One of the most common concerns we hear from skin care practitioners is that they don’t feel like they have enough confidence and/or knowledge to effectively address their clients skincare problems, even with periodic trainings from product brand representatives and skincare company website information.
To be a credible skincare expert you need the benefit of unbiased, science-based information to understand skin conditions, skin types, and product formulations. You also need access to frequent continuing education (preferably in bite-sized lessons designed to help you retain the information easily) to build your knowledge bank and confidence.
We’ve identified 3 keys to position yourself as an expert to gain and keep your client’s trust: 1. Make it about them – always. Your clients want a customized experience, personalized for them – their needs, concerns, and goals. They want to be heard. The word “you” can’t be overused when it comes to your client’s care.
2. Educate – don’t sell. Consumers are far savvier these days given the motherlode of information available on the internet and through social media. But they aren’t professionals, and much of what they hear and read can be overwhelming and misunderstood. Using the old sales model of “features and benefits” to communicate will in most cases cause your clients to stop listening. Nobody wants to be sold to anymore, and using your expertise to educate them on what, when, and why is far more effective.
3. Talk to them about ingredients. The importance of understanding how and why skincare ingredients can’t be overstated. Focusing on ingredients instead of product sales demonstrates your expertise – you are the expert, not just a salesperson! Your knowledge and concern for your client’s best interests helps build their confidence in you and keeps them coming back!
And speaking of ingredients, here’s a short list of 4 ingredients your clients should be using. These ingredients work synergistically for protection and skin health. As a skin care professional, not only should you be familiar with them inside and out — you need to know how to effectively translate that knowledge to your clients.
More of an ingredient class, SPF is the most powerful tool we have to prevent premature ageing. UV radiation triggers melanin production and breaks down collagen. It also produces free radicals, which results in cell DNA damage. The worst-case scenario of this damage is skin cancer. At the very least, educate your clients on how SPF optimizes skin health instead of just what it prevents.
Tip: What’s basic knowledge to you may not be to your clients.
Talking Points: “80% of skin aging is a result of sun exposure, so SPF is the ingredient I discuss with every client. Even on a cloudy day, about 40% of UV rays still reach the Earth's surface? It’s a must for your skincare routine – every day — especially considering your [whatever your client’s skin concern is]."
You’re the expert: Using real facts and numbers confirms your knowledge level to the client —immediately building trust. Leading the discussion with the ingredient (rather than a product) shows them you're invested in them and their goals, not just trying to make a sale.
2. Vitamin C.
As a potent antioxidant, Vitamin C protects the skin from oxidative damage caused by UV exposure, environmental pollution, and potentially blue light from electronic screens. It also:
· stimulates collagen synthesis (wound healing and reduces fine lines).
· brightens hyperpigmentation to even out skin tone.
· strengthens capillary walls to reduce redness in the skin.
Talking Points: "Almost everyone should have Vitamin C as part of their skin care routine. It is powerful at protecting the skin from free radical damage caused by UV exposure and environmental stressors that build up on our skin every day.”
You’re the expert: You can explain to your client how free radical and UV damage can contribute to your client's specific skin concern or problem. As a professional, you know how this kind of damage is linked to a number of skin conditions – so educate your client!
3. Hyaluronic Acid.
One of the most popular standalone ingredients on the skin care market and used in other products to help support delivery of other active ingredients. It’s a powerful humectant (retaining water & moisture levels in the skin), and is necessary for healthy function of the skin and adequate hydration levels.
Talking Points: “Hyaluronic acid is humectant which means it attracts and holds onto water. It’s naturally found in our skin. The skin’s hyaluronic acid content decreases with age, like natural collagen break down, which can cause skin tightness, dullness, and flakiness. Topical application of hyaluronic acid draws in hydration from the atmosphere and helps the skin retain the water you drink throughout the day. Each molecule can hold over 1000 times its own weight in water molecules, which expand and plump the skin."
You’re the expert: Most clients will need some help discerning the difference between hydration and moisture. Help them understand and you not only show off your expertise (there’s the trust factor again!) but you are better able to address their skin concerns. Dehydration can be disastrous to basic skin function and worsen just about ALL skin conditions. Explain to your client exactly how this applies to them.
4. Vitamin A (specifically, retinol palmitate).
Did you know that this retinoid is the most abundant form of vitamin A found naturally in the skin? It is a vitamin A derived molecule, produced by adding a fatty acid to a retinoid in order to form an ester. (An ester is a class of organic compounds that react with water to produce alcohols and organic or inorganic acids.)
Retinol palmitate is less potent than other retinoid forms, but it’s no less important. This occurs because it has to convert several times through an enzymatic process to transform into the only bioavailable form of vitamin A – retinoic acid. Another reason it is an important active ingredient is because 80% of vitamin A normally found in the skin is stored as retinol palmitate. When vitamin A is applied topically to the skin and it gets to the retinoic acid stage, then bonds with cell receptors - it converts back to retinol palmitate to be stored over time.
Retinol esters like retinol palmitate and retinol acetate are valuable in skincare formulations because they are less irritating to the skin. This makes them an excellent starting point for new vitamin A users.
Talking Points: "Retinol is still the gold standard in skincare and has more science-based backing than almost any other skin care ingredient. It’s one of the few actives that creates long-term, physiological changes in your skin – not just when you use it.”
You’re the expert: Something that's basic info to you can be an eye-opening bit of knowledge to your client. And it doesn’t need to be new information! We typically only retain about 20% of the information we hear, so what you communicate will either ignite a spark of recognition or be a new learning experience. Either way, you’ll inspire trust and confidence!