I have been meaning to write this blog for a while, but as a busy trainer and multiple business owner, finding time is harder than ever.
Now, I force myself to make the time, to ask the question, how many of your clients have Body Dysmorphia? This blog is not about Body Dysmorphia, well maybe it is, I will let you decide.
As a beauty therapist first and foremost, my job is, and always has been, to create a better version of the client. Hair removal to lash tinting, facials to tanning, every treatment is geared towards correcting a concern or should we say, preying on the clients vulnerability. However we dress it up, society will always play a larger role in our personal image. Magazines, tv shows and even other men and women, decide for us what we should attain to look like. We know this as we see trends come and go over the years from Beehives, winged liner, thin brows, hair extensions and orange tans. Men and women are victims of an endless campaign from marketing and peer pressure to look, think and feel a certain way.
Up until a few years ago, this was all largely harmless. Unless you ask anyone over the age of 35 where their eyebrows are! Yes, we may have lost some hair from hair extension stress, lost our brow hair to over plucking or have a box of hidden photographs of mullets and orange tans but largely we are all ok.
The rise of social media and the #selfie craze, teamed alongside a plethora of filters that widen eyes, lengthen lashes, contour and elongate the face as well as giving us almost flawless skin, has in-fact given clients an even bigger complex. I recently made a joke on a post on a group on Facebook over a Holy Maria filtered image that someone jokingly suggested she would love lips like the filter. I commented that Instagram and camera filters was keeping the industry in business since 2015. Whilst it is funny to imagine that a simple filter would create a demand for bigger and more pronounced cupid bow lips, the actual truth is far scarier.
We already know that clients are seeking out our services to achieve real life filtered looks. The yearning desire to have a ready contoured face, high cheek bones, structured jaw lines, frozen foreheads, over filled lips and that is before the thick applications of makeup, fake lashes, hair extensions and nails the client has to maintain. The industry is creating a conveyor belt of caricature mannequins. Creating unrealistic, unnatural and often swollen facial looks to keep up with ever demanding clients desperation for perfection. Please do not presume this is an attack on the industry as a whole, however some of our peers should take a step back and reassess the situation.
It isn’t just botulism toxin and filler that are being abused, fat dissolve injections are also now being sold as the answer to every clients prayer. Whilst fat dissolve products can in some part play a role in reducing chin size, it isn’t actually the only solution, nor is it the ideal one all the time! Excessive chin volume is not always due to pockets of fat, and when it is, we also have to tighten the muscle and tone the skin for absolutely amazing results. Yet the product is often miss-sold as the solution to every clients fat woes. Fat dissolve products are an amazing treatment, but clients are not being given fully informed facts before undergoing any treatment. Are these clients being told they may need other treatments alongside the fat dissolve injections? Are they informed of the risks? The ongoing costs? The realistic results expected? Clients that don’t see a result will bounce around salons all the while being told that the previous therapist used a different product, injected it wrong or that the client wasn’t following the correct aftercare. We no longer see a client before us but a quick chance of making money regardless of the outcome.
Even worse that I see therapists pushing treatment boundaries outside the limits of future client concerns. Injecting fat dissolve solution under cheek bones to contour the face, depleting vital fatty tissue that supports skin health, plays a role in our youthful appearance and prevents translucency of the skin. In 5-10 years time, the client will naturally lose this fatty tissue, however you are causing them to age 20 years too fast! We then create further custom from the client injecting back into the skin a volumising filler further preying on our clients vulnerabilities of needing to look their best.
Now we move into an age where research shows that filler can stay in the skin for up to 10 years. Filler can migrate. Botox will need to be used for the clients lifetime to maintain the look they are used too, or face the consequences of how much they really have aged over the years, using quick fix methods over regular skin healthcare. Faces will be gaunt and ill looking from fat loss, skin lumpy and yellow from a build-up of products injected deep into the dermis, surrounded by hardened collagen, a failed attempt by the body to remove this foreign substance.
How long do we allow our clients to keep demanding more and more treatments? When do we look at the over filled caricature appearances and say enough is enough? When do we realise this obsession with our appearance is nothing short of Body Dysmorphia. Your client’s will never be happy and will always be looking for an unrealistic, unattainable perfection.
Now I fear that I am having an effigy of voodoo dolls made of me for calling out the industry for poor practice. This isn’t the idea of this blog, but to raise awareness of a shift towards a need by our clients that we as therapists simply cannot fulfil. Call it Body Dysmorphia, call it something else entirely, but it is what it is, we are taking advantage of the vulnerabilities of our clients.
What is wonderful is that now we are seeing new, better techniques being launched and more companies are themselves getting on board with the ‘less is more’ approach. Where we once pumped 2-3ml of filler in lips, we now create much more natural, fuller, beautiful lips with just 1ml of product. Even filler companies themselves, the main profiteer of the industry, have developed products for our clients to create plump, healthy looking skin, adding volume where volume may be needed in as little as 1ml of filler for the whole face. This not only brings the cost down for the consumer, but starts to create a more natural approach for the clients needs.
Baby botox is also now found to be far more beneficial to the face, smaller doses applied subcutaneously have been proven to smooth mimic wrinkles and give the skin a smoother, fresher and more youthful appearance.
I also believe that the days of the injector are numbered. I don’t mean by the treatments being banned, but that a global response to skin health is needed in a clinic. Clients should be educated on short and long term risks of treatments and given a skin health plan for the following 5 years. Diet, health, lifestyle and treatments all play a role in the skins health long term. Clinics that can identify the clients short and long term needs, supporting the face as a whole to reduce more drastic and invasive treatments will certainly see a rise in clientele in 2020. A 12 month treatment plan with products for the year, broken down into 12 easy payments for the client to maintain the look of perfection they desire is a far more saleable approach for clinics.
Let's stop seeing clients as quick in and out transactions and start to identify the needs of the skin and overall health before dealing with long term clients from hell with a desire to look like a balloon animal! Invasive, non-invasive and home care treatment plans should be joined together to achieve a natural look for the client. Use a less is more approach and turn away clients that seem driven towards impossible and unrealistic expectations. Take responsibility for the clients you see, as you may end up responsible later down the line when the client puts in expensive claims against you for damages.
It is also vital you supply clients with all the key facts before performing a treatment. My consultation forms explain short and long term risks and side effects as well as state the treatment itself may not achieve desired results. I love this analogy on how people think, which is used during NLP. If you ask 10 people to think of a pink elephant elephant in a tree, each and everyone of them 10 people will have different images in their mind. Some will have a small elephant in a large tree, some will have a large elephant in a small tree. Every elephant will look different, every tree will look different and the landscape will be different too. This is why, when discussing what the client wants from the treatment, it is always impossible to manage their actual expectations. This is why, in every form, I state that treatment outcomes may vary and are never guaranteed.
All of the non-medics in the industry are crying regularly that the medics are calling us out on social media. I have to agree sometimes why medics get so upset at the non-medic industry. However, you have something the Doctors and Nurses do not have, that is years of experience working with skin and other facial treatments. Start incorporating these treatments alongside the invasive ones and start achieving results that blow the medics work out of the water. Tailor every clients treatment to a unique protocol for their lifestyle, incorporate a health and wellness aspect to create a more confident client and you will develop a long lasting, loyal and happy client base, creating a unique market for non-medics to capitalise on.