How to Personalize Medi-Pedi Treatments for Specific Clients


Your talents extend farther than a basic red polish manicure – a nail tech can also be vital in helping clients with their skin dilemmas on both hands and feet. A doctor is necessary for severe medical conditions, but a tech can keep skin healthy and pampered any day of the year.

A medi-pedi (or mani!) requires a tech to first assess the skin in a consultation to determine what an individual clients’ needs may be – and recommending a service to specifically target those needs. Often, techs will suggest products a client can take home for everyday care and will set up a long-term plan to resolve the issue. Of course, a nail tech should never work on open sores or infected skin, so in those cases, have your client seek out their doctor. But here are a few helpful treatments a tech can perform.

Antiaging: Incorporate this huge business into your salon and help out your clients’ hands. Sanibel Day Spa in Sanibel, Florida, is doing that with a Hand Spa light system: “This treatment can be combined with any of our manicures for an additional $25, but best results are achieved when combined with our Intensive Antiaging Manicure, a $40 service that leaves the skin smoother, softer and younger-looking,” says Pamella Attusa, the spa’s co-owner. Following an exfoliating peel on the hands, cuticles receive a repair balm and the hands and forearms are treated to a massage. The hands are then placed in the Hand Spa—an LED machine designed to lighten dark spots and smooth wrinkles. “Clients can see a dramatic improvement after three to four treatments and love the results,” says Jim Raim, president of Chicago-based Skincare Technology, manufacturer of Hand Spa.

BioKorium Salon & Day Spa in Riverside, California, addresses antiaging concerns during manicures and pedicures with a glycolic acid treatment. “In our Glycolic Hand Treatment, clients experience a unique combination therapy of oxygen emulsion, glycolic cream and BioKorium’s Signature Grapeseed Cream,” says Vivian Moreno, owner of BioKorium as well as an esthetician—she designed the spa’s treatments with results in mind. BioKorium’s Glycolic Hand Peel also addresses hyperpigmentation and aging. “This hand peel lightens dark spots while also softening the client’s skin,” she says.

Moreno extends client results through homecare products. “Having a treatment and then performing no home care is like going to the gym once a month without working out any other time,” she says. “We consider our treatments a form of ‘skincare boot camp.’ Clients must maintain and improve the skin by performing home care.”

Dryness: Dry hands will vary in appearance and in how they are treated. Traditionally, dry hands will respond to weekly sloughing manicures (which include a scrub, then a hydrating mask) and homecare lotions, which you can retail. More complicated cases of dry skin will need more care. Here are two examples:

  • Chafed and dry: A client’s hands may be sore and, in extreme cases, even crack open over the knuckles. (Nail techs who live in frigid climates may see numerous clients with this problem.) A program for a client with dry, chafed hands should include weekly manicures, beginning with a healing and hydrating manicure, and the use of a highly emollient lotion (one that keeps the skin feeling smooth and includes an ingredient such as lanolin) at home. As soon as her skin is no longer sore, a weekly sloughing manicure can be performed with a sloughing lotion that delivers highly emollient ingredients and gentle physical exfoliation with elements such as jojoba beads, followed by a paraffin treatment. When the cracking and chafing are healed, introduce the client to a homecare lotion containing 7 to 10 percent glycolic acid, advising her to use it only once a day and take advantage of her highly emollient lotion the rest of the day. After her hands are consistently soft and hydrated, her routine manicure should be a hydrating or spa manicure to maintain them.


  • Dry, leathery skin. A client with this condition will have tough cuticles and hard skin that’s calloused and unattractive. Weekly manicures should be a lifetime commitment if she hopes to overcome the natural toughness of her skin. Her first treatment should be a sloughing manicure with paraffin, as it will provide immediate softening. After this manicure, a glycolic manicure (one that utilizes a glycolic acid skin treatment) should be alternated with a sloughing manicure to soften her skin. Over time, her skin will become softer, but it will take a while. As long as she is committed to the treatments and home care, it will happen. Again, home care is important for this client, including a glycolic lotion for nightly use, and a high-quality hydrating lotion for use several times throughout the day. After softness is achieved (typically in 6 to 12 treatments), hydrating and sloughing manicures should be maintenance treatments. The glycolic manicure program may have to be repeated twice a year for this client, but no more often than that.

Nail strengthening: Strengthening of the natural nails should also be an important service offered in a more healing, spa-like environment. This service involves weekly manicures that can be performed in tandem with any directed treatment. The client is sold the appropriate nail strengthener and taught how to use it, then is instructed to massage the matrix area of the nail nightly with cuticle oil to stimulate growth of the nail plate. Weekly manicures—including the appropriate treatment-based manicure—plus massaging the matrix are important for attaining strong, healthy nails.

Nail repair: A manicurist can easily save a nail with a nail wrap. The tech glues the nail back into its normal position, then applies a wrap in the traditional manner, allowing the client an invisible repair that can be renewed at her weekly appointment until it grows out. The client will not lose her nail, the repair is invisible and she will come back to maintain the wrap until the split has grown out. Make sure you’ve mastered this trick so you can come to the rescue when your clients need you.


A few basics for any treatment:

Proper sanitation and disinfection of implements and surfaces is the first priority for any responsible professional, Dr. Arnold says. “This has been demonstrated as of late by the serious problems faced by some clients due to unsanitary conditions and should be a constant goal for all manicuring and pedicuring professionals,” he says.

Asking health questions of the client and acting appropriately according to her answers is also a responsibility of the professional, says Katharin von Gavel, owner and founder of Footlogix and president of KvG Group Inc. in Toronto. “A client with diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases must be treated carefully and responsibly,” she says. Aggressive treatments must also be a concern when working with hands and feet. “For example, the elderly or diabetic can lose a limb due to infections caused by aggressive treatment,” von Gavel says. “We must be consistently careful and gentle in performing our services.”

Education is one of the basic requirements in performing these services, Dr. Arnold says. “A pedicurist without proper education is a problem ready to happen,” he says. Von Gavel adds that nail techs need advanced education to be able to do the following:
• Recognize skin and nail disorders
• Recommend the correct pediceutical home care
• Know when to refer a client to a medical professional

Salons and spas that recognize the evolution of nail care and the new directions that manicures and pedicures can take will have clients who see obvious changes in their skin and natural nails. This can elevate your salon or your table to a new level and allow you to provide a more well-rounded experience for your clients. -Janet McCormick

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