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Slideshow: Your Guide to a Perfect Pedicure

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red nail polish on fingers and toes

Don't Risk a Color Clash

You've finally found your perfect shade of nail polish. So would it be too matchy-matchy to wear it on your fingers and toes? Wearing the same shade of polish on your fingers and toes helps you look more finished. You can use two different colors, but make sure they coordinate. Having red Read More

woman using pumice stone

Do Soften Calluses Carefully

Calluses and corns are hardened skin that can crack and hurt if they get too thick. During a pedicure, don't let the salon technician use a razor on your feet. Razors raise the risk of infection. At home, soak your feet in warm water for at least five minutes. Then use a foot file, pumice Read More

woman using cuticle oil

Do Cultivate Beautiful Cuticles

Cuticles keep out germs, so treat them well! Tell the nail technician not to push back or cut your cuticles during a pedicure. This lowers your risk for infection. In between visits, never tear your cuticles. You can soften ragged cuticles by rubbing in moisturizer. If you notice that Read More

red nail polish

Do Erase Memories of Pedicures Past

Dark, dramatic shades such as red and purple can stain nails yellow if you leave them on for more than two weeks. Use an acetone nail polish remover (or a nonacetone remover followed by lemon juice) to remove stains. When you polish, use a clear base coat first. But if your discolored nails Read More

disposable razor

Don't Shave Before a Pedicure

No matter how embarrassed you are, don't shave your legs before a pedicure. Bacteria are more likely to get into your body through tiny nicks or cuts on freshly shaved legs. Certain kinds of bacteria live in tap water and can thrive in a dirty footbath. They can cause boils or other Read More

pedicure tools

Do Bring Your Own Tools

You can take your own tools to a nail salon, even if you feel self-conscious. Germs can linger on salon tools that aren't cleaned, like emery boards. If you choose to use the salon's tools, they should be heat sterilized, soaked in clear antibacterial solution, or come prepackaged. Ask Read More

toe nail file

Do Trim Toenails Right

In between pedicures, cut your toenails straight across to trim them. This helps prevent ingrown toenails and keeps them strong. Filing your nails slightly so they're rounded in the center is fine. Before you polish your nails, gently clean underneath them with a manicure stick. If Read More

fish pedicure

Don't Get Hooked on Fish Pedicures

Some salons let a certain kind of fish nibble the calluses off your feet rather than scrubbing them off. Some states have banned these "fish pedicures." Salon workers can't clean the tubs well in between customers while the fish are in them. And it's not possible to clean the fish, so they Read More

woman wearing tights

Do Protect Your Pedi in Winter

In cold weather, bring plastic wrap to your pedicure to help avoid smudges. Before you leave the salon, ask the technician to put a layer of cuticle oil on your newly polished toes. Then wind the plastic wrap around them before you put tights, socks, or shoes back on. Pedicure socks have Read More

feet with no nail polish

Do Go Natural Once in a While

You might think bare toenails are ugly, but nails need to breathe and have moisture, and polish acts as a barrier. So skip the nail polish for a week or longer each month and enjoy the low-maintenance look. It's a good idea to remove your nail polish if you can't fix it as soon as it chips. Your Read More

pregnant woman getting pedicure

Consider a Pedi During Pregnancy

When you're pregnant and feel bloated, and even your ankles are swollen, a pedicure may sound heavenly. Good news! It's OK to pamper your feet.  Pedicures are safe during pregnancy. Your nails don't absorb the chemicals in nail polish. If the odors from nail products make you feel ill, Read More

cleaning pedicure tools

Do Keep Your Tools Squeaky Clean

Whether you bring your own nail tools to the salon or use them at home, keep them clean. After each pedicure, give the tools a good scrub with soap and water. Then soak them in a disinfectant solution like rubbing alcohol for at least 10 Read More

man enjoying pedicure

Don't Knock the 'Man' Pedicure

There's no reason a guy can't have neat toenails. Some salons and barbershops offer special guy-friendly pedicures, with or without the nail polish. But everyday salons commonly cater to both sexes.

nail polish remover

Do Pick the Right Polish Remover

Nail polish removers with acetone work well if your polish is very dark. They're also a good choice if you have a gel or shellac finish, which is hard to remove.  Acetone can be drying and harsh, so if your nails or skin are sensitive, go for a nonacetone remover. It's gentler, but it'll take Read More

sign in nail salon

Don't Use a Sketchy Nail Salon

Always check out a new nail salon beforehand, even if you're desperate for a pedicure. Be sure employees wash their hands and clean their equipment between clients. Most salons have an odor from nail products, but it shouldn't be overpowering. A very strong smell may mean that the Read More

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on July 05, 2012

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