Pamper yourself pretty: Keep your tootsies in tip-top shape
Nail technician Chrissy Ruzicka-Malick gives Ann Shoenberg’s pedicure with an extra coat of polish.
One of the best and most affordable ways to pamper yourself with a professional pedicure.
Generally lasting about an hour, depending on the number of services you request in addition to a basic procedure, it’s a chance to relax and unwind. And at the height of summer, who doesn’t want to show off their feet in a pretty pair of sandals?
If you’ve never had a pedicure, you don’t know what your missing. In addition to indulging yourself, there are various health benefits.
Those with ingrown toenails will find that when toenails are trimmed properly — which means straight across and not too short — they’re less likely to have a recurrence.
If you have thick, calloused heals that split and crack, the warm water soak, proper sloughing of dead skin and application of a soothing lotion, as well as routine follow up care at home, can help get you through the regular beating you give your feet.
Best of all are the mental health benefits. An hour of pampering goes a long way to help make things seem a bit brighter, at least for a little while.
“There are many benefits of getting a professional pedicure,” said Xandria Ahner, owner of The Seventh Moon Wellness Spa in Lehighton. “Our trained and licensed staff practice the proper way to trim your nails and cuticles in a safe and sanitary spa. Whether you’re a man or woman, taking care of your feet gives you a proper foundation for a healthy body,” said Ahner.
If you’re ready for your first pedicure or looking for a new spa or salon, Ahner recommends asking friends and co-workers for recommendations to help you choose a place that is professional, clean and courteous.
You’ll also want to make sure your nail technician is in compliance with the state board and has a current license.
Before you go, Ahner recommends removing your nail polish, especially if you’ve applied additional coats since your last pedicure. This frees up time for your nail technician to spend on more important things, like maybe a foot massage.
Turn off your cellphone. This is required at some spas, but even if it isn’t, you’ll want to relax and enjoy the process, and you don’t want to disrupt another client’s enjoyment.
At the very least, ignore your phone while you’re getting settled and meeting with your spa staff member. If you absolutely must answer your phone, speak softly and make it quick.
Bring your own flip-flops. Most spas have disposable flips flops if you forget, but they aren’t sturdy and can be unreliable. You don’t want to stumble and mar your freshly polished toes.
If possible, follow any home care recommendations your spa staff member suggests. This will help keep your feet looking and feeling their best for much longer.
Here are some tips to keep your tootsies in tiptop condition between pedicures.
1. Invest in a pumice stone to use between pedicures to maintain your soft feet. Remember, the better your feet look, the better your pedicure will look.
2. Make sure to moisturize frequently. This will keep your pedicure looking new and keep your skin and cuticles soft and hydrated.
3. Use cuticle oil. Not only will it keep your feet soft, it helps keep your nail polish from chipping.
4. Reapply your top coat between pedicures. It will strengthen your nails and keep them looking shiny.
5. Go ahead and enjoy the sun, sand and surf, but avoid constant exposure to the elements, which will cause your nail polish to crack, chip and fade. The same goes for chlorine. Avoid the pool if you want to preserve your polish.
6. Avoid too much heat. Apparently it takes at least 12 hours for nail polish to harden. Instead of using the hair drying to quick dry them, stick your hands in the freezer for a few minutes, if you can stand it.
7. Depending on where you go for your pedicure (or manicure), you may want to bring your own polish. Some places thin their polish to stretch the amount of polish. (Ahner said The Seventh Moon does not do this.) This will shorten the life of your pedicure. If you don’t know about the salon or spa you frequent, you may want to bring your own to be on the safe side.
8. Use unscented lotions when moisturizing. Synthetic fragrances can also cause nail polish to crack.
9. Doing a pedicure at home? Don’t forget to use a base coat. It gives the polish something to adhere to and also protects your nail bed.
10. If your polish does chip or wear before your next pedicure, select a polish darker than what’s currently on your nails and go over the color to touch up your pedicure until your next appointment.
We spent some time at The Seventh Moon Wellness Spa recently, so we can show you the how a pedicure is done and what you can expect. Cosmetologist Deb Ahner walked us through the process as she did a pedicure on Debra Schweitzer of Lehighton. Schweitzer goes to the salon every couple of months for her pedicures.
“It’s relaxing,” she said. “And they always look good when they’re done and better than when I do it myself. It’s nice to pamper myself.”
You can follow these steps to give yourself a pedicure at home as well.
The pedicure starts with a clean and sanitized basin filled with medium-warm water that’s been adjusted to the client’s preference. The feet are soaked and then cleansed. The Seventh Moon uses Aveda products. Clients can select from one of four different aromas that will be used throughout their pedicure, from cleansing to the final lotion. They include Stress Fix, which is a blend of relaxing scents; Rosemary Mint; Shampure; and Beautifying.
After cleansing, the toenails are clipped, filed and shaped. The cuticles, which have been softened in the warm water, are then removed.
The next step is a hydrating scrub, which at The Seventh Moon, has been combined with the client’s selected scented oil. The scrub is brushed on, and then the foot is wrapped in hot towels. (This is pampering with a capital “P.”) After a short wait, the towels are removed and the nail technician will use a foot file to remove old dead skin. This will usually help with callouses. Salons are no longer permitted to cut or shave callouses, and no reputable salon will do so.
The foot is cleaned again, dried, and toe separators are used to keep the toes from overlapping and smudging the polish.
There is an important step before applying polish, said Deb Ahner.
“Make sure the nail bed is clean of any lotion or oil or the polish will peel or chip. This happens a lot with people who do their pedicures at home,” she said. “We recommend nail polish remover or alcohol to clean the nail bed.”
And a quick swipe won’t cut it.
“Make sure to clean it well. Get in the troughs.”
Another tip? Roll your nail polish, said Deb Ahner.
“Shaking will create air bubbles.”
Start with a clear base coat. Then follow with two coats of color, making sure to get the free edge of your nail, said Ahner.
“That will seal it and it will last longer.”
For her salon pedicure, Schweitzer chose a medium gold polish called “Golden Rules.”
Follow with your top coat.
If you’re at a salon, you’ll usually place your feet into an air dryer to help speed the drying process. If you’re at home, you’ll just want to be careful.
For the best results, remember your polish isn’t fully dry for up to 12 hours. Avoid socks or shoes during that time.