American Spa’s recent Industry Insider report revealed that 77 percent of spa-goers are women and that facial skincare offerings are the top-grossing services. As such, products and services abound for improving the complexion. Until recently, however, there was a specific niche that had not been widely cultivated—products and services specifically addressing the intimate feminine skincare needs of women. “I recognized the need for skincare for the V a few years ago,” says Avonda Urben, founder of The Perfect V, a line of products for the delicate skin of the bikini area. “We have niche beauty products for every part of our body, but nothing for the V—it was neglected for far too long.”
That oversight is quickly being remedied, as the potential feminine skincare market is vast. It ranges from clients seeking post-waxing and hair-removal soothing to those who have undergone laser-hair removal or vaginal-rejuvenation treatments to clients who are recovering from childbirth to those in menopause and those dealing with the side effects of cancer or other health issues, just to name a few. “Dryness, sagging tissue, irritation, and yeast infections are very common concerns among women, regardless of their age,” says Manon Pilon, founder and R&D director of Derme & Co. and Nelly de Vuyst, which recently debuted the certified organic BioFemme line featuring 10 feminine hygiene, firming, and wellness products.
Another aspect of feminine skincare spas are starting to address is one of wellness and sexual health. “Many women going through menopause have experienced painful sex due to vaginal dryness and the fragility of the tissues due to lack of estrogen,” says Valerie Bennis, president and founder of Essence of Vali. “They realize extra care is necessary and want to continue to enjoy a healthy sex life.” To address this, Essence of Vali recently released Intimate, a moisturizer formulated with 100 percent natural oils, herbs, and butters that is an ideal retail item for spas providing solutions for feminine skincare issues.
In dealing with such a delicate area, gentle and clean ingredients are integral to creating effective lines. Products should be dermatologist and gynecologist tested, and the ingredients should be pure. The Perfect V products are made using soothing Nordic ingredients like bilberry, elderflower, and sea buckthorn. Intimate is made with shea butter, coconut oil, cold-pressed hemp seed oil, comfrey root oil, and tocopherol (vitamin E). Pilon says she believes that vegan, natural ingredients, which are used in the Biofemme line, are a must and that there are several ingredients that should be specifically avoided, including perfumes and fragrances, silicones, sulfates, the preservative MIT, PEGs, parabens, GMOs, phalates, dyes, mineral oil, chemicals, and endocrine disruptors.
For spas interested in offering feminine care products and protocols, there are a variety of approaches, many of which involve starting with enhancements and homecare following waxing, sugaring, and other hair-removal offerings. Several spas, such as Mario Tricoci (multiple locations), are retailing The Perfect V products. They are also using them in waxing offerings that involve hair removal paired with an intimate skincare service. Beyond waxing, Pilon says femcare retail products are easy to integrate as part of laser-hair removal, IPL, vaginal rejuvenation, or vaginal-surgical procedures, as well. “The products can be used in clients’ daily routines at home as well as before and after the procedures,” she says.
Pilon suggests introducing the topic discreetly through the medical health history forms that ask clients about their vaginal health and concerns. She also recommends signage in women’s bathrooms and locker rooms as well as products with shelf talkers in the retail area. “Today, women are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of vaginal health and wellbeing,” says Pilon. “They also are realizing that vaginal health is an extremely important factor in their entire lives, not only in their reproductive years. This is why products that are able to rebalance and maintain vaginal health and wellbeing are not just a trend but represent a real need.”