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What Is a Spa Pedicure?

By N. Swensson
Updated May 21, 2024
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At most nail salons or spas, a spa pedicure is a treatment for the feet and toenails that usually is the most expensive and contains extras that are not included in a regular pedicure. It usually begins with a warm whirlpool bath for the feet followed by a variety of spa services, including exfoliation, hot towel wraps, and massage. After these steps, a spa pedicure usually ends with trimming the cuticles and toenails and then polishing them. Prices for a spa pedicure can vary widely, with small nail salons charging as little as $25 US Dollars (USD), while the most upscale establishments may cost more than $100 USD. As not all pedicures are created equal, it’s important to ask detailed questions about what is included in the service and also to be sure that the spa or salon has the highest standards for cleanliness and hygiene.

For some, the best feature of a spa pedicure is the chair and whirlpool foot bath. The chair usually has heating and massage functions that are adjustable, and the jets in the whirlpool are on the bottom of the tub to massage the feet. As a matter of hygiene, it is important that the foot bath has a drain rather than recirculating water and is thoroughly cleaned in between each customer use. The nail tech usually adds a foot soak or bath salts to the water, and the customer is left to relax for the first few minutes while the skin and nails are softened and cleaned.

After the initial soaking, the tech should remove any existing polish from the nails. Then a variety of treatments may be performed, which make up the spa part that differentiates this pedicure from a less expensive option. There may be a foot and leg massage, reflexology and trigger point massage, and moisturizing treatments. Still other options include hot stone massage and paraffin wax treatments. The other benefit of a spa pedicure is the atmosphere, as most upscale salons and spas maintain pleasant lighting and relaxing décor to enhance the experience.

After the spa treatments, this type of pedicure ends with nail services. The cuticles will be trimmed and the toenails will be clipped or filed and then polished with the customer’s choice of color. In reputable establishments, this work will also be of the highest quality. The polish is carefully applied to avoid getting it on the surrounding skin, and there are no bubbles or bumps in the painted surface. The finished product should be durable and last longer than a home pedicure without chipping or peeling.

As with any salon service, it’s important to know exactly what a spa pedicure includes before paying for it. Some less reputable nail salons offer them, but they actually are not much different from a regular pedicure despite the extra cost. It’s a good idea to ask questions, which also offers the opportunity to observe the salon and the quality of the work being done.

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Discussion Comments
By Lostnfound — On Mar 08, 2014

Our local nail salon does a spa pedicure for USD$25 and it includes a lot of services, including exfoliation, massage, and painting the toenails.

I thought one of the best parts of the experience was the massage chair! They really are wonderful. The salon also offers a special pedicure, along with a foot massage that charges by the hour. I'm not necessarily a fan of fancy nail polish, but I do like that foot massage and getting all the calluses on my feet filed down, along with the leg massage. My feet felt better, although nothing can make them look particularly attractive.

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