Pedicure Procedures

foot with pedicureWhether performing your own pedicure or receiving a Salon pedicure, these steps are sure to result in ‘happy’ feet.

In all my years in the salon, I don’t remember one single client who was not embarrassed about some little thing to do with their feet. Whether it was calluses, corns, bunions, a ‘weird’ toenail or a funny toe — they all had some reason to hide their feet.

Basic Pedicure Procedures

To perform a pedicure you will need all of the same files, implements and tools required to perform a manicure except you will want to replace the finger bowl with the foot bath. If you are performing this procedure on yourself, place a large folded terry towel on the floor in front of you upon which you will set the foot bath after it has been filled part-way with water. Add a few drops of liquid soap or nail scrub, essential oils or your favorite foot bath/salts to the water and allow it to disperse.

Place all your implements, files and supplies on a terry towel within easy reach. You will be following the same type of procedures as with a manicure, although the files you will use will be a different grit as the toenails are generally thicker than the fingernails and require a grit of about 180 to remove length. You will also need to use your toenail nippers. You may also wish to spray or wipe your feet with an antiseptic spray prior to starting your pedicure, and be sure to thoroughly wash your hands.

You may also choose to use some of the same ‘optional’ products with your pedicure that you used with your manicure.

  • Remove old polish from the nails of both feet.
  • File toenails straight across, rounding them slightly at the corners to conform to the shape of the toe. Use the toenail nippers to remove the underside of the corners so they will not ‘dig’ into your flesh. Use a 240-grit file to smooth the underside of the corners and to bevel the free edge.
  • Place one or both feet into the foot bath, and flip on the massage button if your machine is equipped with the massage feature. Allow your feet to soak for a full 5 minutes.
  • Apply cuticle remover if you wish and massage it into the cuticle.
  • Use your orangewood stick or the metal cuticle pusher to push back the transparent cuticle and to clean under the free edge. Never ‘dig’ into the flesh as breaking the seal between the nail plate and the nail bed will allow bacterial organisms to enter and an infection could occur. Do not use excessive pressure to push back the cuticles as this action could damage the matrix.
  • If loose cuticle skin is apparent, you may remove it by nipping with the cuticle nippers, being careful not to cut live tissue.
  • Repeat steps 2 – 6 on the other foot.
  • Scrub your feet and toenails with the nail brush being sure to cleanse the lateral nail fold and underneath the free edge.
  • If you have a build up of calloused skin, it can be filed with an 80-grit foot file paddle. Never attempt to use a credo blade to cut or remove calloused skin as it is much too easy to remove healthy skin along with the callous. Do not attempt to remove all of the calloused skin in one session. Depending on the depth of the callous, it can take several months or more for the healthy skin to show.
  • Massage both feet by applying lotion, cream or oil to the palms of your hands and then to your feet. Massage your feet, lower legs and toes, then put both feet back into the foot bath and scrub the toes to remove all traces of oil or lotion. To remove the suds or bath salts, use a spray bottle filled with warm water to rinse the toes, then dry your feet, legs and toes and between the toes with a soft towel.
  • Wipe each toenail with a cotton or gauze pad saturated with remover or alcohol to be sure the nail plate is free of oils.
  • Apply basecoat, two coats of color and a thin topcoat. Be sure to allow a minimum of 1 minute between coatings for each coat of enamel to dry.
  • If you are afraid of smudging the polish, you may wish to use toe separators between your toes. Leave them in place until the enamel has completely dried.
  • Empty the foot bath, clean it with a disinfecting solution and dry the tub. Clean all your implements with the same solution, allowing them to soak in the solution for a full 10 minutes. Remove from the solution, rinse, dry and place in a sealed container for the next use.
  • For The Perfect Polish, please refer to the Manicure Page for instructions.

The ‘Spa’ Pedicure
Compliments of : Creative Nail Design Systems

Spa Pedicures are a favorite among clients because they are a therapeutic escape in addition to good grooming. The ‘Spa’ Pedicure products are derived from botanicals and other natural ingredients found in the sea. So, sit back and enjoy learning more about the Spa Pedicure™.

You can get started with Spa Pedicures with a small investment. It’s as simple as identifying 6 to 8 square feet in the salon, getting a small vibrating footbath, two chairs, Spa Pedicure products, and you’re ready to go. You may also choose to spend a little more money for a mobile whirlpool bath, or you can invest in a top-of-the-line whirlpool throne.

Getting Ready

  1. Before we begin, make sure you are properly prepared. Disinfect all hard surfaces (True Blue), then wash your hands with soap and water and sanitize them with an instant hand sanitizer (Cool Blue).
  2. Make certain your rolling cart is fully stocked with a disinfection tray, Spa Pedicure products, other pedicuring products, implements, tools, towels and polishing products.
  3. A successful set-up is well organized and embellished with your own special touch and creativity; flowers, music, candles and relaxing low light. (Although not so low you can’t see what you are doing!)
  4. All pedicure clients should have filled out the consultation form (client profile) covering medical history and other important information. Remember, you must proceed with caution if a client is diabetic, calling the client’s physician for clearance if you have any doubts, and never perform a pedicure in an extreme situation, such as open sores or infections of the foot or leg.
  5. Plan on the service taking around an hour to complete. This includes a six to seven minute massage per leg. When you do the service in the salon, complete each step on all five toes before going on to the next step.

Preparing the Bath

  1. Fill the foot bath with warm water — this means under 100° F, or a comfortable Jacuzzi temperature. In a vibrating unit, use one scoop of Foaming Sea Soak™, then add the water to agitate as it fills to create a beautiful light foam in the bath. Foaming Sea Soak™ is a concentrated seaweed foot soak with a lacy foam and fresh fragrance that cleanses, sooths and deodorizes. Do not use Foaming Sea Soak™ in a whirlpool bath!
  2. Let your client get settled in the chair with shoes, socks or nylons removed. You may provide a robe if the client so desires.
  3. Submerge both the client’s feet in the warm water, adding more water if necessary to adjust the temperature to the client’s comfort.
  4. Add one level scoop of Sea Rocks™ to the water, agitating with your hand to dissolve and blend.. Sea Rocks™ is a softening, hydrating, aroma therapeutic foot bath treatment that will add a gentle foam to the water and release the aromatic vapors of Tee Tree and Eucalyptus Oil into the room.
  5. Soak the clients feet for 5 minutes in the bath to take full advantage of the softening effects of Rice Bran and Vitamin E Oils. As they soak, remove your instruments from the disinfection unit and lay them on a clean, sanitized towel.


As we ease into exfoliation, the success of the experience depends on creating a balance between invigorating and tranquility, energy and relaxation.

  1. Begin by placing a clean, sanitized terry towel in your lap, and remove one foot from the water. Pat the foot dry and remove the enamel from the toenails.
  2. Smooth one heaping spatula of A.H.A. Sea Scrub™ along the bottom of the foot and the heel, avoiding the sensitive skin on the top. Sea Scrub™ is an aromatic scrub designed especially for the feet. Quartz crystals, natural beach sand, and a marine alpha hydroxy acid complex work together to effectively exfoliate rough, dry skin. Gently massage for 2 to 3 minutes, concentrating on areas of extreme dryness, then rinse and pat dry.
  3. Generously apply Sea Serum to calluses and dry spots on the bottom of the foot with a gauze or cotton pad. Sea Serum Intensive A.H.A. Callus Treatment utilizes penetrating agents to enhance the effectiveness of the alpha hydroxy acid complex and protective ingredients to soothe sensitive skin. Be sure to rinse your fingers after each use!
  4. Wrap the foot in a clean terry towel without removing the Sea Serum, and repeat steps 1 through 4 on the other foot.
  5. Unwrap the first foot and run the Callus Smoother over all calluses to reduce and smooth. Use a circular motion to reduce calluses inlayers until the skin is pink and pliable. The penetration of the Sea Serum will help dead skin come off easily. Rinse the foot and towel dry.
  6. Do not return the foot to the bath as you use the Callus Smoother on the other foot. when both feet are clean, exfoliated, and dry, you are ready to proceed to the next portion of the service.

Pedicure Toenails

  1. Begin by placing a dot of C Therapy A.H.A. Cuticle Eraser on each cuticle of one foot, massaging it in with your thumb. Gently push back and remove non-living (true) cuticle from around the proximal and lateral nail folds, staying away from the eponychium. Because the tissue on toes is more fragile than that of fingers, any small cut or abrasion can easily become infected.
  2. With your thumb and index fingers, gently pull back the lateral folds of soft tissue to see where the toenail trimmer might be required. Use a curette or a small ‘spoon’ tool as an extension of your fingers to feel along the lateral nail edge.
  3. Trim the corner of the big toenail at a 45° angle. Using firm ‘balance-point’ positioning and holding the toenail trimmer like scissors – between thumb and middle finger, leaving the index finger free for balance – slide the tip of the trimmer under the corner at a 45° angle, so you can see the trimmer on the other side of the nail. This will assure that you don’t cut soft tissue. Squeeze lightly before cutting, then cut to remove the entire corner. Make sure you don’t leave a hook or spike behind on the lateral nail edge.
  4. Guide a curette, small spoon tool or orangewood stick along the lateral nail edge in the direction of nail growth. Do this on both sides of the nail to remove non-living tissue and debris. Use a soft, sweeping “C” stroke to completely clear the entire area of dead tissue build-up.
  5. Use a 240 grit board to smooth and blend the lateral nail edge to the free edge on both sides. Remember, all toenails should be rounded off on the corners, NOT square. Squared off nails turn into ingrown nails, in which the nail actually grows OUT and into the soft tissue (Onychogryposis). Refine all edges until they are smooth and even.
  6. Finally, use the 240-grit side of a Koala Buffer to lightly buff all nail surfaces in the direction of nail growth, being sure to smooth ridges and thin the surface of thickened nails.
  7. After all five toenails have been pedicured, rinse the foot in the bath and pat dry.


  1. Using two heaping spatulas of Marine Masque, cover the entire foot up to the top of the ankle, leaving no bare spots. Marine Masque is an aroma therapeutic masque created specifically to soften and hydrate the feet. Enhanced with hydrating sea extracts, conditioning mineral clays, and soothing botanicals, it leaves feet feeling soft, moisturized, and cool for hours. After covering the foot with Marine Masque, wrap it in a clean, dry terry towel and let this foot rest while you work on the other foot.
  2. Pedicure the second foot in the same manner as the first.
  3. Cover the second foot with Marine Masque, wrap it in a clean, dry terry towel and let this foot rest while you return to the first foot.
  4. Place the pedicure tools back into the disinfection unit.
  5. Unwrap the first foot and completely rinse all the masque from the foot, using a soft brush or cloth if needed. Pat dry.


The massage is the highlight of the service for most clients, It’s important to connect with your client through a healing touch.

  1. Begin by applying about a quarter-size droplet of Massage Oil to the palm of one hand, then rub your hands together to evenly distribute the oil to the palms and fingers of both hands. Use both hands as you begin at the knee and smooth the oil down to the clients toes, then back up to the knee. Make sure your entire hand, palm and fingers are touching the client. Do this several times, until the oil feels evenly distributed.
  2. Massage the calf using Effleurage (long strokes) with both alternating hands. You should hold the ankle with one hand as you perform Effleurage with the other up the front and down the back of the leg. The working hand should always finish at the ankle and the pressure should be greater going up toward the heart than softer coming back down. Alternate hands and repeat a minimum of three times.
  3. Petrissage to the calf with alternating hands. Petrissage are compression strokes in which you begin at the ankle with your thumbs on the top of the calf and fingers on the back, squeezing the calf with alternating hands as you work your way up to the back of the knee. Use your whole body, rocking gently left and right. when you have reached the knee, Effleurage back down to the ankle, gently pulling with both hands. Lean back as you do this — you will find it helps your lower back as well! Do this 2 – 3 times.
  4. Now it’s time for a friction massage of the calf, using circular movements with alternating hands. Hold the ankle with one hand and, using the heel of the free hand just above the foot, begin clockwise circular movements moving up to the knee. Effleurage back down to the ankle and pull gently with both hands while leaning back. Alternate hands and repeat as you do this 2 or 3 times. Remember to keep a ‘smile’ in your hands as you perform these techniques!
  5. Now that you have massaged the calf, it’s time to massage the foot. Your hands should already be at the ankle, so we will start with the heel. Reach behind the ankle and pull the foot toward you. Holding the ankle with one hand, squeeze the heel with the thumb and forefinger of the working hand. Squeeze six times, covering the sides of the heel.Shift to an Effleurage of the foot; if you are seated lower than the client, put your thumbs on the top of the foot and fingers overlapping to the bottom side, then pull from the heel to the toes, using the side edges of your index fingers. Your hands should have full contact, gripping the foot all the way to the toes. Lean back as you pull, then do a full hand Effleurage and repeat. So this three times, working only as deeply as both you and the client feel comfortable. If you are seated at the same level as the client, perform this technique with your fingers on top of the foot and thumbs on the bottom side, pulling from the heel to the toes using the edges of the thumbs.
  6. Move on to Petrissage of the foot. If you are seated lower than the client, place your thumbs on top of the foot and your fingers on the bottom as you squeeze the entire underside of the foot, paying special attention to the underside of the arch. Using the side edges of the thumbs all the way to the heel of the hand, spread apart the top of the foot.If you are seated level to the client, place your fingers on the top of the foot and your thumbs on the bottom as you squeeze the underside of the foot, then use your fingers on the top of the foot to spread apart the top of the foot. Use an Effleurage stroke to reunite before going on to squeeze the toes.
  7. Massage the toes beginning with the big toe. Squeeze from the base to the tip as if you were milking a cow :)). Make sure to cover the entire surface of each toe.
  8. The next massage stroke is friction. Holding your hands on the left and right sides of the foot, rub it vigorously as if trying to warm it. Make sure your hands and fingers have full contact with the foot. This should produce a jiggling effect in the calf. The calf should rock from side to side; if it doesn’t, slow down the friction enough to allow it to do so. Do this for about thirty seconds, then Effleurage to unite.
  9. Finally, remove any unabsorbed oil from the foot and leg with a clean terry towel, then wrap the foot in the same towel to keep it warm as you massage the other foot and leg.
  10. Unwrap, clean and rinse the other foot, then pat dry.
  11. Massage the other foot and leg as you did the first. Remember, this is the highlight for the client. Take your time, dedicate six to seven minutes to each leg, and enjoy!


Now, we’re to a step you know all about . . . polishing; however, unlike the hands, with feet, one can get creative in the process. Remember, maintain a sense of ceremony.

  1. Begin by placing toe separators or decorative cording between all 10 toes. You may also use rolled or folded tissues, which can be disposed of after a single use.
  2. Cleanse, sanitize and dehydrate the toenails of both feet with ScrubFresh One-Step Nail Prep. Saturate a fiber-free pad with ScrubFresh, then scrub the toenails, making sure all oil and residue is completely removed. ScrubFresh will remove all surface oils, moisture and contaminates, temporarily dehydrate the nail plate and leave behind pathogen fighters to help prevent infections of the nail plate.
  3. Apply one thin coat of basecoat and allow to dry. (Sticky)
  4. Apply one thin coat of enamel and allow to dry.
  5. Apply a second thin coat of enamel and allow to dry.
  6. Seal and protect with one coat of top coat. (Super Shiney or Speedy)
  7. Finish the polish application with a thin coat of polish drier. (Dry and Shine)
  8. Complete the service by placing slippers on the clients feet. Allow enough time for the polish to completely ‘harden’ or ‘cure’ before the client replaces their shoes, socks or stockings.

The products mentioned in this ‘Spa Pedicure’ procedure are all manufactured by Creative Nail Design Systems, and sold through professional-only distributor supply houses. If these particular products are not available in your area, contact Creative Nail Design Systems for a listing of current professional distributors. You may already have a pedicure system you enjoy using in your salon, and this is perfectly all right! Visit the Nail Links page for a listing of other manufacturers of fine manicuring and pedicuring systems.

NOTE: If you notice any sudden change in the nail plate or surrounding skin, please seek the advise of a podiatrist. A true fungal infection will only respond to the proper medication and treatment, and it left unattended, may migrate to the other nails as well. Any disease or disorder than can occur in the fingernails can also occur in the toenails, although toenail fungus is unlikely to be transferred from toes to fingers.

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