Many of the 500+ resorts we represent nationwide offer a ‘file and polish’ treatment for guests. Inexperienced spa goers often make the mistake of thinking this service is a full manicure. However, a file and polish should instead be considered a mini, time-saving treatment, which will leave your nails looking preened and fabulous.

Keep reading to discover what you can expect when enjoying a file and polish as part of one of our indulgent pamper daysluxurious spa breaks, or when you purchase or redeem one of our spa gift vouchers

In this guide, you’ll also find some aftercare advice, as well as helpful tips on getting the most out of this luxury spa treatment.

What is included in a file and polish spa treatment?

Spa guests must first decide whether they would prefer the nails on their hands or feet to be treated.

While in a full manicure or pedicure, your hands or feet are exfoliated and massaged before attention is turned to the nails, in the case of a file and polish, the filing begins straight away. You will be asked whether you would like your nails expertly shaped into neat ovals or squares.

Once nail filing is complete and any resulting debris removed, you pick your preferred nail varnish colour from the available selection. While file and polish treatment inclusions can vary greatly between different types of spa, in the vast majority of cases, a neutral base coat and a transparent top coat will also be applied. These additional layers will help protect your nails and seal your chosen colour for tougher durability.

Some therapists may also apply a gentle moisturiser - or other products - to your hands (or feet), or target particularly unruly cuticles and hangnails as part of this basic spa treatment. Keep in mind that additional fees may apply should you accept extras not mentioned in the spa’s description of the treatment (never be afraid to ask the therapist if you’re unsure).

IMPORTANT: Always check with our spa experts or your chosen spa to confirm the exact details of your selected file and polish.

Do I need to prep my nails before the treatment?

In order to get the most out of the treatment, it is important that you arrive for your file and polish promptly, jewellery-free and with your nails free of varnish. The removal of existing varnish will eat into your allocated treatment time, which could leave you with less than desirable results. This is particularly true with a file and polish treatment as it is a shorter treatment than a full manicure. Gel polishes can be particularly difficult to remove, so avoid these in the days and weeks leading up to your spa visit.

File and polish aftercare advice

If you treat your tootsies to a file and polish, wear flip flops and keep your feet dry for as long as possible post treatment to allow applied polishes and top coats to fully harden and become their most resistant.

Wearing rubber gloves while cleaning your home or doing the washing up is advised for those with painted fingernails - contact with certain chemicals and long soaks can cause polishes to peel away or fade.

Consider purchasing a bottle of polish from the spa’s shop (if applicable), in the same colour, so you can maintain the look once you have returned home.

Helpful tips

Rummaging around in your bag/purse straight after your treatment will almost certainly dent or chip your newly-applied polish. Keep some loose change, car keys or cash card in your pocket, so you can pay for your treatment, drive home or buy lunch without ruining your fingernails!

Some spas will not perform files and polishes on acrylics or other false nails. Always check with your selected spa before finalising your booking 

Don’t worry if you’re a nail biter: nail and spa therapists are used to seeing nails in all kinds of conditions, and can paint even the shortest of nails!

Take a look at our manicure and pedicure guides for more on these popular spa treatments.

You can also call our spa experts for advice, or to book your next great spa deal.

Return to SpaSeekers’ Spa Treatments Guide

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