Dermalogica’s Louis Chabert talks search-optimised skin services and data-driven treatments

Louis Chabert is Dermalogica’s Director of Global Professional Innovation. He spoke to Professional Beauty about the importance of search-optimised, data-driven skin services for the professional beauty industry in 2022.

A data-backed service model:

Over the last eighteen months, Dermalogica have overhauled their service strategy – with a data-driven approach that takes the pathways consumers are connecting with salons via into account.
Louis Chabert says, “We looked at how consumers were searching for professional advice regarding their skin. We weren’t looking at the Sephora client, we particularly zeroed in on the language they were using when seeking professional advice online.”

Louis Chabert says what prospective clients were interested in was hiding in plain sight.

“It’s as simple as what are people typing! We aggregated data from every English speaking market: the UK, US, Australia and Canada. Then we looked at Singapore and other countries to cross-check and ensure everything was adding up. It was very consistent. We found that acne was by far the number one.”

“So we have to think, how do we capture this clients interest and bring them to our skin therapist to strengthen their businesses?”

The findings:

Chabert says the results of Dermalogica’s research was clear and consistent.

“In terms of our findings, acne was number one, then pigmentation, then ageing and then sensitivity. So we designed services to fit those four concerns. We have Pro-Clear for Acne, Pro-Bright for pigmentation and so on. We’re encouraging our accounts to build the treatments into their online menus “as is” because we have worked to optimise them so that when someone googles “acne facial near me”, Google will direct them straight to your business. You will be one step closer to gaining a new client!:

Designing for search, educating for results:

For Louis and Dermalogica, connecting traditionally physical and word of mouth businesses with the online sphere is key for growth, as is educating beauty businesses on best practices around search optimisation.

“Search or SEO is a new thing for beauty businesses. We work with digital experts who help us craft service and menu descriptions that are SEO optimised, so business owners don’t need to think about it. But the services themselves aren’t one-size-fits-all. We found that not all beauty therapists specialise in acne, so our education models focus on the service. When a client comes to you because they found you on Google, you can speak confidently to your expertise around acne.”

“With something like ProClear, the skin therapist is given a turnkey solution; they can say, “I’m going to do a ProClear on you”, which the client understands. But the therapist can then approach the treatment with a detailed understanding of the causes of acne and the skin structure. While many people experience acne, for older demographics, who still spend the most on professional treatments, those causes are likely to be inflammation, stress and hormones. Then there are teenagers experiencing over-production of oil or cystic breakouts. So there is still the ability to tailor and educate, but in a very digestible framework for the client.”

Chabert says aestheticians and professional beauty brands need to be aware of the impact social media, and fast-paced lifestyles are having on consumer expectations. Increasingly clients are open to injectables-first approach, as a time saving, high impact option. Therapists and skincare companies need to look at ways to meet these needs.

We see more people now Googling the word botox than the word facial. Facial used to be the higher search volume! Now, more people are googling botox in some parts of the world, and psychology is changing. People are thinking of a botox solution before they think of a skin treatment solution to look after their facial appearance, so we need to position strategically alongside those trends. There is something to be capitalised on at those critical moments. How can you prolong the effects? How can you prep the skin? Is there something that mimics these effects that we can offer? This is where our research is headed.”

Designing products for treatments:

“The trend is for more powerful skin treatments and achieving results that are as close to clinical in medi-and-salon environments. Skin needling and PRP are now everywhere. This is where the industry is going and the space beauty professionals need to play in. We have developed a treatment line called “advanced, ” where we have stronger chemical peels.”

As the treatments accessible to beauty therapists become more powerful, Dermalogica is also looking to better support therapists in delivering high-quality services.

“We have also introduced pro-micro needling and pro-nano needling training. Microneedling is so popular now, but the quality of the treatments vary. We harvested expertise globally to develop techniques and treatments that are standard and efficacious. With skin needling, you can target different concerns.”

Tailoring popular treatments to clients’ individual needs is key to customer retention – and the best results. “When the consumer comes in and says, “I want microneedling” the skin therapist should be saying, “Well, what do you want to achieve? Do we want to treat pores? Do we want to treat pigmentation?” Depending on the answer, there is a whole different pathway into the professional products that are selected. If you want to target wrinkles, you will use glycolic acid and a professional serum with the technique. But we will change that all if it’s for hyperpigmentation or acne.”

Louis explains: “There is also a certain depth of needling. So many times, they all needle at 1.5 needles with a cookie-cutter approach. If you’re targeting hyperpigmentation, you don’t need to go more than 1.05 because you are getting right there where the melanocytes are. If you want to target fine lines and wrinkles, go to 1.5 mm because you want to create that real shock and collagen. With microneedling, we’re really trying to elevate the expertise within the industry.

One of the launches that Louis is most excited about this year is a product set to cut the downtime of intensive treatments. It represents Dermalogica’s needs-based approach to professional products and skin services. While he must remain tight-lipped about it, for the time being, he says, “I’ve worked in skincare, and hair care, for a long time, and it’s nice to see something that’s true first.

The future of skin therapy:

The other last frontier for Louis is the relationship between the beauty therapist and the dermatologists’ office – one that he sees as ripe for development. He says Dermalogica have established some successful relationships with dermatologists and that they see the boundaries between the two spheres gradually collapsing.

“We worked with Dr Wong, based in Canada, when we were designing ProClear. We want to encourage Dermatologists and beauty therapists to work together – to refer patients and clients back and forth. If you’re a dermatologist working with a client taking Accutane – sure, treat their acne with drugs, but how will they maintain their skin throughout the process or take care of it after the course. It is like how gynecologists may refer their patients to yoga teachers – sometimes, a drug or medical intervention alone won’t do the trick!

Likewise, beauty therapists are in a great position to refer clients to dermatologists where they see the need. So we are encouraging our skin therapists to build their networks with a dermatologist. Reach out and say, “Hey, I’m two blocks away. Can we collaborate?” In North America, we see a big shift with dermatology where there are “cool” derms. Their offices look like makeup stores!

Louis says that the best success has been seen in businesses that continue to innovate and release new services of all the accounts. Adaptive models serve the restless post-covid consumer best and capture their limited attention. This has been true for the Dermalogica service category itself.

“The development of our service model has made us successful, despite Covid. Therapists and aestheticians can see we’re giving them the tools to promote themselves online and the skills to deliver. In terms of the businesses that have been successful during covid? I call them the “hustlers.” They’re continuing to launch new products and services. They’re training. They’re introducing things their customers are interested in – they’re offering derma planning when they didn’t before, they’re offering micro-needling. That holds the consumers’ interest. If you are offering the same things you were offering pre-Covid, you will lose the attention of your clients.”

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