Staff Appearance and Spa Standards


These are two areas very much in the limelight of my consultancy visits lately.


I feel like an old lady referring back to my cruise ship days in 1996 but it was unheard of for a staff member to even enter the spa unless their hair and makeup was immaculate. And tell me when did nail extensions become a part of a therapists appearance – this was only allowed on our nail technician no one else. I experienced a trade test recently from a therapist who had long extensions and I can assure you I felt every part of her nails during my massage.


I think we need to pull back a little and take a good look at ourselves as spa managers and at our team. What about if people are seeing them walking down the street to or from work, in the spa uniform and they look a mess? What message does it send out to our clients and potential clients – these people are representing our businesses. There are plenty of therapists who seem to think it is OK to run a full day of treatments with their hair down, no makeup on or dirty/scruffy uniforms.


I come from a fitness back ground and never wore make-up unless I was on a night out where mascara and lip gloss was over kill for me. But when I started working on the cruise ships it was expected that even the female fitness instructors wore a suitable level of makeup and the men were clean shaven and neat hair. I don’t think there is anything wrong with expecting impeccable appearance from your team. Grooming should be part of your spa standards and monitored daily. I have sent many therapists away to smarten themselves up if I did not feel they were meeting the company grooming policies.

  • Long hair neat and tied up

  • Short hair neat and away from face

  • Foundation, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, lip liner, lip stick (and bring some make up to work to freshen up after lunch)

  • Company standard shoes, clean. If open toes - pedicure nails

  • Name badge

  • Clean uniform

  • One pair of earrings and no other visible piercings

  • No visible tattoos or cover with a band aid

And the list goes on. What you think is acceptable and what your team member considers high standards may be very different. So set out your standards, communicate with your team and monitor daily. But remember:


‘Be a Product of Your Product’


Walk the walk as a manager, they need to aspire to you and your standards and if you are not looking presentable then you can’t expect your staff to either.


Which takes me onto the next challenge – room standards.

My feet were literally sticking to the floor of one spa last week due to the lack of cleaning and general spa standards. This level of build up does not happen over night or in a week. I have been to spas where the door handles and hot cabbies were a totally different colour because of the oil build up.


I know it is a tough slog to maintain. Believe me there were many days as a spa manager I was mopping floors in my high heels and suits to make sure all the jobs were completed. I was never scared to roll my sleeves up and get stuck in with the team. But what do you need in order to maintain general standards? You need SOP’s – standard operating procedures.


Create a daily check list for the therapist’s treatment rooms. Let them sign off at the end of their working day and then as a manager do a spot check to make sure they are completing the tasks. That way you can flag if some of the cleaning isn’t done correctly. Remember not to jump in straight away and ‘attack’ but ask if they were having difficulties or maybe they didn’t have the right cleaning equipment. If the issue continues, and that particular staff member is not maintaining standards, then it is time to sit them down and have a chat about their performance as a team member. Check with your GM or HR department to ensure you are following company procedures when it comes to dealing with staff.

Once you have your daily check list running and working well, you need to create a weekly deep clean check list for each treatment room. That way if/when the staff are free they know to check the list and see what room needs working on.


There also needs to be a spa daily cleaning check list and weekly deep clean list. I know it seems like a lot of lists for this day and age but believe me however you create and manage these documents will mean the difference between having world class spa standards or a grubby spa that puts you and your team to shame.


Remember that you are a manager for a reason; you have worked hard, always maintained high standards and have a deep understanding of what is required to run an excellent spa. But no matter how long your staff are with you, you will still need to monitor, remind and reiterate your standards because believe me they forget very quickly – that’s why you are the manager and they are the staff members.