While defining a pedicure may seem fairly obvious -- painting your toenails -- more than one pampering process is available. Depending on where you get your nails done, and what type of training the technician has, you can find an array of pedicure services to shine up your toes.
If you're looking for the good old fashioned scrub, clip, massage and polish, a traditional -- or regular -- pedicure is for you. A basic pedicure includes standard, or the most simple, processes: it's the minimum in foot care. For example, going into your local nail salon and asking for the basic treatment garners you a cleansing -- in the form of a warm, bubbly soaking -- grooming or trimming your nails, filing the nails into a stylish shape and clipping any cuticles. After your feet are cleansed, smoothed and groomed, the finishing touch is a brief leg massage followed by an application of a single color of polish. Although numerous multi-toned or embellished methods to polish are available, these techniques go beyond the scope of a basic process and include extra time, work and cost.
Going a step above the traditional or regular pedicure means that you will find spa-type services that take the basic clean and polish and add something extra. Whether you have callouses, dry feet or simply want a type of pampering that goes above and beyond a basic pedicure, foot and nail treatments fit the bill. For example, a paraffin pedicure starts out similar to a traditional pedicure, but also includes a coating of soothing wax that, when removed, moisturizes and smooths your feet. After removing the wax, your technician then shapes and paints your nails. Another treatment option is to have a stone pedicure. Unlike a regular pedicure, the stone version uses warm, rounded rocks to massage your feet. Your nail technician may couple the warm stones with an essential oil massage to further relax and moisturize your feet, toes and calves.
While pedicures sooth, treat and smooth your feet, they also include an aesthetic element of painting or polishing. As the final process in your pedicure procedure, going beyond a basic service and selecting nail art or embellishments will put you in a new, and sometimes more pricey, category. Just like you can pick and choose artistic and embellished styles of polishing for your fingers, a talented tech can transform your toe nails into a fashion-forward canvas, taking your pedicure up a notch. Try a runway inspired trend, such as a swirl of Picasso-like polish or a French manicure with a metallic on the top, or go for a pattern such as polka dots.
If you fish nippling on your precious tootsies sounds strange, fish pedicures are an actual beauty treatment. During this process, you place your feet into a water bath along with tiny fish -- garra rufa, or doctor fish, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- that nip away dead skin. While some states ban this treatment, the CDC notes that no reported illnesses have come directly from fish pedicures. The bans mainly center on the inadequate ability to keep the tubs germ-free -- which may cause infection -- reuse of the same fish, animal cruelty violations and salon regulations requiring businesses to keep fish in aquariums. Other, less risky, off-beat pedicures include a chocolate foot soak, ice cream flavored bath ball scrubs, wine procedures with a grape seed scrub and salt and lime margarita treatments.