How to spot treatment trends

I really enjoyed speaking at Professional Beauty’s Salon & Spa Owners’ Conventions at the Dublin and Manchester shows last year, which covered the topic of future-proofing your business for 2018 and how to make sure your service offering stays innovative.

The new year is the best time to look at the treatments your salon delivers with fresh eyes, but how do you identify which services are keepers and which ones will end up being a flash in the pan?

Clients are becoming increasingly adept at telling us what’s new but, for me, the key is being able to ascertain the difference between trends and fads. Fads are gimmicky things that peak in popularity but don’t have long-term staying power, while trends grow slowly and become something that sticks in the consumer consciousness.

Trends are also born out of societal or cultural elements whereas fads are just crazes. Remember fidget spinners? Every child under 14 went crazy for them in 2017 with only websites in far-flung countries stocking them, then they became mainstream and their shelf life was exhausted.

Spotting a trend

These types of trends and fads happen in our industry too. Regular readers will know I was never a fan of the fish pedicure. To me, it seemed gross that live fish were eating (often infected) skin from people’s feet and then the next client came in and plonked theirs into the very same water.

Have you seen a fish pedicure spa recently? No, me neither. It’s a perfect example of a fad. When the local bricklayer starts thinking that opening a fish pedicure spa is a good idea and a guaranteed license to print money, you pretty much know the idea is fated and doomed to disaster.

So, what constitutes a trend and which treatments and services are going to have staying power? The perfect example of a lasting trend in the beauty industry is IPL. Why? Because hairlessness isn’t going away.

There’s a whole generation of men and women who wouldn’t even contemplate the idea of not having silky smooth legs (not to mention other bits). Like tattoos, this cultural shift may be fashion-led but it’s long term.

Taking stock

When trying to identify what’s going to be a trend or a fad, ask yourself two questions:

1. Is it cultural – does it take influence from a singular fashion element? If it does then it’s more likely to be a trend.

2. Is there hysteria around it that’s making people irrationally crazy for it? If so, then it’s more likely to be a fad.

Identifying the future services that will generate secure income has never been so key, nor has being able to sort out the gimmicks from the core treatments.

Fads come and go but trends evolve, so being able to differentiate between the two is a skill worth cultivating.

The best place to see what’s innovative is at trade shows and for our industry there’s nowhere better than the Professional Beauty London exhibition (February 25–26). It’s the place to peruse all that’s new and exciting and get a feel for what’s on offer.

Hellen WardHellen Ward is managing director of Richard Ward Hair & Metrospa in London’s Sloane Square and chair of Trailblazers for the hairdressing sector.

Read more from Hellen...