How to help your clients care for their skin in the winter

Learn how to educate your clients on the surprising skin benefits of manicures and pedicures, so they can care for their skin this winter.

The harsh winter temperatures can be hard on your skin. It is the largest organ of your body and needs extra protection. This is the perfect time to inform your clients about the skin benefits of pedicures and manicures.

What’s the difference? If oil and water do not mix, how can oil moisturize skin? Is it just marketing hype to talk about humectants and occlusives? We’ll explain what each one does and how to use them in your pedicure and manicure services.

Humectants (emollients), Occlusives and Emollients

You need to hydrate your body constantly, especially your skin. When it is hot, we tend to remember to drink more water. But when it is cold, it can be easy to forget. Our skin may feel thirsty when our rest of the body doesn’t.

Humectants such as hyaluronic and glycerin help to bind water with the skin. Glycerin is naturally found in the body. However, plant-derived glycerin used in cosmetics can increase the water-holding capacity of the skin when applied topically.

These ingredients hydrate indirectly because they do not contain or attract any water. These ingredients are a mixture of triglycerides, wax-like compounds, and squalene that repels water and replenishes the skin’s sebum layer. Sebum can be lost faster than the body can replace it, due to soaps, mechanical abrasion and excessive water exposure. Diagram of Skin by Sarah Ostresh, Ph.D, Sr. Scientist, Product Development, OPI R&DCourtesy of Sarah Ostresh, Ph.D, Sr. Scientist, Product Development, OPI R&D

Emollients such as lightweight oils are perfect for oily skin. Emollients are often found in cuticle oils, light lotions and other products.

Occlusives are a common ingredient in creams that treat extremely dry skin. They create a stronger barrier to keep water in, particularly at heels and other problematic areas. Some clients may find occlusives too “heavy.”

Put It All Together

If you have winter damaged skin, your rescue strategy should include the above effects (and preferably multiple products). Use multiple products containing emollients, humectants and occlusives to optimize your pedicure or manicure services.

Some salons market multi-step services under the name of luxury manicures and Pedicures. It’s worth investing the extra time and money to keep your client’s nails healthy through winter.

1. Hydrating Soak

Warm, relaxing baths are enjoyable at any time of the year. The soaks soften dead skin cells and hydrate the skin, making it easier to exfoliate. Also, foot and hand soaks hydrate and soften the nails to make trimming easier. Many soaks are made with magnesium sulfate which is scientifically proven by scientists to penetrate the skin and soothe it.

2. Exfoliation

Exfoliation is usually done mechanically, either with eco-friendly abrasives such as sugar, salt or pumice, or pedicure files to remove hard calluses. Even arms and legs enjoy a good scrub!

3. Moisturizing Mask

Masks allow ingredients to penetrate the skin, softening it. They can be used throughout the pedicure. Hot towels can enhance the experience.

4. Deep Massage Cream or Intensive Cream

Oils that are lightweight and double as emollients will provide the slip required to last through a whole massage session.

The intensive creams are a powerful combination of occlusives and emollients that keep your hands and feet moisturized long after you leave the salon.

5. Cuticle oils

Cuticle oil can be used as a final step in a gel manicure, or as a prep for a lacquer mani. It is important to keep cuticles soft and supple as they are an important barrier for nail health.

Your client’s skin will be plumped up and hydrated, and ready for the perfect nail colour!

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