Only those who have experienced a warm paraffin treatment in their favorite nail salon can describe the sheer decadence of this service. There’s something simply luxurious about the act of dipping our hands and feet into a warm, scented paraffin bath and enjoying a few moments of relaxation as the warm wax consumes our sore, tired muscles and joints and softens our skin.
Warm paraffin treatments remain one of the most popular services in nail salons across the country, so if you want to keep your clients indulged and your bottom line satisfied, take the time to perfect the art of the warm paraffin treatment and realize its value for your nail business.
What are Warm Paraffin Treatments?
Warm paraffin waxes have long been used for their healing and pain-relieving properties (In the 1950s, doctors began using warm paraffin to alleviate arthritis in their patients.), but it wasn’t long before these luxurious treatments became a popular add-on to manicures and pedicures.
Paraffin wax is a petroleum-based wax that melts down, heats evenly, and has a unique hydrating effect on the skin. The wax melts at between 120-147 degrees in paraffin baths or in individual bags with single-sized doses of wax.
The hands or feet are dipped into the melted wax and removed. The coating of wax that remains on the skin hardens and peels off. As the wax solidifies, the warmth increases blood flow and opens up the pores to allow the hydrating emollients to penetrate and detoxify the skin.
Benefits of Warm Paraffin Wax Treatments
Warm paraffin wax treatments sooth, protect, and rejuvenate tired and dry hands and feet. Many times, the paraffin wax is infused with essential oils like coconut and lavender. Paraffin is a natural emollient that adds moisture to the skin to help heal dry, cracked skin. It also creates a barrier that allows the skin to retain moisture for days following the treatment.
Dead skin cells are removed along with the hardened wax, thereby revealing the softer skin underneath.
The warm wax provides therapeutic benefits, bringing relief to dry, sore hands and feet. Warm paraffin wax as heat therapy helps increase blood flow, relax muscles, and reduce joint stiffness. For many, it also reduces inflammation and minimizes muscle spasms.
Paraffin Wax Techniques
There are a number of paraffin wax techniques used by nail technicians:
Dip the client’s hand into the melted paraffin wax, up to the wrist, for a few seconds and then remove. Repeat the process about three to four times until the hand is well-coated. Put the coated hand into a plastic liner or wrap it in a warm towel. Place a mitt over the plastic liner, if desired. Allow the wax to harden for 5 to 10 minutes and then slowly peel it of the skin. Discard the used wax. Wipe the nails with a dehydrator before applying polish.
Ladle out the desired amount of welted max and scoop it into a plastic liner for individual use. Place the client’s hand into the bag and spread the wax around until achieving full coverage.
Single-use treatments include the plastic glove and paraffin wax. The wax is melted inside the bag in a microwave.
Hygiene/Sanitation Considerations for Paraffin Baths
Paraffin is generally not a very good conduit for the transfer of bacteria and other pathogens because as an oil-based wax, it does not contain water and is therefore not the ideal breeding ground for viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
However, you should still follow a number of sanitation procedures to protect your clients:
- Discard the used paraffin wax after peeling it off the client’s hand or foot.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for cleaning the paraffin bath. Most recommend cleaning it once a month of after 25 uses.
- Change the paraffin wax any time is becomes visibly dirty or dusty.
- Have a separate paraffin bath for hands and feet.
- Do not dip any clients with open cuts, sores, or burns.
- When cleaning the paraffin bath, unplug the unit and allow the remaining wax to harden overnight for easy removal. Scrape and wipe out any remaining paraffin wax and then clean the inside and outside of the unit with an all-purpose cleaner or sanitizer.
- Consider using an anti-bacterial wax to keep your paraffin bath free of microbial and bacterial contamination.
- Use an antiseptic spray to wipe down hands and feet before dipping.
Paraffin Wax Resources for Nail Technicians
There are many companies that sell paraffin waxes, warmers/paraffin baths, and accessories. Paraffin wax options are nearly endless, with many manufacturers offering an array of infused scents and added moisturizing agents.
Some of the larger manufacturers/distributors of paraffin wax supplies include: