Expert Exfoliation: How and Why to Pamper Clients With Scrubs

mani pedi scrubsPictured: Cuccio Naturale, Young nails, Footlogix, Morgan Taylor, Farmhouse Fresh Organics and Backscratchers

If you haven’t added a scrub into your manicure and pedicure services, both your clients and you are missing out. Inserting an exfoliation step into your service is beneficial for clients and it allows you to increase your ticket total. “Scrubs make the service more upscale,” says Elaine Watson, CEO of Nailebrity. What’s more, for clients, scrubs “remove adherent dead skin cells that either make skin appear dull or actually thicken and make the skin rough, like on the heels, knees and elbows,” says Chris G. Adigun, M.D., board certified dermatologist and nail specialist at the Dermatology & Laser Center of Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Using a scrub to buff away dead skin cells leaves hands, legs and feet smoother, and prepped to receive moisture. “Exfoliating removes the layer of dead skin cells that act as a barrier to therapeutic treatments,” says Adigun.

mani pedi scrubsPictured: Nouveau Spa, Jessica Cosmetics, Qtica, Body Drench and Nail Tek

So, what type of scrub should you use? “Sugar scrubs tend to be more gentle on the skin because of sugar’s smaller granule size,” says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “Sugar also contains natural alpha hydroxy acids which add another layer of exfoliation by working to dissolve connections between dead skin cells.” Due to its less abrasive nature, a sugar scrub can be used on sensitive areas, such as the tops of the hands or on skin that’s been freshly shaven. Look for sugar scrubs that contain brightening agents, such as kojic acid, glycolic acid, fruit enzymes, soy and/or vitamins A and C, says Adigun, noting that these ingredients will even skin tone while fading hyperpigmentation that tends to appear on the backs of hands.

mani pedi scrubsPictured: EzFlow, Artistic Nail Design, BCL Spa, Dazzle Dry, Gena and Voesh

Conversely, salt particles are typically larger and coarser, making salt scrubs more abrasive and, thus, better suited for areas with tougher, thickened skin, like calluses, heels, knees and elbows. “Salt also has natural antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, making salt scrubs a good choice for feet,” says Adigun. For clients suffering from skin conditions like psoriasis, Dr. Zeichner points to magnesium-rich Epsom salt scrubs that contain soothing, anti-inflammatory properties.

mani pedi scrubsPictured: La Palm Spa, OPI, Tul, SpaRitual, Mia Secret and CND Spa

Be sure to stock a variety of scrubs so that you can expertly target specific skin needs. And while you may be attracted to the abundance of scents on the market, Watson suggests keeping one fragrance-free option in your arsenal for clients averse to perfumes. Also, pay attention to packaging. “Large, open-mouth jars allow moisture to get into the product, which can dissolve the scrub and make it less effective,” says Randy Schueller, cosmetic chemist and editor-in-chief of Once you decide which scrub to use, resist the urge to aggressively rub the skin during a service, says Watson, adding that if you don’t feel the granules as you glide the scrub against the skin, seek out a new scrub with less suspension. “Otherwise, you’re wasting your—and your client’s—time.” Finally, use scrubs to benefit your bottom line. Dermatologists recommend exfoliating once a week to see results, so be sure to tout the benefits to your clients and book accordingly!

-Karie L. Frost is a NYC-based freelance writer with a proclivity for all things beauty and fitness.

What’s type of scrubs are you offering to your clients? Let us know in the comments below! 

[Image: photography by Jason Bennett]

This article was first published in the July 2017 issue of NAILPRO


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