Sometimes, it takes an entire arsenal of products to make your feet look well groomed, clean and pretty. Pedicure products extend far beyond a simple bottle of nail polish, from pumice stones to foot spas to those rather scary-looking razor blades. Some salons may ask that you bring your own supplies, so it’s important to know what you need.
Most pedicure salons have a series of foot spas or basins set up for you to soak your feet in. After the soak, most pedicurists will use a pumice stone or other foot file on your heels to remove any rough, dry or dead skin. They usually follow up with a soothing foot lotion. Some may even rub an oil into your toe’s cuticles to soften them. At one time, many pedicurists used a sharp razor blade to slice pieces of hard, dead skin from the feet. Due to health concerns, blades are not used anymore.
To get your toes pretty and neat, a pedicurist uses nail clippers, a nail file and polish. Usually, when you go to the salon, you bring your own polish, though there are usually colors for you to choose from there as well. You should have a base coat, two coats of polish and a top coat applied to make sure the polish lasts as long as possible without chipping. To prevent your toes from touching and smearing the polish while it dries, you may have to wear foam spacers or insert cotton balls between each toe.
Pedicure products that haven’t been sterilized properly can spread infection, especially if they are shared at a salon. Mycobacterium fortuitum is a common bacterial infection that women get from using foot spas at salons, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Bacterial infections typically resemble bug bites initially but enlarge and become filled with pus if left untreated. Improperly cleaned files and nail clippers can spread fungal infections to the nails or other infections such as athlete’s foot.
Keeping Things Clean
The EPA has strict policies in place to reduce the risk of infection from a pedicure at a salon. The foot spa tubs should be cleaned after each person as well as overnight with an effective disinfectant that is approved for use in a health care setting. Tools such as nail clippers and files should be soaked in an antiviral, anti-fungal and antibacterial solution or sterilized in a high-pressure autoclave after every use.
Off-the-Beaten Path Pedicures
If you travel to certain countries such as India or to some parts of the United States, you may have the option of getting a pedicure from a school of garra rufa fish. The little fish, also called doctor fish, eat away at dead skin between your toes and on the rest of your feet. Due to sanitary concerns, the fish are banned in certain states such as Florida, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as of 2009.