Manicure and pedicure are treatments for the hand and feet, respectively.
Those two extremities that carry so much of our daily burden, hardly get our attention, which they certainly need, deserve and want.
Those practices have been in use for centuries.
Carving depicting the procedures were found in pharaoh’s tomb. Cleopatra was said to have painted her nails red, while Nefertiti’s were ruby colored. In southern Babylonia 4,000 years ago and in China since 3,000 BC the practice was used, as is evident from descriptions of painting the nails of the royals.
Both procedures were historically done by experts, but that is not to say that those treatments can not be done at home. When it comes to pedicures it is sometimes best to have it done by another person, because the curvature of the nails makes it hard to get to the right spots by yourself.
It is important to note that those procedures have no gender attached to them. It might be considered feminine to go the nail salon, but it is absolutely not true. Having well groomed hands and feet is a unisex attribute which makes the person appear clean and well taken care of.
What is a Manicure?
The manicure is a treatment for the hands and nails, not the nails alone. It’s purpose is to check the health of the hands and nails, reshape and refine the nails to a desirable shape and nourish the palms and the back of the hand.
- Cleaning the hands thoroughly and removing leftovers of previous treatments.
- Checking to see if there are any changes to the shape or the color of the nails.
- Cutting and shaping the nail. Nails that are overgrown or cut too short can cause health problems like fungus infections that are very hard to get rid of.
- Pushing the cuticle back towards the sides to expose as much of the nail as is comfortable.
- Cutting off any access of skin so it will not be dragged by fabrics and cause pain.
- Nourishing the hands and nails with creams to return the elasticity of the skin and protect it against environmental pollutants.
- Enhancing the beauty of the hand with nail color, or protecting the nail with a sheer coat.
What is a Pedicure?
Even though those toes are not always visible, they are the ones prone to risks. A shoe that is too tight, a nail that continuously rubs against the inside of a shoe, bunions, untreated cuts and bruises can all course nail fungus and are mostly avoidable if care is given to the feet on a regular basis.
- Washing of the feet.
- Cutting and shaping the nail. That is an important part of the procedure because that it the time to really look at the nails. Any sudden changes in shape or color? Any imprints of the feet from work shoes? Cutting the nail across from side to side is the most recommended to avoid ingrown toenails.
- Shaping the nail so there will be not rough edges that can create problems.
- Buffering the top of the nail to return its luster.
- Pushing the cuticles back a bit.
- Cutting excess skin.
- Filing off dead skin from the heel or the side of the feet. The heel should feel soft and smooth not like sandpaper. The filing can be done with the help of a pumice stone.
- Treating any corns, infections and abnormalities.
- In nail salons they use exfoliating creams to remove the dead skin from the legs up to the knees.
- Moisturizing the feet and the legs, applying a thick layer and performing a massage until the moisturizer is absorbed.
- Applying nail polish.
Learn how to do a pedicure at home.
Each treatment should not take more than an hour, even for the less experienced among us. Those treatments provide an opportunity to relax and sit back. They have not only cosmetic value but medical as well.