly from the air. In fact, according to a study performed by Markus Stucker and his collaborators, as published in The Journal of Physiology, “the upper skin layers to a depth of 0.25-0.40mm are almost exclusively supplied by external oxygen, whereas the oxygen transport of the blood has a minor influence.”

As we age, the oxygen levels in our skin naturally decrease, reducing its elasticity and allowing fine lines to appear. Using topical dissolved oxygen that is cooled reduces skin inflammation, provides skin with an intense method of hydration and creates an anti-bacterial effect, resulting in oxygenated, energised-looking skin.

The primary significance of the cold temperature treatment relates to skin soothing and effective delivery of the oxygen (in a cold state). When undergoing highly active treatments, it is important to avoid the skin manifesting stress responses, which can be problematic during or immediately after treatments. The cold temperature assists in calming and de-stressing the skin while the accompanying oxygen provides the desired (non-stressed) stimulation.

The Skinstorm facial, for example, offers enhanced penetration of active ingredients due to the synergistic effects of the key elements it involves (oxygen, low temperature and multi-step exfoliation). The formulations are designed to allow some active ingredients to penetrate deep into the skin and influence collagen production and collagen quality while other active ingredients work on the upper layers to ensure skin is hydrated and its barrier is optimised for protection.

Oxygen facials are suitable for pretty much all skin types because they can offer such a vast number of treatment benefits. Immediately after a facial, the skin will both feel and appear hydrated, supple, smooth, plump and lifted. Fine lines are often reduced, and clients comment on feeling like they have achieved similar results to those that botulinum toxin and filler would provide for restoring volume, smoothness and lift to their appearance, particularly when combined with a structured skincare routine, recommended by a professional.

Chelsea Smart is the training manager for Crystal Clear Skincare, which offers oxygen facials among its treatments. Smart has 16 years of experience in the beauty industry and spends much of her time sharing her knowledge and expertise.

What are the key skills for first-time managers to learn?

If you are a first-time manager or are taking over a new team, you will need to develop your skills to be the most effective manager you can. By undergoing leadership development training, managers can build on their ability to communicate effectively, assert their position within the business and drive performance.

When taking on a managerial role for the first time, it is crucial to gain a thorough understanding of where your responsibilities lie. Know your goals and targets, so you can understand what is expected of you.

It is important to establish your role as head of the team, as well as the responsibilities of the team members, to allow efficient working and successful performance.

Speak to other managers, see how they manage their teams and don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Take on board feedback from peers, as well as team members. All of this can help you develop as a manager and grow into the role.

You will also need to communicate effectively to team members, and to the wider organisation. Part of the communication strategy as a manager involves listening as much as –if not more than – you talk. A manager who shows the willingness to listen will find that employees are more likely to open up, and to come to you with suggestions for the team, which could be beneficial for everyone. Listening to employees and acting on feedback will create trust.

When communicating, especially a change of process, make sure staff find out from you as a manager and not secondhand from someone else. Where possible, try to gather staff and communicate any big announcements to all of the team, as information slipping out through whispers can cause unrest and make people lose respect for you as a boss. Regular team meetings encourage effective communication.

A common mistake new managers make is still getting involved in the small, day-today tasks that they used to be responsible for. Managers can be keen to show that they are not afraid to get stuck in and are not above helping at the level of the rest of the team, particularly if short-staffed. There is also a chance that, as a new manager, your old tasks are more familiar than the world of leadership. While this can be appreciated, a manager working alongside team members is not a good idea. When actioning tasks that should be undertaken by the team, managerial responsibility can be neglected, resulting in negative consequences for the team and potentially the business.

There may be times where a manager must step in to help, in busy periods or where a staff shortage is causing severe problems, but these should be kept to a rarity and a necessity.

I also recommend that all new managers undergo training on how to manage difficult situations. While it is part of human nature to wish to be liked, particularly if you were once part of the team, it can be easy to put personal relationships before being a manager. Employees may not always agree with your decisions, but if they are for the overall benefit of everyone, then you are doing the right thing.

Naturally, adding an element of friendship, especially approachability and support, is fine – but do set boundaries and make sure you are respected and that you don’t allow personal relationships to get in the way of the job you have to do.

Dominic Finch is head of creative change at Impact International, an experiential learning company, and has experience working in the cultural, education and corporate sectors.


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This article appears in May 2024

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