x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Tried and tested: A Touch of paraffin pampering

Bastien Gonzalez's Paraffin Touch wrap at One&Only The Palm, Dubai.

Maxime, Manager, Bastein Gonzalez Spa, displays the Paraffin wax foot mask. Satish Kumar / The National
Maxime, Manager, Bastein Gonzalez Spa, displays the Paraffin wax foot mask. Satish Kumar / The National

WHAT I TRIED Bastien Gonzalez's Paraffin Touch wrap at One&Only The Palm, Dubai. The wrap is generally sold as an add-on to Gonzalez's manicures, pedicures, or "duo" manicure and pedicure treatments. The idea is to supplement the manicure and/or pedicure ("the warmth of this silky wax will aid the penetration of applied moisturisers into the skin for deep hydration").

WHAT I EXPECTED Oodles of gooey hot paraffin being poured all over my freshly pedicured feet. While I was a little apprehensive, I thought, "I'll try anything from this foot maestro at least once".

WHAT HAPPENED After a Bastien Gonzalez "duo" mani-pedi, in which the charming French chiropodist Maxime and his Mauritian assistant Oliva made short work of my dry, flaky and hard skin with the aid of diamond-dusted drill bits, deftly wielded razors and mother-of-pearl buffing cream, my often-neglected feet were beginning to look presentable again. That's when Maxime slotted two sealed plastic packets of solid paraffin into his heater. While they attained the right consistency, my hands and feet were massaged in synchrony so I didn't spot the dramatic puffs of white steam that apparently emerged from the heater. Once they had been heated to between 30°C and 40°C, Maxime removed the pouches and slipped them onto my hands and feet. The foot pouches looked like Christmas stockings and faintly ridiculous, but the sensation was unexpectedly pleasant - like a supportive balm was being applied to both hands and feet. Though paraffin contains saturated hydrocarbons and can be used as a fuel, in this form it's just like melted wax and apparently harmless. Bastien's has been imported from the United States and infused with natural oils such as eucalyptus, peppermint, spearmint and mandarin. "I love this product because it's sterile and therefore very hygienic," Maxime says. "The hot wax opens the pores and it's good for calming pain in the feet, say from rheumatism." After leaving me to relax for 10 minutes (I nearly fell asleep), Maxime peeled the slightly hardened mixture clean off my feet, leaving them paraffin-free but soft and almost waxy.

THE VERDICT Though my feet weren't in pain before, they do feel less tired, more moisturised and a little more pampered after the paraffin wrap. Alas, unlike the pedicure, these effects last only a day or so.

Bastien's Paraffin Touch foot wrap costs Dh95; hands and feet Dh180 and the "duo" manicure and pedicure Dh690. Pedi:Mani:Cure studio, One&Only The Palm, Dubai, 04 440 1010

Rosemary Behan