How To Successfully Incorporate Aromatherapy Into Your Nail Salon

Learn about the benefits of integrating aromatherapy into your salon, the products to get you started and the misconceptions surrounding this growing holistic treatment.

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A nail service teeming with pampering and relaxation can go a long way to help your clients deal with their hectic day-to-day lives. And with the awareness of mental and physical wellness experiencing a meteoric rise over the past few years, nail techs can embrace this one-on-one time with clients to provide some lush wellbeing practices. Aromatherapy is one way that your salon can incorporate some tranquility into your clients’ appointments, even if only for an hour. NAILPRO spoke with Trish Green B.Ed DiHom (Pract) C.A.H.P BFRP, president of Balnea Spa Products about the benefits of integrating aromatherapy into your salon, products to get you started and misconceptions surrounding this growing holistic treatment.

Aromatherapy Basics You Should Know

Essential oils are not all created equal. The price reflects quality like a fine wine or expensive olive oil, Green explains.

She adds, “When choosing an essential oil, you will only know it is a true essential oil if the name is written as the Latin botanical. If it just says ‘lavender’ it could be a manmade fragrance. It has to say Lavandula Angustifolia because labelling laws require a true essential oil to state the Latin name. The name ‘lavender’ will often follow in brackets. It is vital that you read the product labels to know what you are buying.”

When introducing aromatherapy into your nail salon, it is important to think about what you are trying to achieve with the treatment, according to Green. “Do you want to help kill airborne germs? Do you want to have a nice smell in your salon? Or do you want to help your client feel better and have a better mood perspective?” she asks.

If you are using an essential oil in a commercial setting, go for something that a professional has already blended for you, Green suggests. In a blend, there are three to five oils that will appeal to many people on different levels, while a single oil will only appeal to a few.

A specific blend is often chosen because the person making the purchase likes it. Green explains, “You have to get out of your own way. In other words, this blend is not for you it is for your clients. What you like is not necessarily what your clients like, want or need. In the middle of a pandemic, there is only really one answer: What do your clients need? What is going to make them feel better? Do they need to be relaxed? Do they need to reduce their anxiety? Do they need to lift their mood?”

She continues, “If a person is fearful or has anxiety or depression, the first thing that's going to happen is their immune system is going to tank. When a client wants to boost their physical health, they must take care of their mental health first. Then it all comes together.”

It is important to know that essential oils do have counterindications. According to Green, when you are buying essential oils for your salon, you need to make sure it is a safe choice because certain essential oils are contraindicated to pregnancy. For instance, rose or jasmine can change, if only fractionally, hormones, which is not an option if you have pregnant women around. Salon owners and workers must think about who your clientele is and what are their needs, and then come back to your first question what is it you want to achieve?

How to Incorporate Aromatherapy Into Your Salon

An essential oil is highly concentrated and is used by the number of drops, Green states. It is not something that you splash all over your clients or go overboard with, they are highly concentrated and potent plant extracts. Less is more.

“One of my favorite things to do in a nail salon is utilize a blend of essential oils. Blends come in two forms: blends of pure oil with nothing else in the bottle, which is used for diffusion, and a blend of oils that has been put in a carrier oil,” she shares.

According to Green, carrier oils include, but are not limited to, sweet almond oil, peach nut oil, argan oil, calendula oil, or, if push comes to shove, high-quality olive oil. All of these are cold-pressed oils. It is important to note that dissolving essential oils in a carrier oil is the correct way of putting them on the body. Essential oils in their pure form cannot go directly on the skin. They can be skin irritants; they can burn the skin and cause reactions on the skin. The carrier oil is as important as the essential oil in that the carrier oil also needs to be organic. It is important to watch out for allergen content, especially when dealing with nut-derived oils.

“You can also take the essential oils and put them in a moisturizing cream and perform a hand massage,” Green suggests. “When you put the essential oils in a carrier oil or a moisturizing cream, those oils will go into the skin and disappear. If you are performing a hand or foot massage, a carrier oil in the dead of winter is so moisturizing and beneficial to the skin. It is a beautiful way to use it. If you want to use a cream, the oils will still be absorbed but they will remain closer to the surface of the skin.”

When selecting a fragrance for your salon or any aromatherapy treatments you will provide to clients, Green recommends having three choices of blends: citrus, which is uplifting; floral, which is balancing; and earthy with tree notes, including frankincense or cedarwood.

“Have these blends available for the client to smell at the beginning of the appointment and let them decide which blend they would like to add to the cream or oil before the massage. It's a customized massage,” she instructs.

Looking to provide a little extra relaxation to the appointment? Green recommends the following routine.

“The nail tech can take a blend of essential oils in a carrier oil and put a little bit on her fingertips. When the client is seated, come behind the guest and have them drop their mask down just below their nose for a minute and the therapist can reach around the client with the oils on her hands and guide the client to take in three deep, cleansing breaths of the oil.

“Once the client has taken the three breaths, and with the oil still on the fingertips, the nail tech can place their hands on the client's head and perform a head massage. Now I'm not saying ruffle her feathers; focus on little pressure point circles on the head while she closes her eyes, and the nail tech can give little bit of massage for a minute. When the head massage is over, place the hands on the client's shoulders and just press the shoulders down to get her to relax the tension in her shoulders. It's a two-minute moment of relaxation and then the nail tech can begin the appointment.”

Looking for antiviral or antifungal treatments? According to Green, there are neutral foaming gel products on the market for a foot baths to which you can add an antiviral or antifungal essential oil.

But what about diffusing a lovely scent into your salon? Green explains that when it comes to diffusing essential oils, the size of the space will determine whether you need one diffuser or two.

“When it comes to covering the smell of your salon you need something a little more potent, but the same question has to be asked: What do you want to achieve? Who is this for? What is my goal?”

Each diffuser only covers so many square feet. Green suggests positioning the diffuser away from the front door to avoid the smell is wafting out. As the diffuser does its work, the smell will eventually make its way to the front door.

“When you're choosing a diffuser, you don't want to add your oils to any sort of device that creates heat,” says Green. “Once essential oils are combined with heat, they change their chemistry, smell and therapeutic properties. Look for a cold diffuser that allows the oils to be added to water, which is then emitted by a mist.”

Green explains that salon staff member are also benefitting from having the essential oils in the atmosphere; however, they are smelling those oils all day and breaks are recommended.

“Employees on break should go out and have a breath of fresh air to clear the essential oils,” Green says. “They could potentially feel thirsty because essential oils generally are detoxifying. For this reason, salon staff should drink the recommended amount of water. Additionally, they should be aware of the oils being used if they are pregnant. I suggest practicing good hand washing because if the oil is on your hands it will be absorbed.”

Green concludes by saying that professional nail salons need to be buying aromatherapy products from professional suppliers, not multi-level marketing, which is for the public.

For additional questions about aromatherapy, please visit naha.org .

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