Salons are carving out a niche by catering to expectant mothers. Moms-only menus, specialized massage, and targeted retail goodies are just the beginning. With some planning and training you can add to the joy — and relieve the discomforts — during the nine months before birth.
Those words bring a flood of emotions and endless questions to expectant mothers. All of a sudden, Mom questions the safety of every activity in her daily life. At the same time, she is looking for ways to soothe her body and calm her nerves, while making way for baby. So, go ahead, prepare to pamper your clients with manicure and pedicure services tailored to this special time.
Taking care of Mom involves planning and education. Plan for lots of questions. “Are salon services safe? What products are safe to use? What research is out there?” While obstetricians and their patients are uniquely qualified to make the ultimate decisions involving prenatal activities, beauty professionals are sought out for information on pampering, including hand and foot care. Client questions eventually move on to “What do you recommend for stretch marks? Do you have a good foot soak for my aching feet? Will I be able to keep my nail enhancements before/after the baby is born?” Education will allow the nail professional to share the most relevant information and help the new mama make the best choices for herself.
Mom’s hormones are raging, she is emotional, and her body is changing rapidly. Along with the bliss may come morning sickness, frequent trips to the bathroom, fatigue, swollen feet and ankles, backaches, sleeplessness, shortness of breath, heartburn, and gas. So, be prepared to spend some extra time getting and keeping her comfortable.
ARE SALON SERVICES SAFE? The information we have now indicates that receiving nail services is safe while pregnant — including enhancements. It is advisable to strictly adhere to safety practices including salon sanitation, having adequate ventilation, reducing chemical contact with the soft tissue surrounding the nail, covering all trash cans, and inquiring about client cosmetic allergies. (It is even possible for pregnant technicians to continue working throughout their pregnancy.) The range of nail care products is ever expanding and includes products free of dibutyl phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde, and toluene, which have been reported to pose a potential health threat. You can even get soy-based polish remover. Clients should ultimately address any chemical concerns with their physician.
MORNING SICKNESS AND NAUSEA During pregnancy, a woman may become hyper-sensitive to any scent, bringing on bouts of nausea. While most can expect the symptoms of morning sickness (which can occur any time of day) to ease over time, some experience nausea for the duration of their pregnancy. Chereice Nolden, a nail technician with Shine Spa, in Kansas City, Mo., uses “natural products that aren’t heavily scented to pamper expectant moms.”
Salons also use extraction ventilation systems to remove vapors and odors from the breathing space. Ventilation makes the salon healthier for everyone. To check or increase ventilation, contact a heating and air conditioning company. Vented tables may help reduce odor, but do not replace proper salon ventilation.
Becoming Mom, located in Mason, Ohio, eases Mom’s fears by using only products that are 100% natural and free of toluene and formaldehyde. “We use soothing essential oils such as vanilla and lavender,” says Marnie Gosser, a therapist at the spa.
“Make sure to keep fruit or other refreshments on hand,” says Maisie Dunbar of M&M Nails & Wellness in Silver Spring, Md. Expectant clients may experience low blood sugar or feel light-headed if they go too long without eating. Metabolism is increased since she is eating for two.
Strong light and loud music may also trigger nausea. Create an escape by playing soft music and lowering the lights. As Mom’s body changes she may start to lose sleep. So don’t be offended if she grabs a quick nap during her pedicure service. Wake her gently when done and give her plenty of time to re-acclimate before moving or standing.
OH, THOSE SWOLLEN ANKLES Dawn Birshwal, owner of Becoming Mom, points out that drinking the recommended amount of fluids can reduce swelling. The spa keeps water, Sprite, and juices on hand to help clients stay hydrated. Cutting back on caffeine is a normal part of pregnancy. Check the labels to verify teas, colas, and coffees are caffeine-free for your clients who are expecting.
For clients receiving pedicure services, it’s advisable to steer clear of hot water. Cool water is a natural anti-inflammatory agent and helps relieve aching, swollen feet without the risk of raising Mom’s body temperature.
As her body changes, Mom’s center of gravity shifts, making her more susceptible to backaches — and even falls. Make pedicure and manicure services more comfortable by providing pillows to support her lower back. Offer a supportive hand as she enters or exits the pedicure chair. Offer a small stool to elevate her feet during her manicure.
Birshwal warns that clients with a history of blood clots or varicose veins should forgo the massage during spa services. “Our staff is highly trained in prenatal spa services. We get referrals from doctors,” says Birshwal. “Every new staff member is trained by a prenatal certified massage therapist in specific techniques and safety issues. They are taught about the reflex points and what to avoid.” The benefits of salon services increase as a woman can no longer reach her feet. “It’s something she can no longer do for herself. Swelling can be reduced. And she just feels better,” she says. The best part? She can receive services right up to her delivery date.
It’s important to remember that beauty professionals are not to diagnose or treat medical issues. Clients should be encouraged to discuss any changes or concerns with their health care provider. Be prepared to provide product or service information, including Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to clients and their physicians. Your willingness to address her fears honestly will be remembered long after she delivers her bundle of joy.
TAKING THE EXPERIENCE HOME To tackle the everyday beauty concerns, stock your retail area with products targeted to the unique issues she faces — achy feet, stretch marks, comfort, and rapid nail growth. Gosser suggests herbal foot soaks and balms to reduce swelling. Nolden instructs daily use of cuticle oils and hand lotion.
Take a cue from the clients and try to stock products that solve common complaints. Think gift baskets that go to the hospital with her, gift certificates for post delivery escapes, body pillows, and super soft pedicure socks. That decadent body butter may not remove stretch marks but it certainly makes skin feel softer as it expands to make room for baby.
What to Avoid
> Hot foot baths or services that could raise body temperature
> Massage of the ankle/heel area. This area contains pressure points that could affect reproductive organs.
> Strong odors/scents that could trigger nausea
> Overexposure to salon chemicals
> Offering medical advice
Checklist for Pampering Momma-to-be
> Extra pillows
> Light blanket
> Water and juices
> Soda crackers
> Retail items to stock
> Body butters
> Foot soaks
> Body pillows
> Acupressure wrist bands
> Pedicure socks with open toes
Extra Special Attention to Detail
> Offer seat belt service to make sure new moms buckle up. Lap belts should be worn low across the hips below the belly. Shoulder belts should cross between the breasts.
> Assist clients when stepping up or down for pedicure services to reduce the chance of a fall.
> Offer home/hospital visits after the baby is born. Check your insurance policy and local regulation before making these services available.