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29 June 2010

Ask MeCha : I'm having a pedicure tomorrow. [More:]I've never had one before, and (in my mind) my toenails are like dinosaur claws (they're probably not as gnarly as I imagine, but they're not like the pretty toes I see on other people).

What can I expect? Do they just clip, shape and varnish the nails or do they do other foot stuff too? If so, what?
I get the basic pedicure at the local salons, and they generally:

*Remove old polish
*Soak feet
*Trim dead skin around nail beds
*Trim or push back cuticles
*File and/or trim nails; they often ask if I want them trimmed or just filed.
*Scrub feet with rough sponge-like thing (this is always where I choke back laughter- it tickles!)
*Rub lotion into feet and calves; hit ball of foot with fist a few times
*Paint nails

If you splurge for the next level up, I think they do all sorts of extra soaking and moisturizing.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 29 June | 14:11
In addition to what TPS said, the place I go puts some gel stuff on my heels and the balls of my feet to make the skin extra soft, then they scrape/file the dead skin off with this paddle thing. It's not as scary as it sounds - and it does tickle!

Pedicures are divine.
posted by youngergirl44 29 June | 14:15
Oooh, it sounds lovely. Summer sandals here I come!
posted by Senyar 29 June | 14:20
I sort of got pushed into getting one by a friend of mine. I could take or leave the experience, but I did take the opportunity to get my toenails painted shiny electric blue. Still have a picture.
posted by JanetLand 29 June | 15:05
Some places will do a paraffin thing (which I fucking despise) where they dip your foot into what looks like a crockpot of wax a few times (like making candles!) and then wrap it in a plastic baggie and a damp towel.

In my county, they don't use the really good file/scraper thingy to get off calluses because you can really injure someone with it (although it is fucking amazing on my feet because I get really thick ones). It always tickles and I always feel bad about twitching.

I love pedicures.
posted by sperose 29 June | 15:18
My favorite part is the massage chair! I don't know how common it is in England, but every nail salon I've gone to around here has had back massage chairs that you sit in while you get your pedicure.
posted by amro 29 June | 15:57
I too have never had a pedicure (and am not going to anytime soon, thanks a lot gross fungal toenail), so I'm interested to hear your report back, Senyar!
posted by gaspode 29 June | 16:07
The last time I had one I ended up with gross fungal toenail (thanks a lot). It was a really nice salon, but I left the nail polish on waaaaay to long and encouraged fungus that under other circumstances would have not gotten a (heh) toe hold.
posted by Specklet 29 June | 16:36
I love pedicures too, but I never had one before last summer, so I understand how mysterious it seems.

The main thing is not to worry about your feet. The salon person will be totally nonchalant. They do this all day. Don't be self-conscious. Grab a magazine and settle back -- the initial soak will go on long enough that your anxiety should wear off. The main thing I had to learn was to be responsive when they need to manhandle you around a little bit - the salon tech will sort of gently tug on your foot when you're supposed to pick it up out of the water bath and put it on the rail, or go back into the water bath.
posted by Miko 29 June | 16:48
I have gross ugly bike racer feet, which are (I am told by a friend who is a ballet dancer) second only to gross ugly ballet dancer feet. This includes all the knots/callouses/burls/bunions/crooked toes from decades of jamming my wide flat frog feet into rigid narrow Italian bike racer shoes, which is sort of a modern athletic analogue to foot-binding.

I have always shied away from pedicures as a result, and also because my need to keep my toenails cut waay short (rigid carbon fibre road racing shoes = nasty toenail damage if I don't) likely obviates the need for them.

I'm sure I could use a good dose of callus removal and foot massage though.
posted by lonefrontranger 29 June | 17:22
The one time I had a pedicure I got scolded by the pedicure-person because I'd cut my toenails too short, which she strongly implied was the fast track to gross fungal toenails and god knows what all. (For the record, I have never had any gross foot conditions, not to imply any bias against anyone who has.)

The most fun part of the whole deal was when they kit you out with these little foam toe-spacers, prior to applying the polish. I guess they keep things from smearing? Anyway, they were hilarious.
posted by kat allison 29 June | 18:12
My actual feet are fine - no bunions or corns, my toes are straight, very little hard skin, but there are a couple of small patches of psoriasis on one foot, and it also affects my nails. It makes my toenails very thick, but it's not contagious or anything.

Whenever I need to have any medical or cosmetic procedure, I always say to the therapist that I will not be in the least offended if they would prefer to wear gloves. Most of them don't bat an eyelid.
posted by Senyar 29 June | 18:14
Senyar, at the place I usually go to all the nail techs wear gloves, for everyone.
posted by amro 29 June | 18:44
I have one pretty foot and one icky foot (thick nails) myself. It takes me a very long time to groom the icky foot (I wish there was an easier way; I should investigate what podiatrists use to trim such nails). Some pretty pink polish, though, and it's hard to tell the difference. I'm not much for manicures or pedicures (I never could stand the feel of a nail file), but I do love a foot rub. (Maybe they'll have that thing where you put your feet in a tank and tiny fish eat away the dead skin. They say it tickles.)

posted by Pips 29 June | 21:17
Maybe the advice in this thread from a couple of years ago will help. :)
posted by unsurprising 29 June | 22:11
Pedicures are the opposite of relaxing. In my experience, getting your toenails buffed and filed is a torture which can only be endured for a couple of seconds per toe before you have to pull your foot away. Kind of like brutally intense chafing. Several different salons, same experience.

To save money and more possible torture, I don't go for the full pedicure experience. I just get my toenails polished (French the last time) for around 10 or 12 bucks. (They still try to file them anyway!)
posted by serena 30 June | 08:30
It was lovely. A really nice soak, then massaging with lotion, foot scrub, a skin file thing (which the woman said she hardly needed to use because my feet apparently are not - as I had imagined - gross and yucky), lots of tidying up of my toenails and a lovely berry-coloured polish.

≡ Click to see image ≡
posted by Senyar 30 June | 09:54
How pretty! Your toes look lovely... glad you enjoyed the experience!
posted by Pips 30 June | 12:11
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