Photography courtesy of Barefoot Beauty Bar

The Toronto Nail Bar That’s Run By a Foot Specialist

As a chiropodist, Emily Stock noticed a common occurrence. “A lot of my patients were coming in with preventable issues that usually could be traced back to a pedicure that wasn’t done properly,” she says. This often manifested itself in ingrown nails, infections from overly treated callouses with sharp instruments, but most commonly, fungal nails. The culprit was tools or foot tubs, in particular the jetted ones, that weren’t cleaned properly, resulting in the spread of bacteria. GAH.

Though a nail fungus isn’t a real threat for a healthy person, for anyone with diabetes or undergoing chemotherapy who have compromised immune systems, “it’s not worth the risk,” says Stock. So after working in hospitals, she opened up her own foot clinic with a nail bar out in front determined to provide nail treatments that were as safe and hygienic as possible. Barefoot Beauty: Natural Nail Salon & Beauty Bar officially opened its doors last July on Queen East and uses an autoclave to clean its tools, the same high heat steam device used by dentist offices and hospitals. Stock and her staff mix up all the lotions, exfoliants and cuticle oil in small batches on site so that preservatives aren’t required. “We make them as fresh as possible and can also customize them, like eliminating essential oils,” she says. They also make a point of using warm, moist towels to soften skin during the pedicures rather than a foot bath to conserve water. “Small salons, if they’re fully booked for the day, can waste up to 500 liters of fresh water.”

As for colour, Barefoot Beauty uses brands that are 5-free and up, such as Zoya and Bio Seaweed Gel, a soak-off gel that’s similar to Shellac, and music to the ears of those who can’t fathom drying time (raises hand). But natural and organic, they are not. “There is no such thing,” she say, adding that chemicals are in everything, and some are bad for you while others aren’t. However, Stock feels good about the fact that many nail polish companies have removed the potentially harmful ingredients. “They’ve managed to find a way to take them out while still making the polishes effective and lasting.”

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