When you want to put your best foot forward, consider investing in a good quality manicure and pedicure. This is an easy step toward looking your best from head to your toe.
Let Your Nail Polish Speak For You
Well-groomed fingernails and toenails are the perfect finishing touch for any well-dressed woman. That’s why so many females partake in this practice on a regular basis.
In addition to helping you look great, the polish color you select can also make a big style statement. For instance, bold red nails convey power and confidence, while light pink nails look feminine and neat. (This can be a good pick, too if you’re hard on nails and want to camouflage unsightly chips!) Meanwhile, trendy polish like blue, black, and neon are an easy way to give some edge to your look without having to buy a new wardrobe. Better yet, when you get tired of the color, it’s simple to start over with something new.
The Benefits Of Pampering
While most women splurge on manicures to look chic and polished (literally), some of them also recognize the health benefits that come along with taking good care of their hands and your feet. Consider this, manicures and pedicures can be an easy way to prevent dry skin, soften rough edges on nails and feet, and can also reduce the likelihood of getting ingrown toenails and hangnails. In addition, the process of getting a manicure and pedicure often includes a massage and a good foot soak in a small whirlpool. This can help to relieve stress and leave you feeling great.
The History Of Manicures
You may think of manicures as a modern experience, but in fact, this practice actually dates back more than 5,000 years. In India, the process began by using henna to paint nails. In eighteenth century Paris, women took a different approach, painting the tips of their nail tips white to contrast with the rest of the nail bed, which was coated with a pale pink or neutral shade. The effect was fresh and soft. (This practice, called a French manicure, is still quite popular today.)
Take Your Time
When you decide to get a manicure and pedicure, you’ll need to set aside at least an hour or two. Small nail salons with multiple manicurists may get you in and out in record time, while higher-end day salons and spas can be a more leisurely experience. Either way, you’ll need to allow time for your polish to dry and set so that it won’t smudge.
What To Expect
When you decide to have a manicure and pedicure treatment, some nail salons will do your nails first and then your toes, or vice versa, while others will have two people working on you at the same time for the utmost efficiency. Regardless of how the process plays out, you should find your feet and hands cleansed, soaked, and moisturized. Then the technician will shape your nails, push back (or trim) your cuticles, and then buff the nail beds to a smooth and even finish. If the salon has a pedicure chair, it may have a massage feature built into the back. Some technicians will also perform a massage for your feet, calves, and hands to help relieve tension and make the experience a true pleasure.
Select Your Preferences
Once all of the grooming and pampering is complete, you can select the nail length and shape you prefer. (If you opt for acrylic or artificial nails, the same process will occur but with some added steps to attach the artificial material to your nail bed, with some filing and shaping.)
Finally, you can select the polish color you would like for your manicure and pedicure. Some women like their fingers and toes to match, while others prefer different shades for each. Either way, you can choose from the numerous color choices the salon is sure to have on hand, or you may bring your own bottle of polish. Some women opt for the latter approach because it means that you’ll have the color available at home for needed touch-ups. (If you’re rough on your nails, this can be a good idea.)
How often you decide to get a manicure and pedicure depends on your lifestyle and your budget. In general, pedicures last longer than the polish on your nails, so you may select weekly manicures but reserve pedicures for a bimonthly or monthly treat. If you find it difficult to spend the money for this service, it may help you to know that most women may splurge on more frequent pedicures in the summer, when their toes and feet are “on show,” but cut back during the winter months when shoes serve as a strategic cover up.
Different Strokes For Different Folks
When you decide on a manicure and pedicure, the colors aren’t your only choices. You can also decide if they want to add any extra services to their order. Here are some of the common options:
Spa Manicure And Pedicure
A spa manicure and pedicure, which is a bit more involved (or and therefore more costly, too) usually incorporates more skin treatments with aromatic oils, salts, lotions, and even seaweed.
Paraffin Manicure And Pedicure
A paraffin manicure and pedicure is similar to a spa but consists of the technician using warm wax to soften your skin, and then wrapping your hands (or feet) in plastic.
A stone pedicure uses hot stones to rub essential oils into your feet and legs. This form of treatment is usually offered in higher end salons and spas.
Other pampering options you can find at some upscale spas include incorporating luxurious ingredients including champagne, milk, honey, and cream into your manicure and pedicure treatments.
In addition, if you want to use artificial nails to enhance what nature gave you, some popular options include:
Acrylic nails are applied to your own nail using a two-part liquid and powder system and can be formed to achieve the length and shape you desire. (Some salons today use a spray system instead of the liquid.)
Gel acrylic nails give a similar effect to regular acrylic nails but uses gel that sets underneath a UV light.
Just keep in mind that acrylic nails and other artificial types of nails require regular maintenance to keep them looking great.
There has been some concern in recent years about sanitation issues when it comes to manicures and pedicures. Part of the worry revolves around using the same manicure and pedicure tools for multiple patrons. As a result, today nail salons are required to meet stringent hygiene standards. Further, some people purchase their own kit of manicure and pedicure tools to avoid any risk of cross contamination.
Where you go to get your manicure may matter more - or less - than you might think. In general, the setting makes a big difference in price, but not always in overall quality of treatment you receive. In general, the more you spend the more pleased with the results of the manicure and pedicure you should be.
Here are some of the popular settings to choose from:
If you are short on time and tight on budget, a quick-service nail salon will likely be the best option for you. You can usually find affordable manicure and pedicure offerings here and often don’t need to make an appointment. In fact, many of these nail salons operate on a first-come, first-serve basis, so at busy times, you could have to wait a while for your turn. These nail salons are the equivalent of a fast-food setting for your hands and feet. Usually multiple nail technicians work at the same time and patrons move in and out of the salon chairs quickly. The setting will usually be relatively plain, but with a little work, you may be able to find a nail salon that meets your needs quite well. This is usually the easiest and most economical option.
For a bit higher price, you can also find a manicurist in many better beauty salons. For your money, you have the advantage of making an appointment, and you will usually be the only client for that time slot, so you can expect to have more attention paid to you. If you need hair services when you get a manicure and pedicure, you can often get that done at the same time, making this extremely convenient.
If you’re looking for a little more indulgence for your manicure and pedicure, then a day spa may be just what you need. This will offer you the ultimate in pampering and atmosphere. Many spas will provide a glass of wine or champagne while you undergo your manicure and pedicure, and you can expect the technician to use higher quality skin and nail treatments and will take the time to make each nail gleam. The price will likely be considerably higher than at a quick-service nail salon, but some patrons of higher-end day spas swear that the finished results also last considerably longer, making it a worthwhile investment in the end. In addition, some of the nicer salons and spas use eco-friendly products, which are better for you and have less fumes.
How To Find A Nail Place
Finding a place in your area that offers manicures and pedicures should be relatively easier, no matter where you live. Big cities tend to have numerous options. (For instance, in New York City, some neighborhoods have nail salons on almost every block.) In smaller cities and towns, you may have fewer places from which to select, but if you have a full-service hair salon, they will likely have a nail technician on staff. In addition, most indoor shopping malls (and many strip malls) have at least one or more nail salons located there. Further, you can often find a nail technician working at hair salons in some of the bigger department stores, as well as in fine hotels. Just because a nail salon exists, doesn’t mean you will be pleased with the results. Therefore, you can ask family, friends, neighbors and colleagues to offer recommendations of places they like. You can also do a search online and read the reviews that patrons have posted for nail salons that offer manicures and pedicures. Citysearch has a local directory that contains listings of beauty services you can browse by location. In addition, Spa Finder Magazine offers a nationwide directory of spas, including those that provide manicures and pedicures.
What It Costs
What you can spend on a manicure and pedicure can span a wide range. In general, getting each service separately is more expensive than getting a combo of both treatments done together.
The setting will also greatly affect the price, with nail salons on the lower end and spas on the higher side. The price of manicures alone usually costs about $15 in a small nail shop and can cost up to $50 in an upscale spa.
In most settings, extra beauty treatments like hot wax and special creams adding as much as $25 or more to the base price.
Artificial nails (such as acrylics and gels) usually cost $25 to $85, depending on setting and what you get.
Pedicures cost $25 to $75, with extra treatments at an additional cost of up to $50 or more, depending on what you want and where you get it done.
(Note that a beauty salon will generally charge somewhere in the middle of the range, depending on the atmosphere and the part of the country in which it’s located.)
Regardless of the setting, combining manicures and pedicures are usually less expensive than paying for them separately. In addition, some nail shops offer specials on slower days of the week to bring more people in.
So, the cost for a manicure and pedicure done at the same time generally ranges between $30 and $100.
In addition to the basic manicure and pedicure costs, there are other extra services you can add on, which include:
- French tips, which adds about $10 to the cost of the manicure and pedicure.
- Nail designs or jeweled accents: increases the price up to $5 per nail.
- Acrylic refills cost $40 to $50 for a set (or up to $10 for each nail done separately)
- It’s also customary to give your nail technician a tip of between 15 to 20 percent of the total price of your services.
Most Expensive Option
You might be interested to know that the most expensive manicure to date costs $32,000! This option is offered through a London salon and consists of a combination of diamonds, sapphires and rubies.
Do It Yourself
If you think that getting a manicure and pedicure sounds like a great idea but even the most basic option is really too much of an extravagance for your wallet to handle in this economy, there’s always the Do-It-Yourself option. For the price of a bottle of nail polish (which costs about $1 for a bargain drug store brand and can cost about $25 for high-end designer options) you can groom and polish your nails multiple times yourself and get a professional look without breaking the bank in the process.
Last Updated: Feb 09, 2012