If You and Your Clients are Looking to Instagram for Inspiration, Beware!

If You and Your Clients are Looking to Instagram for Inspiration, Beware!

By ASCP Staff 

Since Instagram has become a household word, our clients are developing expectations of what their skin should look like. If your client comes in for a service and immediately shows you a picture of J-Lo on Instagram, saying, “I want my skin to glow like hers,” you might think to yourself, “Wouldn’t we all like skin like that?” But the reality is, there are many factors that contribute to that glow that most of us may not be able to achieve. For example, she may have inherited great genes from her parents. She certainly has plenty of money to spend on frequent and advanced skin care services and the best products money can buy. She maintains a healthy diet and works out every day. And we all know there are filters one can use on social media to enhance one’s appearance.

As a skin care professional, our mission and passion is to help our clients have the best skin possible, but we also must help them be realistic. They can’t expect to have that dewy complexion if they aren’t willing to go the extra mile to earn it. Yes, your services can absolutely help, but they have to be willing to religiously use the home care products you recommend, be mindful of their diet, and use sunscreen every day.

So often, though, without even realizing it, our clients are looking at the whole package, not just the flawless skin. They are looking at the shiny hair, the perfect facial features, pearly white teeth, and that impossibly tiny waistline.

If you’ve had similar conversations with your clients, you know this is becoming a more frequent occurrence with Instagram and Snapchat and all the social media channels out there. A client looks at a photo and thinks they should look just like celebrity X, but they may not be realistic in considering that they are 20 years older than that celebrity, or they have never used sunscreen and only recently started booking services and using home care. Rarely are they going to end up looking like that picture, and comparing themselves to a snapshot can end up being a big disappointment. 

Esthetician applies green mask to client's faceBut this blog isn’t about managing clients’ expectations or giving them a dose of reality. This is about you. This is about managing your own photoshopped expectations when it comes to your career. 

Estheticians love to check out what other esties are doing via Instagram. We look, we follow, we compare, we dream, and we end up losing perspective. Just as we attempt to manage our clients’ skin care expectations, we must manage our own career expectations. Let’s define that idyllic career inspiration picture you have. 

“What do you really want?”  

Before you start envying how good other estheticians’ careers look in pictures, first define what you want your career to look like. You may look at some estheticians who specialize in medical skin care and convince yourself that you need to expand your career in that direction. But, just because a career in medical esthetics works for some esties, it doesn’t mean it’s the perfect career for you. Are you prepared to pay for the training you would need, and the time away from your practice and/or family that it would take to complete the training? If you work at a spa as an employee, you might see posts of the independent esthetician who is successful renting a suite. Before you take a leap like that, break down each piece of a career path and make sure you want all the aspects, including the expense of going independent and the added responsibilities of doing your own marketing, ordering inventory, withholding your own taxes, etc. Don’t get too caught up in just one filtered perfect image of what it could maybe look like in an Instagram post.  

“This will take time.”  

Improving your clients’ skin requires more than just one appointment, so what makes us think career success happens overnight? Don’t compare your current career to someone else who may have been in the industry for 20 years longer than you. It just takes a few seconds to do a social media makeover, but think about the years of practice, education, and investment that are summed up in those snapshots. Remember that only the best pictures, the ones that tell the story we want the world to see, get posted. 

“You will need to make an investment.”  esthetician performs ultrasonic exfoliation

You will need to make an investment, and only you can decide how much you’re willing to invest. No matter what you want in your career, it may cost you some lifestyle choices. 

When you see a fellow esty who has adoring comments and tons of followers on their social media channels, you want the same thing. But you must be realistic and weigh the value. They have most likely spent hours catering to their audience, building their following, creating relevant content to post, responding to messages, keeping up on industry trends, etc. Can you afford the time it would take to accomplish this without neglecting your current clients? Will it elevate your career enough to justify the investment?  

Maybe you see posts from estheticians who work for a famous product line, and they are doing skin care demos at trade shows and events all over the world. Do your daydreams of an exciting life of travel begin? It may be that this is a perfect career choice for you, but again, be realistic. Travel is not always glamorous. It will mean nights in hotel rooms, sometimes lonely dinners, late flights and missed connections, and you will end up missing out on lots of family time. Some people thrive on travel, but it may not be the best path for you.   

Just as skin care is an amazing industry, so are each of our careers as estheticians. Before you make a career move from an Instagram post, make sure you give serious thought to determine what is best for you. Acknowledge the time it will take, and weigh the investment verses the value it will bring your career. What will make your career the most fulfilling and successful? 

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