It used to be that a client was happy with a simple manicure. Of course, it didn’t hurt if the nail tech applied a lotion, paraffin, or oil, and offered the client a hand and arm massage. Even add-ons such as these always guaranteed a happy and relaxed customer, eager to return for more.

With the increasing popularity of natural nail care, however, today’s clients have become savvier and expect more from their manicures than what used to be considered “extras”.

Many innovative and progressive salons have created unique and creative manicures and pedicures that can earn them just about as much as they would for an artificial nail service.

In order to stay ahead of the game, today’s nail techs are realizing the importance of breaking away from traditional services. They’re giving natural nails a breather by staying away from artificial enhancements and offering treatments that nourish the hands and feet – making sure to stick to all-natural ingredients.

The services on the following pages incorporate basic manicure procedures along with a variety of tasty ingredients ranging from milk and peaches to chocolate and raspberries. We hope they’ll get you motivated to come up with your own unique, all-natural nail service.


HOW MUCH: manicure, $30; pedicure, $55

WHERE: Kiva, Chicago

INGREDIENTS: papaya, pineapple, yogurt, olive oil, egg yolk, mango, honey for the manicure blend, cinnamon, pumpkin, pineapple, mint tea, olive oil, and yogurt for the pedicure blend

SPECIFICS: This seasonal manicure and pedicure is the spa’s trademark, which human resources manager Christa MacDonald says is perfect for dry, chapped winter skin. A blend of ingredients including papaya, pineapple, egg yolk, honey, olive oil, and yogurt is whipped up in the spa’s Nourishment Bar. Other fruits may be supplemented seasonally. The mix of ingredients creates a creamy mask of naturally occurring alpha-hydroxy acids that condition the skin and soften the cuticles.

After rubbing the mixture onto the hands (making sure to concentrate on the nail and cuticle area to ensure coverage), nail techs place the client’s hands in plastic bags and leave them on for 10 minutes. The hands are then rinsed warm water and a regular manicure follows.

The pedicure blend is left on the feet for 15-20 minutes, with a plastic bag over the feet. The mixture is removed with a warm cloth and feet are rinsed with warm water. A regular pedicure follows.



WHERE: Wild Ivy Day Spa, Rockport, Mass.

INGREDIENTS: body wash to cleanse the feet, lavender eye pillow, marine foot masque, rosewater spray

SPECIFICS: Billed as a “direct service to dreamland”, this pedicure has clients lying fully reclined on a facial table while their feet are lovingly pampered.

“Since we have to turn the lights up in the room during the pedicure, we decided to add the lavender eye pillow to the service”, says owner Leslyn Zak. The pedicure was conceived three years ago, after a client fell asleep on the facial table. She was still due for a pedicure throne, so Zak decided that instead of waking her and moving her to the pedicure throne, she’d do the service right there.

After washing the feet with body wash, Zak exfoliates and massages them after applying a marine foot masque. She uses a rosewater spray to wipe off any remaining residue on the feet, and as the client waits for her polish to dry, she has the option of getting a facial. A hand, arm, and lower leg massage complete the service. “This pedicure is for clients who are serious about relaxation”, Zak says. “It’s more relaxing than sitting in a chair.”



WHERE: Just Nails, Covington, Ky.

INGREDIENTS: powdered milk, aromatherapy oils, powdered cocoa (seasonal), rose petals

SPECIFICS: Owner Becky Moore says a warm milk soak is the ultimate skin-softening hand treatment. “Milk baths are so soothing, and they’re not good for your skin”, she says. She likes to mix a few aromatherapy oils to the soak, and she also sprinkled in rose petals for added color. During the month of February, Moore goes one step further, offering her famed Chocolate Milk Manicure. She simply adds powdered cocoa to the soak for a chocolatey concoction and offers clients chocolates and candy to eat.

After letting the hands soak for the hands soak for about 10 minutes, Moore dries her client’s hands and then proceeds with a regular manicure. “Both men and women love this manicure. It gets pretty cold here during the winter, so it’s especially popular during that time”, she says.



WHERE: Ummelina International Day Spa, Seattle

SPECIFICS: The Seaweed Manicure id the only manicure on the spa’s menu, although it can be customized with a variety of add-ons. All nail treatments are done in a private room in a contoured treatment bed. The eyes and ears are also attended to, as clients are provided with eye pillows and soothing music. After washing the hands with an African botanical soap, owner Nina Ummel and her staff apply a seaweed-based gel to the hands. The hands are then wrapped in a flannel knit and placed in electric mitts for about seven minutes. Afterward, the hands and arms are massaged with a moisturizing lotion, followed by a manicure.

Instead of applying polish, Ummel uses a white pencil to color the underside of the free edge, giving the nails a natural, buffed French manicure.



WHERE: Paint Shop, Beverly Hills, Calif.

INGREDIENTS: This seasonal manicure was first offered at the beginning of the year. Owner Julie Serquinia says it’s gotten so popular that she’s decided to continue offering it. “It’s very festive treatment,” Serquinia says. “Clients really like the sugar scrub.”

The scrub is actually a concoction that Serquinia conjured up herself. She simply takes raw sugar and mixes it with a moisturizer to create an exfoliating scrub that’s applied after the soak. The soak itself contains the champagne, as well as botanical oils. “Champagne helps condition and brighten the nails,” she says of the reason for putting the drink in the soak.

The fact that clients get to hear the bottle cork pop and play with colored marbles at the bottom of the bowl both add to the manicure’s charm. Serquinia removes the scrub with a warm towel or a nail brush and then proceeds with a manicure. She finishes off the service with an application of glitter lotion.



WHERE: Polish Nail Emporium, Brooklyn, N.Y.

INGREDIENTS: peaches, peach paraffin mask, fruit acid peel

SPECIFICS: Some of the salon’s treatments, including this one, are trademarked. “We’re trying to give our salon a brand name,” says owner Erika Kirkland of the reason for the trademarks. The salon focuses solely on natural nail services, and Kirkland researches ingredients and their benefits before coming up with each of her latest masterpieces. “We promote ourselves as a natural nail salon because we focus on enhancing what a person already has,” she says.

The Peaches and Cream Manicure, which falls under the “Pamper” section in the salon’s service menu, almost sounds like a smoothie for the hands. Clients place their hands in a warm peach pulp soak. Afterward, Kirkland applies and exfoliating fruit acid peel on the hands. After removing the peel, a moisturizing peach paraffin mask is applied. Kirkland follows this with a manicure.



WHERE: Aroma-Listic Day Spa and Salon, Agoura Hills, Calif.

INGREDIENTS: milk, chocolate and raspberry-scented oils, white truffle scrub, honey dust

SPECIFICS: Billed as “dessert without the calories”, this almost-edible pedicure is part of Aroma-Listic’s “Treats for the Feet” line of pampering, luxurious services. The pedicure was originally conceived as a Valentine’s Day service, but clients loved it so much that owners – and twin sisters – Monique and Monette Moore decided to offer it year-round.

The pedicure is performed in the salon’s Extremity Room, which features two side-by-side pedicure thrones. “It usually takes two months to make an appointment, but we guarantee clients that it’s worth the wait,” says Monette, who does nail services. Monique is the esthetician in the family. All of the products, including the chocolate raspberry lip gloss handed to clients at the end of their pedicures, are made right in the salon.

After soaking feet for about 10 minutes in a chocolate raspberry foot soak, Monette exfoliates them with a white chocolate soufflé scrub. She removes the scrub with raspberry and chocolate-scented warm towels, and then applies a mud masque containing clay and raspberry, chocolate, and vanilla oils. The feet are placed in heated booties for about 10 minutes to further absorb the masque. Then, Monette places the feet back in the footbath to remove the masque. Then Monette places the feet back in the footbath to remove the masque. A massage and foot reflexology accompanied by several fragrant lotions follows. “I’m continuously massaging the feet as I apply several different products.” says Monette. “People really drift off at this point.” She finishes the service by applying a layer of honey dust powder to the soles and tops of the feet.



WHERE: Spa Radiance, San Francisco

INGREDIENTS: warm milk, lavender, chamomile, honey, rose petals

SPECIFICS: Each treatment is whipped up in the spa’s kitchen. According to owner Angelina Umansky, the recipe for the pedicure and for all other custom-blended treatments was handed down from her grandmother. “Both my mother and grandmother were in the beauty industry,” she says.

The pedicure starts with a milk, honey, and lavender soak. Rose petals are added to the soak for added color and fragrance. After the soak, Umansky applies a eucalyptus and spruce exfoliant with a glove. Feet are then placed in a lavender essential oil paraffin dip, and a rose and lavender moisturizer follows. The pedicure is performed in the spa’s facial room. Clients sit in a plush, antique-looking chair that fits in with the spa’s Victorian row house appearance.



WHERE: Anna Luis Salon and Day Spa, Saginaw, Mich.

INGREDIENTS: coconut milk, sea salt scrub, pineapple oil

SPECIFICS: Owner Anna Loiselle says this pedicure literally makes clients feel as if they were on a tropical island. Everything is done to ensure that the client is in a tropical state of mind, from playing soothing ocean music to strewing fresh flowers throughout the room. While their feet get buffed, scrubbed, and groomed, clients are treated to a specially blended drink containing mango, papaya, coconut, and pineapple juices. “This pedicure is great for people who stand on their feet all day,” says Loiselle. The salon is near a hospital, so nurses regularly book the service. “It’s most popular during the winter,” she says. “Clients think of it as an escape from the cold weather.”

Clients first immerse their feet in a coconut milk soak for about 10 minutes. Afterward, a sea salt scrub is applied from the hips to the feet. The scrub is removed with hot towels and a hip-to-foot massage accompanied by pineapple-scented moisturizer follows. A pedicure completes the service.

Loiselle makes sure clients are well aware of the service – she regularly serves tropical drinks and hands out flyers detailing the pedicure.


HOW MUCH: manicure, $25; pedicure, $60

WHERE: Kathleen’s Salon and Day Spa, Monroe, Wash.

INGREDIENTS: Owner Kathleen Sather is a certified esthetician, nail tech, and instructor of reflexology. She is also the sole worker at her salon, which is located right next to her home. All services, including nail treatments, are done in one room. Sather has clients lay on a facial table while she performs her nail services. Baby boomers make up the bulk of her clientele, and she says both the Egyptian Pedicure and Manicure are perfect for them.

“These services are good for people with aches and ailments. The pedicure is especially good for people whose feet tend to swell up,” says Sather.

While an aromatherapy diffuser fills the rooms with scent and a water fountain and soft, soothing music instantly relax the client, Sather begins her work. She uses Creative’s SpaManicure and SpaPedicure lines to soak, exfoliate, and moisturize the skin. The massage portion of the service follows. As pedicure clients lie on a facial table, she gently begins her 30-minute reflexology session. Clients are treated to an Egyptian-method massage, which Sather says is gentler than other massage methods. Manicure clients receive their 15-minute massage at the nail table.

“It’s cheaper to come here instead of a destination resort,” says Sather about the popularity of her manicure and pedicure.


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