We work in a multi-billion pound industry that makes its money providing solutions for people to get a little bit closer to this unrealistic perfect body image! Its no wonder that we unintentionally contribute to making our clients underestimate their self worth and fabulousness! Constant before and after images of our work, plenty of solutions to “fix” every inch of our bodies and faces and treatment menus to alter any sign of imperfection!
Are you equipped to recognise signs from your clients about their self worth, eating disorders, body image issues? Absolutely not, we just want to help them fix the problems. But that is the problem! We generate our income by pointing out flaws and offering the solutions. It’s a classic marketing technique. But we can give more thought and consideration to the message it sends and the worldwide problem we are contributing to.
The Women and Equalities Commission conducted a survey in 2020 where 61% of adults surveyed and 66% of children said they feel negative or very negative about their body image most of the time! 65% of under 18s think there is an ideal body type! Only 5% of under 18s reported that they wouldn’t change their body image using weight loss products, cosmetic procedures and control clothing. 5%!!! WTAF! Getting to 18 and already feeling like sh*t about your body leaves a bloody long life of an overactive monkey mind telling you to change and you are not good enough. You have a unique situation in your job because you have clients who trust you sitting in your treatment room and discussing their concerns and particularly around how they look. And you can have an impact on how they leave and the way they pass on information by being better informed. If your clients who are parents are better educated about the effect social media is having on children they may just make some changes to how they deal with their own children.
So practically what can you do to promote a more positive image within your beauty business?
1. Think about how you use your before and after images.
They are there to demonstrate your skills and abilities not to constantly point out clients flaws and how you fixed them. Tell stories with them about the benefits of your treatments and how they make your client feel as opposed to focusing purely on the aesthetics of the images. So if you are a MUA posting pictures of someone with no makeup on and comparing it to a face full of makeup you have cleverly applied it can provoke a feeling of “I look like sh*t without makeup on”. So maybe share the after photo on its own to show your creativity and talk about the things you love about your client and the great conversations you had with one another instead. Aesthetic treatments require some serious consideration about the impact your words and images could be having. There are some great examples from leading beauty brands who a paving the way for change. They aim for marketing that promotes comfort over looks and to steer clear of body shaming language and images. I urge you to think wisely about the language and filters you use in your media and marketing.
2. Think about the products you recommend and the language they use, the models they use to promote themselves and the ethics that the companies represent.
Look for brands that use language that steers away from perfection and flaws. Are they using a diverse range of models to represent the company that ultimately is going to appear on your posters and literature? Are they a company that has values you believe in? Go follow companies like Megababe who sell products like Thigh Rescue for thigh rubbing, Bust Dust for boob sweat. Or Love AnyBody who are working towards changing the language used to describe things such as stretch marks. Rather than products to erase them they “help to support the natural regeneration of skin cells”. Tropic skincare has a fantastic makeup section in its brochure that demonstrates the makeup looks on all ages, races and genders and is super inclusive with its imagery.
3. When creating your treatment menu think about the wording you use.
You can create treatments that promote a feeling of wellness and relaxation rather than constantly aiming it at anti-ageing, perfect skin, weight loss, fill this, shrink that! A unique treatment menu allows you to create a unique pricelist so don’t be afraid of creating different offerings to what others around you are doing.
Ethics in your business create trust from your clients. You will build a good reputation and it’s a good reputation that builds your client base. Newspapers and magazines are more interested in businesses that step away from the norm. As an industry we need to do more for our clients that contributes to a better future for our kids! Body positivity advocates are sceptical that beauty brands can really support body positivity because ultimately they lean on peoples insecurities to make money. But every little positive change works us towards a better future and an industry that gives a crap about its impact! Lets make that impact a bloody good one on mental health and body image!
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