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What is a Paraffin Pedicure?

Diane Goettel
Updated May 21, 2024
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A paraffin pedicure is a spa treatment during which paraffin wax is applied to the feet in order to moisturize the skin on the feet. The paraffin is usually applied after the feet have been washed and buffed and after the toenails have been cleaned, cut, and filed into uniform shapes. If the pedicure includes the application of nail polish, this is done after the paraffin has been applied, left to cool, and then removed.

Before the paraffin wax is applied to the feet, it is warmed in a small tub. As such, the wax is in a liquid state when it is applied to the feet. Each spa has a variation on the technique used during a paraffin pedicure. It is most common, however, to have the feet dipped into the tub of wax two to three times, then wrapped in a plastic bag or sheet of plastic. Some spas, however, dip a ladle full of wax into a plastic bag, then fit the foot into the bag and form the wax around the foot.

After the wax has been applied to the feet, it is left to cool for up to five minutes. It is common, during a paraffin pedicure, to have the wax-dipped feet wrapped in warm towels or cotton booties which fit over the plastic. This keeps the paraffin warmer for a longer period of time, improving the moisturizing benefits for the feet. It is common for the paraffin wax to be infused with essential oils or fragrances which makes the treatment even more enjoyable.

For people who have chronically dry skin on their feet, a paraffin pedicure can be a big help. Both the moisturizing properties of the paraffin and the heat help to soften and improve the skin all over the feet, especially in tough, calloused areas. A paraffin pedicure can also help people who suffer from cracked skin on their feet, which is most common in the area around the heel of the foot. As cold weather often leads to excessive dryness in the skin, it is common for spas to promote their paraffin treatments in the winter months.

A paraffin pedicure is often more expensive than a traditional pedicure. This is because the treatment takes more time and requires extra equipment and products. Some people who love paraffin treatments but don't love spending so much money at the spa opt to purchase paraffin wax and spa-quality paraffin heaters in order to enjoy the treatments at home.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"
Discussion Comments
By LilDub — On May 04, 2011

I am totally addicted to paraffin pedicures! There's something about the way that the wax really gets the moisturizers down into your skin that just feels fantastic. It's my monthly treat to myself -- if you haven't tried one, you definitely should.

By KristiLee — On May 02, 2011

I recommend doing this at home. It is much cheaper and you can customize the treatment to your personal liking. If you do it at a salon request that the pedicurist gives you the classic treatment, where they slowly pour the wax over your feet and then wrap the foot. This will ensure that the wax has time to adequately moisturize before it hardens.

Just remember to briefly dip your feet in an ice bath when the wax is about halfway hardened. I learned this from a friend who works at a top salon. It may seem unpleasant, but it's only for a second and it completely hardens the wax and pushes all the moisturizers deep into the skin. Plus, it makes the wax boot super simple to take off!

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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