First, perhaps the skin just looks a little dry and flaky. Then, as the months and years pass, it takes on a dull, thick look, followed by the appearance of fine lines that over time become increasingly deeper creases and wrinkles. There’s just no stopping the hands of time.

As we age, our skin’s renewal process slows. Up through our mid-20s, skin cells rejuvenate about every 20 days, but as we enter our 30s the process begins to slow significantly, eventually taking as many as 28 days to go full cycle. In the meantime, the oil-producing glands in our skin also slow production, making the skin slightly drier.

The skin is the body’s largest organ, and it consists of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the sub-dermis. The epidermis is the outermost layer that you see, and it is comprised entirely of cells. The cells closest to the dermis are called basal cells, and the basal cells divide rapidly, with the new cells continually being forced upward toward the surface of the skin.

As these cells move upward, they absorb more and more keratin (the protein that makes up the hair and nails) into their structure. By the time they reach the outermost layer of skin where you can see them, they have filled completely with keratin and died, protecting the more delicate live cells below.

As the skin continually repeats this cycle, these dead cells shed from the body as they are pushed out of the way by new cells moving up from below. This shedding is called exfoliation. As the cycle slows, however, so too does the replacement of these dead cells, which tend to build up and give the skin a thick, dry appearance that requires much more than a moisturizing lotion or paraffin dip to make it look and feel younger.

Enter exfoliants, and exfoliating treatments which boost the skin’s natural renewal cycle by mechanically or chemically removing the uppermost dead skin cells to reveal smoother, fresher skin below. Some researchers also claim that some exfoliating products, such as AHAs, also stimulate the skin’s production of collagen, which can boost the skin’s elasticity and firmness, also making it look younger.

There are a number of different exfoliating products on the market to suit your fancy as well as your clients’. For example, the salons we interviewed here use everything from glycolic acids to sea salts to mud masks to bring out younger-looking skin.

Not only will adding at least one exfoliating hand and foot service to your menu improve the look of your clients’ skin, it will give clients one more reason to return to your salon. After all, how often do you go to a restaurant where there’s only one item on the menu that you like? Much less frequently than one that has several entrees that suit your different moods. Well, the same philosophy applies in your salon — the wider the selection of services you offer clients, the more likely they are to return, and on a more frequent basis.

Warren Tricomi

Signature Winter Pedicure

Price: $65

Time: 1 hour

Co-owner of the New York Salon, Roxana Pintilie is well known among beauty and fashion editors in the United States and Europe. Her celebrity clientele includes a high-powered list of who’s who in the fashion, motion picture, TV, and music worlds. But this high-profile nail technician doesn’t believe in highfalutin products. “Simplicity is always best,” she says. “I prefer natural products and methods whenever possible. It’s a more gentle philosophy than many people are used to, but I firmly believe that one ought to treat nails with the same care as they do fine skin.”

Here, Pintilie puts her service where her mouth is, detailing just one of the many truly unique nail services she offers clients of Warren Tricomi.


Soak the feet in a citrus soak Pintilie recommends squeezing freshly cut lemons and oranges into warm water, then tossing the rinds in the water as well.

After soaking the feet, trim and shape the toe nails, apply a cuticle cream and push back the cuticles.

Mix egg yolk with oatmeal or cornmeal and apply to the feet and lower legs. Pintilie recommends letting the mixture set for about a minute before rubbing it into the legs and then re­moving it. According to Pintilie, this mixture will exfoliate the skin and open the pores.

Apply fresh-squeezed lemon juice to the legs and feet. Then massage the lower legs and feet with olive oil.

Clean the toe nails with polish remover and polish as desired.

Avalon Rejuvenating Center

Avalon Rejuvenating


Price: $60 Time: 45 minutes - 11/2 hours

Tagged as “the ultimate in hand and foot therapy” in the Austin, Texas, spa’s brochure, the Avalon Rejuvenating Manicure and Pedicure treats clients to an exfoliation treatment, masque, hot oil bath, and massage. “This treatment helps reduce water retention while softening and hydrating the skin, leaving your hands and feet rejuvenated,” the brochure continues. The masque, hot oil bath, and exfoliation are also offered as individual treatments in conjunction with massage for $30 on the hands, $35 on the feet, or $60 for both. Here, spa director/manager D’Esta Myers details the service.

Step-by-Step Manicure

Remove the polish and shape the nails; then soak the client’s hands in warm lotion. Avalon actually uses Aveda’s Rosemary Mint cream conditioner for hair because, Myers says, “If s not as dehydrating as water and it lightly conditions the hands.” Whileonehand soaks for 6-8 minutes, the technician works on the other hand.

Then mix a warm massage oil or cream, depending on the skin type, with sea salts and the essential oil of the client’s choice. Apply the mixture to the arms and hands. Then, using a circular rubbing motion and medium pressure, work the blend into the skin from fingertips to elbows. This takes about five minutes per arm.

While the client washes her hands and arms, mix her choice of essential oils with a massage cream; when she returns, massage it into each arm. Avalon technicians spend at least 10 minutes total on the massage.

Push back and trim the cuticles as necessary. Then do a paraffin dip on the client’s hands and wrap in plastic before applying warming mitts. Let her sit and absorb the warmth for about five minutes.

Then remove the paraffin, clean the nails, and polish as desired.

The Fountain European Day Spa

Mediterranean Mud


Price: $50

Time: 1 hour

Nancy Revell, nail department manager of the Ramsey, N.J., day spa, introduced this service to clients six months ago and has received rave reviews ever since. “I figured if people were willing to submerge their entire bodies in mud, then certainly they would do their feet,” she says. “The mud is very moisturizing and remineralizing to your skin. It softens the skin and promotes a youthful, radiant appearance. We’ve been doing a lot of them since we introduced it.”


Add Baltic Sea salts and a cleansing treatment to the whirlpool bath. The Fountain technicians use a treatment containing tea tree and eucalyptus oils because of their antibacterial properties as well as their pleasing scents.

Remove the polish from the nails and clip and file them. Apply cuticle cream and push back the cuticles.

Apply Mediterranean Mud Scrub (made of extracts of chamomile and different plants) all over the feet up to the ankles and then rub it off using a pumice sponge or foot paddle. Then rinse the feet in the whirlpool bath.

Mix up a mud mask using warm-to-hot water and brush it on the feet with a large mask brush. Completely cover the foot and toes up to the ankle then wrap the feet in plastic. Let the client sit for 8-10 minutes or longer, depending on the condition of her feet. Cover with booties to keep the mask warm. Rinse off in the bath when finished.

Apply a moisturizing lotion scented with the client’s choice of aromatherapy oils and massage each leg up to the knee for at least five minutes.

Apply a cooling gel to the calf, clean the nails, and polish as desired.

Adam Broderick Image Group

Spa Manicure

Price: $40

Time: 45 minutes-1 hour

“This is a wonderful service for clients suffering from the dry skin of winter, and it’s ideal to prepare the skin for spring and summer once the weather begins warming,” says Jen Carpenter, director of education for the Ridgefield, Conn., salon and spa.

While the salon has offered a spa manicure for three years, Carpenter says it was just a year ago they added marine oils and algae gel to the service. “We started using the gel for body treatments and people said it was so wonderful for remoisturizing the skin that we added it to our manicures. The marine oil has all the sea algaes and sea salts and it helps to normalize the skin’s pH.

“With this service, the softness of the skin lasts,” she concludes. “It’s not temporary like a paraffin dip.”


Trim and shape the nails on both hands and then apply cuticle cream to the cuticles.

Apply an exfoliant to the hand, forearm, and elbow, then gently rub into skin. Brush off the excess with a towel and have the client wash her hands and arms. This step takes 5-7 minutes.

While your client is washing, mix marine and detoxifying oils with your choice of aromatherapy oil and apply it up to her elbow. Massage into her skin for about five minutes per arm. (Carpenter prefers to mix the oils in advance to save time.)

Apply a liberal coating of algae gel to the hands and forearms, then wrap the arms in plastic bags, twisting them closed at the top.

Wrap the arms in warm towels, and then cover those with another towel to hold the heat in. Have the client sit and relax for seven minutes.

Remove the towels and plastic bag from one arm and use the warm towel to remove the excess algae gel. Leave the other arm covered and finish the manicure on this hand. Then repeat this step on the other arm.

Clean and polish the nails.

Add to Your Add-ons

Is your service menu already full, or do you just prefer to keep things simple with a limited number of offerings? Many salons have chosen to limit their main menu and allow clients to create their own customized services via add-on treatments.

For example, At Estheem Skin Care and Beauty Salon in Pacific Grove, Calif., the hand and foot care menu offers a spa manicure, hot oil manicure, pedicure and manicure/pedicure combination as well as a choice between acrylics, gels, and fiberglass wraps. However clients can choose from a variety of add-on services, including French manicure ($5 more), Paraffin Hand or Foot Treatment ($ 12 each/$20 for both), Glycolic Treatments for Hands (single treatment for $20 or a discounted series of four or six), and a Beauty Feet or Hand Exfoliation ($ 10 each/$ 15 for both).

At Avalon, hand and foot therapy clients can choose from a variety of specialized nail treatments to which they can add an Aromatherapy Hot Oil Bath and Massage, an Aqua Therapy Bath and Massage, a Scrub and Rub Hand and Foot Treatment, or the Purifying Sea Masque and Massage Treatment (each of which cost $30 for the hands, $35 for the feet, and $60 for both), or they can opt for an Anti-Aging Hand and Foot Treatment ($40 for the hands or feet, $216 for a series of six)

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