French podiatrist Bastien Gonzalez would prefer that we skip over the part of the story where I tell you about his jet-setting lifestyle and numerous high-profile clients. There’s no point in mentioning that he has been travelling from his current home base in Dubai to London, New York and then back to London 10 days a month for over two decades to give what he calls a “true pedicure”—a water-and-polish-free treatment focused solely on caring for feet from a medical, rather than a purely aesthetic, perspective—to the likes of Naomi Campbell and Robert DeNiro, who are both long-time customers. Because even if you were a celebrity or royalty, you wouldn’t get in to see him—he hasn’t accepted any new clients in years.

It’s why he is placing a renewed emphasis on Révérence de Bastien, his line of foot and nail care, and spreading his gospel of foot health, the latter of which is thus:

1. Thou shalt respect thy cuticles. “The cuticle is like a door. If you push or cut the cuticle, it creates inflammation and allows bacteria to enter,” Gonzalez tells me during a rare stop at Toronto’s Holt Renfrew, which carries his line. Leave them be, and treat nails daily with a hydrating formula, like his mask (below).

2. Massage is critical. It’s the most important step of his treatment and something you can—and should— do at home, nightly. “The foot starts at your toes and ends mid-calf,” he tells me. Massage the fatty cushions on the balls of your feet to replump them, and rub your arches in an upward motion, toward the heart.

3. Dry your nails individually with a towel after you get out of the shower. (I protest, but Gonzalez tells me that this will prevent water from drying out nails and cuticles.) In his treatment, nails are buffed with diamond-dust-topped drills, but a similar glossy sheen can be achieved at home with his chamois-leather tool.

Note: If you don’t already have a standing appointment with Gonzalez, all is not lost. You can get the next best thing: an appointment with one of his meticulously hired and trained staff, who operate out of the luxury One&Only resorts worldwide. 

This article originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of ELLE Canada.