All You Need to Know About Manicures and Pedicures

Whether you are a professional woman, a busy mom, or a college student, you deserve some quality time to rejuvenate your spirit. One of the best ways to pamper yourself is by getting a relaxing manicure and pedicure. Manicures and pedicures are basically beauty treatments that help in maintaining the overall health of your hands and feet.

These can be done in a luxurious spa, a salon, a high-end parlor, or even at home. Harsh weather conditions, daily chores, and lack of care can result in making your hands and feet dry, rough, and tired. A complete procedure of a manicure or pedicure will leave you feeling relaxed with clean, healthy, and beautiful looking nails and toes.

What is a Manicure

Manicure is a cosmetic treatment for the hands that includes clipping of nails, filing, and shaping the nails to the desired length of your choice. Then, the cuticles or rough edges around the nails are either pushed back or clipped with a cuticle nipper or pusher. This is followed by a soothing massage of the hands dipped in aromatic essential oils or moisturizing creams. The final step is the nail polish application. You can try fancy nail art and elaborate embellishments for an extra touch of style.

What is a Pedicure

A pedicure is a cosmetic treatment for the toes and feet. It includes foot soaking to soften hard calluses, foot scrubbing with exfoliation, trimming and filing of toenails, foot and calf massage which is followed by moisturization. Similar to a manicure, the last step is the application of nail polish. Pedicures are usually very therapeutic and relaxing, which is why pedicures have increased in popularity all over the world.

What are the Steps Involved in a Manicure

  1. Preparation

Manicurists start by cleansing your nails and removing your current nail polish. This is done with the help of a nail polish remover. You can opt for a chemical-free or acetone-free remover for gentle and sensitive skin.

  1. Nail Trimming and Filing

In this step, you can decide the length and shape of your nails. Based on your preferences, the beautician will cut and shape your nails accordingly. You can choose to keep your nails short with an oval tip, long and pointy, almond-shaped, or medium-length with square and rounded edges. There are many options, you can even ask your manicurist to recommend a few trending ones. Also, if you already have short nails, then the beautician will file your nails to give them an even shape.

  1. Soaking and Exfoliation

Personally, this is my favorite part of a manicure and I am sure you will enjoy it too, simply because it is so relaxing. The manicurist will soak your hands in lukewarm water. By using fragrant and aromatic essential oils you can further enhance the experience. This step helps in opening up the pores and softening the cuticles for effective cleaning. Next, your hands will be exfoliated with a scrub to remove grime and dead skin.

  1. Cuticle Remover

A cuticle remover or cuticle pusher will be used to gently push back the cuticle from the nail. Your nail technician will tidy up the edges and soften the skin around your nails to remove dry skin or any dead cuticle.

You can choose to completely skip this step as the cuticle helps in protecting the nails. You need to be careful not to pull or cut the skin too deeply as it can result in causing infections or damage to the nails.

  1. Massage and Moisturization

This step involves pampering the hands with a moisturizing lotion or cream, followed by a relaxing hand massage. This will help in soothing the skin and releasing any stress or tension from the palms, fingers, and hand muscles.

  1. Nail Polish

Now, the fun part of choosing the color of your nail polish. The manicurist will first remove any moisture or residue of oil from your nails with a cotton swab, ensuring that the nails are absolutely dry. As greasy nails can prevent that perfect application of nail polish. First, a base coat is applied as a protective layer to prevent the nails from chipping. Next, two coats of colored nail polish are applied. Lastly, the topcoat will seal the look with a glossy, shiny finish.

The Different Types of Manicure

Types of manicures

Let us look at some of the most popular and common types of manicures.

  • Basic Manicure: This is a standard one which includes all the steps that are involved in a manicure. The beautician will start with the preparation step, followed by trimming and filing the nails, soaking and exfoliation, cleaning the cuticles, massaging, and finally applying nail polish.
  • French Manicure: It follows the same procedures of a basic manicure, however, the application of nail polish is done in a different style. In a French manicure, the nail bed is nude, beige, or pinkish and the tip of the nail is painted with a white polish. A French manicure gives an elegant look and is quite versatile.
  • Paraffin Manicure: This manicure is a wonderful treatment for dry skin and rough hands. Your hands will be immersed in warm paraffin wax until several layers form over the skin. After a few minutes, the wax will be peeled off, followed by a regular manicure. This luxurious treatment will help in making your skin soft and supple. It will also boost up the moisture level and remove dead skin cells.
  • American Manicure: This is similar to a French manicure. The only difference is that the American manicure gives a more natural look to the nails. The base of the nail will be painted cream or nude to match the color of your flesh and the tip of the nails will be painted off-white or faint pink.
  • Gel Manicure: In this manicure, the beautician will use gel-based nail polish and cure your nails under UV light. This method helps in speeding up the drying process. A gel nail polish is similar to normal nail polish but instead of waiting for the polish to dry naturally, the nails are cured under UV light. Gel manicures will give your nails a stylish and glossy appeal. Furthermore, they are easy to maintain and last longer.
  • Acrylic Manicure: If your nails are small and you’re dreaming of long beautiful nails, then an acrylic manicure is just what you need. This manicure will help in adding length to your nails with artificial extensions. Your manicurist will give the acrylic nails a smooth shape and a preferred length of your choice. The final step is nail polishing, nail art, or decorations for that extra chic look.
  • Shellac Manicure: This manicure is known as a hybrid version as it is a combination of regular nail polish and gel nail polish. It follows the same steps of a gel manicure where the painted nails are cured under UV light. Shellac manicure is known for its long-lasting durability where nail chipping or cracking is rare. So, if you do not like heading to nail parlors often, then this manicure can be your go-to option.
  • Spa Manicure: A spa treatment for your hands will be a luxurious experience. It will include all the basic steps of a manicure, but a spa manicure will be a longer service and will create a beautiful ambiance for you. The use of aromatic salt scrubs, hot stone massage, and the use of a hydrating mask for your hands and nails will be a truly therapeutic experience. It is definitely worth giving a try!
  • Mirror Manicure: Mirror nails are trending and look super attractive. The manicure will start by applying a thick and dark-colored coat of nail polish on the nails. It is then topped by a clear or gel layer as a top coat which is cured under UV light to create a stylish mirrored look. Mirror manicure is famous for adding that shiny bling to your nails.
  • Reverse Manicure: This is a fun reverse version of a classic French manicure. It follows the same steps of a French manicure but instead of the tip of the nail, the base of the nail is given a half-moon shape with contrasting colored nail polish.

What are the Steps Involved in a Pedicure

  1. Preparation

Similar to a manicure, your beautician will start the pedicure by removing your existing nail polish if any.

  1. Soaking

Your feet will be soaked and cleaned in a basin of warm water. If you prefer, the water can be scented with soothing fragrances to enhance the experience. This process of soaking will help in softening the skin and relaxing your feet.

  1. Cuticle Care

With the help of a cuticle stick, your pedicurist will gently remove any dead skin or soften the dry edges around your toenails. Again, it is not recommended to cut your cuticles so you can choose to skip this step. It is best if this step is performed by a trained professional only when necessary. You do not want to risk any injury or infection by cutting cuticles on your own.

  1. Scrubbing and Exfoliation

This step works wonders for dry and rough skin. Your feet will be given an exfoliating scrub for a fresh and healthy look. When the skin of your feet is soft and tender, your pedicurist will tend to calluses and remove any dead skin with a foot file or pumice stone.

  1. Rinsing

Your feet will be given a final rinse after the exfoliating scrub and dried thoroughly.

  1. Nail Trimming

Pedicurists will cut or trim your toenails and will give them the desired length and shape of your choice.

  1. Feet Massage

Aromatic oils and lotions will be used to give your feet and lower legs a therapeutic and refreshing foot massage. The moisturizing massage will help in relieving tension and loosening any tight muscles in your feet.

  1. Applying Nail Polish

Here, you can select a nail color of your choice. The beautician will place toe separators between your toes to prevent them from accidentally spreading the nail polish by rubbing against each other. First, a base coat will be applied, followed by two layers of colored coats, and lastly, the topcoat will help in sealing the nail polish.

The Different Types of Pedicure

Types of pedicures

  • Basic Pedicure: This is a standard pedicure that includes all the steps that are involved in a pedicure. Your pedicurist will start by soaking your feet in warm water. After a few minutes, your feet will be scrubbed with a pumice stone to remove any dry, dead skin and also to soften the calluses. This is followed by rinsing, nail cutting, nail shaping, and a moisturizing foot massage. The last step will be nail polishing.
  • Mini Pedicure: This pedicure is also known as an express pedicure as it focuses mostly on toenail maintenance. It includes foot soaking, nail shaping, and nail polishing. It does not include exfoliation, hydration, or massage. A mini pedicure is generally for feet that are already well-maintained and need a quick treatment for the toes.
  • Spa Pedicure: Similar to a spa manicure, a spa pedicure follows the same steps as a basic pedicure. However, this will be a luxurious experience with the use of aromatic essential oils, hot towel wrap, and extra-long foot massage. Also, the duration of a spa pedicure is usually longer.
  • Stone Pedicure: A foot massage in a stone pedicure is done by rubbing essential oils using hot stones on the pressure points of your lower legs and feet. A hot stone massage will help in relaxing stiff muscles and increasing blood circulation, thereby promoting deeper relaxation.
  • Waterless Pedicure: This pedicure eliminates the use of water. A waterless pedicure is known to be simple, hygienic, and environment-friendly. Your beautician will mist your feet with a sanitizing spray and wrap the feet in warm towels or plastic. This helps in making the feet super soft and moisturized. Apart from foot soaking, this pedicure includes nail shaping, cuticle cleanup, moisturizing, and nail polishing.
  • Fish Pedicure: This is a popular therapy that involves dipping the feet in a bath which is filled with tiny toothless fish. The fish will swarm your feet and eat away the dead skin. Some people with sensitive skin may find it ticklish but it’s worth a try.
  • Athletic Pedicure: This pedicure is great for athletes, runners, and basically all the people who spend a lot of time on their feet. This pedicure uses techniques that are extra relaxing and soothing for the skin and foot muscles. Usually, cooling aromatics such as peppermint and cucumber will help in relaxing the muscular tension.
  • French Pedicure: This is similar to a French manicure but with all the steps that are involved in a pedicure. The base of the toenails will have a clear or nude base with solid white nail polish on the tips.
  • Chocolate Pedicure: This pedicure will be a delightful treat for all chocolate lovers. Chocolate acts as an antioxidant and helps in effectively moisturizing dry skin. This pedicure will include a warm chocolate soak, chocolate foot mask, and chocolate oil for moisturizing.
  • Margarita Pedicure: It’s summertime and if you are feeling funky, then a margarita pedicure will complement the mood. This pedicure includes soaking the feet in cool water that is infused with fresh slices of lime and sea salt. Your pedicurist will also use lime-based essential oils to massage and moisturize the skin.

What is the Difference Between a Manicure and Pedicure

The only major difference between these two beauty treatments is that a manicure is done to the hands and a pedicure is for the feet. However, some of the peculiarities between these beauty treatments include:

  • Both aim at relaxing the muscles, softening the skin, and beautifying the look of the nails and toenails.
  • There will only be minor variations in the steps and the types of treatments. For instance, there is no athletic manicure or a fish manicure for the hands.
  • Pedicures are usually more expensive than manicures as they include foot soaking, foot scrubs, and foot massages that are a bit more intense than hand manicures.
  • Manicures and pedicures can be done at home or by professionals in salons and spas.

What are the Benefits of a Manicure and Pedicure

Manicures and pedicures are known to provide basic care to the hands and feet. These cosmetic treatments along with lending a stylish look are known to provide several benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  • Manicures and pedicures help in keeping our hands and feet healthy and clean. They improve hygiene by eliminating the accumulation of dirt and bacteria.
  • It is a great chance to unwind and get pampered as these beauty treatments can promote mental health and relieve stress.
  • A relaxing massage helps in improving blood circulation, releasing tension in the muscles, and reducing pain in the hands, calves, and feet.
  • The exfoliating step helps in removing the accumulation of dead skin cells and softening hard calluses on the feet.
  • Moisturization helps in softening and revitalizing the skin, thus making it smooth and healthy.

How Often Should You Get a Manicure and Pedicure

Depending on your lifestyle and needs, it is recommended to get a manicure or pedicure twice a month or once in two weeks. You can even do it once a month if your nails require low maintenance. Pedicure is usually done once in three to four weeks.

What is Included in a Manicure and Pedicure Kit 

The general tools that are included in a manicure and pedicure kit are as follows:

Nail clippers for trimming, cuticle nipper, nail file for nail smoothing, dead skin fork, tweezers, scissors, nail cleaning knife to scrape nail polish, flat callus remover, oblique callus remover, and acne tools.