What To Expect From A Pedicure

What to expect from a salon pedicure - the ultimate pampering of your feet! Tools used, time to allow, polish selection, and more.

Are you interested in getting a pedicure, but don't know what to expect? Or are you interested in doing this at home, but don't know where to start? A pedicure can be a wonderful form of pampering, and can lift your spirits and soothe your aching feet at the same time.

If you're going to a salon to get a pedicure, they'll have all of the necessary tools and equipment, and usually even supply you with your choice of nail colors. If you're doing this at home, you can accomplish most of the same effect without any expensive investments. Even if you're going to a salon, it's always nice to bring your own nail polish, though, just so you can "touch up" the color later if you need to!

When you go in for your pedicure, here's what you can expect:

1. Schedule your pedicure in advance. Many salons take "walk-in" customers; however, you'll have less stress and far less chance of a long wait if you make an appointment in advance.

2. Items to bring with you include: a pair of open-toed shoes, like thongs or sandals with fully open toes; nail polish, a book or magazine if you wish, cash (for the tip).

3. Allow a full hour for your pedicure. You may be done in 20-30 minutes; however, you don't want to rush it and you'll want to make sure your toes are completely dry before leaving.

4. Bear in mind that you'll be sitting in an open area with your feet up in the air. Short skirts may lead to embarrassing situations, and tight-legged pants may be difficult to roll up adequately. Plan your outfit accordingly!

Steps for the pedicure itself include:

1. You'll be seated at the manicurist's station. There are two types of pedicure stations - a standard rolling cart that the manicurist sits on, with a bar in the front your feet rest on, or a large chair with a basin at the feet. Generally the latter style is reserved for higher end salons and spas, and is often called a "spa chair".

2. Your nail polish (if any) is removed off of each toenail.

3. Your toenails are often cut and shaped before being soaked; however, some salons do this after soaking. Large nail clippers and Emory boards are used to trim and file your toenails to a nice shape. You can select the length and shape you wish (rounded or squared), if you want to.

4. Your feet will be soaked in a large basin of warm water, often with a small vibration to it. Your feet should soak for at least five minutes before they start work on your cuticles.

5. One foot is removed from the water, and a cuticle lotion is applied to the edge of the toenails. An orange stick (a long wand with a squared off end) is used to push back the cuticles from the toenail.

6. A Cuticle trimmer (which resembles a tiny metal wirecutter) is used to trim off the dead skin around the toenail edges. No live skin is cut.

7. A little dot of oil is applied and rubbed into each toe, and the foot is returned to the basin of warm water to soak.

8. The other foot is removed from the water, and the cuticles trimmed. The second foot is returned to the water.

9. The first foot is removed from the water, and a rough piece of rock called a pumice stone is used to remove callouses and dead skin from the base of the foot. Some salons use metal scrapers to slough off dead skin; however, most salons have stopped doing this due to liability issues.

10. The foot is returned to the water for a final soak.

11. The second foot is removed from the water, and the pumice stone is used to rub off the dead skin and callouses.

12. Both feet are removed from the water, and patted dry with a clean towel.

13. The nails are buffed to a nice smooth shine with a nail buffer. This step may occur in conjunction with the nail trimming but is often saved until near the end.

14. Lotion is applied to each leg and foot, and rubbed in with a massaging motion.

15. The toenails are cleaned with a final drip of acetone (nail polish remover) on a clean cotton ball to remove any oil or lotion.

16. The feet are patted totally dry, and cotton or foam forms are inserted between the toenails to keep your toes apart.

17. Nail polish is applied to each toenail. Typically you will have two coats of colored polish, and one coat of clear topcoat.

18. You will be asked to sit for 5-10 minutes with your feet in front of a fan to allow your toes to dry completely before leaving.

19. Your manicurist will check to make sure your toes are completely dry before removing your toe dividers. If you're in doubt, ask her to check before you put your shoes back on!

20. Carefully ease your toes into your thongs or sandals, being careful not to scrape your new polish. Your toenail polish may take up to another hour or more to dry fully, so don't plan on putting an tight fitting shoes or socks on for at least this long!

Tipping etiquette - it is typical to tip 15-20% or more for a pedicure. It is not uncommon to tip up to 30% for a good pedicure with a nice massage. Tips should be paid in cash, if at all possible, for the manicurist's convenience, even if you are paying by check or credit card for your nail service.

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