Pedicurist to the stars
Bastien Gonzalez’s pedicures are so good he’s flown around the globe by A-listers
Verdict The Rolls Royce of foot massages. So good you won’t go back to mediocre pedis
Pedicure. It’s not rocket science. But just how much innovation can be applied to a craft which ostensibly removes dead skin and shapes toenails? I was told the likes of Beyonce and even Arab princesses fly Gonzalez around the world just so he can tend to their toes. So what’s so special about his pedicure that these stars trust no-one in their ‘hood to do their nails? I decided to take my toes to meet his palms.
Gonzalez’s Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio consists of two private treatment rooms each parked with one sexy ergonomic chair in the middle. The grandeur of this specially-designed Christophe Pillet chair definitely dwarfs those revolving desk chairs you find in other mani-pedi places.
To my surprise, the pedicure doesn’t begin with a feet soak. Gonzalez explains: “Soaking over-moisturises the feet and working
on dry skin allows me to see exactly what to take out. This is not a pedicure. It’s about curing your toenails and skin as well as increasing your feet’s elasticity flexibility and mobility.”
The real work starts with Gonzalez opening a bag of pre-packed tools. (It’s a relief to know that nobody’s sharing anyone’s germs.) He sterilises my feet with cotton wool and then proceeds to use a glass file to shape my toenails. He then uses a dentist’s drill (with fine diamond dust to give shine) followed by a specialist leather buff to polish the nail surface before finishing with a layer of ‘magic cream’ to give even more sheen. He clips the toe cuticles on the sides but not on the base (‘cuticles should be kept at the base otherwise bacteria can go in between the skin and nail’). Gonzalez then uses a scalpel to take out the dead skin around the peripherals of the nails instead of pushing them in – the latter being a common practice with all the other pedicurists. By the time we finish, my nails already have a shine as if clear polish has been applied.
The final massage is heavenly. It’s not about reflexology but re-plumping the fatty tissue on my soles with pinching and kneading. The legs are deliciously rubbed and nudged and it’s so relaxing that falling asleep is just inevitable…
And since Gonzalez is busy globe-trotting, it’s actually his protégé, Albin Brion, who is permanently stationed at the studio. Gonzalez is happy to pass on his secrets to success – and, as he aptly says: “If more and more people do good pedicure, more and more bad pedicure will disappear. It’s not a family secret.”
Bastien Pedicure 60 minutes, $990. The Oriental Spa, 5/F, Landmark Mandarin Oriental, The Landmark, Central; 2132 0011.