Picture this: It’s the end of winter, and it’s finally warm enough to put on your favorite sandals. You look down, and somehow your winter feet have transformed into something that can only be described as “Hobbit-like.” Your nails are terribly overgrown, your heels could grate the finest cheese, and you have no idea what shade of the rainbow your polish used to be.
Can you imagine a world where self-care isn’t encouraged? Do you know some people still haven’t experienced the unchecked joy of a pedicure? While we admit that there can be some quirky parts of pedicures, we can’t imagine life without them.
So, what is a pedicure? What do you need to know? Can you DIY one at home? Let’s dive in and talk about what happens during pedicures and all the things you should know!
What Exactly Is a Pedicure?
Whether you’re heading to the salon or creating a spa experience at home, a pedicure is basic hygiene practice for your feet. Think: shaping your toenails, removing dead skin, and moisturizing and massaging your feet and legs.
Pedicures can be used for medical purposes or simply as a glorious pampering ritual. You might wash your feet during your shower, but your feet take on a ton of stress — more stress than a little soap and water can undo. Without proper foot care, your toes can become more than just an aesthetics or hygiene issue.
For instance, a medical pedicure would focus on the removal of calluses and corns using special buffing tools. A medical pedicurist can also address fungal infections like athlete’s foot, an issue that isn’t handled in a basic pedicure in most cases.
Here’s how we see it: Your feet do a lot of hard work. They deserve a little extra care and attention. You’ll thank us later!
What Happens During a Pedicure?
If you’ve never experienced a pedicure before, go over what happens.
First things first: If you’re going in for a spa pedicure, you’ll likely want to make an appointment. While it is totally possible to walk in at some salons, it’s best to plan ahead for the sake of time. (It’s also more considerate for your nail tech!)
Plan for your pedicure to last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. The cool thing about pedicures is that they are totally customizable so that you can add more pampering or less, depending on your needs.
During your pedicure, you’ll need to roll up your pants so that your clothes don’t get wet and so your techs have space to massage your lower legs. Wearing comfy clothes is a great idea, along with flip-flops to slip into and out of. The pedicure usually takes place in a chair fit for the gods, or in simpler terms, a massage chair with a foot spa full of frothy warm water.
On to the basics, here are some standards during this nail treatment:
- Plan on having your toenails shaped or clipped. This will depend on preference and if you’ve let your toenails grow to epic lengths.
- Debris and dirt caught between your nail and skin will be gently removed, often with a foot scrub designed for cleansing and exfoliation.
- This next part is a game-changer. The dead skin cells that cover your barely recognizable heels will be scrubbed with a pumice stone or other tool to reveal the beautiful feet you forgot existed.
- Next, you will be treated to a wonderful leg and foot massage. There are many add-ons, but remember we are covering the basics here. Imagine hot towels, stone foot massage, and gels, just to name a few.
- Last but not least, you can place standard nail polish or gel polish on your toenails.
Different Types of Pedicures
You can get several types of pedicures depending on the salon you go to. Think about your wants and needs, and look for one that works best for you. Most spas and salons will have a menu so you can read the descriptions and prices.
Here are some of the options that might pop up:
- French Pedicure: The French pedicure is a classic that uses long-lasting nail products. The white tip and square shape are perfect for any event or vacation.
- Paraffin Wax Pedicure: This pedicure can feel very relaxing and leave your skin hydrated and smooth. They will take warm wax and cover your nails, feet, and lower legs. The wax feels nice and can be a fun experience if you've never tried it before.
- SNS Pedicure: This pedicure involves a powder dipping system. The powder hardens to your nails with no UV light. The powder goes on over a special glue, and it’s finished using a hardening agent and a shiny or matte top coat.
- Luxury Pedicure: If you want a complete pampering experience, go with a luxury pedicure. This involves a whole-foot treatment that includes paraffin wax, massage, and heated towels. You can also add polish, gel, or SNS of your choice.
How To Create a Home Pedicure
Going to the salon is a wonderful experience. It is definitely one of those things you should at least allow yourself to do when you’re able. If you aren’t able to make it to the salon whether it be because of cost or time, the great news is that it is easy to replicate at home.
From our perspective, we really like to set the mood. You can use your favorite spa-like music, or whatever music you are feeling at the time, some candles, and then it’s all about tools and products.
Top Products You Need for a Home Pedicure
In order to have a great experience, you are going to want to invest in some good supplies. Here is what you will need.
- A place to soak your feet - This might be open for debate but you can go one of two ways here. They sell foot baths to fit almost any budget. You can easily purchase a foot bath specific to your wants and needs to accomplish your at-home pedicure. However, we won’t judge you if you simply fill up your bathtub, or a tub of water, with cozy warm water. As long as you have a place to soak your feet is what counts.
- Buffer - Remember those heels? You want your feet soft and supple to buff away the dead skin. At Spongellé we understand how important it is to remove dead skin. That’s why we made a buffer specific for your at-home self-care appointment. With a variety of scents to take you back to just about any relaxing memory, you will also love the fact that you will be able to polish any roughness away with ease. One of the best parts is this buffer is multi-use. You can use it over 30 times! With this body-wash-infused Pedi-buffer, you can keep your feet ready for sandals all year.
- Toenail Clippers - Depending on your toenail length and width, you may be able to get away with regular nail clippers. The benefit of having toenail clippers is that they are designed to accommodate larger nails.
- Cuticle Clippers - The cuticles around your nails can become overgrown. Usually, regular clippers won’t be able to help remove your cuticles. You will want these clippers to carefully help remove the dead skin and leave the rest intact.
- Lotion - Oh lotion, how we love you! In order to add and seal moisture back into your thirsty new skin, you will want to lather your feet with a great lotion. Extra points if you put socks on over your feet and let them sit for a little while.
How Do You Give Yourself a Home Pedicure?
You don't have to go to a professional to get a salon experience. You can give yourself an at-home pedicure without having to spend the money on a trip to the spa. Now that you know all the supplies you'll need, gather what you have at home and get started.
You can begin by soaking your feet in a warm tub of water or go right to nail care. It's up to you and how much time you want to spend. If you want to buff your feet and remove calluses, you'll want to soak your feet. It will make it easier to remove the dead skin. You'll also want to remove any old polish on your nails.
Once your feet are dry, here are some steps to follow:
- Cuticle Care: Remove any dead skin around the nail bed to help your pedicure last longer. (We go into detail about removing your cuticles below.)
- Trim: Trim your nails to your desired length. Consider how much your nails will grow before your next pedicure.
- Shape: Use a nail file to shape your nails. Filing will also remove any hangnails or rough edges left from trimming.
- Paint: Start with a thin base coat layer and allow it to dry. This will help the polish stick to your nails and create a protective barrier for your natural nail. Follow the base coat with the nail polish color of your choice..
You can follow up with a second coat of your nail polish to get that salon-quality look. Finally, add a top coat to seal your nail polish color. It provides a super shiny finish and will keep your nails from chipping.
- Lotion: Finish the job by hydrating your feet with a moisturizing lotion and cuticle oil.
How Do You Give Yourself a Gel Pedicure?
A gel pedicure is entirely different from a pedicure with regular polish. You’ll probably need to buy a few new products, but you can consider them an investment for your future. You can grab everything you need for the same price as a single gel pedicure at the salon — then keep giving yourself gel pedis for free over and over again.
You can look for a complete gel kit or get products individually. You'll need a UV light, a gel base coat, a top coat, and gel-colored polish. Finally, don’t forget to bring a nail buffer and the tools you use for a regular pedicure.
Once you have everything you'll need, you'll follow the same steps as above to prep your nails. Removing your cuticles is especially important when applying gel because the skin can cause your gel to lift if left on your nails.
When your feet are ready for gel, follow these steps:
- Buff: You'll want to remove the naturally shiny layer on your nails. A rougher surface will help the gel stay on your nails for longer. Make sure you dust off your nails before moving on.
- Base Coat: Apply a thin layer of the base coat and cure it under your UV light for 60-90 seconds. The base coat will still feel tacky after curing, don’t wipe it. The tackiness will help the gel color cling to the nail.
- Gel Color: Apply the gel color and cure it for 60 to 90 seconds. Depending on the color, you may only need one coat or up to three coats.
- Top Coat: Apply a thin layer of top coat and cure for 60 to 90 seconds.
- Hydrate: You can finish the same way you do with a regular pedicure. Moisturize with lotion and cuticle oil, and you're done!
How Do You Trim Your Cuticles?
Trimming your cuticles can be intimidating the first time you do it. After all, cutting so close to your skin can feel a bit risky. However, this is a necessary step and totally worth it if you're going to DIY your pedicures at home.
Keep in mind that your cuticles are a barrier between your nails and skin. They protect you from getting infections, and cutting them can lead to problems — especially if you're not using clean tools.
Below is what you need to know about caring for your cuticles safely.
1. Use a Cuticle Remover
Investing in a cuticle remover is a must. The remover softens the cuticle and will help you push it off the nail plate.
2. Push the Cuticle Back
Push your cuticles back using a metal pusher. You want to be gentle and not push too hard. After you’re done, wash off the cuticle remover.
3. Trim Your Cuticles
Once the cuticle has been pushed back, you can trim it off using cuticle cutters. You don't want to trim the cuticle that hasn't been pushed back.
4. Apply Cuticle Oil
Slather on your cuticle oil to give them some hydration and nourishment. You'll want to make sure you wash off this oil completely before your pedicure. Nail polish will go on unevenly and take a long time to dry if there's any trace of oil.
Who Can Benefit From a Pedicure?
Maybe it’s just us but we feel like there is a myth that pedicures are just for women. We would like to argue the point that if you have feet, a pedicure is for you. As far as we are aware, everyone’s feet could use a little TLC, not just women.
As we mentioned before, the benefits of pedicures extend beyond just the relaxation and aesthetics of it all. Here are some additional pedicure benefits to consider.
- They can help you walk more comfortably. If you have heels shredding your socks or calluses that hurt, regular removal of dead skin can keep your feet in tip-top shape.
- Your feet smell great - Not only do your feet feel and look good, but they also smell good too! Removing odor trapping bacteria, dead skin, dirt, and debris can do wonders for how your feet smell.
- Get your blood flowing - Between the warm foot soak and the heavenly foot massage, a pedicure can also help get your blood circulating.
- Improve your mood - Relaxing can help the stress of the day melt away. Not only does a pedicure improve the overall health of your foot, but it is also sure to boost your mood along with it.
We are partial to any treatment that leaves us feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. We spend so much of our lives rushing from obligation to obligation. Prioritizing our mental and physical health should be scheduled into our routines whenever possible.
At Spongellé, we wanted to create products that help you recreate your spa-like experiences in the comfort of your own space. Our products are just as easy to transport for travel as they are to use in the comfort of your home.
Our products come multi-use so you get the most out of our money without ever having to compromise on quality. Self-care should be effortless. From our scent selection to our product selection you will have all options you need to make self-care as easy as it should be.