What does a pedicure actually involve? The experts share their step-by-step guide

We've quizzed the nail pros on what to expect from your pedicure treatment - for anyone looking to prep their feet for sandal season...

On the left, a close up of someone getting a pedicure and on the right, a pick of someone's hands and feet with a creamy nude manicure and pedicure/ in a cream and beige gradient template
(Image credit: Getty Images: (L to R) Jon Feingersh Photography Inc / katleho Seisa)

Want to give your toes a little pampering but are unclear on what a pedicure treatment actually entails? We've asked the pros to share the ins and outs of a typical appointment - so that you can confidently prep your feet for the summertime...

For many, a pedicure is an essential beauty step, on par with the likes of a haircut and of course, a manicure, especially in preparation for an event or holiday. And though the 2024 nail trends often snag most of our attention, there are plenty of chic and timeless pedicure colours out there, the likes of which will instantly elevate your look, particularly where sandals are concerned.

So, if you're new to the treatment and are unsure of what's involved, here's everything you need to know, pre-appointment...

What does a pedicure involve? The pros explain

If you're a frequent manicure-getter, whether you favour BIAB nails or classic gels, you'll likely be familiar with the prep steps involved, from the shaping of your talons to the buffing of their surface in prep for polish. A pedicure, on the other hand, while featuring many of these can also include a few other pampering extras - but not always.

Thus, we've asked the nailcare professionals to outline a typical pedi to prepare you for your next appointment - plus their tips on how to maintain your pampered toes for as long as possible...

What does a pedicure include?

A-list manucurist and Senior Mylee Ambassador, Tinu Bello says: "A pedicure is a thorough foot care treatment that combines aesthetic and therapeutic benefits."

As mentioned, it involves several of the same steps a classic mani would, as London Grace founder, Kirsten White explains: "A full pedicure is focused on both the feet and the toes. Whether you opt for nail polish or a natural finish, a pedicure usually includes shaping the toenails, soaking and removing cuticles, buffing the nail plate and removing any dry/rough skin from the soles of the feet." That said, the treatment can also feature a few other relaxing and beautifying additions - which, along with all the traditional steps, the pros have shared below...

  1. Soaking and exfoliating: Bello explains that a pedi usually begins with, "soaking the feet in warm water to soften the skin and nails," this is then typically followed by exfoliation: "using a foot scrub or pumice stone to remove dead skin cells, particularly on the heels and soles."
  2. Cuticle care: Cuticle care comes next and involves, "softening, pushing back and sometimes trimming the cuticles to maintain clean nail beds."
  3. Shaping the toenails: Following the maintenance of the cuticle, Bello notes that the "toenails are then trimmed and shaped."
  4. Foot massage: "A pedicure will often include a relaxing foot massage using a moisturising cream, which enhances relaxation and boosts circulation," says Bello. If you're unsure of whether your salon includes a foot massage in their standard pedicures, be sure to check the website or ask your go-to nail tech.
  5. Polish and finishing top coat: To complete your pedicure the, "nails are then prepared for polish with a base coat," notes Bellow, "followed by the colour of choice and finished with a top coat for shine and protection."

How to maintain your pedicure, post-appointment?

If you decide to book in for a pedicure and love the results, so much so you want to extend the look of your pampered toes for as long as possible, Bello advises to: "keep your feet well-moisturised, daily to prevent dryness and wear protective footwear such as socks and closed-toe shoes during activities that might damage your toenails.

"Be gentle with your feet, avoiding using your toenails as tools and treat them carefully to preserve their appearance."

As for how often you should get a pedicure, Bello recommends scheduling a pedi regularly, every four to six weeks in fact, "to manage cuticles, calluses, and overall foot health, ensuring your pedicure stays fresh and well-maintained.”

White also recommends using a foot file - specifically the London Grace Sole Softener Foot File (available at Amazon) - to maintain that soft post-pedicure feeling. "I use the 'buff' and 'smooth' sides once a week on dry skin for sandal-ready feet. Plus, its replaceable pads ensure long-lasting use so you can have beautiful feet all year around," says White.

Naomi Jamieson
Digital Beauty Writer

Naomi is a Digital Beauty Writer from woman&home, where she covers everything from skincare to fragrance but specialises, particularly, in makeup and nail trends. Through her work, Naomi gets to share her trend expertise and share her own shopping recommendations and product reviews. Previously, she worked as a Lifestyle News Writer for My Imperfect Life magazine, where she used her savvy for TikTok to bring readers the latest beauty buzzwords, fashion movements and must-have products. 

Before that, Naomi split her time between both GoodTo and My Imperfect Life, whilst training for her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ, for which she earned a Distinction. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but leapt into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing. Now, when she isn’t reporting on the best perfumes and latest beauty releases, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping...