When the weather warms up and you start leaving the house sock-free with your toesies out for the world to see, you might think twice before picking up those peep-toes. Honestly, we’d pedicure ourselves with the same ease and frequency of manicures and nail art (for the steady-handed of us) if not the fact that some of us just aren’t that flexible. And stretching to paint your toes is just a hassle. Not to mention your feet in general require a bit more… finesse to look as soft and supple as your hands. So to the salon you go, to sit in the electric massage-chairs that hover above a baby bathtub exclusively for feet-soaking. And you know? It feels really nice to have your peds pampered, if we do say so ourselves. Other than nail salons being a hotspot for neighborhood gossip they are oftentimes also a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Bacteria loves feet, we don’t know why, just that we should take that into consideration. Some folks are more prone to fungi and bacterial infection on their feet, so if you’re one of them, bone up on your pedicure knowledge before dipping your feet in just any old bath. Here’s a few pedicure facts to peruse before doing so.
1. Even if the foot baths are sterilized, bacteria can still breed in the pipes where the water comes from. There are however “pipeless” foot bath is some salons or just individual tubs. Opt for those, and as always, salon staff should be sanitizing these after every client.
2. To avoid infection, don’t shave your legs at least 2 days prior to a pedicure in case you have any invisible (or not) nicks and cuts. Goes without saying that you shouldn’t get a pedi if you have any wounds on your feet.
3. Getting a pedicure is loosely tied into reflexology. Your pedi-technician may not necessarily be trained in reflexology but the results are similar—achieving relaxation and rejuvenation. Who doesn’t love a good foot rub?
4. Using callous shavers in a salon are illegal in most states. Those vegetable peeler-looking devices that your nail tech uses to shave off your callouses? Yeah, those are flirting with the idea of cutting your skin, opening you up to a world germs that may enter your newly vulnerable (and possibly nicked) skin.
5. Bringing your own pedicure tools isn’t necessarily safer—that is, unless you diligently scrub and sanitize your own set after every use. Salons are required to do this in either a barbicide and/or with germ-killing UV lights.
6, Getting a pedi in winter is a drag since leaving the salon in flip-flops isn’t exactly ideal. For the sensible folks who showed up in boots? Bring some zliplock sandwich bags, or cellophane. The ideal time before wearing socks and shoes after a pedi is 8-12 hours. But you can’t very well stay in the salon that long, so after you’ve done the requisite 10 minute blow-dry booth visit, brush some cuticle oil on your toenails and then gently wrap them in plastic before putting on your socks and boots. We also recommend wearing flat boots, not heels, since the incline puts more pressure on your toes.
7. Often overlooked but nail files should always be new for each client. Just because they aren’t digging around your cuticles doesn’t mean they can’t harbor bacteria as well.
8. You want to make sure you dry the space in between your toes so they’re free of moisture. You don’t want to give any possible fungi any reason to stick around, like a moist warm nook. (Weirdly, this goes extra for rabbits, whose little paws are super susceptible to germs).
9. Apparently, diabetics are at highest risk for foot complications, including nerve-damage and life-threatening infections. If that’s you, maybe steer clear of those foot baths.
10. Men get pedicures too—they just don’t talk about them. With “manscaping” a real and present thing, UK nail salons have reported a 30% increase in male clients who come in for pedis in the past year.