Guide To A Great Pedicure

If ever there is a time to get a pedicure, it’s the start of a new year. You have survived the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. You baked cookies, turkey, and ham, and you wrapped what seemed like hundreds of gifts. Plus you walked a mile through every mall in your town, and now you’ll do it again because it’s time to return and exchange. But don’t despair; Spa Girl has a solution for those aching feet! A pedicure is in order. Recently, I pampered my own toes at one of Belk’s new spas and got one of the best pedicures I’ve ever had.

For those of you who haven’t experienced the joy of a pedicure, here’s how it goes. First, you sit in a massage chair and place your feet in a whirlpool tub of warm water to soak. This soak, which lasts about 5 minutes, softens your feet and makes calluses easier to remove. Laura McCrary, my pedicurist with 25 years of experience, soaked my feet in a mixture of Aveda Aquatherapy and Caribbean Bath Soak, as well as OPI Foot Soak.

Next, your pedicurist will remove any old toenail polish. She will trim and shape your nails with a file and then buff dead skin from the soles of your feet. Laura says, “Never cut your toenails before your pedicure. Leave something for your pedicurist to work with and shape properly.” If your toenails are too short, the filing and shaping can be painful or not possible at all.

The pedicurist then applies an exfoliant to your legs and feet, which, after it dries, she will roll off to remove dead skin. As a final polish, she will massage the legs and feet with a lotion (Laura used OPI Sugar Scrub on me) and then rinse it off during a final soak in the tub. Afterward, the pedicurist will dry your feet and manicure each nail. Often, this is followed by a long and glorious foot massage using lotion to hydrate your feet.

The fifth and last step in a spa pedicure is the application of nail polish. Your pedicurist will use an antiseptic to remove any residue from your toenails. She will then help you select a color that will be applied after a clear base coat and before your clear top coat of polish. The base coat helps protect your nails from yellowing and provides a smooth surface for the color to be applied. The top coat protects the polish from chipping.

To avoid messing up your polish, always bring your own flip-flops. Most spas will offer you a disposable pair, but you won’t make it to the door in those because they have paper-like soles. Plus, do you really want to be seen walking around in fluorescent flip-flops?

Another option for your winter pedicures is to forget the flip-flops and forego the polish to give your nails a chance to breathe. Laura recommends this especially if you have any yellowing of the toenails or fungus.

So get out there and tackle the returns on your list knowing a sweet treat for your feet is waiting for you at the finish line. After all, when your feet look and feel good, you will feel good . . . with perhaps a little extra spring in your step.

Take it from Laura:
Never cut your toenails before you a pedicure. Leave your pedicurist something to work with.

Always bring your own flip-flops or go sans polish to give your toenails a break.

Going barefoot on a regular basis causes calluses, so wear socks and shoes whenever possible in the summer, it’s best to keep a pumice stone in your shower and exfoliate
the soles of your feet once or twice a week.

If you have kids, get a babysitter and treat yourself. A pedicure is a time of relaxation just for you

Pedicure Q&A:

What is the difference between a regular pedicure and a spa pedicure?
The biggest differences are the price and the perks. You will pay $15-$25 more
for a spa pedicure, but it comes with a lot of extras. For one, you’ll be seated in a massage chair with whirlpool foot tub, most likely in a relaxing atmosphere. A spa pedicure will also likely include additional services such as an aromatic salt scrub,
hydrating mask, foot massage, or paraffin dip. These usually are not included with
a classic pedicure.

What is a paraffin dip?
Your pedicurist will have you dip you feet into warm paraffin wax and then cover
your feet with plastic bags. While the paraffin dries, it provides deep penetrating warmth, exfoliation, and hydration. This is especially beneficial in the winter for dry skin or if you have joint pain. Some physical therapists even use paraffin treatments
to aid their clients with arthritis and muscle discomfort.

How often should I get a pedicure?
Once-a-month pedicures will keep the soles of your feet soft and supple and will prevent cracking of the heels, especially in dry, winter weather.

Should I shave my legs just before my pedicure?

No. The exfoliating scrubs and lotions used can inflame newly shaved legs, so use
this as an excuse not to shave. This just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?
Spa Girl is happy to share with you the best spas and treatments around for the ultimate pampering experience. Read about her spa adventures in every issue.