Professional Beauty
Professional Beauty


The perfect PEDI

From the common troubleshooting issues you can face in service, to the importance of cuticle care, talking clients through the relevant aftercare and getting your prep right, we answer all your queries so you can nail the pedicure treatment for each customer.

“The point of a pedicure is for your client’s feet to look and feel much better than they did before they arrived,” says session tech Roxanne Campbell, who runs luxury mobile service Revarnish London. “The appearance and transformation are what clients love the most.”

Nail your timings

Pedicure timings can vary but Abbie McCann, lead educator for Professional Beauty Systems, advises that a standard pedicure should take around 45 minutes, while a luxury service, with add-ons, could take anything from one to two hours.

“The extra add-ons might be a foot mask, paraffin wax, a moisturising foot wrap, or all three,” she adds. “But remember, all extra treatments and time will change the cost of your pedicure.”

Campbell agrees and emphasises the importance of breaking down your timings step by step, adding that for a pedicure of 60 minutes, “you might want to spend 20 minutes removing your client’s polish, shaping the nails and doing cuticle work on both feet, then you need to break down the remaining 40 minutes to complete the rest of the treatment.”

Lacquer, gel-polish or acrylic?

When it comes to which pedicure clients should go for, it usually comes down to personal preference, but there are some reasons why clients might be better suited to one service over another.

“Lacquer pedicures are good for those that would like to remove the colour themselves at home,” says Hampshirebased tech and educator Erin Searle, who also explains that many of her mature clients book in for a pedicure for the massage and toenail care, so opt for lacquer if they’re less concerned about colour longevity.

Gel-polish is ideal for those who want a look that’s going to stay for as long as possible. “Clients that want the quick in-and-out service aren’t coming in for the relaxation element, so they are best suited to gel-polish toes,” adds Campbell.

Meanwhile, Searle advises that acrylic pedicures are amazing as an option for toenail reconstruction. “I have clients that are runners who break their toenails or lose them. Acrylic pedicures can recreate a toenail and be painted to look as though nothing is different,” she says.

Staying power

Making a pedi last longer is all about the prep, as Juanita Huber-Millet, founder of Townhouse, winner of Professional Beauty’s Nail Salon of the Year 2021 Award, explains:

“You should never cut corners, as prep creates the foundation for the final result.”

Indeed, prepping toes first is key, and this

part needs to be tailored to whether you’re using lacquer or gel-polish.

“Ensure the nail plate is sufficiently dehydrated and all oils are removed from it.

If you’re using standard lacquer polish then this will increase the adhesion and the life of the service,” says Derby-based tech Melanie Lewendon, who is head of education for KB Educate.

She adds: “As gel-polish is a dry service, complete all your prep and gel-polish application before commencing a scrub.

Don’t soak feet in water or apply product before gel-polish application as this could inhibit the gel’s adhesion.”

Troubleshooting issues

One of the biggest challenges nail techs can face is dealing with ingrown toenails.

“If a client has a severe ingrown toenail which is very painful, swollen or appears red, you should refer them to a podiatrist who is trained to treat it professionally,” says Campbell.

Managing client expectations can also be a challenge. “If a client hasn’t had a pedicure for a few years, they may expect a perfect end result which, depending on the state and condition of the skin, may not be possible,” explains Huber-Millet. “Nail techs must explain the realistic end result and recommend how to care for the feet between visits to ensure the best result each time.”

Keeping toenail length under control is important when it comes to a long-lasting pedicure too, as Katie Barnes, PB Awardwinning nail artist and educator and owner of the Katie Barnes Training Academy and KB Educate, explains.

“When toenails become too long, your client’s shoes will put pressure on the nail, causing discomfort and damage.

Depending on the period between services, clients can keep the length manageable with a nail file or clippers,” she says. In salon, you may also come across common conditions such as fungal nail infections, athlete’s foot and bruised nails, which are contraindications. “Please remember, we’re not medically trained and although we may have an idea of what might be occurring, it is always advisable to encourage your client to seek medical advice before you can commence with any treatment,” says Lewendon.

"You should NEVER CUT CORNERS, as proper prep CREATES THE FOUNDATION for the final RESULT"

There may also be occasions where you have a very ticklish client. “The best way to minimise injury to yourself and to the customer is to keep any pressure firm,” adds Lewendon. “Ensure you have a full hold of your client’s foot at all times and ask them if there would be anything they do not want you to do.”

Also, you need to be prepared to treat clients with mobility issues. “It may be that they are unable to lift their leg due to hip or back problems, so ensure your station is set up with the client in a comfortable position and that you are at the correct height to carry out the service,” says Lewendon.

“Leg rests are a great way of ensuring tech and client comfort, and offer your customer bolsters to prop and secure any area they need to make them comfortable.”

Cuticle care is vital

“Cuticle care can often be overlooked in pedicures but good cuticle work will help you apply the gel-polish or lacquer closer to the cuticle for longer-lasting results and will help you offer a flawless finish for the customer,” explains Barnes.

“If product is applied to a nail where there is still skin or cuticle on the nail plate, then it will cause the product to lift prematurely. It could also result in the product being picked off by the client, which can cause damage to the natural nail.”

However, McCann warns that cuticles don’t always need to be cut away. “Just pushing back on the nail is all that’s needed,” she adds. “Most clients are not aware that the cuticle is there to protect the nail from bacteria and infection. Also, when you push the cuticle back, the skin can still be alive, and if you try to cut this it can cause pain to the client and infection to the nail.”

Instead, McCann advises massaging a good cuticle remover into the skin and nail, and leaving it for a minute or two, to help push back and clean up the base of the nail with no cutting needed.

The right aftercare

The three key pillars of pedicure aftercare are: open-toe shoes, a good weekly scrub, and plenty of moisturiser, advises Barnes. “When home care isn’t followed, the client’s feet are back to square one at their next appointment,” she adds.

“Clients must follow the aftercare recommended to them immediately post-treatment, such as wearing open-toe shoes to avoid smudging lacquer, as well as over the following weeks in-between appointments, including using a weekly scrub and application of a good quality moisturiser post-bath or shower.”

Meanwhile, McCann also recommends body salts and a scrub to keep feet smooth, followed by a good thick moisturiser. “I advise them to massage it into the skin then wrap in clingfilm, or to soak the feet and do this same procedure,” she says.

Turn the page for our pick of some of the best products to make pedicures last longer.


This article appears in the June 2022 Issue of Professional Beauty

More from this issue

New report shows key causes of skills and
BODY talk
Body devices are booming, with beauty pros keen to take advantage of the rise in client interest. Melanie Macleod speaks to the experts for a foolproof buyers guide when it comes to aesthetic devices
The beauty and aesthetics trainer and founder of ACHaesthetics tells Lollie Hancock about the importance of proper training, becoming a brand ambassador and educator and finding your passion
ASK THE Experts
Our beauty experts answer your questions about every aspect of running a salon or spa business
This month’s launches include products to smooth and soothe even the most sensitive of skins
The quick WINS
A focused and detailed consultation can help upsell treatments that fill white space. Hellen Ward explains how to get it right for today’s client

This article appears in the June 2022 Issue of Professional Beauty