In case you haven’t noticed, pedicures aren’t just for women anymore. A growing number of men—both young and old and who aren’t even Hollywood celebrities—are taking the pampered plunge. They’re discovering what women have known all along: Getting a spa foot treatment can be a luxurious experience that not only makes you look great, but feel great, too.
Kristy Underwood, Executive Officer for the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, discussed this growing trend and how some traditional women’s salons are stepping up to cater to their male clientele, particularly since barbershops don’t offer these services—not yet, anyway. Underwood also talked about what men should look for when choosing a salon, as well as some of the changes on the horizon for the nail/spa industry.
Q. Kristy, can you talk about the trend of men getting spa pedicures? What do you attribute it to?
A. Yes; this service is growing in popularity for men. Many salons even have side areas with foot spa chairs for men to get the service in a little more privacy. I have heard from men who say they find it relaxing, but also that it’s just good upkeep on their nails.
Q. As men gravitate toward women’s salons, is it likely we will see barbershops start offering spa pedicures as part of their services?
A. I don’t think so. The barbershop has an image, and I think it’s a long way off from offering nail services. We’re actually seeing barbershops going back to more traditional settings. For example, the traditional shave and a haircut is being marketed to men and is becoming more and more common. But you never know, maybe pedicures have a future in the barbershops.
Q. If barbershops ever do make nail care a part of their services, what sort of guidelines and procedures would need to be established to do so, and would they be similar or the same as those regulations at women’s salons?
A. They would simply have to hire manicurists. Barbers are not licensed to do nails whereas cosmetologists are.
Q. What should men who want to try the whole foot spa experience look for when choosing a salon?
A. First and foremost, valid licenses and a clean establishment. And they should make sure the establishment doesn’t use illegal tools. For example, some consumers think a razor is needed to remove calluses, but it’s illegal to use in a shop and removing calluses can be done perfectly safely with a proper smoother.
Q. What about people with diabetes who may have feet issues—should they get spa pedicures?
A. We get this question a lot. Licensees should ask their clients if there are any health concerns they need to be aware of. Lots of elderly consumers receive pedicures and are fine, but if they have a compromised immune system, we highly recommend they talk to their doctor before getting a service. I would also suggest that the pedicure be received in a transportable foot tub as opposed to a foot spa chair. And again, they should never allow someone to use a razor on their feet.
Q. There also seems to be a trend, perhaps more in the south and on the East Coast, for nail salons to use plastic liners in the foot spa. Are these used for sanitary/health reasons and is the usage becoming more prevalent in California salons as well?
A. In July of last year, we set regulations that allow for the use of liners. It really cuts down on the amount of chemicals used to clean [the whirlpool spas] and often makes the client feel safer. We will likely see more salons in California using liners as well.
Q. What are some changes and trends you see coming to the manicure/pedicure profession?
A. Green products. There is a lot of talk about trying to make nail services safer not only for the client, but for the licensees as well. I think more manufacturers will be putting out safer products. We also expect to see an increase in the use of liners in the foot spa.
For more information on the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, visit www.barbercosmo.ca.gov.