The Ultimate List of Pedicure Types

Whether you want to match your favorite strappy sandals or add a little color to look at during your yoga class, grabbing a pedicure is an easy way to brighten your day. Maybe the draw of adorable toes draws you in, but pedicure’s luxurious experience and healing properties will keep you coming back. 

Here is the ultimate list of pedicure types to keep your feet looking and feeling fresh!

Types of pedicures

When the spring blooms reveal their petals, it’s time for you to reveal your toes! 

From luxurious spa pedicures to hydrating paraffin treatments, Most people aren’t keyed into all of the different types of pedicures to try. Luckily, we’ve listed some of our favorites so you can choose the option that is best for you. 

But first…

What is a pedicure?

A pedicure is a treatment that pampers your feet and toenails. 

A great pedicure is so much more than a simple swipe of polish. An expert will smooth cracked heels, trim unruly cuticles, shape nails and add a bit of glam. When you finish, your feet will look great. And from smoother skin to healed heels to fewer hangnails, they’ll perform better, too! 

What to expect from a pedicure

After getting a pedicure, you can expect beautiful feet and toes for weeks. People prone to dry or cracked skin can expect smooth, hydrated and nourished feet. Since toenails grow about 7x slower than fingernails, the polish can last a long time – though some toes may fare better than others. Some pedicure lovers say that results can last over a month! 

How is a pedicure done?

When you head into that comfy seat and get ready for self-care, you will experience:

  • A warm, bubbly foot bath to cleanse and prepare your feet
  • A detailed foot wash and scrub
  • A luxurious foot and calf massage (a popular favorite part)
  • Filing or smoothing of any calluses or dry skin
  • Clipping, filing and smoothing of cuticles and toenails
  • And finally, the bottom coat, color polish, and topcoat add a bit of color to your nails!

These offerings may vary slightly depending on the type of pedicure you book – an express color will be quicker, while a luxury pedicure may add or draw out steps. 

What to do before a pedicure appointment

To prepare for a pedicure, make sure you offer your nail technician clean feet! Making sure your feet are freshly-washed is definitely a courtesy you want to follow. Also, if you have a foot condition, plantar warts or fungus, make sure to wait to schedule an appointment until after you confirm anything contagious is gone. 

Professional pedicure master making pedicure in salon studio

The best types of pedicures to book

These are the best types of pedicures to book:

  • Basic pedicure
  • Spa pedicure
  • Paraffin pedicure
  • French pedicure
  • Gel pedicure
  • Athletic pedicure
  • Waterless pedicure

Basic Pedicure

It’s in the name! A basic pedicure will follow the classic structure we listed above. This type of pedicure is the most popular and well-known option, thanks to all of the pampering it covers in a relatively short amount of time. 

This pedicure costs about $35 on average and lasts about 30-45 minutes.

Spa pedicure

A spa pedicure is a perfect splurge if you want something a little more luxurious. Spa pedicures usually take place in a more zen environment, so when you buy a spa pedicure, you also purchase the spa ambiance. Spa pedicures will remove dead skin cells and can prevent nail diseases with the deep cleanse they provide. 

Thanks to a drawn-out massage, a spa pedicure may last a bit longer. These pedicures can last 30-90 minutes and typically cost around $60.

Paraffin pedicure

A paraffin pedicure may be an excellent treatment for those who care about baby-smooth skin as much as they do colorful nails. Paraffin pedicures focus on moisturizing and softening the feet by covering them in paraffin wax. Some spas cover the foot in wax, while others will put your foot in a bag of wax. Either way, the result is supple, soft skin! A paraffin pedicure has healing benefits as well. The wax is a form of heat therapy, increasing blood flow, relaxing muscles and decreasing joint stiffness. 

A paraffin pedicure treatment is a luxury add-on and costs about $20- $40 on top of the standard pedicure price. In addition, the paraffin treatment adds 20-30 minutes to your overall pedicure time. 

French pedicure

If you want timeless and stylish toes to match any strappy shoe, the French pedicure is a perfect choice. The only difference between a French pedicure and a basic pedicure is the polish style – adding French tips. In a classic sense, this means a nude polish with white tips, but in theory, it could be any color tip (colorful french tips are all the rage right now!). 

French pedicures usually only cost a little extra – around $5-$10 – compared to a basic pedicure and take about the same amount of time. 

Gel pedicure

Tired of looking down and seeing chipped paint on your toes after a few weeks of wear? You may want to upgrade to a gel pedicure! Gel pedicures use pre-mixed acrylic to the nails for a more substantial coat of color. The polish hardens under ultraviolet light, and then the process is repeated 1-2 more times. The result is colorful toes that don’t chip or wear off. Gel toenails will look fresher for longer, even if you’re on your feet all day long.

Gel pedicures usually cost a $10-$15 additional charge and last about an hour. 

Athletic pedicure

Spend your days pounding the pavement in running shoes or sending some routes in rock climbing shoes? From callouses to bruised nails, your feet may look a little beat. Athletic pedicures focus on the healing and tidying benefits of a pedicure by tidying toenails, getting rid of dead skin, massaging your soles and relieving muscle tension in your lower legs. This treatment will result in tidier feet and can release pressure points, improve foot health, and can even reduce pain and inflammation.

Since this treatment does not include a polish, it is a popular option for all genders. This pedicure is perfect for a few days after a grueling workout or big race – as long as you’re not coming in with open wounds or overly-sensitive feet. The cost and length of an athletic pedicure are comparable to that of a basic pedicure. 

Waterless pedicure

Some people look at the warm foot bath as a relaxing soak. The idea may turn others off. The risk for bacterial infection is very low at reputable nail salons, but not quite zero. Or, there are medical conditions like diabetes that benefit from a soak-less treatment. 

If you don’t want to mess with a soak during your pedicure, a waterless pedicure will solve that problem! Instead, the technician will use a warm soapy washcloth to cleanse the foot before the treatment. Some fans of this treatment say the lack of a soak leads to longer-lasting polish, fewer cuticle tears and a more sanitary experience. 

A waterless pedicure can cost up to $95, especially if booked through a medical spa. The length of this treatment depends on the condition of the feet. 

Give your feet a well-deserved treat!

With all of the pedicure options available, you will find one that fits your needs. Once done with your pedi, you will be sprinting to your strappy sandals! 

Need help finding excellent pedicure salons in your area? Check out all of the pampering opportunities at your fingertips with ClassPass.

Amanda Rouse is a freelance writer and content strategist living in San Clemente, California. When she’s not actively dodging writer’s block, she’s probably trail running, doing a crossword puzzle, or falling off of waves (She soon hopes to call this “surfing.”). Follow her and send her funny reels on Instagram.
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