Empower ‘Older’ Clients With Empathy

Current government statistics indicate that women over 50 have more disposable income to spare than their millennial and Generation Y counterparts. This suggests they could be the most lucrative age-group to tap for spa, salon or medi-treatments.

But the latest figures also reveal that over half of the aesthetics industry workforce in Australia are well below the age this target audience, with 54% of all professionals under the age of 34.

With top quality education programs available to therapists, of course it’s possible to address all kinds of skin issues successfully regardless of the age of the person they’re treating. Yet, considering the generational gap, it may be harder to empathise with those concerns on an emotional level.

This is why SPA+CLINIC consult skin, wellness and business experts who specialise in ‘grown-up’ aesthetics to gain insight into the mindset of this group. We share the take-homes:

The fashion and beauty worlds are often criticised for promoting unrealistic standards of beauty – and this is particularly true when it comes to ageing. Things could be changing, however, starting with the refreshing display of diversity at Australian designer Thomas Puttick’s runway show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week (pictured above) – a celebration of women of all ages with muses including Yvonne Tozzi.

Motivation For Treatments:

“As we get older we can lose our confidence,” shares Scarlett Vespa, lifestyle and branding coach for women 45+. “There’s a sense of insecurity in our careers, so you feel more vulnerable.”

“When you’re young you can feel invincible but as you get older you realise how precious life is, so there are different priorities.”

“Many of our clients are women between the ages of 55-65 who work full-time in professional jobs,” agrees Sarah Hudson, dermal therapist and owner of Skin By Sarah Hudson.

“Because of their competitive industries, they feel the pressure to compete with younger women – so they’re seeking anti-ageing treatments.”

Celebration for all ages: At Sydney Fashion week, Australian designer Thomas Puttick’s diverse spread of models on the runway [Image Credit: Lisa Maree Williams, Getty Images, Via News.com.au]

The Right Tone Of Voice:

“It would be great if brands spoke to women in my age group directly but not necessarily about ageing,” says Scarlett.

“People are always measuring looking “good” against someone’s age – so rather than having a conversation like ‘you look great for your age’, it should simply be about how great someone looks.

“A big issue for women over 50 is invisibility. We become invisible to brands so as a business you can capitalise by ensuring you speak directly to this audience – not just in terms of the way you interact with customers, but how you approach branding.

“Your message could be all about making someone feel great at this wonderful time in their life, celebrating that everyone is unique rather than solely working to ‘reverse the clock’.”

Growth Through Knowledge:

Sarah Hudson tells SPA+CLINIC that great education along with impeccable presentation is the key to a maturity of professionalism. She elaborates:

“It’s likely that women aged 50-65 may not trust a therapist who’s obviously very young, hasn’t had kids, or watched themselves in the mirror ageing – but never underestimate how much you can grow through knowledge.

“I’m vigilant educating my staff (who are younger) formally and by sharing my own experiences with ageing.

“Maturity is also about the way you speak and dress – since we are an aesthetics clinic and people are inspired by the way we look, rather than wear a uniform or white coat we dress smart-casual which allows our personality to shine through.”

Visible difference: Before and after results with Cutera Enlighten, the latest laser toning technology from the brand.

Results, Results, Results:

“As the latest skin-tightening treatments can be expensive for clients, naturally, they want to see remarkable results so they feel justified in spending the money,” says Sarah Hudson. She elaborates:

  • Make the consultation, treatment and after-care process transparent by showing them the process and potential outcome on the computer.
  • If you know there’s another aesthetics professional who may be better suited to treat your clients’ concern, refer them. The professional will appreciate it but most importantly, it will reflect well on you to your clients.
  • Many women who can’t afford to take time off work will need a procedure that’s effective with no downtime.

    Line up of some of the latest high-performance cosmeceuticals: Mesoestetic Radiance DNA Essence, Medik8 R-retinoate, DNA Renewal Regeneration Serum, DNA Intensive Renewal

Get High-Tech:

Registered nurse and author of The Slow Ageing Guide To Skin Rejuvenation, Katie Marie, talks about the types of treatments and products she finds most effective, as a woman in her early sixties.

“By using certain technologies, it seems we can actually slow the ageing process rather than just masking it,” she tells SPA+CLINIC. “I’ve used what’s known as an ‘evidence-based’ approach which means I’ve looked at the science and what should work long-term to not only improve the look of my skin but its actual capacity to regenerate.”

  • Cosmeceuticals: Opt for medical-grade skincare products that are scientifically proven to have negate skin-ageing.  They contain active ingredients and work on the deeper layers to encourage moisture retention and support skin regeneration.
  • Sunscreen: Too much sun is toxic and wreaks havoc on our cells. Four out of five wrinkles and most of the unwanted spots on our face are due to sun exposure. In fact, sunlight is responsible for most of the visible changes in our skin’s appearance as we get older.
  • Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections: PRP is derived from our own blood which is placed in a centrifuge for 5–8 minutes in order to separate the plasma and concentrate the platelets. These platelets contain large quantities of bioactive proteins known as growth factors and they are pivotal in the repair and regeneration of our skin. They initiate connective tissue repair and improve overall wound healing. We can inject these growth factors back into our skin to aid rejuvenation as well as rub over open wounds generated by laser treatments.
  • Stem Cell Therapy: is a relatively new technique to add volume and/or reduce wrinkles and sagging in the skin on the face. Stem cells are elements in our body that stimulate other cells into action – in this context tightening the skin, renewing skin cells and improving collagen production. We can stimulate the production of stem cells (derived from our own fat) in a lab and then inject them into areas we’d like to support.  When coupled with actual fat injections we can also achieve an increase in volume in areas we inject (this is known as a stem cell facelift).
  • Laser Genseis:  The heat emitted from a laser affects the deeper layers of our skin, causing our collagen to contract. This tightens the skin and the ensuing wounding process stimulates an inflammatory response that removes the old damaged collagen and replaces it with new.  This new matrix is more organised and flexible.
Youngblood lipliner, Blinc Amplified Mascara, Youngblood Liquid Minerals Foundation

Maximise Mascara Sales:

We find out the exact products to stock and to suggest to a mature demographic of women:

  • Mascara: “As women get older they can get more irriated eyes, they experience more smudging under the eyes – so they need a mascara that is non-irritating and lasts the distance,” says Kim Oliver, owner of International Beauty Supplies.
  • Lipliner: “If a client who has lost confidence in their makeup application technique, use a lipliner and demonstrate how to shape the lips – it instantly lifts the face,” says Sarah Hudson.
  • Liquid Foundation: “Reach for the liquid first and add some extra coverage with a creamy concealer with light-reflecting properties, that doesn’t cake in fine-lines,” adds Pauline Youngblood, CEO of Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics.
Media personality Deborah Hutton at the launch of Lee Holmes’ book, Fast Your Way To Wellness (last month in Sydney) talked about how fasting has helped her manage “menopausal weight gain”

Fastrack Wellness:

“Getting older can actually be a very freeing process as you often become more accepting of your own body,” shares Scarlett Vespa. “You often make lifestyle choices for mental health rather than physical, as looking good comes down to feeling good.”

“We all know that our bodies begin to decline as we get older but we can have some control over how rapid that decline is,” adds Lee Holmes, acclaimed Australian author and nutritionist. Her top wellness tips to temper various age-related health concerns:

  • Healthy Fasting: We can protect the immune system from damage and induce immune system regeneration by fasting. This means that implementing fasting can hugely impact the way we age and decrease our likelihood of developing diseases and slow down degeneration. Fasting can also help support hormone function and promote detoxification.
  • Monounsaturated Fats: To make sure our hormones are functioning and to promote detoxification, I recommend including monounsaturated fats at every meal. This could be avocado, tahini, nuts and coconut oil.
  • Leafy Greens: Never underestimate how nutritious and delicious vegetables and fruits are! They’re packed full of vitamins and minerals, and are vital for wellness. Eat lots of leafy greens to keep up calcium levels and strong bones
  • Muscle Power: It’s also important to make sure that we’re staying active. Whether it’s going for a walk with a friend, attending a zen yoga class or lifting weights on the gym floor, it’s important to keep up fitness levels. Keeping our muscles strong is so important and can help us age better. Don’t fear ageing! Instead, work with it!

[Header Image: Photograph: Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images, via The Guardian]