Most seasoned techs will agree: When it comes to foot care, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for clients. From ingrown toenails to dry skin, each client comes with her own set of concerns that must be treated with proper care. While offering a standard pedicure may seem like the most cost-effective option, you could unwittingly be encouraging potential clients to look elsewhere to meet their needs. So what’s the solution? Specialty pedicures allow you to add variety to your service menu. “It’s important for salons to offer multiple pedicure options to cater to clients’ needs,” says Carla Hatler, owner of Austin, Texas-based Lacquer salon. Offering different types of pedicures allows you to widen your client base and give clients specialized treatment—though figuring out which type of services to offer can be tricky. The easiest way to start: Look at your clientele. Are they constantly in a rush to get out the door? Maybe it’s time to offer a treatment that focuses strictly on nail maintenance and polish application. Or, do your clients often add on a longer massage to their regular service? A spa pedicure may be a profitable alternative. The key is to make the benefits of each service obvious for clients. “In addition to detailed marketing material, our techs go over everything that’s included in the service with the client beforehand so she knows what to expect,” says Rachel Cheng, owner of ZaZa Nail & Wine Lounge in San Francisco.
Ready to expand your service menu? We tapped salons across the country to give us the rundown on four types of specialty pedicures: express, spa, waterless and medical. Here, salon owners shed light on their unique pedicure offerings—plus, check out some top-tier product picks to amp up your foot services.
￼The Service: Express Polish Pedicure
Inspired by San Francisco’s fast-paced lifestyle, this express pedicure is ideal for women who are constantly on the go. “Most of the time, our clients need a quick polish change for a special event, an interview or a night out,” says Cheng. During this no-frills, 15-minute service, the tech trims, files and
buffs the nails, then applies color. While the service skips the standard scrub, massage and cuticle maintenance in order to save time, the salon offers clients a glass of sommelier-selected wine or champagne to help them feel pampered. To speed up dry time, the techs at ZaZa apply a quick-dry oil to clients’ nails after polishing. Cheng says offering a paint-and-file service is beneficial for techs as well, adding, “An express pedicure can be squeezed in between longer appointments, making it perfect for clients who call at the last minute.”
The Service: Champagne & Rose Deluxe Enzyme Peel Pedicure
Perfect for clients looking to get pampered before a special event, this spa pedicure has clients eager to break out the bubbly—literally! The service features champagne-infused products for a luxe touch. The pedicure begins with a champagne and mineral footbath, followed by a champagne and rose-infused scrub to remove dead skin. Next, the technician mixes grape peel with champagne oil, and then applies it to the client’s feet to soften the skin. “Our clients love to see our techs mix the enzyme peel in front of them,” says Hatler. The tech then performs a hand and arm massage—one of the steps that clients enjoy most about this protocol. The pedicure concludes with a 10-minute leg and foot massage using a champagne and rose-infused lotion. “Because of this pedicure’s higher price point, our customers expect a lot out of this service,” says Hatler. “It’s important that our techs receive proper training and never skip any steps in order to provide the full experience to clients.”
￼The Service: Valley Signature Waterless Pedicure
The Salon: Valley, Multiple locations in New York
Contrary to popular belief, a foot soak isn’t essential to a pedicure. Waterless services are becoming increasingly popular, and with good reason—not only do they conserve water, they also decrease the risk of infection. Perfect for eco-conscious clients, those looking to minimize cross-contamination or diabetics, the service begins with a foot cleanse using a hot towel and a natural antiseptic spray, and then the nails are trimmed, filed and buffed. After the tech applies a cuticle softener, the feet and legs are exfoliated with a vanilla sugar scrub. The service concludes with a leg and foot massage. Though the service already feels decadent, the most relaxing component of Valley’s waterless pedi is the salon’s ergonomic chair. “Our pedicure chairs are full recliners,” says owner Nina Werman. “Clients never have to switch legs or shift during the service, making it easier for them to fully relax.” Another benefit of going waterless? Extended polish wear. “After soaking, nails absorb water and increase in size, then shrink back once they’re dry, causing premature chipping,” explains Werman. “Skipping the soak ensures that the polish will last longer.”
￼Ideal for diabetic clients, runners or anyone with problematic feet, this medical-grade pedicure puts hygiene and specialized treatment above aesthetics. “This dry procedure combines podiatry with nail care,” explains owner Marcela Correa. “Unlike at regular salons, our technicians are trained to examine and treat foot disorders using technologically advanced equipment.” The tech begins by assessing the client’s feet, skin and toenails before the feet are cleansed and disinfected. Next, the tech trims, files and buffs the nails; smoothes calluses; exfoliates the feet; and removes any corns, blisters or ingrown toenails. “We rely on medical instruments and a podiatry drill during our treatments,” says Correa, who notes that all equipment is sterilized in an autoclave to prevent the spread of germs, fungus and disease. “The MediPedi prevents future foot disorders and can help with the healing of athlete’s foot, calluses, cracked heels, fungus, ingrown toenails or toenail discoloration.”