“As far as getting a professional pedicure, I would recommend getting one every three to five weeks,” Josephson said.
If you're not sure about the routine, disinfection and sanitation procedures of the professional, ask or just opt for the pampering parts of the pedicure and not as much of the technical procedures with metal implements. All metal tools should be cleaned after each client. So should the pedicure bowl.
A basic pedicure usually includes removing old polish, modestly trimming and cleaning under nails, light scrubbing and moisturizing heels, followed by nail polish. Cutting nails too short is not good, but toenails that are left too long can look ungroomed.
“And I would be hesitant to allow a tech you don't know well to use a blade on calluses or trim cuticles,” she said.
Many techs, including Josephson, keep regular clients' tools (files, toe spacers, buffers) in separate packages. Or you can bring your own each visit, but check first with the nail tech for any brand or style specifics.
Also, most nail techs prefer to use their own metal tools because they're familiar with them and they know they do the job. So, once again, pay attention to cleaning and disinfection procedures, Josephson said.
A DIY pedicure
An at-home pedicure requires a few simple steps, according to About.com and the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Remove old nail polish and use a toenail clipper to trim nails straight across. Don't clip the corners of your toenails because it can increase the risk of ingrown toenails.
File nails in one direction, then soak feet for 10 minutes in a large bowl or the bathtub. For a little extra pampering, toss in some aromatherapy oils or a foot soak product. Dry feet well and apply cuticle remover to each nail. Leave for a minute or two, then use an orangewood or rubber manicure stick to gently push back cuticles.
Apply foot scrub to a wet foot file or wet pumice stone to slough away dead skin on the balls and heels of your feet. Give those toes some attention, too. Don't scrub too hard.
Use alcohol to wipe away any excess oil on nails, then apply a base coat followed by two thin coats of polish. A quick-drying top coat will help set the polish. Or consider a product such as CND Solar Speed Spray, which dries nail polish while moisturizing and conditioning the nail and cuticle.