Wine, beer, tequila, and even bourbon are trending as unique ingredients for premium manicures and pedicures. If you are looking to give some splash to your service offerings consider adding one of these innovative interpretations to your menu.
Ultimate Spa Margarita Pedicure photo courtesy of Infinity Luxury Salon in the Gorge
Make Mine a Margarita
Everything about a margarita translates perfectly into a premium nail service. Lime juice is a natural fountain of youth. The citric acid in limes is a natural exfoliator and the peels help to inhibit melanin production, which can help to fade age spots. Tequila is a natural antibacterial agent, which gets an extra boost from salt — and what good margarita comes without salt? Nail salons from Mexico to Manhattan are hopping on the margarita bandwagon for manicures and pedicures.
Tammy Dennis, owner of Infinity Luxury Salon in the Gorge, brings the sunny flavors of Mexico to the often cloudy skies of Bingen, Wash., with her signature margarita manicures and pedicures. The Ultimate Spa Margarita Pedicure (clocking in at two hours) includes a warm foot soak with margarita crystals, a soothing foot and leg exfoliation, callus removal, a margarita moisturizing mask, heavenly hot towels, and an amazing 20-minute leg and foot massage. The matching manicure adds another hour of personalized luxury. The products used in the services are produced in Washington, adding a local flair. The “salt on the rim” of this service duo is a made-on-the-spot margarita mocktail. (Alcohol can’t be served in salons in Washington state.)
Tammy’s inspired service was driven by her need to create something different and unique for her guests and visitors to tiny Bingen (population 712). “Our clients will drive as far as 45 miles to experience the margarita services and come back again and again,” she says.
Champagne & Rose Luxury Manicure photo courtesy of Three-13 Salon, Spa & Boutique, Marietta, Ga.
Pop the Cork on a Champagne Pedicure
Champagne and sparkling wines get their distinctive appeal from all those tiny bubbles. As it turns out, champagne has some unique benefits that make it a perfect choice for a premium nail service. Long thought to increase blood circulation when consumed, those tiny bubbles also act as a natural exfoliating agent. The active ingredients found in champagne-themed products may include grape seed oil or grape seed extract. These ingredients combine well with rose essence or citrus (think of a Mimosa — the popular drink made with orange juice and champagne) to enhance the aromatherapy value of the product and service.
So pop the cork and offer your guest a glass of bubbly for a unique service. You will find many variations, but most champagne pedicures begin with a soak in room temperature champagne accented with rose petals or rose minerals. Grape seed scrubs are often used for exfoliation and can be combined with a champagne oil massage. The scrub combined with champagne oil creates the perfect combination of exfoliation and hydration. Champagne oil is helpful in restoring moisture and improving the look of aging feet while fighting skin discoloration.
Chardonnay Silk Spa Manicure photo courtesy of LeVonne de Spa, Waterford, Mich.
Vinotherapy combines traditional nail services and treatments with the antioxidant benefits of wine. Wine has been consumed for thousands of years. In fact, traces of white wine residue were discovered in King Tut’s tomb. Nail services can feature wine as part of the protocol or in products. Wine, champagne, and grape seed products with enticing names such as Cabernet Crush, Merlot Magic, and Champagne Mimosa are readily available for back bar use and retail sale. If you are crafty, creative, or both, you might even try your hand at creating your own custom wine-based products. Wine consumption is a growing trend with wineries popping up in nearly every state. Wine-inspired services are tagging right along, not just for the fun factor but for the health benefits they deliver.
Wine-based products may help to turn back the hands of time as they contain large amounts of concentrated antioxidants and vitamins. Nearly everyone has heard of the benefits of resveratrol, a natural plant phenol with anti-inflammatory properties thought to aid in wound healing.
Ale-ing Foot Service photo courtesy of Anjou Spa, Bend, Ore. Photo by Natalie Rae Puls
Spa Hoppiness in Bend, Oregon
Not only can you enjoy drinking a local brew, you can soak in one too. Celebrating the locals’ and visitors’ love of beer, Anjou Spa has teamed up with a local craft brewer aptly named the Goodlife Brewing Company to create the Ale-ing Foot Service. It begins with a foot soak in a copper bowl filled with freshly warmed beer. Next, a custom-created scrub combining hops and fresh barley is used to smooth the feet. The finishing touch is a foot and lower leg massage using a hops-infused lotion to leave your feet refreshed. This service is especially popular with male guests, but many ladies enjoy the chance to enjoy a little “brew renewal.”
This service is loaded with health benefits as well. The yeast in beer is a natural antifungal agent, while the hops contribute anti-microbial properties and aid in relaxation. Barley is a natural anti-inflammatory agent that is loaded with zinc, which helps to repair the skin. The bran of the barley is a natural exfoliator. “Most people probably aren’t aware of the therapeutic benefits of beer; there’s more to it than just great taste,” says Jenna Walden, managing partner of Anjou.
Photo courtesy of Spa Grand Traverse in the Grand Traverse Resort, Acme, Mich.
Bourbon — as American as Apple Pie
Annual sales of bourbon and Tennessee whiskey surpassed the $1 billion mark in 2013. Craft distilleries are cropping up across the country. Bourbon tours, tastings, and parings are becoming as popular as wine events. Bourbon is a uniquely American beverage that is found at backyard barbeques and black tie affairs. Given our love of bourbon, it was only a matter of time before salons and spas teamed up with product manufacturers to turn that delightful combination of brown sugar, vanilla, and caramel scents and flavors into a growing list of products and services.
Spa Grand Traverse in the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, Mich., has created an “On the Rocks” manicure and pedicure combination that features products infused with ginger, pecans, and real Kentucky bourbon. This service provides 100 minutes of “me time” and includes a complimentary cocktail. Spa director Dawn Olsen says her inspiration for the service came from guests’ positive response to having organic spa cocktails available in the spa. “Guests like the idea of relaxing with a delicious spa-inspired cocktail while enjoying our manicures and pedicures and at the same time catching up with the people in their lives,” says Olsen. An added plus is the fact that the Bourbon Bubbler products smell wonderful, which often leads to a retail sale.
Holidays Worth Celebrating
Our favorite spirits all have a national holiday or even a designated month. Use these red-letter days to promote your spirited treatments.
January 11: National Hot Toddy Day
February 22: National Margarita Day
March 17: National Irish Coffee Day and Green Beer Day
April 7: National Beer Day
May 7: National Muscato Day
May 16: National Mimosa Day
June 14: National Bourbon Day
July 24: National Tequila Day
August 4: National White Wine Day
August 7: International Beer Day
October: California Wine Month
October 16: National Red Wine Day
December 20: National Sangria Day
December 31: National Champagne Day
Want to Add Some Spirits to Your Menu?
Before launching into liquor-based services, some research is in order.
1. Research your state and county liquor laws. Alcohol may be allowed in a service but in some states serving alcohol is not permitted in a salon or requires a special license. (For more information and resources, read “License to Serve” at www.nailsmag.com/alcohol.)
2. Seek out local sources for inspiration and products such as wineries, craft brewers, or vineyards. These local businesses can help promote your spirited services and products.
3. Brush up on the health benefits. Spirited treatments have many health benefits that can be part of your marketing and promotion punch. Explaining the health benefits of your services is an important component of what makes them special.
4. Test your recipes and practice your protocols. Consistency is critical in a premium service.
5. If you don’t wish to serve or use alcohol in your services, consider creating “mocktails.” Alcohol-free beverages are an option and there are substitutions you can use for the service ingredients.
Patti Biro is the owner and founder of Patti Biro and Associates (www.pattibiro.com), a consulting firm specializing in planning and providing innovative coaching and education in the spa and wellness industry.