Did you know that the average person walks the equivalent of four times around the world during their lifetime? Given this fact, it’s hardly surprising that we can sometimes neglect the appearance and condition of our feet, especially outside flip-flop season when we know few people will see them.
Fortunately, a spa pedicure is just the trick for making your feet look and feel their very best all year round. Why suffer dry skin, overgrown nails or callouses, when you can have smooth, soft and perfectly polished tootsies? Even if your feet are already in tip-top condition, you will enjoy the massaging and pampering involved in a relaxing, professional pedicure.
Pedicures are often offered as part of a spa package, which is a great way to try this treatment to see just what it can do for your hard-working feet! Keep reading our guide to discover what you can expect during your pedicure. You’ll also find some aftercare advice and answers to a few pedicure FAQs.
What is a pedicure?
‘Pedicure’ is a term used to describe a range of cosmetic and therapeutic beauty treatments designed to improve - or maintain - the appearance and condition of the feet and toenails. A pedicure can be thought of as a manicure for the feet. The tools, massage techniques and lotions used during your pedicure will largely depend on which spa venue you select for your treatment.
Most pedicures comprise foot exfoliation to remove dead skin cells, nail filing, cuticle neatening, and the application of one or more nail polishes. Nowadays, many pedicures see the lower half of the legs massaged also, making the experience all the more luxurious for spa guests.
As a general rule: the longer your pedicure appointment is, the more pampering you can expect to be included as part of your treatment.
What to expect during your pedicure
While procedures and practices differ between different spas, you can typically expect the following during your treatment:
STEP #1 - SOAK: After removing your shoes and socks, you will be asked to soak your feet in a warm, bubbling foot bath, or basin. Some spas may provide a massage chair for guests to sit in at this stage, and/or some reading material if desired.
STEP #2 - FILE: Up to 15 minutes later, your nail technician will remove one of your feet from the bath, so that she/he can trim and file each of your toenails into an attractive and uniform shape. The other foot will be left to soak to allow your cuticles to remain soft and easy to manipulate.
STEP #3 - CUTICLES: When the nails on each of your feet have been filed, your therapist will apply a cuticle cream to each of your toenails and then gently push the cuticles back, to make them neater.
STEP #4 - EXFOLIATE: Your therapist will then use an exfoliant cream and a foot file to remove any dead skin cells present on the bottoms of your feet. Sometimes, a more powerful electronic file may be used to remove tougher patches of skin (don’t worry - this is a completely safe and pain-free procedure).
STEP #5 - MASSAGE: When buffed completely smooth, your feet will be slathered with a rich moisturiser and then treated to a pleasurable, unwinding reflexology foot massage. Your lower legs may also be massaged as part of this stage of the treatment.
STEP #6 - POLISH: Each toenail will then be polished in a colour of your choice from the many available. Your coloured varnish will be applied between a base coat and a top coat, to boost its durability and to provide extra protection for your nails. You may be instructed to place your feet under a UV lamp temporarily once painted (UV light sees nail varnish dry more rapidly).
A number of other skin/nail conditioning or strengthening products may also be applied during the various stages of your pedicure.
IMPORTANT: Inclusions and procedures can vary between spa venues. Always check the website for your selected spa to confirm exactly what you can expect from your pedicure.
Pedicure aftercare advice
Ensure you have a pair of flip flops to slip your feet into for a few hours following your pedicure - wearing bulky shoes or trainers is almost certain to spoil your therapist’s good work. Most spas will provide you with a pair of flip flops to wear, while some may not (check with your selected venue if you are unsure).
Avoid getting your feet wet for at least 12 hours after your pedicure, if possible. Even nail varnish which is touch-dry may not harden completely until this time, and excessive moisture could cause premature peeling or chipping.
Consider purchasing full-size or trial-size versions of the products used during your pedicure from the spa’s online or on-site shop, so you can keep your feet perfectly preened once you have returned home.
Use a pumice stone between pedicure appointments to keep any hard skin under control.
Can I wear nail polish to my pedicure?
You should arrive for your pedicure with no varnish on your nails. The therapist will remove it, cutting into your allocated appointment time. You must also arrive promptly to prevent your treatment being shortened, or cancelled entirely (spas are often very busy and there is unlikely to be any spare time to accommodate latecomers).
I think my feet are ugly - should I be worried about getting a spa pedicure?
You may be surprised just how many men and women have this concern, but there is really nothing to worry about. Therapists are used to treating feet of all shapes, sizes and conditions and very few people actually consider their feet to be attractive.
Besides, a pedicure is ideal for ensuring your feet look as beautiful as possible, so there is nothing to lose (other than some marvellous pampering if you deny yourself the treat of a spa pedicure, that is!).
IMPORTANT: Those with a fungal skin or nail condition should inform their chosen venue ahead of their pamper day or spa break to avoid potential disappointment. Some spas will refuse to give pedicures to clients with those conditions, for hygiene and/or health and safety reasons.
If you know of a loved one who needs to take some time off of those toes, be sure to visit our vouchers page where spa gift vouchers can be redeemed against treatments at over 500 spas across the UK.