So you’ve committed to a detoxed beauty routine. You’re using a natural deodorant to avoid aluminum, and made the switch from drugstore face wash to an oil-based cleanser packed with essential oils. But what about your nails? If you’re still relying on traditional nail salons, you’re only fighting half the natural skincare battle, and potentially exposing yourself to harsh chemicals. We caught up with Emily Stock, the woman behind Barefoot Beauty, Toronto’s all-natural beauty salon, to find out more.
Tell us a bit about your background and how it inspired you to open Barefoot Beauty Salon?
Barefoot Beauty evolved from a desire to create something better than what was available. My background is in podiatric medicine (medical foot care). After working for many years in traditional clinical settings, I noticed a trend – patients were frequently coming in with nail infections, painful ingrown nails, and wounds from aggressively treated calluses. Most of these issues could directly be traced back to a pedicure and all of the issues were 100% preventable if proper infection control and procedure was in place.
I always had the desire to start my own clinical practice but I knew I wanted to offer something more than just standard foot care. After over a year of research, product testing, scouring MSDS and ingredient lists, and designing the safest service protocols possible, I opened the doors to Barefoot Beauty and East Toronto Foot Care.
One of the best parts of this business for me is that I can refer my patients for a safe pedicure or manicure, confident in knowing that our services promote wellness and do no harm.
Why was it important to you to have an entire salon dedicated to natural products and treatments rather than just offering a few 5-free polishes like some salons do?
I believe there is a lot of misrepresentation in the salon and beauty world. You see a lot of salons popping up all over the place claiming they are “organic” and pushing “natural” products and “toxin-free polishes” while at the same time offering toxin-laden services such as dip powders and acrylic nails that create noxious fumes and tons of chemical exposure to anyone who steps foot in the salon. These claims are misleading and often a tricky way to get more discerning clientele to book.
We choose to offer clean products, rigorous sanitation policies, thorough pre-screening protocols, and make a lot of our service products in-house – that way we can tell you exactly what you are being exposed to.
I wanted to create a space that was as safe as possible for any client concern – ingredient exposure, fragrance sensitivity, allergens, you name it and we made every effort possible to address it in our services! We try as hard as possible to make the space safe and comfortable for all our client’s unique needs. That’s why we choose to offer clean products, rigorous sanitation policies, thorough pre-screening protocols, and make a lot of our service products in-house – that way we can tell you exactly what you are being exposed to.
One of the big beauty trends we predict for this year is transparency: from brands being honest about what’s in their products, to even telling us where they source their ingredients. Why do you think we’re becoming so much more focused on knowing all the details about what we put on our bodies?
I totally agree! From my experience in the salon so far, clients are becoming very informed and are eager to learn more about health and wellness in connection with beauty and esthetics. I strongly believe in the power of social media and one of its great effects is how it allows people to share what they know and question common practices easily and freely. This is forcing a lot of companies to become more honest with their consumers.
From damaging ingredients to horrifying animal testing, the strength of public opinion is forcing companies to stop cutting corners and practice in a way that their consumer wants to support. In our increasingly global environment, companies can no longer afford to hide in the shadows.
At Barefoot Beauty, we want to keep momentum going by practicing what we preach and only supporting businesses that make ethical decisions around how they impact the environment and our health.
We love that you’re focused on not just our own health and wellness but that of the environment as well. Tell us about how you are working to ensure our treatments have a small carbon footprint. And tell us about those waterless manicures and pedicures!
The biggest and hardest decision I made with my salon was to go waterless. Admittedly, we have had some pushback and have even lost some bookings when people heard our pedicures did not offer a soak. Luckily most of our clients are curious and happy to try out our waterless service and at the end of every service, not a single person misses the soak.
Another reason for choosing to go waterless is the positive environmental effects: A small salon can waste up to 500 litres of water or more a day on manicure and pedicure services.
We opted to use hot towels in our services instead of basins or footbaths for a number of reasons. The primary reason is hygiene and safety – it is nearly impossible to properly sanitize the pipes in traditional pedicure footbaths and they end up being a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. Even the plastic liner used in the pipeless systems is porous enough to allow smaller bacteria and viruses to penetrate it. Another reason for choosing to go waterless is the positive environmental effects. A small salon can waste up to 500 litres of water or more a day on manicure and pedicure services! Eliminating traditional water-based services helps us save tons of water every day.
Additionally, we can greatly decrease our dependency on packaging and shipping by making our products in bulk in-house, and by stocking our retail area with products from local businesses that also focus on environmentally friendly practices.
Lastly, we encourage our clients to take the disposable abrasive tools used during their services home with them so that they can continue to be used for at-home maintenance.
To learn more or schedule and appointment with Barefoot Beauty, find them online here.
All photos courtesy of Barefoot Beauty