Think how much you use your feet every single day; it's no wonder they often end up tired, with hard skin and yellow tinted toenails - after all they're stuck in shoes for the majority of the day! The skin on the soles of your feet is approximately twenty times thicker than other parts of your body so it deserves special attention, and fungal diseases are common between toes and under toenails so caring for your feet is extremely important.
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Most people are guilty of ignoring their feet during the winter months and paying more attention to them in the summer months when they're on show, but healthy feet all year round will help prevent most nail diseases. Beautifully pedicured feet will also encourage you to show them off, and it's amazing just how many people will notice and comment on how good they look!
What is a pedicure?
A pedicure is a cosmetic beauty treatment for the feet and toenails, and can also help to prevent nail diseases such as Athlete's Foot, fungus and ingrown toenails. The word pedicure comes from the Latin word pes, meaning “foot”, and cura meaning “care”. The best pedicures not only make your toes beautiful, but also include lower leg and foot massages to totally revive your feet. Your feet should end up smooth and moisturised, and your toes perfectly shaped and polished – a pedicure is basically a manicure for the feet! As with manicures, you may also decide to have some nail art on your toes.
Overview of a standard pedicure
As part of your foot care treatment, firstly, any old nail polish will be removed. Toenails are often forgotten about and it's common to leave nail polish on for months without realising, but this really isn't good for your nails - they need space to breath or they'll end up with a nasty yellow tint. Once they've been restored back to their natural colour, any long nails will be cut off. During your foot treatment the beautician will avoid cutting into the corners of your nail to prevent ingrown toenails, which can be extremely painful.
Next, your nails will be filed to the shape of your choice – although it's best to stick with the natural shape of your nail bed for the best results. Filing should be in one direction to avoid weakening nails, and will usually be from outside to inside to avoid splitting your nails. Once the beautician is happy with the shape you'll be asked to place your feet in a large bowl of hot water. Often there will be some oil or moisturiser in the water to help rehydrate your skin. This should feel great on your feet and you'll be able to relax with your feet soaking for approximately ten minutes. If you ever want to try this at home yourself but don't own a foot spa, a good tip is to fill a large bowl with two parts warm water, one part warm milk and five drops of olive oil; this will sooth tired feet and make them baby soft.
While your feet enjoy their soak, the beautician may gently scrub away any dirt or old skin once it has softened up. You'll then enjoy a lovely exfoliating foot care scrub to ensure any stubborn skin is removed – this may tickle but is well worth it! Most feet are dehydrated so next your beautician will treat them to a generous layer of moisturiser. At this point you'll probably get a lower leg and foot massage, which is without doubt the best part of the whole experience! Cuticle cream will also be used to soften them up in preparation for the toe polish later. Some beauticians may wrap your feet up and ask you to place them inside a hot boot shaped mat at this point to really let the moisturiser get to work, but different beauticians will use different methods.
Once your feet have been pampered it will be time to take care of your toenails. An orange stick will be used to push back your cuticles and a further filing of your toenails may take place to ensure perfection. All that will be left now is to choose the colour you'd like on your nails. As with a manicure, make sure you choose a colour that matches your skin colouring for the best results, or go for a shade that compliments your lip colour. Alternatively you could opt for a French pedicure, which gives a really natural look. The polish will be applied in long strokes until your nails are completely covered, and then a second coat and top coat will be applied. You must wait at least an hour for them to dry otherwise they'll easily chip.
Please note, this method is just an example and may vary slightly depending on different beauticians, so don't worry if your beautician changes the steps around - the results should be just as beautiful!
What is an express pedicure?
An express pedicure is a cheaper and quicker option for those looking for less of a foot treatment and are happy with just having their toenails treated. Usually it will involve the shaping and filing of your toenails and your therapist will then paint your toenails in a colour of your choice as well.
What is a fish pedicure?
A fish pedicure refers to a relatively new treatment in the UK in which a special breed of small fish (Garra rufa) nibble away at your feet removing just dead skin cells and leaving you with soft revitalised feet.
The treatment involves the garra rufa fish, also known as doctor fish, swimming freely around, in that a tank, which you dip your feet into and leave them to give you a treat for around 15-30 minutes. The tank should be kept clean using special filters and clients should have their feet checked and washed before using the tanks to avoid the small risk of infections spreading.
- Start a home foot care regime - Regularly moisturise your feet to prevent them becoming dry, dehydrated and hard. Apply a generous amount of moisturiser before bed and wear a pair of socks overnight.
- Invest in a home foot spa - this doesn't need to be an expensive model, but somewhere to soak your feet when they are tired will do wonders for your stress levels!
- If you file your nails between pedicures, avoid filing the corners of your nails too much as this can weaken them and perhaps even cause ingrown toenails.
- If you have weak nails and always wear nail polish, give your nails a rest and allow them time to breathe for a couple of days without polish - if you don't they'll just stay weak and probably turn a nasty shade of yellow.
- Keep your nail polish in the fridge for when you need to touch up your colour (this will keep it at its best).
- Re-apply a top coat after a week or so of having your pedicure to prolong the polish.
- If you want to give yourself a pedicure but are short on time or don't have a foot spa, use a washing up bowl of warm water with any oils you like for the first stage and dip your toes in ice cold water after polishing them to speed up the hardening process.
How much does a pedicure cost?
The price of a pedicure can vary from salon to salon, but in general, for a full pedicure in the UK you should look to pay around £15 - £35 and for an express pedicure the price is usually reduced to between £8 - £20 depending on where you go.
It is always worth looking around and finding out exactly what your pedicure will involve as the treatments do vary and it may be worth paying more for a little extra time or a certain technique.
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Beauty Resource14th February, 2014
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