From the Editors

Dr. Dana’s Travel Diary: My Pedicure in the French Alps

by Dr. Dana Stern | January 9, 2017 | Bookmark +

Editor’s note: Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Dr. Dana Stern, whose column, A Day in the Life of a Nail Expert, runs quarterly in NAILS.

Whenever I travel, I always make it a point to get my nails done. I love to see what products are favored, and what styles and methodologies are applied at salons and spas around the world.  On a recent ski vacation to the French Alps, I booked an appointment at a high-end, luxury spa for a pedicure.  After a few days in ski boots, my feet needed some pampering.  

<p>Dana Stern, M.D.</p>

When I checked into the spa, I chose not to reveal my expertise. I typically keep it a secret wherever I go — it makes for a more honest, unfiltered experience. I was escorted to a lovely, peaceful waiting area, where I enjoyed a warm cup of herbal tea. From there, I was taken to a beautiful, private treatment room decorated in earthy, organic hues and natural materials. As I entered the room, I noticed a neatly organized tray of fresh nail implements and products. However, a closer look at the tray revealed a used nail file!  I was incredibly surprised to see this given the luxurious surroundings. Nail files are a one-time use tool. They can harbor bacteria that can cause toenail fungus — not something I was looking to bring home from my French holiday. Thankfully, I brought my own tools so it was not much of an issue.

When my pedicurist entered the room, she washed her hands thoroughly and began to gently and meticulously shape my toenails. A clean plastic basin was brought to my plush, terrycloth-covered chair and my feet were immersed in a warm, suds-filled soak that was a simple combination of water and liquid soap. Basins, whether plastic, stainless steel, or ceramic, are the way to go for foot soaks as they can be thoroughly sanitized in between clients. I was immediately more relaxed knowing that my feet were soaking in a clean environment. 

The majority of the pedicure was similar to one I would get at an American spa — wonderfully pampering. I was intrigued to see that many of the products on the tray were familiar, including Essie cuticle oil and OPI base and top coats.  My feet and legs were saturated in the most elegant body oil and foot cream made by a local French brand, Pure Altitude. The brand’s key ingredient is the edelweiss flower, which is hailed for its ability to thrive in the most extreme climates. I loved everything about the products, from the luxurious texture to the divine scent.

As my toenails were being painted, I sipped a refreshing glass of mint water and enjoyed the quiet. As my toes dried, I cozied deeper into the chair and closed my eyes. I was more relaxed than ever. Despite the nail file issue, this was one of my top five pedicures. I think it probably helped that I was in the French Alps. But despite the breathtaking location, the pedicure itself was a true luxury.

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