Bastien Gonzalez Puts The “Cure” In Pedicure
Two hands are better than one, and four hands are better than two. At least that’s the case when it comes to The Bastien Duo at The Oriental Spa at Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong—a synchronised treatment where two Bastien Gonzalez-trained practitioners perform a manicure and pedicure at the same time.
Designed by Bastien Gonzalez—a trained podiatrist and pedicurist to celebrities, royals and the social elite around the world—it’s not like any treatment you’ll receive at your local salon. There’s no coloured varnish, unless you ask for it, but rather the treatment is centred around “curing” the feet and hands.
It might sound odd, perhaps even a little boring, but Gonzalez and his team’s work speaks for itself. Since opening their outlet at The Oriental Spa seven years ago, they’ve been booked back to back by Hong Kong’s highbrow.
On a recent trip to Hong Kong, we caught up with Gonzalez, who made a case for caring for our feet and hands the same way we care for our hair or skin.
From designing his own equipment to developing his world-famous foot and leg massage based on his experience as a podiatrist, Gonzalez combines the clinical with the cosmetic so you can put your best foot forward.
First of all, how did you develop the Bastien Gonzalez Pedicure?
20 years ago, I put together the concept of what I call a true pedicure. Curing the feet was the idea, and so we mixed three treatments in one holistic approach.
Walk us through a Bastien Gonzalez treatment…
Nowadays everyone is really into natural beauty and holistic wellbeing. That’s our approach when it comes to treating nails. First, we lightly drill the nails with diamond dust and use our Reverance de Bastien Pearly Buffing Cream, which is made from mother of pearl. I call it my magic cream, because you always need a bit of magic in beauty.
We then buff the nails with my custom-made horn buffer for instantly shiny, strong and naturally healthy nails before we finish the treatment with a special foot massage that I developed during my time as a podiatrist. We restore the elasticity of the skin and finally, we pump up the fatty cushions.
Think about how you fluff your pillows and twhen you put your head on it, it’s much more comfortable. It’s the same for the fatty cushions of the feet. When you leave the treatment, you will walk out feeling like you’re floating on clouds.
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We hear the buffer you use was inspired by your great grandmother. Can you tell us about that?
One day, I went to visit my 92-year-old great grandmother. When I saw her, she was sitting there buffing her nails with this tool made of chamy leather. I thought she had gone crazy, so I asked her what she was doing and she told me, “I can’t paint my nails, I’m too old, but I can still make them look beautiful.”
I remember clearly that what impressed me at the time was not the shine, but more the health of her nails. They were perfect. She explained that through buffing, you accelerate the blood circulation, oxygen comes, the nutrients come faster and the bed of the nails are healthier. It’s all about blood circulation.
Today, I'm using the same techniques she used and have perfectly reproduced her buffer, but my treatment is a little more refined.
You take quite a medical approach to pedicures…
Yes, I believe the spas are integrating more science these days. We don’t want to be doctors, but we want to be true pedicurists who cure the nails.
Being free from being doctors, we’re able to serve more than impose. Sometimes when you go to a doctor you’re just a number, but we bring a personal approach, and share knowledge that comes from science.
How can people take better care of their feet at home?
Very simple. Put this in your contract when you get married: foot massages every night (laughs). But really, you should massage your feet every night, even if it’s just for 30 seconds.
You brush your teeth every night, you wash your face, but so many people forget to take care of their feet.
What can you tell us about your team in Hong Kong?
Albin Brion, the studio manager here at Landmark Mandarin Oriental, has been with me since 2009. He is a great brand ambassador, and has done an amazing job of promoting the philosophy.
I actually chose Albin based on the fact that he was a former football player. Playing football requires serious dedication and discipline – which is what I look for in my team.
We only have 20 outlets and not 500, because I like to control the quality and make sure the people working with me have the same devotion that I do.
Find out more at mandarinoriental.com