Letisha Royster is an Atlanta-based advanced nail technician, master pedicurist and holistic educator. She owns Waterless Medi-Pedi Nail Spa, as well as Pedi-Cured which provides plant-based foot care products for at-home use. 

Royster is dedicated to prioritizing healthy, cosmetic foot care for all people – especially those suffering from high-risk health conditions. She specializes in waterless services. A “futuristic, unique, and a growing niche in the cosmetic world,” she says. Best of all she shares her knowledge with other medical and cosmetic professionals. 

Read as she shares the importance of prioritizing foot care, how it can serve as an indicator for overall wellness. In addition to the benefits of utilizing a waterless spa and so much more!

Jadriena Solomon: To start off, why is it so important for us to prioritize our foot care? And how is foot health an indicator of overall wellness?

LR: It’s important to prioritize foot care because we use our feet every day, and we need to be attentive to our hygiene. Hygiene is the main reason why we’re starting to see so many people have foot issues, even though they don’t suffer from an immune disease. It’s just the lack of hygiene, which is an accumulation of debris and bacteria. This causes sickness. So prioritizing the hygiene of our feet is really to help us to stay clean, and keep from getting sick. It also keeps us aware of what’s happening in our bodies as we’re getting older. 

It’s not the easiest thing to do because we’re not looking down every day, unless we’re putting on our shoes or cleaning our feet. And it’s even more difficult for those who cannot do that – there is no indication for them to be able to tell what’s going on with their health because they can’t see what’s happening with their feet. But for those of us that do have the ability to do so, we need to make sure we’re keeping up with our hygiene and the hygiene of those who are incapable around us, so we can stay aware of any signs of looming health issues.

JS: May is also Skin Cancer Detection and Awareness Month. How can foot care and foot health play a role in detecting early signs of cancer in the body? As well as other diseases?

LR: Finding cancer in the feet can be a rarity but there’s still an indication of it that can be noticed – if you’re seeing spots in your skin or in your nails, that could be a sign of  cancerous cells being present. But you do want to be mindful that us as Black people, are more prone to having melanonychia in our nails – someone who is non-Black or not of African descent, should be alarmed if they notice this. 

You want to be mindful of also using sunscreen on your feet. They have more exposure, especially in the summertime and the springtime, so it’s very important to not forget that. Everyone is talking about protecting their face or other parts of their body, but you still have to be mindful to protect the skin that’s on your feet.

JS: So of course prioritizing foot care as a means of prevention is important, but another thing that is just as important to you is prioritizing those with high risk health conditions to have access to healthy, cosmetic foot care and maintenance. Can you tell us more about why this is so important to you? 

LR: It’s important to me because the main auto-immune disease that’s high risk for our community is diabetes. Many of us are not aware of this, and how the disease affects us mentally, physically, emotionally, and so it’s very important as a community to be educated about it. 

We’re the main ones that are getting amputated. We’re the main ones that have issues that are difficult for us to get assistance with. And many times, podiatrists or physicians only want to understand the medical part of what’s happening but they don’t want to keep up with the cosmetic part. They don’t wanna keep up with the trimming of the nails. And they don’t wanna keep up with the washing of the feet. So that’s why prioritizing those that are high risk is important for me. When we’re building our communities, our salons and business we need to remember to reach out to those people that are diabetic and make sure that they have a safe and sterile environment where they can have the essential washing, trimming and clipping that they need. We have to remember that these people are unable to do these things for themselves, and these things are so vital to their health that we need to provide that space and opportunity.

There are a lot of diabetics that can’t even see under their feet, or feel their feet. They need someone to tell them what’s happening with their feet – whether they’re growing a fungus or not, and even how they can prevent these things from happening. We have to make sure that we get the education that we need because we could be helping out a family member. And when we get older, we’re helping out ourselves as well.

JS: You are the owner of the  Waterless Medi-Pedi & Nail Spa based in Roswell, Georgia. Can you tell our readers more about what a waterless spa is? And how can it offer a higher quality of service, as well as level of sanitation than a traditional spa? 

LR: A Waterless Medi-Ped & Nail Spa offers services that are soakless. It eliminates cross-contamination of bacterial fungi that is common with viral infections. Many times, you go into your traditional salons and they’re not disinfecting their whirlpools throughout the day, so that’s clogging bacteria and that is now going into your water. So even though the water may look clean, there’s bacteria in the water that you’re now being exposed to. And if you get nicked or cut, it could become a dangerous experience. So a waterless spa eliminates this issue. 

Also, when you’re soaking at a traditional spa, it reduces the moisture that you need in your skin. When we wonder why our skin is breaking and cracking, it’s because it’s dry. And that’s not what we need. That’s unhealthy. So with waterless, you’re able to maintain the health of your nails and skin, and still get the same maintenance – nothing is being lost, but the soaking. You’re still able to get your exfoliation with your scrubs, your callous reduction, your cleaning, your toenail trimming and your polish. And your polish is even able to last longer because you’re not soaking in water and having that moisture accumulate in your nail beds. Waterless spas are safe for all high risk people, and if you still want to incorporate steam for moisture in your service, you can.

JS: You are also the owner of Pedi-Cured, which provides plant based foot care products to clients which allows them the means to maintain healthy foot care at home, in-between visits.  What product would you recommend to a first-time client?

LR: A first time customer definitely needs the Pedi-Cured Hydrating Cream. How many times have we complained that our skin is so dry? Or how many times has an esthetician advised us to exfoliate? That’s because we need to get rid of dead skin, and that’s no different with our feet. 

Our feet have the  toughest skin on our  whole body. So we need to exfoliate twice or three times a week, depending on how much you’re utilizing them, to get rid of that dead skin. And then moisturize the healthy skin that’s brought to the surface. If we’re not exfoliating, then we’re literally just putting lotion on dead skin. 

Because we’re moisturizing, and exfoliating we need something that’s abrasive enough to remove the dead skin cells. So a little scrub in the morning and the night is okay. So I would definitely recommend the Pedi-Cured Foot File 3-in-1 and the Hydrating Cream. It’s a very small bottle so it’s perfect for women on the go, they can put it in their purse along with the foot file. 

JS: In addition to being the Owner of Waterless Medi-Pedi & Nail Spa and Pedicured, you are also a Nail Technician, Master Pedicurist, and Holistic Health Educator. What overall signs in the body do you advise people to look out for, that can be indications of their overall health? 

LR: Look out for the signs of dryness and unnecessary peeling. If we’re not going through a dry season then you should not be excessively peeling, unless you’re experiencing an allergic reaction. Look for discoloration of the toenails, that’s a definite sign unless you’re a smoker. But if you’re not look for yellow nails or non-white pink nails. This can also be a sign that you are putting on nail polish too frequently. Or that you’re encountering an infection, or encountering bacteria. 

If you start to see peeling between the third and fourth toe of your feet, that’s a tremendous sign of an infection. And so you need to go to the doctor to diagnose it. Nail technicians can’t diagnose fungal or toenail infections, we’re not allowed to do that, but we should be aware of the signs that are abnormal. If you keep seeing the lifting of your toe nails, and you’re not a runner then that’s definitely a sign too. 

If you do get a fungus, it’s a nightmare. It’s hard to get rid of. So start breaking the habit of air drying your feet. Fungus likes moisture. It likes mold. So if we’re not drying off our feet and are putting on your socks, that moisture is now being trapped in between our toes and socks, and then in your shoes. So that’s creating mildew and bacteria. So we want to make sure that we’re drying our feet off with a towel. 

Make sure you’re drying out your shoes and refrain from wearing the same pair every day – there’s a lot of things that we can do that can help reduce bacteria. Spray your shoes down with Lysol after you wear them as well. It kills 99.9% of bacteria and it will help air out your shoes for sure.

JS: You offer one hour Business Clarity Consultations to cosmetic & medical professionals to educate and assist them with strategizing their business moves. You also offer a Waterless Pedicure Class, as well as a Nail Care Academy. Why was it so important for you to give back in this way and offer your knowledge to be of assistance to others?

LR: I became a nail technician because of what I experienced. I didn’t experience care and care used to be a priority back in the day. So there’s still people looking for it and that’s why people come to me. With all that we’ve experienced with the pandemic, we need to be cautious and knowledgeable of the importance of sanitation and preventing more infections. And it’s important that we all – as professionals – play our responsibility in that, not just me. 

We need more salons that advocate for care, advocate for hygiene, and advocate for doing things properly. Even the doctors, as I mentioned, are focused on medical things. They’re not focusing on cosmetics. And even though they may do a little cosmetic services, that’s not their thing. So they’re now seeing the benefit of having cosmetic and medical services combined in their practices because they don’t want to send their patients out to the traditional salons. So the collaboration is great. 

I chose to go into education because people want to learn more about these services, or want to figure out why they can’t find someone who can do these services in their city. And I, unfortunately, can’t go into everyone’s city or state and provide these services. So that’s why I decided to do these one on one consultations because people are noticing that spreading this knowledge is so needed. 

Most importantly, I provide clarity consultations because a lot of people fear going into business. And then we have the added issue in our community that we don’t understand business, or know how to operate in business. So it’s good to help nail technicians to understand how to operate, how to get educated, the things they need to have in place before they even begin operating, how to sustain their business, build a profit, get the right team, and also deal with laws and taxes. The majority of us are first time entrepreneurs in our family so we don’t know how to run businesses, and because of the courses that I offer so many people have told me the knowledge they received has brought them so much clarity. 

Lastly, it was also a priority of mine to let other Black women know that everything I do is something that they can do too. It’s giving women of all ages the proof of possibilities, and that the opportunities that are out there are beyond what they can imagine. That’s the main reason why I do what I do.