My mama always told me that first impressions were important. She said that beyond the gesture of being polite and friendly, you can’t help that most people will look at appearance first. She stressed the importance of keeping personal hygiene in tip top shape, starting from a fresh cleansed face, to neatly combed hair down to your nails. My mama always keeps her look polished and natural and when it comes to her manicures and pedicures, she keeps things simple.
Having being in Hong Kong for almost seven years now, I’ve definitely found my manicure and pedicure path heading towards a more cosmetic route. I’ve gone from getting occasional manicures and pedicures throughout the year to making it a regular part of my schedule. From being a big fan of nail polish to a diehard shellac-only kinda gal, I’ve definitely seen my natural nails go through quite the beating to upkeep a polished look.
Albin from the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Spa offers an exclusive manicure and pedicure service (that is perfect for expecting mums to be!) to Hong Kong by bringing in his expert knowledge as a podiatrist. Hailing from Paris as a previous professional footballer, his passion for the health and well-being of feet happened after an ankle injury. After meeting a sports podiatrist he realised how important it was to maintain a healthy regimen when it comes to looking after your feet, which then in turns affects your posture. This led him down the road to meeting world famous Bastien Gonzalez – a podiatrist and foot professional extraordinaire! He is best known for his glamorous and unique approach to foot care. Bastien invited Albin to open the exclusive Pedi: Mani: Cure Studios at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, thus bringing this luxurious treatment to us lucky Hong Kongers!
Having worked on celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow just a week before seeing me, I knew I was in excellent hands! Albin explained each process of the pedicure in great detail and passion while his colleague mirrored the same treatment for my hands. The focus of the treatment was to enhance the natural beauty of the nail itself and to promote a healthy invigorating feeling of well being. To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive to see the condition of my nails under the nail polish since I hadn’t received my regular mani in quite a while, and sure enough, my nails weren’t doing so great!
Thank goodness for Albin! His goal that day wasn’t to apply a fresh coat of polish (although, he’s not against nail polish – he just believes that it should be used for special occasions and be removed in 4 to 5 days) but to enhance the natural shine and beauty of the nail. The process starts off like what you would expect a pedicure to be like however using precision made tools that included a drill made from diamond dust (!) to smooth out the surface of the nail as well as remove dry skin and a natural chamois leather horn buffer! This part of the treatment paid homage to Bastien Gonazalez’ grandma who at 92 years old had the best kept nails with no polish and thanks to daily buffing; his grandma had a natural French manicure every single day. Bastien took this family secret and made it his own and a part of this luxurious treatment.
At the end of the manicure and pedicure treatment I was already completely relaxed and to add the cherry on top, the whole treatment ended with a super relaxing synchronised hand and foot massage! When I opened my eyes after the massage, I was in utter shock at how beautiful my natural nails looked! It really did look like I had a natural French manicure and the shine from the treatment is still going strong today (3 weeks post treatment!). I was skeptical at first when Albin said the shine would last this long, but I am now a firm believer! Typically after a few days of a regular pedicure, I would notice my skin drying out again (especially around the heels of my feet) but was pleasantly surprised to see what a difference this pedicure made to keep my feet smooth and healthy looking.
For those of us at home who want to make this manicure and pedicure last even longer, here are a few sure fire tips from Albin to upkeep beautiful looking hands and feet 🙂
- Give yourself (or ask your partner – especially if you’re pregnant and can’t reach your feet like myself!) a home foot massage by lightly pinching and making circular motions on the areas of your feet where they tend to get a bit more dry.
- Use a toothbrush (an electric one is even better!) to brush away dead skin around your nails.
- Sprinkle some baby/talcum powder in your shoes before wearing them to help soak up any perspiration and to avoid turning the inside of your shoes dark.
- When clipping and filing your toe nails, don’t clip down the sides as it promotes ingrown nails.(Who would’ve known?!)
- Make sure to dry each toe nail thoroughly after a shower or bath.
You can check out this luxurious and well worth the indulgent treatment at the Pedi: Mani: Cure Studio by Bastien Gonzalez at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Spa.
Pedi: Mani: Cure Studio, Landmark Mandarin Oriental Spa, Landmark Mandarin, Central, Hong Kong, 2132 0011, www.mandarinoriental.com