Look around and you’ll find that many Kansas City nail salons offer a little add-on that can change your manicure altogether. And it’s not a glass of wine or some fancy scrub. It’s a paraffin dip. But if you’ve never had one before, you might be confused when your nail technician walks you over to a pot of liquid wax. Here’s what you need to know about the popular treatment.What It IsA white solid when cold and a transparent liquid when warm, paraffin is distilled from a much darker, cruder substance: petroleum. Most beauty products made from petroleum—such as Vaseline, lip balm, and baby oil—are emollients. Emollients work by creating a protective layer over the skin that keeps moisture from escaping, while also softening the outer layer of the skin.How It WorksOftentimes, the first step will be to apply a moisturizer—adding a layer of moisture to make hands (or feet!) extra soft. Then, the entire hand (palm and all, up to the wrist) is submerged in the liquid wax. Since wax serves as a kind of sealant, the warmth of the wax works together with the emollients and the lotion to drive moisture deep into the skin. Sometimes your wax-dipped hands will then be covered with plastic gloves (or possibly even something that looks like an oven mitt) to keep hands warm and further all of these processes.The ResultsOnce the wax has cooled and hardened, it easily slips from the skin. What’s left behind is noticeably softer hands and feet—arguably one of the best parts of getting a manicure or pedicure. Softer skin also means it’ll be easier for the technician to tend to your cuticles, which are cleaned up before nails get coats of colorful polish.