Ah, flowers. We give them to express our love, and our sorrow. They render occasions more formal, more special. Their scents trigger powerful memories. And, of course, they’re instrumental to the spa experience.
Industry pros know that flowers function as more than a meaningful gesture. As Katherine Tomasso, director of brand education for Yon-Ka Paris, notes, “From their stunning natural beauty to their fragrance, flowers provide endless health and beauty benefits.” In fact,
beautiful blooms have been used to heal and nourish skin throughout millennia. Even in today’s scientifically advanced age, consumers unfailingly embrace naturally derived floral elixirs in their pursuit of beauty.
“The public is taking a wider view of lifestyle and wellbeing,” explains Sara LaBree, educational manager for Jurlique. “They understand the philosophy inherent in nature’s ability to create, nurture and soothe, and they personally require it in their beauty regimens.” In honor of Earth Month, DAYSPA gathered a few botanically savvy spa experts to hear their thoughts on the wide-ranging benefits of flowers. Inhale the information
and watch your sales and client satisfaction bloom.
Botanical spa experiences
wouldn’t be the same without
the medicinal, eco-friendly
and emotionally evocative
benefits of flowers.
By Katie O’Reilly
Quite simply, flowers make us feel more connected to our home planet. “A flower’s power lies in the beauty of its petal design, its color and its unique scent,” says Kim Lee, corporate sales educator for Pevonia International. “Flowers are grounded in the earth, and synthesized by the sun’s energy.” This also speaks to what is often the single most important factor in selecting a skincare product: its smell. Once sensed, it
sets off a chain of reactions.
“The olfactory nerve, reached directly through the nose, serves as the only ‘open gate’ to the brain, which controls heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels and hormone balance,” Lee
explains. “This, in turn, triggers emotional and physi-cal reactions. Sometimes a client can’t even explain why she’s drawn to a particular scent.”
This may be because the scents of flowers and their essential oils affect the part of the brain referred to as limbic, which is where memories are formed. And, sometimes, the associated people and events are so
distant that the limbic brain picks up on what the conscious mind doesn’t. “It’s emotional recall,” affirms SpaRitual founder Shel Pink. “Certain scents elicit very strong memories.”
Therefore, if the memory is positive, we will be drawn to that scent and benefit from it. “Smelling flowers can trigger positive long-term emotions and thus elevate mood, reduce stress, and promote sleep
and relaxation,” says Tomasso. And don’t we all know it, notes Tricia Behmardi, director of education for Jane Iredale.
Hope Blooms Eternal
Karen Asquith, national director of education for G.M.
Collin, notes that clients typically prefer florals for one of
two reasons: “One, they simply adore certain scents, or
two, they feel that floral and plant extracts are safer to
use.” Indeed, floral ingredients are a key part of the surging
organic movement. In response, conscientious manufacturers
are harvesting their ingredients in ways that would make
Mother Nature proud. This starts with some basic rules, such
as making sure that florals aren’t sourced from endangered
plants, and ensuring that the manufacturing process doesn’t
harm the environment.
Harvesting floral ingredients in a safe and responsible
manner not only protects the environment, it also preserves
the integrity of the floral extracts themselves. “We use
an Earth- and plant-friendly CO2 method that guarantees
maximum potency of the extract without any alterations,
modifications or added toxicity,” notes Kim Lee, corporate
sales educator for Pevonia International.
SpaRitual founder Shel Pink reminds us that the
easiest way to ensure sustainability is to source only
organic botanicals. “Organic farmers have to follow USDA
guidelines,” states Pink, whose company sources Fair
Trade ingredients whenever available. After all, responsible
harvesting also includes ethical treatment of the growers
themselves, points out Liz Beresford, CEO of Ÿum Gourmet
Skincare. “Whenever possible, we buy from wildcrafted or
organic sources,” she adds.
Biodynamic farming methods allow Jurlique’s farmers
to benefit from lunar cycles, which many believe affects
soil’s fertility, and to grow vibrant and healthy botanical
ingredients. “We also rely on farming that’s free from
artificial fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides,” says the
company’s educational manager, Sara LaBree.
M’lis, which also sources plants from chosen organic
farms, relies on a natural drying process. “Raw flowers,
plants and seeds are washed and dried below 78 degrees,
then they’re ground,” explains M’lisa Jackson, president of
M’lis. “We make a point to use all ingredients within one
GLOBe DAISY year. And we never irradiate anything.”
“Humans have long understood the emotional effects of flowers,”
she says. “For instance, many people know if they’re sad, they should smell a rose—as a culture, we collectively acknowledge that this scent is calming and soothing.”
Although there are exceptions to every rule, general guidelines exist
for choosing florals based on the response you’re trying to evoke in
clients. Pure Fiji, for example, designs its products with the intention to
trigger specific thought associations. “Blending exotic scents of jasmine
and gardenia with citrus and spice, for instance, transports clients to island holidays,” says Andrée Austin, the company’s co-founder. “Orange blossom, on the other hand, harnesses the happy sparkle of tropical orange trees in full bloom. There’s a lot of emotion tied up with each of the floral scents we utilize.”
Before you turn your spa into a Garden of Eden, however, keep in
mind that there’s a ceiling to even the most transporting scent. Research
shows that most people prefer the “softer side” of floral fragrance. It’s
for this reason, notes Karen Asquith, national director of education for
G.M. Collin, that her company uses specialized equipment to measure
scent intensity, as well as a trained panel to evaluate products’ essences.
“This ensures they’re not overly intense, and would thus appeal to the
majority of consumers,” she says.
Floral ingredients have been staples of medicine throughout the ages, and
every skincare formulator knows how to tap into these time-tested winners.
Some notable examples:
• Rose. Different varieties of rose hold different properties. Behmardi
reports that white rose extract supports natural cell regeneration and
the skin barrier; damask rose extract helps tighten pores; pale rose extract
works to rebuild the barrier; and rosehips brighten skin and help prevent
transepidermal water loss.
• Calendula. Although its blooms present in stimulating yellow and
orange, this flower’s extract is revered for its calming, balancing and antiinflammatory effects.
• Lavender. We think of lavender as the quintessential aromatherapy
agent, but its oil also soothes irritated skin. • Chamomile. Consumed as a tea or used in aromatherapy, chamomile helps us tamp restlessness and insomnia and release muscle spasms; as a skin treatment it has a similar effect, quelling redness and neutralizing allergic reactions.
Many other favorite florals are cited as soothers and anti-inflammatories.
These include arnica montana, cornflower, linden, melissa, mimosa,
mint and white nettle. M’lisa Jackson, president of M’lis, is a fan of passion flower, which, she notes, “is a
trustworthy skin-calming agent.”
Other floral extracts, such as cistus, garden nasturtium and
milk thistle, deliver an antioxidizing and oxygenating punch. Asquith
favors globe daisy extract, derived from a flowering European plant, for
this purpose. “It protects skin from oxidative stress, thereby reducing the
visual effects of aging, and spurs skin’s production of powerful antioxidant enzymes,” she says. “I think of it as spring cleaning for the skin.”
A number of flower-derived oils are capable of conditioning and healing
the skin. Behmardi cites sunflower seed oil, which is valued for its high
vitamin E content. Keep in mind that even if a product’s
label reads like a horticultural glossary, this doesn’t mean it will
deliver the expected floral properties. As with every purchasing decision,
the caveat is “buyer beware.” It’s essential to work with formulators
who have a proven track record in optimizing ingredients, says Liz
Beresford, CEO of Ÿum Gourmet Skincare. “Our favorite suppliers
harness the chemical composition of florals, and maintain their soothing,
anti-inflammatory and protective properties in ways that preserve optimal moisture levels,” she says.
A Blossoming Connection
Clearly, floral ingredients are a boon to our bodies, minds and, yes, spirits.
But how do you emphasize this point to guests in a way that enables
you to grow your profits? Asquith suggests promoting a “floral facial”
or “blossom body” treatment. “You could also post a ‘Did You Know?’
fact sheet describing the amazing attributes of the floral ingredients
you use,” she adds.
It’s crucial for customers to be able to experience the aromatic
blooms used in your treatments. “If possible, purchase some fresh
flowers to include with product displays,” Tomasso suggests. “Another
option is to diffuse essential oils of some of the flowers you use.”
Austin is a proponent of attractive posters and signage depicting the
featured flowers in their natural habitats. “This has a transporting
effect, and is a great way to entice clients,” she says.
It’s important to appeal to clients’ smarts as well as their senses by
educating them on the features and benefits of floral products. “However,
we understand that spa staff are busy and don’t always have time to
share their knowledge,” says Beresford, “so make use of shelf talkers
designed to highlight floral ingredients’ benefits to skin.”
And, of course, the name of the game is engagement. “Encourage
spa clients to enjoy a truly sensory experience with your floral products,”
says Lee. “Urge guests to feel them and to smell their delicate
aromas.” This means providing plenty of sampling opportunities
both on-site and in take-home packets that will prolong
and strengthen your clients’ in-spa connection with
nature’s most delicate yet potent force: flower power.
Reproduced by Katie O’Reilly with permission from Dayspa magazine for limited distribution. ©2016 by Creative Age Communications, Inc. No part of this article and/or cover can be altered, changed, or reused in any way without expressed consent of the publisher.