What is a Pedicure & What Procedures are Usually Included

What is a Pedicure & What Procedures are Usually Included
What is a Pedicure & What Procedures are Usually Included

Pedicures are one of the most common procedures done at nail salons and spas. Yet a lot of people don’t understand the different types of pedicures and various services that are available.

So that’s why in this article, I will explain:

  1. What is a Pedicure.
  2. What procedures and services are usually included with a pedicure.
  3. The different types of pedicures and the procedures for each – to help you choose which one is right for you.

What is a Pedicure

A Pedicure is a relaxing cosmetic treatment done to the feet, with the aim to;

  1. Improve the skin texture to make the feet soft & smooth,
  2. Make the toenails look more appealing.

What is Included in a Pedicure

Pedicures tend to include:

  1. Soaking for 10-15 minutes
  2. Exfoliation, Filing & Moisturizing – which is the scrubbing, exfoliation, and application of a moisturizer to the feet to make them feel soft and smooth.
  3. Foot Massage – some spas and nail salons incorporate a foot massage with a pedicure.
  4. Cleaning of the Toenails – the removal of dead cuticle skin and old nail products such as nail polish from the nail plate.
  5. Fixing up your Cuticles – is the pushing back and aligning the cuticles to make them look nice and neat.
  6. Filing, Shaping, Cutting & Applying Nail Product to the Toenails

What services come with a basic pedicure will vary greatly with each salon or spa and on the type of pedicure that you opt for.

So when requesting a pedicure ensure you ask what services are included.

Now some salons may allow you to customize your pedicure to suit your needs and budget. For example, you can usually opt to just have your toenails shaped, cleaned, and painted without any soaking or skin exfoliation.

Related Article: How Long Does a Pedicure & Mani Pedi take

1- Soaking of Feet

Pedicures tend to focus on skincare with the aim to make your feet feel soft and smooth. They do so by soaking, filing, exfoliation, and moisturizing your feet.

Soaking – Most pedicures start with soaking your feet in warm water for 10-15 minutes. The water is usually mixed with a combination of Epsom salt, essential oils, or other exfoliants.

Soaking helps to;

  • Soften up calluses – the warm water and epsom salt helps to soften up hardened skin allowing them be easily filed off.
  • Soothes the skin
  • Reduces aches and pain.
  • Can help prevent and even stop bacterial and fungal infection – Epsom salt and has strong antibacterial properties.

2- Filing & Exfoliation

The next step after soaking is that your feet will be filed using a foot file or pumice stone. Filing is done to remove dead skin cells and calluses.

Callus softeners can also be used to help break up calluses to make them easier to file off. They are usually applied when the client’s feet have a lot of tough calluses.


An exfoliant is then rubbed onto your feet and then scrubbed off. This is to help further remove any leftover dead skin.


The final skin treatment is to moisturize your feet using a good foot cream or oil. This is the last stage in any pedicure, it is usually done after your toenails have been done.

Video of What a Pedicure Usually Includes

3- Massage

Foot massages are one of the most important procedures of any pedicures. They can be incredibly relaxing which is why most salons and spas include a foot massage with their pedicures.

You see your feet hold a lot of tension and stress and a good massage can help to relieve some of the built-up tension.

Related Article: What is a Paraffin Wax Pedicure – Benefits & How to DIY Home

4- Cleaning the Toenails

It’s important that your toenails are cleaned up, this includes:

  • Taking off any old nail product such as nail polish from your toenail usually by using acetone.
  • Removing any dead cuticle skin on the nail plate usually done by using a nail file to gently file the nail plate.

Cleaning your toenails helps to make your new nail product such as your nail polish adhere better to your nails making them last longer.

And if you opt for not using any nail product it helps your toenails to look neat and clean.

5- Fixing the Cuticles

During a Pedicure, your cuticles are also fixed up. They are usually pushed back, aligned, and if needed be trimmed to make them look nice and neat.

Some nail salons and spas may apply a cuticle remover to make your cuticles softer which makes aligning and pushing them back easier.

6- Changing the Appearance of the Toenails

This is where your toenails are worked on to make them look more appealing. This includes:

  • Cutting, filing, and shaping your toenails
  • Application of nail products such as nail polish.

Now they are numerous products you can use on your toenails. Such as:

  1. Regular Nail Polish – the most common and affordable nail product.
  2. Gel Nail Polish – more durable than regular nail polish, can last 2-3 weeks. Click here to learn about gel pedicures.
  3. Dip Powder
  4. Acrylic – Usually used to extend the length of your toenails. Click here to learn more about acrylic pedicures.

If you want a more natural look you can opt for an all-natural pedicure where no nail product is used.

A natural pedicure includes:

  • fixing up the cuticles
  • shaping and cleaning the toenails.
  • buffing the surface of the toenails with a fine-grit nail file to make the toenail look smooth and glossy.

What is a Deluxe or Spa Pedicure

A deluxe pedicure also known as a luxury or spa pedicure tends to include every type of pedicure service. Such as;

  • A deep skin treatment – which includes soaking, filing, and exfoliating the feet.
  • A good foot massage,
  • Fixing up the cuticles and toenails
  • Applying nail products,

Now what comes with a deluxe pedicure will also vary greatly, because not all spas and salons are capable of providing all of the usual pedicure services.

What is an Express Pedicure

An express pedicure focuses more on the toenails, it usually includes;

  • Cleaning up the toenails to remove dead cuticle skin and old nail polish
  • Fixing up the cuticles to make them look neat.
  • Cutting, shaping, and applying nail polish on the toenails.

It is called express pedicure because it is quick and easy to do. Most people opt for an express pedicure when they are short on time.

Express pedicures don’t usually include soaking, filing, or massages – all of which take more time.

Citations and Sources

Benefits of Epsom Salt

How to soak your toes for a Pedicure

Heat Therapy to Relax Joints

Health Benefits of a Foot Soak

Calluses and Corns