Pedicures are hardly a trend, although since the year 2000 there has been a substantial increase in stand-alone nail salons in the U.S. Before then, it was common practice to have your hands and feet taken care of at the hair salon while you had your hair cut, colored, and styled. Today, very few salons have more than one or two nail techs on site to cater to their customers, if they have any at all. We know professional nail care has become a regular part of many people's grooming regimen, as evidenced by the growing number of nail salons, but how often should you get a pedicure is still an open question for many.

How Often Should You Get a Pedicure?

Foot having red nail polish and a flower on each toes

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Pedicures (and manicures) harken back to ancient Egypt, where there are wall paintings of pharaohs and their families using golden instruments to attend to their royal paws. Still, there are no hieroglyphics on the wall to tell us what days they had their nails done. A prescribed pedicure schedule can depend on a few different factors. Your feet and toes are as individual to you as your fingerprints. Therefore, the condition of your feet, and your preferences, will determine when and what type of service you'll want to schedule.

The Basics of a Basic Pedicure

The standard, or basic, pedicure makes your feet go "Ahhhhh." When you book this kind of routine pedicure, you can expect to spend approximately $25 to $30 (less if you get a mani-pedi combo) and anywhere from forty-five minutes to an hour in the pedicure chair with your feet in and out of the tub. You first soak your feet in warm water to get them super clean and to soften any rough skin, in-grown nails, or hang-nails, making removal easier on you and your nail tech.

The Tools of the Toes

Your nail tech will use polish remover, files, clippers, a pumice stone or exfoliating instrument, moisturizer and/or oil, and polish. If you come in wearing gel polish, your pedicurist will probably wrap your feet in remover-soaked cotton covered in tin foil for a bit to soften the gel. They may also use a small drill to quickly remove the gel from your nails. 

If you have your own flip-flops, try to remember to bring them with you for after your pedicure, or your nail tech will slip on a flimsy pair that will get you to your car and front door, just time enough for your polish to dry.

The Pedicure Procedure

Once your feet are nice and soft from the soapy water in the soaking tub and your polish is removed, the nail tech will start working on cutting, filing, and shaping your nails. They will also clean the dirt out from under your nails, cut away any overgrown cuticles at the bottom of the nail (sometimes using the small drill again), and snip away any hangnails to prevent them from tearing away from your foot and leaving an open slice of exposed skin. 

They will also check for ingrown nails and cut them away. It can be somewhat uncomfortable to have in-grown nails cut, but far less than if the nail tech leaves them to continue growing inward. Be sure to ask them to check.

The nail tech will then remove the dead skin from your feet with a pumice stone or other exfoliating device. Most pedicures include exfoliation and massage of your lower legs as well as your feet, stimulating circulation and moisturizing. A more experienced pedicurist may know how to apply pressure to nerve endings in your feet that stimulate other organs in your body, like your heart and liver.

Keeping Your Feet Healthy

Besides keeping in-grown nails from biting into the corners of your toes, there are other conditions of the toes, toenails, and feet a pedicure can treat and help prevent. Small corns can be filed down regularly to keep them from becoming big corns. Proper foot care helps fight off fungus with regular cleansing and the use of protective oils. 

Getting pedicures allows for early detection by your nail tech of irregularities you may not be able to see yourself, such as bunions, which you can then have treated by a podiatrist while still in early stages.

Polishing off Your Pedicure

Perhaps the hardest, or the only hard part, of getting a pedicure is choosing a color, which is one of the determining factors in answering the question of how often should you get a pedicure. Should you go classic, cool red? Beach coral or flamingo pink? Black is always in style, and nude shades go everywhere and with everything.

What if it's the fourth of July and everyone else is having flags striped onto their toes? Or the box of rhinestones and glue is out on the table and the whole shop is getting glittered up for New Year's Eve? Halloween pumpkins and candy corn designs, Valentine's hearts, and Star Wars Jedi can be irresistible. This is the critical choice that one day causes you to LOVE your nails, and run back to the nail salon for a change the next.

All things considered, this basic pedicure should be good for about a month. As for the color, you can always opt for a polish change whenever the mood strikes. A ten dollar expense might be worth it to remove the glitter-paint rainbow from your big toenails (though you thought it was a great idea at the time).

Plus-up Your Pedicure

Hand holding a brush getting some gel polish

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There is a whole menu of services many nail salons and spas offer to make your pedicure more enjoyable, longer lasting, and more costly. Gel polish, for an average up-charge of ten dollars above the cost of regular polish, can make your color last weeks longer. Gel keeps your polish shiny and chip-free and is an especially good option in summer months, or on vacation, especially if you plan on digging your toes in sand that dulls and removes polish. Gel also saves you from having to wait or be careful to let your polish dry; with gel, your toes are dry immediately.

Other add-ons to a pedicure include aromatic scrubs, leg and foot masks, fresh fruit scrubs, paraffin wax for added softening, and extended massage therapy. Some spas offer chocolate, wine, or champagne soaks for the ultimate luxury. FYI: If you ask for an ice cream pedicure, you're requesting a foaming bath balm in your tub water, whipped cream-like moisturizer, and red polish to represent the cherry on top.

In terms of all the options, when you are asking yourself how often should you get a pedicure, you can now consider the possibility of treating yourself to one of the upgraded pedicures once in a while, with a mini-pedicure (file and polish) or polish change, as an occasional option to balance out your foot-care schedule.

A Moment for the Men-Ped

Mans foot having a pedicure

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Some men may think themselves too macho for the nail salon. Some sneak in alone or act as if their girlfriends or wives are forcing them into some sort of ridiculous bonding experiment. The fact is real men get pedicures. Some, more often than women.

Why Men Need Pedicures

First off, men's feet get just as dirty and work just as hard as women's feet. They may not be scrunching their toes into skinny-toed high heels, but they are in socks and shoes of all kinds for just as many hours at a time.

Athletes Take the Lead

You may not have seen the Twitter post of LeBron James soaking in a foot tub, taking care of "his dogs." You also may not know that ninety percent of NBA players get weekly pedicures to keep their feet in excellent working condition. Having their feet checked for fungus and keeping calluses under control is a top priority.

The same is true for most serious athletes. Runners especially have to manage their calluses, as they need some natural protection to toughen their feet, but not too much as to cause excessive rubbing against the inside of their shoes. It is critical for all athletes to maintain a healthy toenail length to prevent ingrown nails and chronic pain.

Men's pedicures differ somewhat from women's, as their pedicure tub is generally scented with peppermint or eucalyptus oils as opposed to floral or fruity scents. Some spas feature beer baths to appeal to their male clients, said to soften and fight the growth of fungus.

Pedicures Are the Ultimate Time Out

Both men and women find pedicures to be relaxing and therapeutic as much as they are cosmetic. This is yet another reason the answer to how often should you get a pedicure varies. Everyone loves a time out.

Bliss in a Bowl

Sitting in a massage chair giving your back a break while soaking your tired tootsies is enough reason to book a pedicure. Or a few. Listening to music with your eyes closed while your spine is being gently stretched and the kinks rubbed out is worth the price of the treatment alone. When was the last time you leisurely flipped through a magazine when you weren't being squeezed into an airplane seat? How long has it been since you last opened that novel? Or did absolutely nothing at all? The pedicure is a great gift to give yourself; and to keep on giving.

How Often Should You Get a Pedicure in Review

A foot with red nail color attempting to soak on a bowl of water with flower

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How often you get a pedicure is a personal choice. Depending on your lifestyle and other factors, you might want to follow the basic "rule of thumb" and book a basic pedicure once a month. If you are dealing with chronic issues like in-grown nails, excessively dry feet, or painful calluses and corns, you will probably want to shorten your time between appointments. You can always add a mini-ped or polish change between regular appointments or in the case you feel that your feet—or you—just need a little extra attention.

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