I remember seeing Botox administered at a trade show and feeling shocked when I was 19 and training as a beauty therapist. It didn’t seem like the industry I thought I was going into.
Ten years later I’m constantly advertised to by companies in this space, but then I do follow all the Kardashians on Instagram, and I read Cosmopolitan. At the time of writing 70% of the magazine’s online readers entering a poll said they would be prepared to buy Superdrug’s Botox and fillers service.
The chain isn’t known for its quality. I was told during my training that its stock is always old. I worked on Clarins and Lancôme make up counters in Boots, neither of which you see in Superdrug.
I suppose that’s the point: Superdrug has successfully positioned itself as the go-to shop for teen girls who want 99p nail polish. They can now graduate to needles for £99 when they’re 25 (the Superdrug age limit for facial aesthetics).
It seems like a good market play given that young people are both skint and keen to ape reality stars like the Kardashians and contestants on Love Island – a show which Superdrug, almost the only high street retailer with rising profits, sponsors.
Needless to say, commentators and medical professionals everywhere are horrified because, they argue, no one can possibly practise ethical facial aesthetics for £99, and the inevitable result will be a huge upsurge in botched faces.
Our client Naeem Rashid shares this concern. A year ago Naeem decided to keep his associate job and launch a facial aesthetics only brand, Pink Dose, staking what was in effect the counter position to Superdrug’s pile it high sell it cheap approach.
He said: “I feel this is a specialist treatment that should be done by highly trained dentists, doctors and nurse practitioners, it shouldn’t be offered so carelessly on the high street for such cheap prices. I feel it could lead to a lot of complications and complaints and place the whole of non-surgical facial aesthetics into disrepute.
“Patients who may have never considered it may now decide to go ahead as it is so cheap, and recklessly head into it without doing proper research. Non-surgical facial aesthetics needs to be better regulated by the governing bodies as there are too many horror stories of things going wrong.”
Harvey Nichols has its own facial aesthetics centre called Beyond Medispa, and I haven’t seen anyone complaining about that. Personally I’d much rather spend more and go to a highly trained medical professional who has an excellent reputation, glowing testimonials and a portfolio to match.
Perhaps that makes me a snob, and I do wonder if a lot of the anger is akin to the chagrin from British Airways et al when Ryanair created budget air travel (which is still doing a roaring trade). Watch this space — and, if you’re in facial aesthetics, articulate your own market position as if your life depended on it…
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