Spas + Makeup + Retail
By: Mary Bemis, Founder & Editorial Director, InsidersGuidetoSpas.com and Co-Curator
Cosmoprof Discover Green and Discover Green Leaf

When I’m at a spa, be it day, destination or resort, I always check out the makeup offerings. And I can tell you it’s on the rare occasion that I’ve seen a makeup retail display done right—or even a decent, trend-forward makeup brand in the mix.

I’ve always wondered why so many spas simply don’t take advantage of the fact that post-facial,
many women don’t want to walk out of the spa entirely bare-faced.

Wouldn’t it be great if estheticians offered light touch-ups as an option? Or if they offered quick and easy tips on how to achieve what I call the “spa face?” There are a few spas that offer a dusting of mineral powder with an SPF post-facial, but those are far and few between.

That’s just the tip of it. Makeup and spas have long been a missed retail opportunity. For starters, “spa makeup” traditionally consisted of loose mineral powders that were messy and difficult for the consumer to apply. I asked Suzanne Holbrook, Senior Corporate Director, Spa Operations, Marriott International, to share her thoughts and expertise. Here’s what she had to say.

How do you retail makeup at your spa?
It’s challenging to sell makeup in hotel spas, as guests usually prefer the department store experience. If you can’t beat them, join them! When makeup artists, estheticians, or hairstylists have downtime, we recommend they set up a high stool in the spa lobby/boutique with good lighting (think of a MAC concession) and offer complimentary touch-ups, focusing on contour highlighting, brows, and lips. From there, you can recommend a facial, full makeup lesson, or retail the makeup applied.

Why do you think makeup has been such a hard sell in the spa environment?
The makeup stand is usually hidden at the back of a retail boutique or in the salon, with little exposure to the spa-going guest. The hotel guest generally does not think about going to the spa to buy makeup, or even have their makeup done, unless it’s a wedding.

Any advice for spa directors on how to retail or what to look for when choosing a makeup line?
Depending on the size of the spa, we look for a makeup line that isn’t overwhelming (too many SKUs), and partners with good skincare habits, such as a mineral line, but also vibrant enough for application.

Create a Task Force booking in the reservation system, and temp block your team for one hour each (when quiet) to assist in the spa lobby with complimentary touch-ups etc. (It can be removed if a guest wants this time, limiting disruption of business). Educate and train the spa team to go out and earn their money, versus sitting in the dispensary looking at who has more appointments.

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