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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A pedicure in progress
Street pedicure in Bamako

A pedicure is a cosmetic treatment of the feet and toenails, analogous to a manicure.

During a pedicure, dead skin cells are rubbed off the bottom of the feet using a rough stone (often a pumice stone). Skincare is often provided up to the knee, including granular exfoliation, moisturizing, and massage.

The word pedicure is derived from the Latin words pedis, which means "of the foot", and cura, which means "care".[1]


People have been pedicuring their nails for more than 4,000 years. In southern Babylonia, noblemen used solid gold tools to give themselves manicures and pedicures. The use of nail polish can be traced back even further. Originating in China in 3000 BC, nail colour indicated one's social status, according to a Ming Dynasty manuscript; royal fingernails were painted black and red. Ancient Egyptians have been manicuring since 2300 BC.

A depiction of early manicures and pedicures was found on a carving from a pharaoh's tomb, and the Egyptians were known for paying special attention to their feet and legs. The Egyptians also colored their nails, using red to show the highest social class. It is said that Cleopatra's nails were painted a deep red, whereas Queen Nefertiti went with a flashier ruby shade. In ancient Egypt and Rome, military commanders also painted their nails to match their lips before they went off to battle.

Pedicures in the United States[edit]

Pedicures generally take approximately 45 minutes to an hour in the US. According to the US Department of Labor, manicure and pedicure specialists earned a median income of around $20,820 in 2015.[2][3] Most professionals earn an hourly wage or salary which can be augmented through customer tips. Independent nail technicians depend on repeat and consistent business to earn a living. The most successful independent manicure technicians may earn salaries of over $50,000 per year.[4] Nail technicians can earn up to $100 per hour from performing more technical nail treatments, such as a French pedicure and sculpting, although these treatments are not popular for the feet. A standard pedicure treatment usually costs around $40.

Tools and nail cosmetics[edit]

Nail cosmetics
  • Base coat
  • Cuticle creams
  • Cuticle oil
  • Cuticle remover
  • Dry nail polish
  • Liquid nail polish
  • Nail bleach
  • Nail conditioner
  • Nail dryer
  • Nail polish remover
  • Nail polish thinner

Types of pedicures[edit]

There are various different types of pedicures. Some of the most common types are as follows (names and products may vary from spa to spa):

Foot soaking at a spa in Botswana
  • Regular pedicure: A simple treatment that includes foot soaking, foot scrubbing with a pumice stone or foot file, nail clipping, nail shaping, foot and calf massage, moisturizer and nail polishing.
  • Shanghai pedicure: A traditional foot medicine deriving from Chinese medicine that involves soaking feet in hot water and using a scalpel.
  • Spa pedicure: Includes the regular pedicure and generally adds one of the following- Paraffin dip, masks, mud or seaweed treatment.
  • Dry or Waterless pedicure: A pedicure typically including nail shaping, cuticle cleanup, callus smoothing, moisturizer with massage, nail polish or buffing, but definitively without soaking the feet in water. Often the callus smoothing, nail shaping, and cuticle cleaning are all performed with an electric file.
  • Paraffin pedicure: A treatment that includes a regular pedicure but also includes the use of paraffin wax. The feet are covered with layers of paraffin wax to moisturize feet.
  • Stone pedicure: Basically a foot massage that involves the use of different essential oils that are rubbed with the help of hot stones for the massage of the feet and legs.
  • French pedicure: A regular pedicure that involves the use of white polish on the nail tips with a sheer pink color on the base.
  • Mini pedicure: This focuses mainly on the toes with a quick soak, nail shaping and polish, but does not include the massage or sole care. This is designed for an appointment between regular pedicures for generally well maintained feet.
  • Athletic pedicure: Similar to a regular pedicure for both the genders. It includes either a clear polish or toenail buffing. Usually, the aromatics used will be more cooling, such as peppermint, cucumber, or eucalyptus.
  • Chocolate pedicure: A pedicure which may include a chocolate foot soak, chocolate foot mask, or chocolate moisturizing lotion.
  • Ice Cream pedicure: A pedicure where a "bath ball", which looks like a scoop of ice cream, is chosen. The soak is followed with a foot scrub (usually vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry) and topped with a whipped moisturizing lotion. Red nail polish simulates the ice cream's "cherry".
  • Margarita pedicure: A regular pedicure which includes a salt scrub, soaking water with fresh limes, a lime-based massage oil, and moisturizer.
  • Champagne or Wine pedicure: This is a regular pedicure usually featuring a grape-seed scrub, grape mask peel, and finished off with a grape seed oil or moisturizing massage.


Improper or unsanitary pedicures can increase the risk of infection. First, some pedicure practices can damage the skin if performed too aggressively and thus increase infection risk. For example, using a pumice stone to shave off calluses on the sole of the foot can result in abrasions and cuticle nippers may accidentally remove too much of the cuticle. Second, instruments or foot baths may not be properly sterilized, introducing pathogens into already vulnerable skin. Mycobacterium fortuitum is known to cause infection in foot spas.[5] These risks are particularly high for people with medical conditions that affect blood flow, sensation, immune response, or healing in the feet, such as diabetes. Major health organizations such as the CDC recommend that diabetics do not soak their feet or remove calluses, and often have a podiatrist cut their toenails, which are some of the key parts of many pedicures.[6]

Solutions and chemicals used to cleanse or soak feet can also cause skin irritation. There can be a risk of developing an ingrown toenail from improper trimming.[7]


  1. ^ "Pedicure - Definition, Meaning & Synonyms".
  2. ^ "Manicurists and Pedicurists : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics". www.bls.gov. Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  3. ^ "Faux ongles". Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  4. ^ "Nail Technician School Programs". Skilled Trade School. Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  5. ^ United States Environmental Protection Agency (2015-10-07). "Preventing Pedicure Foot Spa Infections". www.epa.gov. Archived from the original on 2023-08-07. Retrieved 2023-08-13.
  6. ^ "Diabetes and Your Feet". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2023-04-11. Retrieved 2023-08-21.
  7. ^ Writer, Rebecca Adams Voices Staff; Post, The Huffington (2014-03-24). "How Your Pedicure Could Be Hurting Your Health". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-08-12.

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