Personal Care

Personal Care Education 5What is Personal Care?

In the spa industry, personal care includes retail and backbar products for skin, body, nail, and hair treatments. Alternately, the Food and Drug Administration uses the term “cosmetics” to define them. The term “cosmetics,” however, doesn’t fully communicate the benefits from some of the products used in massage therapy or esthetics treatments.

Why is it important to choose a personal care brand carefully?

There are several reasons, but here are our top five:

  1. You are a trusted, valued resource for your clients. Guests look to the spa industry as the personal care experts and trust your recommendations on products and brands.
  2. Boost Sales. The organic and natural segment is the most relevant and fastest growing in the cosmetics industry. Because of this growing interest in natural/organic products, choosing them can potentially boost sales. A 2014 report from Grand View Research suggests that the global market for organic personal care will be worth approximately $15.98 billion by 2020, indicating annual growth rates between 9-10% across Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific regions. In addition, Kline & Company’s most recent Natural Personal Care Global Series Report reveals that truly natural positioning is gaining more importance with consumers and retailers. Brand owners have been reformulating to include a higher percentage of truly natural ingredients in their personal care products. The report also shares that the sales of the global natural personal care market increased by nearly 10% in 2014. A word of caution when selecting brands, as there is a lot of confusion in the market about what brands are authentically organic and natural.
  3. It’s a reflection of your business’s environmental standards and values. The environmental aspects of the brands and products you choose reflect on your own business standards. Going to the first point, your guests trust you to carry brands that match the standards and values you market about your own brand. If there is discord between the two, it could cause confusion and mistrust amongst your guests.
  4. Products used on the skin also go down the drain. This is especially concerning if they contain ingredients such as microbeads, triclosan, cyclopentasiloxane, and other ingredients that may have potential for persistence, bioaccumulation, and/or toxicity in aquatic life.
  5. Allergic Reactions. Therapists exposed to products that contain allergens may experience allergic contact dermatitis. The North American Contact Dermatitis Group lists top screening allergens that include, but are not limited to, the following: DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, methylchloroisothiazolinone-methylisothiazolinone, fragrance, and lanolin alcohol.

Current Third Party Certifications

The demand for natural and organic personal care products, coupled with marketplace confusion about what is actually “natural” and “organic,” has created a need for third-party certification standards. These certifications offer transparency and demonstrate manufacturer commitment to cleaner formulations, which can boost consumer confidence.

Typically, third-party certifications provide formulation strategy recommendations in alignment with each one’s particular sustainability standards, as well as greater transparency about manufacturing facilities and certification of supply chains. There are several unique and disparate certification standards throughout the world.

With the mission of “helping others create a greener more sustainable, organic lifestyle,” Organic Spa Magazine provides up-to-date information pertaining to various third party certification.  Stay tuned for a detailed overview.


Body Scrub Infographic Image Green Spa Network Infographics illustrate some basic label-reading exercises in easy-to-understand formats.

Ingredient Guide CombinedThe Ingredient Guide is a great tool for spas and their guests to use as a quick glance guide for ingredients to look for and avoid in personal care products.

Click on images for a full size sample.


Hot Topics in Personal Care

These Q&As are intended to provide a balanced and informative context for some current personal care product topics that can be potentially confusing to understand based on manufacturer claims alone.  Click here for answers to frequently asked questions relating to personal care products.