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It’s what’s inside that counts

Consumers are more clued up than ever on their beauty products… and one key focus is ingredients. Are you paying the same attention?

Hyaluronic acid, peptides, AHAs – the engaged beauty consumer knows these terms well, and won’t hesitate to read a product’s ingredients list. So by being clued up on these buzzwords – on what is in the products you’re recommending, about what they can do for your client – you can demonstrate once again your professional status.

More brands are placing key, skincare-inspired ingredients at the forefront of their marketing. Buzzwords have given way to targeted ingredients for desired solutions. ALFAPARF Milano is one such brand which closely tailors its new products and marketing approach to the beauty zeitgeist in order to better serve its clients.

“Huge emphasis is placed on intensive education and continuous up-skilling of our partner professionals, focusing primarily on a complete, in-depth technical knowledge of what the products do and their ingredients,” says ALFAPARF Milano’s Lisa Marangon. “We listen to our feedback channels so we know early on what our clients want.  That feedback model is constantly improved and refined so that the R&D team always knows what’s required and what’s wanted.  Our salon treatments and products are highly scientific so we work to communicate clearly with our clients through various channels, such as our professional education courses, jargon-free point-of-sale materials, carefully-designed  packaging and product details.”

Mark Woolley, founder of Electric London Professional, has all the benefit of his experience as a salon owner to draw on when it comes to creating products. “I think the end consumer is far more savvy now, so we need to be confident when talking about our craft, the products we’re using and recommending for at-home usage,” he muses.

Educating his team and stockists about the ingredients has been a key focus from the beginning: “We create literature around the products that explain not just what the product ‘does’ but the ingredients and why they’ve been included.  When I’m creating new products, I want to be using raw materials that are sourced in the UK so that we can trace back and vouch for the ingredient, while also cutting down on air pollution. We then also provide detailed education to our Electric salon partners and stylists.”

Each client is unique, and the more you’re able to cater and recommend for their individual needs, the more trust you’ll build, which will lead to greater sales. This is something Vicky Panting, consultant for Paul Mitchell, experienced first-hand. “My clients were easily swayed towards purchasing a product just because it said, for example, ‘for coloured hair,’” she recalls.

“But let’s break that down – there are various different colours they may have gone through, from brown to bleached to bright red. Is a generic coloured shampoo going to work for all of these? And let’s not forget about condition – have they been a frequent hair colour changer?  This is where knowing your ingredients and formulations really come into play – for blondes, for example, Paul Mitchell’s Forever Blonde system features a KerActive protein specifically designed to help strengthen blonde hair.” It’s these details that make the difference in trust… and sales.

Don’t let your clients show you up with their own knowledge of ingredients, otherwise you lose that professional edge that keeps them trusting your opinions. “Once upon a time, people mostly didn’t bother reading the ‘ingredients’, but now many do. In fact I know people who like to be able to trace every ingredient, from bottle to soil,” asserts Amanda Le Roux, vice president of Aveda International.

As an early adopter of plant-based ingredients, Aveda has made educating their teams and clients a huge factor in its growth. “This awareness started mainly with food ingredients but has now, quite logically, extended to personal care as consumers are now also concerned with what they put on their bodies, and not just what they put in them. Successful companies must already be diligent about the ingredients they use because the quality of their products depends on it. I do think the recent upsurge in consumer demand for ingredient traceability has challenged companies to a higher level of scrutiny in their supply chains to assure that ingredients are not only available and affordable, but also socially and environmentally responsible.”