Dare to Bare

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Bastien Gonzales - The Prince of Naked Feet

Like all success stories this too, started with a beautiful story. Young Bastien vividly remembers how luminous his elegant great grandmother’s nails would always look. He’d watch the stylish 92-year-old French lady regularly buff her nails with a chamois leather buffer and felt this was one of the greatest beauty secrets of all time. In later years, a ski accident led him to a podiatrist, and it proved to be a catalyst for the immense work he’d soon achieve in the luxury foot care industry.

Today, Bastien Gonzalez is a pioneer in the field of bespoke hand and foot beauty. In the business for over two decades, Bastien draws upon his unique blend of experiences, perspectives and vast network to craft and deliver a unique world-class experience.

Known as the Prince of Naked Feet, Bastien has his presence in various countries globally. Dubai is fortunate to have an opportunity to experience a Bastien Gonzalez mani and pedicure at Guerlain Spa at One&Only, The Palm. One feels an instant sense of peace and tranquility upon entering the resplendent resort at the end of West Crescent.

Bastien takes a holistic approach to caring for the feet and making the nails look healthy. He believes that the real French manicure and pedicure is about getting that gleaming healthy pink and diamond-white shine in your nails naturally, without any nail varnish.

According to Bastien, the beauty business is very personal, and therefore he spends the first few minutes of every consultation just understanding the customer and their lifestyle. The two pillars that lay the foundation of his work are: Emotion and Education. Once he understands the lifestyle requirements of the customer, he goes on to educate them about beautifying this small but impactful part of the body.

He begins the glorious holistic foot care experience by assessing foot alignment – which determines how well we are able to balance our body weight. Did you know that each of our feet has 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments; and we have more than seven thousand nerve endings in each foot? The foot provides important structural support for our overall balance. He also assesses mobility of the foot - – the more rigid the foot, the harder it is to balance. Little things that we take for granted, isn’t it? So many of us subconsciously tilt one part of our foot inward (or outward) making an impact on the overall poise of our body and gait. It is important for Bastien to also address skin texture. Dry skin is a result of low hydration, and it is such a good reminder to keep yourself hydrated especially if you spend many hours in an air-conditioned room.

Not a drop of water is used during Bastien’s pedicure, as water softens the skin too much and it could result in removing too much skin. He brings out just three neat looking tools - a gouge, a glass file and a tiny drill, which is used to remove the superficial layer of each nail and with it, the brownish-yellow hue which is caused due to the constant use of nail polish. With the gouge, the hard skin is gently removed, and the glass file shapes the nail. Though the steps sound fairly simple, the process takes over an hour of careful artistry. He concludes with his specially designed chamois leather buffer, inspired by the one his beautiful great-grandmother would use. The buffer is used to accelerate the flow of blood to that region and thus accentuate the gleaming glow to the nail, giving you an authentic French pedicure naturally.

Bastien’s genuine passion for his craft and care for his customer is exactly why he is so loved and admired across the globe. It’s no wonder that he has a loyal base of clients, including 8 royal families, VIPs and customers from multiple Mani-Spa’s around the world. Bastien’s approach brings us back to the simple reality that our foot is the foundation of the body, and how we tend to underestimate this. In conversation, Bastien mentioned that he wants to challenge ladies to dare to bare their nails - with no nail varnish, and learn how to allow their nails to shine like diamonds. He wishes that people take a leaf out of his graceful great grandmother’s book, and spend a few moments a day looking after the very foundation of our own body – our feet.

Bastien’s tips:

1.    Use a nail buff once a week to keep your nails shining. Avoid too much nail paint, as it gets absorbed by the nail causing damage in the long run.

2.    Apply foot cream every night after a warm bath, and massage in upwards strokes on the top of your feet and circular at the heel.

3.  At bedtime, circle your ankles, wriggle your toes to increase mobility, and fluff the fatty cushion of your heel to restore volumes for better absorption of pressure.

Fun Tip: Use an electric toothbrush to clean the sides of your nails, this will help ingrown toenails and callouses.