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What is a pedicure?

A pedicure is a beauty treatment for your feet.

A pedicurist removes dead skin, softens hard skin and shapes and treats toe-nails, and also massages softening and soothing oils and creams into your foot to make it feel as though you are walking on air.

What is a pedicure good for?

Good foot care treats and prevents skin problems such as callouses, as well as in-growing toe nails and related infections. A pedicure can help your posture by enabling you to walk more comfortably. Combined with massage, hot stones, a herbal or aromatic rub or a soak in scented oils, a pedicure can also soothe and relax you generally.

Is it the same as chiropody?

A chiropodist is a medically-trained professional who is qualified to treat diagnosed medical problems and do preventative care on your feet. This may involve minor surgical procedures such as cutting off dead skin, and treating ingrowing toenails.

A pedicurist is not a chiropodist; a pedicure is not a medical procedure, although a regular pedicure can support the work you're having done by a chiropodist, and in fact prevent you from needing further treatment.

Before you go

Keep it clean

A pedicure may well begin with a relaxing foot soak to soften the skin, and this will often be scented, but some basic foot hygiene will ensure you... get off on the right foot.

Choose your pedicurist with care

There are quite strict guidelines for people carrying out pedicures and manicures.

Make sure you choose a pedicurist who has evidently high-standards of hygiene. A pedicure should be carried out by a qualified nail-technician.

How long will it take?

A pedicure usually takes between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on what kind of foot treatment you're having. Allow time afterwards to ease yourself back into standing up!

Precautions

If you have any fungal or other foot infections, it is better for your feet and, frankly, for your therapist, if you get those treated medically first.

What to expect from a pedicure

A pedicure usually begins with a therapeutic foot bath or spa, where your feet are soaked and cleansed in warm, scented water. Some foot-baths are like a mini-Jacuzzi for your feet.

Creams and aromatherapy oils will be massaged into your feet to refresh and soften your skin. Many pedicurists will give you an acupressure or reflexology-based foot massage to really relax you. Some pedicures include the use of hot stones. Others use mud, wraps and even algae.

Some pedicures include a healing or antiseptic oil or cream on your feet. You may also have an exfoliating rub with salts or minerals to slough off dead skin.

Your cuticles will be removed, and your toenails cut and shaped, using oils to soften them beforehand.

Your pedicure will usually close with a massage of your feet and lower legs and possibly another soak in the foot bath before a good quality polish is applied to your nails.

Hot tip!

Your choice of footwear is really important when you go for a pedicure.

Whilst ordinary shop-bought nail polish usually dries completely within five minutes or so, proper pedicure-standard nail polish may take up to 12 hours to dry completely! You don't want to have to push those nails into socks and trainers for your cycle home. Whatever you arrive in, make sure that you have flip-flops or open sandals to wear when you leave.

Even if you aren't having nail varnish applied in your pedicure, you're unlikely to want to throw your feet straight back to the tough work of pounding you around the street in a pair of court shoes. Give your feet a break and take something more comfortable with you to wear afterwards.

Afterwards

A good pedicure is heaven, and will leave you feeling fresh, light and relaxed. Your feet will probably look and feel better than they have for years. You'll want to look at them and show them off, and will make rash promises to yourself about how much better care you'll take of them in future.

Start by putting some comfortable shoes on!

Different kinds of pedicure

There are lots of different foot treatments available now in spas and in specialist centres on the high street. Usually, the difference between them is just the type of products used and the sequence they're used in. They may also have a different way of cutting or "dressing" the nails. You can usually tell what you're going to get from a spa's description of the treatment. These are some examples of the different kinds of pedicures you can get:

French: this classic pedicure includes expensive, long-lasting nail varnish for the cosmopolitan lady, whitens the tip and squares off the nail

Intensive paraffin wax: this pedicure includes warm wax being rubbed into your nails, feet and lower legs to moisturise and soften.

Deluxe/luxury pedicure: this whole-foot treatment includes a foot massage, softening paraffin wax and heated towels or a wrap which warms and soothes your feet, and softens and hydrates your nails.

Jessica deluxe pedicure: this is a branded treatment involving the features of the deluxe/luxury pedicure, but with Jessica branded products).

Courtesy of the Good Spa Guide

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