Spa RETAIL: Know Your Clients' Makeup Styles

Identify each female client’s preferred makeup style—and watch your profit margin become more attractive!

Just try to tear a woman away from her favorite concealer or signature lipstick—it won’t be an easy fight. Women have been turning to makeup for centuries to enhance their beauty and express their individuality, without saying a word. So, it’s a no-brainer that spas providing beauty touchups and makeovers, and selling cosmetics products, increase their own appeal—not to mention their service and retail revenues.

But just as you must offer customized skincare regimens for clients, so it’s true with beauty services and products. Spa clients come in all shapes, sizes, ages, colors and, most significantly, preferences. Are you prepared to help your loyal ladies achieve the exact looks they crave, from hairline to neckline?

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a celebrity makeup artist to effectively market cosmetics to even your pickiest clients. To demonstrate this, we’ve assembled five popular beauty looks. Then we grilled industry professionals for tips on how to market and sell each look, from the treatment room to the retail area—all while maintaining a spa-specific focus on overall care. —By Heather Wood Rudúlph

Our panel: Janell Geason, artistic director, Aveda
Philip Luque, director of education and artistry, Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics
Shawn Towne, global educator, Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics
Karen Bock, founder, Brushes By Karen and Colorstrokes Cosmetics
Brenda Gallagher, director of sales, Your Name Professional Brands
Annie Mayo, owner, Advanced Mineral Makeup
Barbara Panagos, founder, Brush Up with Barbara and Mineral Mine Cosmetics

She's Got The Look

Armando Sanchez

THE LOOK: Barely There

Ideal for young clients but popular across the board, this carefully created fresh face appears effortless, natural and clean, making it an ideal showcase for well-tended skin.

Why is this look such a ‘go-to’ for makeup artists and spa professionals?
Geason: Because it’s a look everyone can wear, and it’s ideal for women who have little time to spend getting ready. Moms, in particular, are drawn to this look, as they generally only have minutes to spare on any given day.

Towne: Wearing little makeup conveys confidence. It shows you don’t need a lot of color to feel beautiful; your face is sufficient. It’s simple and easy to create and exemplifies the essence of what your client is getting with your spa’s help: beautiful skin.

Bock:
It’s perfect for the ‘I never wear foundation’ client. I hear this from many women who don’t realize that foundation doesn’t have to be some heavy face paint.

Which treatments best complement this look?
Geason: When natural beauty is the subject, the brows become the frame. Many women are amazed at the difference a nicely shaped brow makes, and once they see it, they’re sure to re-book future brow-shaping appointments.

Luque: Any skin-enhancing service is a great tie-in—whether it’s microdermabrasion or a traditional European facial. This is also a great look to provide following any skin service, as it doesn’t require a lot of time, nor much makeup.

How do you sell clients products that offer the “barely there” effect?
Roselli: Position this look as your clients’ little black dress. They should spend the bulk of their budget on classic, timeless products that complement anything. When they want more color or drama, teach them one of the other looks and sell those products, too.

Towne: Before any client leaves, dust a little mineral powder foundation on for sun protection. That’s the basis for this look, and opens the conversation for more.

Suggested beauty tools: Your Name Skin Transforming Foundation in Linen, Mineralogie Blush in Politely Pink, Aveda Petal Essence Eye Color in Bittersweet, Jane Iredale Bitty Brow Kit and Zap&Hide Blemish Concealer, Colorstrokes Advanced Mineral Concealer

She's Got The Look

Armado Sanchez; Thinkstock

THE LOOK: Polished and Professional

The office isn’t a bastion of pearls and conservative peach eye shadow anymore. Women are at the top of most of today’s industries (and if they’re not there yet, they’re climbing). Depending on her trade, your professional client needs to look powerful, sexy and serious all at once.

What’s unique about the polished, professional client?
Towne: Women who sport this look crave simplicity in their routines. Conscious of time, they’re not interested in a complicated system; they seek products that offer multiple uses and portability.

Many clients think ‘plain’ when they think professional. How do you infuse a little excitement into this look?
Gallagher: Promote seasonal trends and show guests examples from magazines. Right now, vibrant colors, strong brows, clean skin, and defined eyes and lashes are incredibly important.

Roselli: Talk to her about the features she wants to highlight. Choose something dramatic, like a smoky eye or intense lip color, and leave the rest simple and clean. Luxury glosses and waterproof lip pencils are the essentials for a stay-put, all-business beauty regimen.

Which spa services pique professional clients’ interest?
Luque: These women tend to go for more aggressive, results-oriented treatments such as peels, microdermabrasion and fillers.

Towne: They’re great candidates for time-saving mini services—something they can do on their lunch hour.

Suggested beauty tools: Mineral Mine weightless mineral Powder Foundation, Youngblood Pressed Mineral Eyeshadow Quad in Moulin Rouge, Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF Dry Sunscreen in Golden, Your Name’s Superwear Mascara, Mineralogie eyeliner in Raven

She's Got The Look

Armando Sanchez; ©istockphoto.com

THE LOOK: Girl About Town

She may not let her hair down until after she leaves work or drops off the kids at Grandma’s, but whether she’s meeting the girls for martinis or attending a charity gala, this client is certainly ready to enjoy herself. The look you give her should express her spirit—and communicate fun.

What’s the best way to sell this look at the spa?
Luque: Tie it into hair and nail services, including prom and wedding promotions. .

Gallagher: Host a ‘Girls Night Out’ event to educate clients on makeup and style trends for the upcoming season. Then demonstrate and sell products that can help them execute the look.

Geason: Up-sell. Add on a makeup service after a facial or brow wax. Suggest eyelash extension services. The key is to plan these opportunities into your schedule, and always be on the lookout for chances to book them.

How can spa professionals introduce this look to their clients?
Luque: Tell her more makeup over balanced skin looks perfectly beautiful in dimly lit rooms, and at night.

Panagos: Suggest a little light-reflecting sparkle on cheeks or eyelids—that appeals to the ‘party girl’ in all of us!

Bock: And it’s a great opportunity to play with color. Contouring, when placed right, blended out and softened so there are no harsh lines, will define this look.

Suggested beauty tools: Youngblood Luminous Crème Blush, Mineral Mine Mineral Gems luminous powders or Eye Trio #4, Sormé BioNatural Eyeshadow in Contrast, Lady Burd Matte Lipstick in Fireside, Osmosis Mascara in Black

She's Got The Look

Armando Sanchez/Thinkstock

THE LOOK: Mature Beauty

Women of a certain age are acutely aware of it, and likely come to you to help stave off Father Time’s hand (or at least slow it). When making up your mature clients, be sensitive as to how much they want to conceal and reveal. Many women celebrate the laugh lines that mark their years; others seek a smooth canvas. Getting to know the individual is the key to success with these guests.

What’s the best makeup approach for an older spa client?
Towne: Creating the illusion of youth on experienced skin is a delicate and intricate task. But the right skincare and cosmetic products will lift the features and build a plumper, fresher complexion.

Mayo: Mature skin needs to be well hydrated. Less is more for makeup, but not applying enough can leave the older client looking bland. She needs more color in her lips and eyes, but it must be tasteful and soft.

Panagos: Concealers must be applied with a light hand. Too much will make the client look older than not enough.

What’s the best way to talk to these guests about makeup services?
Towne: Before-and-after photos are a great selling tool for antiaging makeup. Women want to know what the possibilities are. I also suggest putting together some images of mature celebrities. The simple phrase, ‘You could wear that look,’ may be all you need to get her to try it.

Mayo: Host a brow clinic for your clients of this age. I find that brows are the biggest trouble spot in mature makeup. Mature brows should be applied in a feathery stroke with a pencil or brush to mimic hair; they shouldn’t carry an expression of their own.

Luque: Offer a free foundation match with any antiaging treatment.

Which spa services offer opportunities to talk to mature clients about makeup?
Towne: Peels and antiaging skin treatments make women feel good about themselves because they’re seeing and feeling results. If you’re guiding a client through a rejuvenating skincare regimen, she’ll most likely be excited to then learn about what can be achieved with antiaging makeup.

Geason: Brow shaping can lift a more mature face, and lip/chin waxes will remove the unwanted hairs that can come with age, creating a canvas ready for makeup.

Suggested beauty tools: Aveda Rehydrating Lip Glaze in Gilded Lotus, Osmosis Age Defying Treatment Concealer in Fair, Advanced Mineral Makeup Liquid Foundation & Blush in Nude, Brushes by Karen Brow Maker in Walnut, Mineral Mine Camoufleur paramedical cream concealer

She's Got The Look

Thinkstock/Armando Sanchez

THE LOOK: Avant-Garde Glamour

Every beauty professional dreams of a client who’s game for anything. There is no greater thrill than to use a client’s face as a veritable canvas on which to conceive of artful, original details. Keeping things tasteful, not trashy, is the goal.

When is the best time to promote bold looks at the spa?
Towne: During fashion week. Put a few of your most intense makeup products on a display in a highly visible area to get customers to ask questions. Create a theme based on the latest trends, or perhaps a look mired more in fantasy.

Bock: Show this look in a framed picture, with the products needed to create it displayed beside it. Depending on the edginess of your clientele, show pictures that are over-the-top, or just a hint of fun.

To whom do you market this look?
Luque: A younger client tends to request it, especially if a celebrity has been seen sporting it.

Roselli: Anyone can wear it if you show them how.
Give your guests a five-minute crash course in contouring and highlighting. The hallmarks of this
look are sultry, pigmented eyes; sculpted cheeks; and
a bold lip.

Towne: Avant-garde makeup is meant to inspire and move people. These looks are visionary in nature, less limited than an evening look. The colors can be brighter, darker, more intense and more luminous. But keep in mind that it must be done well. An attempt that isn’t well blended or finished can easily come off looking ridiculous.

Suggested beauty tools: Youngblood Incredible Wear Gel Liner in Sienna, Aveda Smoothing Lip Color in Rare Orchid, Your Name High Pigment Eye Shadows, Bodyography Lipgloss in Dazzle, Ardell Lash Wild Sparkles from American International Industries, Mineral Mine Lip Polish in Kimono Red.

Cosmetic Skin Care

The fact that many of today’s spa-grade makeup lines double as skin care provides spa owners with ideal retailing opportunities. Lash and brow enhancers, foundations, eye shadows and lip colors can also deliver sun protection, nourishing vitamins, moisturizers and antiaging powerhouses like retinol and peptides.

“Cosmetics have proven to be an integral retail product within a spa,” reports Lynne McNees, president of the International Spa Association. “Sixty-four percent of all spas with a retail area offer cosmetic products, which accounts for nine percent of total retail revenue.”

Of course, giving clients more reasons to shop at your spa doesn’t hurt, either. “Offering a diverse product lineup ensures spa-goers have access to everything they need when it comes to beauty and wellness in one relaxing spa environment,” McNees explains.

+ For a wealth of tips on breaking sales records on cosmetics and other items this holiday season, look out for our first-ever Day Spa Retailing Guide in the October issue of DAYSPA!

Heather Wood Rudúlph is a freelance writer based in Sacramento, California.