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Unqualified, self-taught therapists pose major challenge for industry

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DIY beauty treatment videos and the mushrooming of home salons run by therapists who have not undergone formal accredited training are some of the biggest challenges facing industry professionals.

This emerged from a recent Professional Beauty Focus Group comprised of established industry stakeholders in the beauty supply and training sectors, who also pointed out that such so-called therapists are undercutting the professional sector with very low treatment prices.

The Focus Group participants noted that the use of cheap brands purchased by salons or therapists randomly on the internet is another big issue. Such products usually do not come with a proven track record in the professional industry, nor do they offer practical brand product training.

One of the participants in the Focus Group said that unqualified, self-taught therapists may also pose a potential threat to customers as they likely do not have a sound knowledge of skincare product ingredients and how they work on the skin, or of the structure of the skin.

Another industry stakeholder noted that even aesthetic devices for minimally invasive treatments, such as used in micro-needling, are now available for purchase on the internet, and come only with a manual and no practical training.

The participant continued: “So anyone can buy this device, even if they haven’t done a beauty therapist or somatology course. The use of such a device by an untrained and inexperienced person could potentially damage the client’s skin and possibly lead to infection. I’ve even heard of some people performing dermaplaning and plasma treatments without training. The problem is that our industry is not regulated. I think that therapists should have to be licensed before they start working, as in the USA.”

Educating the public

All the Focus Group participants agreed that a major problem was how to educate the public about the above issues, given that cash-strapped beauty consumers are invariably seeking the lowest prices for both treatments and products.

It was unanimously suggested that salons and spas should encourage their therapists to use social media to educate the public in this regard.

Other industry challenges identified during the Focus Group were the lack of business skills among salon owners, as well as insufficient marketing know-how, and the importance of promoting self-care and self-worth among therapists. (Report by Joanna Sterkowicz)

Professional Beauty will be holding regular Focus Groups for the industry. If you would like to participate please email info@professionalbeauty.org.za

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