Green Pedicures

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Sanitize without water for a green pedicure.
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Ditch the water to create foot traffic for these services while supporting for conservation.

In many clients’ minds, an eco-conscious bent in your salon means pared-down, simple services. Going green doesn’t need to mean stripped down manicures and pedicures, though. Extravagant, indulgent pedicures are possible while remaining committed to water conservation.

Nail tech Janet McCormick has a passion for these services and advocates them for all—not just salon owners updating services for environment sustainability.

“People with chronic illnesses such as PAD [peripheral artery disease] and diabetes should not be soaked,” she emphasizes. “Their skin is already dry; soaking dries them out more, and they can develop fissures, etc., in their calluses.”


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Convincing your clientele that waterless services are the way to go doesn't have to be a fight or a trial.

“Don’t make a big deal of it, just ask the regular clients if they would like to try it [and] move from there,” McCormick advises. “I find that most clients that try it, like it.”

She also encourages her waterless pedicures with the promise that if her clients don’t like it, next time their whirlpool pedicure will be free. “They always fell in love with it,” McCormick enthuses. “People are usually curious and willing to try new things. I only had three go back to the whirlpool, ever.”

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Green Pedicures: Steps

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Towels help product absorb during green pedicures.

Follow this step-by-step guide to performing waterless pedicures to toe the line of your sustainable commitment:

1. Wash your hands with soap and water, and sanitize the feet with a waterless sanitizing spray or gel. Remove polish.

2. Apply cuticle softener.

3. Shorten and shape the nails on each foot, and smooth out any rough areas on the feet with a clean foot file.

4. Apply a scrub, softening lotion or butter to the feet. Massage the product into the feet and legs, working up to the knee.


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5. Wrap your client’s feet in clean, warm, moist towels, or place them in warming booties. Let the products absorb for three to five minutes.

6. Remove the towels or booties from each foot and, using a warm, damp washcloth or towel, remove excess cuticle softener and the scrub or lotion.

7. Apply massage lotion and massage the feet and legs, working up to the knee.

8. Clean the nails to remove lotion and oils by scrubbing the surface of the nails with a lint-free pad saturated with a nail cleansing product or a 70 percent alcohol solution. Remember to scrub (not wipe) the nails until they squeak slightly. Allow the nails to dry completely before applying base coat.

9. Use clean toe separators or cotton to separate the toes.

10. Apply base coat and allow it to dry for two to three minutes.

11. Apply two coats of lacquer.

12. Apply top coat, making sure to cap the free edges of the nails.