Thursday, February 23, 2012

A home manicure dream

In the DIY spirit of alot of the blogs I read and love, I thought I'd do a blog post about how to pamper yourself a little like you're at the spa without leaving your house. The puffiness in my fingers has passed, but I couldn't resist doing this post anyway. I love the nail art but I really do love the other aspects of being a manicurist as well. The very basis of my business is providing great basic services because I love to do it. I love to make pretty feet and hands and this is very much a part of that.

 I picked up a home spa set at a post-Mother's Day sale and to date one of the smartest investments I ever made. It included a bubbling footbath with heat, and a parrafin wax spa.

Heated Footbath with Bubbles
Parafin Wax Spa

It's pretty obvious what uses you'd have for the footspa and any enterprising DIY-er would do well to get the set with BOTH items. 

Today I'm going to focus on doing a manicure with a paraffin wax treatment. The process is a little bit different for giving yourself a mani when you're also doing a paraffin treatment. It can take several hours for the paraffin to heat up, so please make sure you've already heated it and it's liquid before you begin.

Remove any polish you may be wearing. In a large bowl or a manicure dish, pour a drop of anti-bacterial soap.I use OPI's since it came with my Avoplex Manicure kit, I do recommend it, but you can also use dish soap. I find "Dawn's Hand Renewal with Olay" works great. Allow your finger tips to soak a few minutes before clipping the nails if you wish to shorten the length. File and shape each nail. If you wish to have a square shape, keep the file at a 90* angle to the nail. To create a "squoval" shape (square with rounded edges) tilt the file at a 30* angle. To get an oval shape, tilt the file to a 60* angle. Using an orange stick, push back the cuticles and clean under the nail. Now normally this is the point where you would apply cuticle remover but since we're doing a paraffin treatment, we're going to skip that step because the paraffin will do that for us.

At this point, since we're already deviating from the norm, we're also going to deviate from the directions included with the spa. The directions tell you to just dip your hand directly into the spa, and i advise against doing this. It's not only unsanitary, but doing this can contaminate the paraffin with dead skin cells and  cuticles and waste your product. Paraffin for these spas is not outrageously expensive, but it will be if you have to dispose of the paraffin after one or two manicures. Instead, use a scoop to pour some of the liquid paraffin into a glove, enough to fill all the fingers of the glove. put your hand in the glove and use your other hand to work the paraffin up your hand and distribute it evenly. I also suggest that you do each hand separately. Allow the product to cool on your hand. Once the product is cool , squeeze the glove off your hand trying to keep as much of the product in the glove as possible. This should not be too difficult as at this stage the product should have the consistency of soft clay.

Use an orange stick to remove any excess paraffin from under the fingernails and elsewhere on your hands.  Wipe your nails with nail polish remover to prepare for polish, repeat the process on your other hand. Wash your hands, using the same soap you used for your manicure dish, polish your nails and you're done!

You can adopt this same process for a pedicure as well. You can use heavy duty plastic bag (like an oven baking bag) or very large gloves (depending on the size of your feet) to apply the paraffin.

Of course, burning a favorite scented candle or warming some scented oil while you're doing this can add to the experience.

I leave my paraffin in the spa to cool and once it's completely cool and hardened, I put the lid on, keep it in my workspace and I try to use it often since I'm always trashing my hands doing nail art and cleaning.  I always check my paraffin each time to make sure the liquid is clear and not cloudy. To dispose of any leftover or contaminated paraffin - I pour it into a bag to cool and harden. DO NOT POUR THE LIQUID PARAFFIN DOWN A DRAIN. This can ruin your plumbing by blocking it completely and the repair bills will be insane. Clean any spills or splashes to the unit right away and usually a paper towel is more than adequate to wipe hot/warm paraffin - if need be, you can use a dry scotch scrub to remove any product that hardened quickly. The same process should be used when cleaning out the unit in between product refills. It is much easier to clean the unit when the paraffin is hot or still warm. You can line your unit with plastic oven bag to make for easier clean up and storage - the choice is yours. Since I sometimes see clients in my work space, it makes sense for me to leave the unit out and ready to use.

If you haven't tried a paraffin treatment, I hope this encourages you to do so. There are many different paraffin units available, so feel free to choose one that suits you. There's also many wonderful different paraffins available at beauty supply places like Sally's Beauty Supply and it can be a wonderful way to treat yourself after a bad day or a rough week.


  1. From one nail tech to another love the paraffin wax equipment. Gonna check that out.

  2. As a professional - it's a great way to boost revenue for you and for the client - a great way to stay ahead of the drying damage we all do to our hands, especially if you have dry skin to start with!!

    It's also good for us!! we're touching chemicals all day every day. I'm a firm believer that our hands are a reflection of our work :P