How to Get the Best Mani-Pedi of Your Life

BY: Kelly MacDowell |Sep 10, 2015

How to Get the Best Mani-Pedi of Your Life

Mani-pedis may be one of life’s simple pleasures, but keeping them looking great is far from easy. For advice on how to keep our hands and feet looking better longer, we looked to two San Jose nail salons for advice. 

Read on for tips from Elizabeth Nguyen, a manicurist at Vanity SpaSalon, and Katie Grays, owner of Bella Donna Day Spa, on what to do before, during, and after your mani-pedi appointment.

Before your appointment

Prep your feet. Both Elizabeth and Katie praised the benefits of the pumice stone. Elizabeth suggests using it to smooth dry or callused skin every other day. You should soak your feet briefly before pumicing, but if you don’t have time for that then just do it after a shower. 

Brainstorm potential polish colors. Nothing induces more indecision than the polish wall, especially if you’ve given no thought to a hue beforehand. Don’t waste precious pedicure time dawdling over color choice! Scan a magazine or a Pinterest board for inspiration.

During your appointment

Ask about popular colors. Still have no idea which polish to choose? Find out what the salon’s most requested colors are. Elizabeth’s clients adore Creekside and Fragrant Freesia by CND, as well as Ibiza by Zoya. At Katie’s salon, the top three colors are Magna Wine and In the Spotlight Pink by OPI and Butler Please by Essie. 

For pete’s sake, get a Shellac manicure, already. If you’re one of the four people on Earth who have yet to do so, you’re really missing out. Elizabeth swears by them. Besides, if you’re gonna spend all that time deciding on a color, you might as well be able to rock it for awhile. 

Don’t be afraid to try something new. Elizabeth’s noticed that a lot of her clients are tiring of french manicures. So, you could either try a twist on the classic french, or hit Pinterest for some nail-art inspo. Katie loves recreating nail art found on Pinterest—flowers are a go-to for her and her clients, and she’s really inspired by the new water-marbling trend.

After your appointment

Pre-book your next visit. Katie recommends scheduling a manicure every two weeks and a pedicure every three to four weeks. “This helps us keep a good pulse on the health of our clients’ nail beds,” Katie said. “If we see something that needs addressing, [regular visits] give us the opportunity to make a suggestion.” 

Don’t forget to tip. How much exactly? Well, that’s up to you. “I always get this question,” Katie said. “The best answer would be two parts: what the client feels is appropriate, and/or what [percentage a restaurant server] would receive. Also, if more than one person works on you, don’t feel you must double your tip … it will be divided accordingly.” 

Protect your polish. Obviously, gel polish is your best bet if staying power is a priority. But if you prefer regular polish, there are a few things you can do to help it stick. Elizabeth suggests keeping typing to a minimum. Katie recommends avoiding tight shoes and moisturizing your cuticles. “Remember that your nails are jewels, not tools!”

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