Turning the clock back can PUSH profits forward. Find out how salons and spas address consumers' latest demands for anti-aging products and services.

The Age Game: Anti-Aging Services

Take a moment to study your menu and analyze your shelves. How many anti-aging services and products do you offer? Are they easily identifiable to clients seeking a little wrinkle release? Do they deliver tangible, measureable, proven results?

"People are more hesitant to spend big bucks on instant fixers, like plastic surgery," says Patricia Owen, owner of Faces DaySpa in Hilton Head, South Carolina. "We're seeing a renewed interest in the less invasive and less expensive processes that offer the same results."

The economy spurred a do-it-yourself mentality, continues Owen. "You can get on the bandwagon and think in terms of products, treatments and tools clients can take home, or leave them to find things themselves on the internet. Clients are spending more wisely, and take-home products play in with that as well."

Here, Owen joins a SALON TODAY panel of experts, including four manufacturers and a make-up artist, for a quick look at anti-aging trends in services, products, ingredients and marketing strategies.

All About the Trends

According to Teresa Stenzel, manager of education materials and communications for Bioelements, the need for anti-aging services is at an all-time high.

"Treatments that address the neck and chest are very important now, because women tend to neglect this area," she says. "Products that brighten or smooth rough skin texture and stimulate collagen production are also important, since these are concerns as clients get older."

Recently, Owen has experienced success with facials that incorporate either micro-current technology or LED light therapy. "Microcurrent technology has been used for years in sports medicine to rehabilitate muscle, now we can use it cosmetically to lift the skin and it can be used in the place of Botox to relax over-tightened muscles. The LED emits different colored lights that penetrate into the skin and help deliver products deeper. It helps fade brown spots and increase collagen production."

"As our population ages, clients are demanding products that combine lab strength with cosmeceutical ingredients for results they can see and feel."
-Patricia Owen

Another trend is that consumers continue to look for green ingredients to achieve their anti-aging goals, says John McCue, Aveda's executive director of spa, skin care, fragrance and lifestyle. "The natural products category for facial skin care was up six percent in 2006, while anti-aging overall was only up 1 percent," he states.
Make-up artist Khuraira, founder of the make-up line and owner of the New Jersey boutique that both bear her name, stresses that the biggest trend in cosmetics is dual-task, anti-aging make-up that goes beyond the traditional role of concealing to also heal the skin.

Not Just Skin Care

Of course the anti-aging category isn't just about skin. Don't forget that your most powerful anti-aging tool in your salon is hair color, which can shave off a decade or more when combating gray hair. But, hair care manufacturers are also jumping on the anti-aging bandwagon with a host of other products designed to rejuvenate hair. In fact, places like New York's Phyto Universe offer hair and skin analysis followed by anti-aging treatments.

Hair Loss Control Clinic (HLCC) offers Laser Therapy to combat thinning hair that comes with age. "Laser Hair Loss Therapy is an unmatched business opportunity," says Bill Blatter, president of HLCC. "Money is being made while helping clients stop hair loss and re-grow hair.  It only makes sense that more and more salons, hair replacement studios and spas are finding their way into this business."

Key Ingredients

Clients seek ingredients that help skin perform like it did when it was younger, says Stenzel. "Formulations, such as Aquamide-5, that contain a blend of ceramides and purified microalgae help stimulate collagen formation and tighten tissues," she says.
"As our population ages, clients are demanding products that combine lab strength with cosmeceutical ingredients for results they can see and feel."
Owen continues to see vitamin C as a major ingredient in many anti-aging products. "We're also noticing the increase of ingredients that offer natural protection, such as pomegranate extract and goji berries, and delivery systems that help penetrate deeper into the skin."

For Aveda, the key ingredient continues to be rosemary. "It's an age-old ingredient with terrific antioxidant properties,"says McCue.

"Clients are not going to spend unless they feel they are getting their money's worth."
-Teresa Stenzel

According to Khuraira, consumers are seeking cosmetics that nurture aging skin and increase moisture to improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

Scientists at Phyto have incorporated Gatuline Age-Defense, which has long been used in anti-aging skin care products, into its Phytodensium shampoo and serum. "Derived from walnut extract, it protects against free radicals and environmental stresses," says Christyn Nawrot, Phyto national training director. "Birch and horsetail leaf extracts supply lost minerals, while a botanical protein complex, derived from potatoes, increases hair strength and elasticity."

Marketing in the New Economy

There's a general consensus among the panelists that looking good does make people feel better, and we're a nation that needs to feel better about ourselves. When compared to surgical alternatives, beauty products are a less expensive way to invest in youth. But cost-conscious consumers are demanding services that deliver tangible benefits and products that deliver results.

"The upside is consumers always place a premium on value-particularly in lean times. Salons and spas that go the extra mile to deliver outstanding service should see clients return," says McCue. "We began offering a ‘Beauty on Demand' menu which gives guests the opportunity to add on results-driven mini-services at the shampoo bowl to accommodate tighter schedules and leaner budgets."

"Clients are not going to spend unless they feel they are getting their money's worth," says Stenzel. "We are finding that express treatments and micro treatments are becoming increasingly effective. Being able to customize your formulas increases benefits and results, since you can modify the treatments and products to meet the exact needs of your client's skin."

For Owen, customization has become part of the marketing plan. When business was slow in January, she boosted anti-aging awareness by offering a complimentary microdermabrasion service with a signature skin facial. "But we were finding instead of having clients sample something new, our regular microdermabrasion clients were using it to get something free."

This year, Owen adjusted the promotion to offer a free anti-aging service with each facial, but the facial was booked with an extra 20 minutes for a consultation. "On the basis of the consultation, the esthetician would recommend the anti-aging treatment the client should try," says Owen. "It was one of the most brilliant promotions we've ever done. The estheticians really got on board, clients were understanding and sampling the services that were uniquely best for them, and we sold 10 or more series of microcurrent treatments."

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