Health & Beauty

What Is a Pedicure? A Guide to Cost, Etiquette & More


We can’t even tell you how many times we’ve texted our friends with a simple, “Pedi?” Not only is the spa treatment super relaxing and an amazing way to practice self-care, but it’s also designed to clean, trim, buff, scrub, sometimes paint, and just-plain pamper your toenails. Raise your hand if you’re also so ready for those bright summer nail colors!

But no matter if it’s sandal weather or the middle of winter, your toes always deserve some attention. They carry you everywhere, so it’s time to treat your feet! Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about what a pedicure is before booking your next bestie nail appointment.

What Is a Pedicure?

A pedicure is a spa treatment that cares for your feet, toes, toenails — basically anything that’s attached to the end of your leg. It often involves exfoliating, massaging and cutting and painting your toenails to make your feet the best they can be.

You can choose what your pedicure will consist of, whether it’s just a long soak and a massage, or a full-on foot revamp. Pedicures can also extend to your lower legs and ankles, whether that includes massage, exfoliation or even acupuncture in some cases. The choice is yours!

Close-up of a woman's feet with a blush pink pedicure.

What Are the Benefits of a Pedicure?

Most people get a pedicure to relax or for some cosmetic touch-ups, but there are a few potential health benefits you can enjoy as well:

  • Infection detection – A nail artist might be able to detect fungal infections or bunions early, so you can deal with them before they become an issue.
  • Softer skin – Many pedicures will use creams, lotions, and other add-ons that help to alleviate dry skin. Nearly all of them include exfoliation to remove any dead, rough or peeling skin, too.
  • Stress relief – If you can relax during a pedicure, you might get a psychological boost. Self-care is important and taking care of your body can help you take care of your min, which is the most important organ in the body.
  • Nail and callus control – It’s recommended to keep your nails and calluses in check and trimmed down. This aids foot hygiene and helps to prevent infections. Some people are more prone to calluses than others, so it’s worthwhile getting a professional to take a look.
  • Stimulated circulation – Foot and lower leg massages can promote blood circulation, which is incredibly important. If your blood flow is consistent and healthy in your feet, this can help to distribute blood and heat throughout your body. That means you could be saying goodbye to those icy cold feet!

And, of course, pedicures also mean you can enjoy:

  • Pretty feet – Getting your nails trimmed, shaped, and painted not only makes you look good, but can help you feel great, too!

What Happens During a Pedicure?

If you’re not too clued up on the ins-and-outs of foot treatments, you might not know what to expect from your first pedicure appointment. Fear not, as we have you covered.

What should I expect from my first pedicure?

You may know there will be foot-soaking and nail-clipping, but what actually happens in a pedicure?


A nail salon is a pretty laid-back place without many rules. That said, there are some things you may want to know about before your pedicure appointment:

  • Don’t trim your nails before a pedicure – The nail artist will do the trimming for you.
  • Know what color you want your nail polish to be ahead of time – Taking too long to decide can throw off a nail artist’s schedule.
  • Ask questions – Don’t be afraid to speak to your nail artist about anything you might want to know, and discuss what you want to get out of your session.


So, you know what to expect, but what are the steps for a pedicure?

  1. Your nail artist will discuss what you can expect during your treatment and answer any questions you might have.
  2. Depending on the type of pedicure you have chosen, they will soak your feet in water or another soak solution, such as jelly, for example.
  3. After this, they will massage your feet, if that’s what you have opted for, or apply any oils or exfoliating scrubs.
  4. Now it’s time to move onto your nails. These will be cut, trimmed and shaped — and painted, if that’s what you want!

An important piece of salon etiquette to keep in mind is not to talk on the phone if it can be avoided, especially if there are other customers in the salon. People are there to relax, not to listen to your conversation, but if you have to take an important call, just be sure to be keep your voice down. Be considerate and see your pedicure as an opportunity to unwind.


Pedicure aftercare is pretty simple, and your nail artist will usually advise you to:

  • Wear open-toed shoes to allow nails to dry
  • Moisturize your feet after washing
  • Make sure you thoroughly dry your feet after washing, especially between your toes, to prevent infection

What Is Nail Salon Etiquette?

Nail technician giving a woman a pedicure.

A nail salon is a laid-back spot with few rules. But there are a few things you may want to know about before your pedicure:

  • Don’t trim your nails before a pedicure. The nail artist will do the trimming for you.
  • Don’t talk on the phone. Especially if there are other customers in the salon. (And if you do have to take a call, do so quietly and respectfully.)
  • Know what color you want your nail polish to be ahead of time. Taking too long to decide can throw off a nail artist’s schedule.
  • Remember to tip your nail artist. This is important etiquette — and you already know how much you tip for a pedicure!

For more advice on nail-salon etiquette, check our guide on nail salon etiquette 101.

What Types of Pedicures Are There?

Close-up of a woman's feet in open-toed high heels.

What Types of Pedicures Are There?

First things first, what is a basic pedicure? A basic, or regular, pedicure often involves getting your feet soaked in a sink or a little jacuzzi. They are then scrubbed with a file or a pumice stone to remove dead skin or calluses. Afterward, your nails are trimmed and shaped, then polished (with a color of your choice).

However, there are way more different pedicure types for you to indulge in:

What is a shellac pedicure?

Since chipped nails after a pedicure can be a drag, some prefer a shellac pedicure. After your feet are soaked, treated, and your nails are trimmed, the pedicurist will use a special polish and a UV lamp that should allow your polish to last about two weeks.

What is a gel polish pedicure?

The gel pedicure is virtually the same as a shellac pedicure, except it uses a gel instead of a polish to keep your nail color from chipping. Gel polish is a little thicker and tends to last longer than shellac.

What is a spa pedicure?

A spa pedicure puts the emphasis on pampering. These vary, but, in addition to a regular pedicure, a spa pedicure might include a longer massage, a paraffin wax treatment or a hot-stone treatment to ease muscle pain. This really is the tip top pampering treatment for your feet.

What is a jelly spa pedicure?

A jelly spa pedicure is, unsurprisingly, a pedicure with jelly. It’s not edible jelly, but rather a dense exfoliating jelly bath mixture that helps to moisturize and pamper your skin. You can also choose from different scents to really personalize the experience.

What is a chocolate pedicure?

There’s a wide variety of less-common pedicures, but this is one of our favorites because you get to soak your feet in warm chocolate while cocoa scrubs exfoliate away. For the chocolate lover in your life, this makes a nice alternative to a box of candy.

What is a reflexology pedicure?

Reflexology is a type of massage in which pressure is applied to certain points in the foot. This is believed to release endorphins throughout the body and can help to relieve pain and stress. Reflexology is considered an alternative and experimental method of therapy.

What is a dry pedicure?

A dry pedicure is pretty much identical to a regular pedicure, but without any water. The clue is in the name, really. Dry, unsurprisingly, means not soaking your feet beforehand. However, it still involves exfoliation and nail trimming and painting — if that’s what you fancy.

How Much Is a Pedicure? And Other Things You Need to Know

Close-up of a woman's feet being painted with a french tip pedicure.

So, you’re excited to make your feet feel soft, shiny and brand new. However, there are a few extra things to keep in mind before you dive in.

How much does a pedicure cost?

Since every pedicure is different, prices tend to vary. Generally, you can expect to pay between $35-$60 for a pedicure. With one of our deals, you might pay around $15-$35 per pedicure. In addition, you should tip your nail artist. To calculate how much to tip for a pedicure, add about 15-20% to your bill.

What does a pedicure consist of?

The elements included in a pedicure will differ depending on what type of treatment you go for, but you can usually expect:

  • A foot bath/soak
  • Massage treatment
  • Oils and scrubs
  • Nail treatment, including shaping and painting

How long does a pedicure last?

Again, this depends on the type of pedicure you select, but typical timings are around 30-90 minutes. Dry pedicures which don’t include a foot soak, for example, tend to be a little shorter. Meanwhile, spa and reflexology treatments will usually last around an hour to one hour and 30 minutes.

How often should you get a pedicure?

This all depends on why you’re going for a pedicure. If it’s just a one-off pamper trip, you can treat yourself as little or as often as you like. People usually take a trip to the spa every four to six weeks for this reason.

However, if your pedicure is part of wider treatment — for example, to treat an infection — your nail artist and/or podiatrist will be able to advise on how often you should receive one.

Top Tips

  • Make sure you choose the right treatment and salon for you – Every salon will provide slightly different services, so make sure you do your research beforehand.
  • Bring appropriate footwear – Podiatrists suggest that you wait 12 hours after a pedicure to put on shoes and socks, so it’s time to bring out the sandals!
  • Don’t shave your legs for at least 3 days beforehand – Although the risk is small, open pores and razor cuts can let bacteria in.


What are pedicure socks?

Pedicure socks have the toe section removed, so you can enjoy the nail maintenance part of a pedicure while keeping the rest of your foot covered.

What is a bubblegum pedicure?

A bubblegum pedicure is pretty much the full works. It includes a soak, a scrub with a pumice stone, foot and calf massage, moisturizing, nail shaping and polishing.

What is a crystal pedicure?

A crystal pedicure is a regular pedicure but, instead of polish, individual crystals are encrusted onto your nails for an extra fabulous finish!

Interested in treating yourself to a much-needed pedicure? Find great options and offers, from jelly pedis to reflexology, near you with our local page.

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