Expert Advice: Creating the perfect winter pedicure

Marie-Louise Coster shares how to switch your pedicure and foot care treatments up a level this season. 

Marie-Louise CosterIn our industry a pedicure is considered to be a fairly basic treatment, it's one of the first things we learn as therapists and I don't think we always remember what a wonderful treatment it is and what a profound effect it can have on the clients feeling of well-being.

Our feet work really hard they strike the ground 10,000 times a day and absorb more than 600 metric tons of force. In reality, most people will walk about 115,000 miles in their lifetime, they take the weight of our body all the time, we spend most of the day on them and we often neglect them.  

Most people hate their feet, they always comment they have ugly feet, dry feet, hard feet etc. but this is often due to neglect and not understanding what their feet need.  Our feet have no sebaceous glands, so they are incapable of hydrating and moisturising themselves. Incorporating a nourishing and hydrating treatment, especially after a foot peel, is really important to help to combat hard skin.  Explaining the importance of moisturising feet and why, and retailing aftercare products to your client is really important with a pedicure service.

During pedicures, personalise the routine to suit your client's specific requirements and giving them a real treat.
So, when our clients decide to pamper their feet what makes for a perfect pedicure?

Ask yourself, how often do you see you have a pedicure booked in and just do your standard routine almost parrot fashion – soak, cut, file, cuticle work, massage, polish?

Yes a pedicure is ultimately judged on the end result of how pretty the nails look but a pedicure is so much more than this alone; it's about personalising the routine to suit your client's specific requirements and giving them a real treat. This will make your treatment more memorable than the treatment they received from the salon down the road, which in turn will encourage them to come back to you and encourage their friends to do the same. 

Our lives are getting busier and more hectic and we are sacrificing time for ourselves so when we do treat ourselves we want to be made to feel special, pampered and relaxed. Next time your client comes in for her pedicure discuss with them what they want to get out of their treatment; yes, they may want lovely painted toe nails but their focus may be on their tired and aching legs needing a longer, more specific massage, or perhaps on the hard skin that has started to become quite stubborn or maybe they have arthritis and wants something to soothe the pain? Whatever their reasons for having a pedicure, find this out during the consultation so as you can give them what they consider to be a perfect pedicure.

There are many variations and extras that can be added to the standard pedicure routine to make it more luxurious, a few options that are great for the winter months particularly are:

Exfoliation & Mask 
The addition of an exfoliator and mask is imperative for clients suffering with hard skin. Exfoliating prior to the foot and leg massage will remove dead skin making the skin more responsive to the massage cream, follow the massage with a mask to further cleanse the feet paying particular attention to the dry areas. Opt for a mask with cooling ingredients such as menthol, mint etc. as these will be soothing to tired feet.

Paraffin Wax
This is another perfect addition for those with dry skin, hard skin or cracked heals, the warmth is also great during the winter. The paraffin itself is particularly moisturising and can come with a variety of added ingredients such as essential oils that could aid relaxation, just be wary of allergies if using paraffin wax with added ingredients.

Heated Booties
These are perfect for clients with rheumatism, arthritis and/or poor circulation to the feet. The heat from the booties not only relieves aches and pains but also penetrates the massage cream deeper into the skin making the product more effective and moisturising. Warmth also creates an immense feeling of relaxation.

In the winter I often package one of these variations with a nice hot chocolate and biscuit and even offer the client a nice cosy blanket just to create a really cozy, snug and relaxed element to the treatment.

Reflexology Pedicure
Incorporate reflexology within the massage element of your pedicure. Not only will this be relaxing but also rebalancing to the body as a whole.
Other ways you can adapt and advance your pedicures include:

If you don't offer Hot Stone Treatments perhaps you could incorporate some reflexology within the massage element of your pedicure. Not only will this be relaxing but also rebalancing to the body as a whole.

The addition of Shiatsu pressure points and massage is another way of creating a more relaxing pedicure and giving a more unique edge to the procedure.

Hot Stones 
For those clients seeking relaxation hot stones are a particularly effective addition to the pedicure routine. They make a beautiful addition to the massage, and the cozy toes stones can be used as toe separators when painting the toenails to add a little more stress relief.  

Foot Peel 
At some point every client who walks in through the door will benefit from a peel. When looking for a peel brand, look for one that is progressive, not aggressive, and works on the basis of hydration because, ultimately, it is the missing hydration that is causing the hard skin in the first place.

And don't forget to retail! Retailing is so important generally, it is part of the service. Think about it logically, even if your client has a monthly pedicure with you, that is only 12 hours a year out of 8760!  There is so much you can recommend for them to do and use at home. I remember doing a training course once and the lady who taught it was discussing retailing footcare and how you should retail to everyone because (as she put it) ‘gee your clients have got feet haven't they?!' And I have never forgotten that.

So next time your client comes in for her pedicure remember both she and her feet have been working really hard so give them some extra TLC!

Marie-Louise Coster is a Session Tech, Beauty Therapist, Trainer and Business Consultant, with over 20 years' experience in the industry. All About Mi Beauty & Holistic Training School is ABT-accredited.