A woman's feet after a pedicure
A pedicure in progress

A pedicure is a cosmetic treatment of the feet and toenails, analogous to a manicure. Pedicures are done for cosmetic, therapeutic, and medical purposes and can help prevent nail diseases and nail disorders. They are popular throughout the world, especially among women.

Pedicures include care not only for toenails; dead skin cells are rubbed off the bottom of the feet, using a rough stone (often a pumice stone) or other material. Skin care is often provided up to the knee, including granular exfoliation, moisturizing, and massage.

The word pedicure is derived from the Latin words pedis, which means "of the foot", and cura, which means "care".


People have been pedicuring their nails for more than 4,000 years. In southern Babylonia, noblemen used solid gold tools to give themselves manicures and pedicures. The use of fingernail polish can be traced back even further. Originating in China in 3000 BC, nail color indicated one’s social status, according to a Ming Dynasty manuscript; royal fingernails were painted black and red. Ancient Egyptians have been manicuring all the way back to 2300 BC.

A depiction of early manicures and pedicures was found on a carving from a pharaoh’s tomb, and the Egyptians were known for paying special attention to their feet and legs. The Egyptians also colored their nails, using red to show the highest social class. It is said that Cleopatra’s nails were painted a deep red, whereas Queen Nefertiti went with a flashier ruby shade. In ancient Egypt and Rome, military commanders also painted their nails to match their lips before they went off to battle.

Pedicures in the United States

The pedicure industry began to noticeably grow in 2000. There were approximately 50,000 nail salons located throughout the United States (US) then, compared to nearly 200,000 nail salons today.[1] This was largely driven by the full-service salon. Pedicure has high growth rates compared to other industries.

Pedicures themselves take approximately 45 minutes to an hour. This results in extremely high equivalent hourly fees and thus an increase in GDP grew from $2 billion to $6 billion between the year 2000 and 2004.

Economic impact

According to the US Department of Labor, manicure and pedicure specialists earned a median income of around $20,820 in 2015.[2] Most professionals earn an hourly wage or salary which can be augmented through customer tips. Independent nail techs depend on repeat business and consistent business to earn their livings. The most successful independent manicure technicians may earn salaries of over $50,000 per year.[3] Also, many nail technicians can earn up to $100 per hour from performing more technical nail treatments, such as pink and whites and sculpting. Although these treatments are not particularly popular for the feet, they are, nonetheless, an available option should anyone wish to have such a treatment. A standard Pedicure treatment usually costs in the region of $40. Similar salaries can be earned by skilled pedicure techs working in exclusive and high end spas and salons.

Tools and nail cosmetics

Nail cosmetics

Types of Pedicures

There are various different types of pedicures. Some of the most common types are as follows (names and products may vary from spa to spa):


See also


  1. Nail salon
  2. "Manicurists and Pedicurists : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics". Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  3. "Nail Technician School Programs". Skilled Trade School. Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  4. "Types of Pedicures". Spavelous. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  5. Writer, Rebecca Adams Voices Staff; Post, The Huffington (2014-03-24). "How Your Pedicure Could Be Hurting Your Health". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-08-12.
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