How Long Does a Pedicure Take? The Complete Guide

A pedicure is a therapeutic foot treatment that provides comprehensive care for feet and toenails. It involves soaking the feet, removing dead skin cells and calluses, trimming and shaping nails, massaging the feet, and applying polish.

Pedicures offer both aesthetic and health benefits, leaving feet smooth, nails shapely, and skin hydrated. But how long does a pedicure take? Here's a comprehensive overview of pedicure duration and the pampering process.

What is a Pedicure?

Before diving into how long the service takes, it helps to understand exactly what a pedicure entails. A pedicure is focused care and beautification of the feet and toes - essentially a manicure for the feet. It addresses skin and nail care needs specific to the feet to improve their appearance and health. If you're looking for similar treatments for your hands, consider our manicure services in Toronto.

A pedicure typically includes the following elements:

  • Foot bath: Feet are soaked in warm, often bubbling water mixed with essential oils and aromatic ingredients like peppermint or eucalyptus. This softens skin, allowing for easier removal of dead cells.
  • Exfoliation: A grainy foot scrub containing ingredients like sugar, salt, or pumice stone sloughs away dry, callused skin, revealing smoother feet.
  • Nail shaping: Nails are filed and shaped, smoothing rough edges and evening out length.
  • Cuticle care: Cuticles are softened and gently pushed back. Hangnails are nipped off.
  • Callus removal: A foot rasp is used to buff away thick buildup of dead skin.
  • Massage: Hands, fingers, or tools massage and knead the feet and calves to relax muscles.
  • Nail polish: Toes are painted with either regular lacquer or gel polish cured in a UV or LED lamp.
  • Paraffin treatment: Some pedicures involve dipping the feet in melted paraffin wax to deeply moisturize the skin.
Additional pampering services like masks, scrubs, or extended leg and foot massages may be incorporated as well, depending on the pedicure type. Overall, the treatment provides therapeutic care to renew skin, beautify nails, and provide a soothing experience.

Average Time for Pedicure Services

So how long does all of this foot pampering take from start to finish? The total time for a pedicure can range considerably based on the specific services included, from quick 30-minute express versions to leisurely 90-minute luxury treatments. If you're on a budget, you might want to explore the cheapest nail salons near you.

Traditional Pedicure - 45-60 Minutes

A standard pedicure includes a foot soak, exfoliating scrub, nail shaping, cuticle care, light massage, and application of regular nail polish. The average duration for a traditional pedicure is 45-60 minutes. This allows adequate time for each step without feeling rushed.

Here is a breakdown of how long each component of a traditional pedicure typically takes:

  • Initial foot bath: 5-10 minutes to soften skin
  • Exfoliation with scrub: 5-10 minutes
  • Foot and calf massage: 5-10 minutes
  • Cuticle care: 5 minutes
  • Nail shaping and grooming: 5-10 minutes
  • Polish application: 10 minutes
Of course, the precise timing varies based on individual factors like the condition of the client's feet and nails and whether any problem areas need extra attention. But in general, 45-60 minutes provides sufficient time for the nail technician to carefully complete the full pedicure process without hurrying.

Gel Pedicure - 60-75 Minutes

A gel pedicure follows nearly the same steps as a traditional pedicure, but uses gel polish that is cured under ultraviolet or LED light. Gel polish is long-lasting and chip-resistant compared to traditional nail lacquer. However, the need to cure each layer of gel color under the light adds extra time to the service.

A gel manicure typically takes 15-20 minutes longer than a traditional lacquer pedicure. The soaking, scrubbing, trimming, massaging, and base coat application take the same amount of time. But the technician must stop after each layer of gel polish to cure it under the light. With a base coat, two layers of color, and top coat, the curing process can add 15 minutes or more to allow for proper drying.

In total, plan for 60-75 minutes for a gel pedicure so all steps - exfoliation, trimming, curing - can be completed without compromising quality. Rushing through the process can risk smudging the polish.

Luxury Pedicure - 60-90 Minutes

Luxury or deluxe pedicures provide a more indulgent experience, incorporating extras like paraffin treatments, masks, scrubs, and prolonged massage. Especially at dedicated nail spas, high-end pedicures are customized with personalized aromatherapy, foot and leg massages, and more pampering.

These luxury treatments add anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes beyond a traditional pedicure. Paraffin wax application alone takes 15-30 minutes for dipping and setting. Extended foot and leg massages may take 20-30 minutes rather than just 5-10 minutes. The application of masks, scrubs, or aromatherapy oils also lengthens the process.

Many deluxe spa pedicures are 60 minutes at a baseline, but stretch to 90 minutes with all the extras. The focus is less on quick beautification than indulgent relaxation - you should expect to sink back and unwind rather than watching the clock.

Paraffin Wax Pedicure - 60-90 Minutes

Paraffin wax pedicures involve dipping the feet in melted paraffin wax to deeply moisturize the skin. The warm wax is soothing and locks in moisture. In addition to softening skin on the feet, the wax treatment can help with conditions like arthritis, joint stiffness, and fibromyalgia.

The application and removal of the wax adds 15-30 minutes to a traditional pedicure. After the usual exfoliating and trimming process, the feet are dipped into warm, liquid wax then wrapped in plastic booties, gloves, or towels to retain heat. The wax must remain on for 10-15 minutes to penetrate the skin before being peeled off.

In total, a paraffin pedicure takes 60-90 minutes - the standard process plus time allotted for the wax treatment. The extra time allows for maximum moisturizing and relaxation. Quickly rushing through application risks diminishing effects.

Pedicure Process Step-by-Step

Now that we’ve covered the standard timing, let’s look at what’s involved in each step of the pedicure process. A thorough salon pedicure consists of several stages:For those in the downtown area, our nail salon in downtown offers all these services.

Foot Soak

The pedicure typically begins by soaking the client’s feet in a basin of warm water for 5-10 minutes. The temperature helps soften skin, allowing dead cells and calluses to be removed more easily. Soaking also helps relax foot muscles.

The water may contain essential oils like lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus for aromatherapy benefits. Salts, oils, or bubbles may be added as well. Foot soaks open pores, allowing removal of impurities from the skin’s surface. Exfoliation after soaking helps reveal smooth fresh skin.


After soaking the feet in the basin, the nail technician uses an exfoliating scrub to buff away rough, dry skin and calluses. The scrub contains grainy ingredients like sea salt, sugar, crushed walnut shells, or microbeads that act as an abrasive.

As the scrub is massaged over the feet, it lifts away dead skin cells on the bottoms and sides. Exfoliating smooths areas of roughness like the heels and balls of the feet, leaving skin renewed. A pumice stone may supplement the scrub to ensure calluses are sloughed away.

Exfoliation is key to prevent buildup of dead skin that can lead to conditions like cracked heels. It reveals the newer skin below. All traces of the scrub are rinsed clean after this rejuvenating process.


After exfoliation, most pedicures incorporate a light foot and calf massage. The massage helps relax muscles in the feet and lower legs tightened from standing, exercising, or high heels. Massage promotes circulation in the feet and may use reflexology techniques to target pressure points.

Hands, tools, or foot massagers are used to knead and rub the feet. The massage may use lotion or oil to allow smooth movements over the skin. The nails are avoided so polish won’t get smudged. The massage lasts 5-10 minutes on average but may be prolonged in deluxe pedicures.

Cuticle Care

Caring for the cuticles is an important part of the pedicure process. After soaking the feet in the initial bath, the cuticles soften. The nails are cleaned under running water or wiped with a towel. The cuticles are then gently pushed back using a cuticle stick or gentle pusher.

Loose, dead cuticle remnants are carefully nipped away using small scissors or cuticle clippers before treatment with cuticle oil or cream. Trimming prevents painful hangnails while the moisturizing oils keep cuticles looking healthy. Avoid aggressive cutting, which can damage nails. Proper tools and light handling prevent issues.

Nail Shaping

Once cuticles look tidy, attention shifts to shaping the nails. The nail technician uses a file to smooth down rough edges and shape them into uniform ovals or squares based on personal preference.

The proper shape for each toe is maintained to prevent ingrown toenails or overgrown edges catching. The nails are filed from corner to middle to prevent damage. Nails are thinned to help discourage future ingrown nails but not excessively shortened.

The filing process results in nails with smooth edges, shapely ends, and consistent lengths. It removes surface debris and thickened keratin. Proper shaping is vital for both appearance and preventing future foot problems.

Callus Removal

If calluses or areas of thick, dead skin are present, the pedicure involves aggressively smoothing these spots using a foot file or rasp. The foot file has a coarse grit that buffs away hardened skin that regular exfoliating did not remove.

The technician focuses on any current calluses or buildup on the heels, balls of the feet, or other high-pressure areas. The file uses downward strokes and friction to thin the thick patches. Removing calluses prevents discomfort from skin that has hardened under pressure.

For severely cracked heels, additional scrubbing, creams, or oils may be worked in to penetrate deeply. The goal is feet free of hardened, painful skin. For some clients, this callus removal is the most beneficial part of the pedicure.

Polish Application

The finishing touch of a pedicure is lacquering the nails in the chosen polish color. Regular nail polish is painted on and allowed to dry. For gel pedicures, a base coat is applied, then two layers of gel color with curing under a UV or LED lamp in between.

Applying polish neatly takes precision. Typically toes are separated with foam spacers to prevent smudging. Darker polish colors may require extra coats for opacity. Top coat seals the polish. The finished nails should be flawless and pigmented.

If nails are already polished, old lacquer is removed before starting the new application. Take home polish and care instructions are provided so results can be maintained between salon visits.

Pedicure Benefits

Pedicures are not merely a cosmetic luxury. Proper foot care provides many benefits beyond simply beautifying the feet. Here are some key advantages pedicures offer:

Health Benefits

  • Smoothes rough skin: Removes calluses and thick areas to prevent discomfort and pain from excessive pressure on hardened skin.
  • Prevents callus formation: Exfoliation whisks away dead cells before they accumulate.
  • Treats cracked heels: Deep scrubbing and moisturizing rehydrates overly dry, cracked skin.
  • Discourages ingrown nails: Proper nail shaping helps prevent nails from becoming ingrown.
  • Disinfect tools: Prevents spread of contagious bacteria and fungi, avoiding infections.
  • Stimulates circulation: Massage boosts blood flow to the feet.

Mental Health Benefits

  • Provides relaxation: The foot soak, massage, and pampering offer a calming experience.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety: Pedicures lower stress hormones and tension.
  • Boosts mood: Self-care rituals increase endorphins and feelings of wellbeing.
  • Enhances confidence: Attractive feet can boost self-esteem.

How Often to Get Pedicures

How frequently you get a pedicure depends on your needs and preferences. On average, professional pedicures every 2-4 weeks are recommended for maintenance. But you may need touch-ups more or less often based on your lifestyle. If you're in the downtown area, consider visiting our nail salon downtown for regular maintenance.

Frequency Recommendations

Here are some general guidelines on pedicure frequency:

  • If you get gel polish, fills are needed every 2-3 weeks as the nails grow out.
  • With regular polish, growth and chips may be visible in 1-2 weeks.
  • Calluses and rough skin redevelop more quickly than nail growth, so focus on foot skin moisture and smoothness.
  • In summer, sandal season may call for more frequent touch-ups.
  • If you go barefoot a lot or are on your feet all day, skin re-roughens more quickly.
  • The slower your nails grow, the longer pedicure results will last.

Signs It's Time for a Pedicure

Some signs that it's time to treat your feet to some professional TLC:

  • Visible nail growth with polish looking grown out.
  • Polish chipping or becoming scratched and dull.
  • Dry, rough patches reappearing on heels or edges of feet.
  • Skin starts to feel hardened or flaky overall.
  • Nails feeling thick or looking opaque.
  • Returning discomfort when walking or wearing shoes.
Use these indicators that your pedicure is due for freshening up! Don’t wait until your feet look bad or feel painful. Maintaining them regularly is key.

Pedicure Aftercare

To extend the results of your pedicure, it’s essential to care properly for your feet in between salon visits. Here are some tips for making your pedicure last longer:

At-Home Foot Care

  • Moisturize: Apply foot cream daily, especially to callus-prone areas like heels and balls of feet.
  • Exfoliate: Use a pumice stone once a week to gently buff away dead skin before it builds up. Focus on roughened areas.
  • Massage: Knead feet with moisturizing lotion using circular motions to improve circulation.
  • Hydrate: Shea butter, petroleum jelly, and oils like olive and coconut deeply moisturize dry, cracked skin.
  • Avoid harsh soaps: Use gentle cleansers without sulfates or fragrances that can dry out skin.
  • Wear clean socks: Prevent dirt and bacteria from re-roughening freshly smoothed skin.
  • Don’t pick at polish: Resist the urge to pick off chips to avoid damaging nails.

How Long Salon Results Last

With consistent at-home care between visits:

  • Pedicure smoothness lasts 2-3 weeks on most feet.
  • Gel polish may last 3-4 weeks without chipping or fading.
  • Dry, callused skin redevelops quickly if neglected.
  • Keeping polish sealed delays regrowth needing attention.
Proper maintenance keeps your feet looking salon-fresh longer! Extend pedicure results by caring for your feet daily.

Pedicure Do's and Don'ts

Follow these do’s and don’ts for the best pedicure experience and results:

Pedicure Etiquette


  • Arrive with clean feet - no need to scrub beforehand.
  • Bring open-toed shoes to avoid smudging wet polish.
  • Communicate any specific concerns like painful calluses.
  • Tip your technician for great service!
  • Rush! Relax and enjoy, don’t worry about time.
  • Get a pedicure if you have any infections - wait until healed.
  • Forget to clean up toenail clippings from the floor.

Choosing Footwear


  • Opt for open-toed shoes like flip flops after a pedicure.
  • Put on clean socks to prevent lint sticking in polish.
  • Try compression socks after an intensive exfoliation session.
  • Wear constricting boots or shoes that can ruin fresh polish.
  • Go barefoot outdoors where dirt and debris can damage nails.

Safety Tips


  • Verify the salon disinfects tools properly.
  • Speak up if you experience any discomfort or see unsanitary practices.
  • Care for nails and skin at home between pedicures.
  • Shave legs the day before - cuts increase infection risk.
  • Get a pedicure if you have any open wounds or unhealed infections.
  • Let cuticles get overgrown or nails get thickened between visits.


Pedicures offer a combination of therapeutic and aesthetic benefits for foot health. Wondering how long does a pedicure take? The duration of a pedicure varies depending on the type, with traditional pedicures taking 45-60 minutes and gel pedicures lasting 60-75 minutes. The pedicure process includes essential steps like foot soaking, exfoliation, massage, cuticle care, nail shaping, callus removal, and polish application.

These treatments not only improve the appearance of the feet but also provide health benefits such as improved circulation and stress reduction. To maintain the results, regular at-home foot care is essential. Following pedicure etiquette and safety tips ensures the best pedicure experience.


How long does a regular manicure pedicure take?

A regular manicure typically takes around 30-45 minutes, while a pedicure may take 45 minutes to an hour. If you're getting both done simultaneously, plan for 1.5 to 2 hours.

What should I expect for my first pedicure?

For your first pedicure, expect a relaxing experience. You'll soak your feet, get your nails trimmed, shaped, and polished. There might be a foot massage, and you can choose various nail treatments like gel or regular polish.

How long should a manicure take?

A standard manicure usually takes around 30-45 minutes. However, the time can vary based on the complexity of the design and the type of polish used.

How long should you wait between pedicures?

It's recommended to wait 2-4 weeks between pedicures to allow your nails to grow and maintain their health. Your nail technician can provide personalized advice.

What should you not do before a pedicure?

Avoid moisturizing your feet or applying nail polish before a pedicure, as it can interfere with the adhesion of nail polish. Additionally, refrain from shaving your legs right before the appointment, as it may lead to skin sensitivity.

Is it rude to not shave before a pedicure?

It's not considered rude to have unshaved legs before a pedicure. Nail technicians are accustomed to working with clients in various states, and the focus is primarily on your nail care.

What not to do after a pedicure?

After a pedicure, avoid wearing tight shoes or socks immediately to prevent smudging. Steer clear of activities that may cause your nails to chip or damage, and refrain from submerging your feet in water for a few hours.

What is pedicure etiquette?

Pedicure etiquette involves being polite to your nail technician, communicating your preferences clearly, and maintaining good hygiene. It's also important to tip your technician for their services.

How many hours after a pedicure can I shower?

It's best to wait at least 4-6 hours before taking a shower after a pedicure to ensure that the nail polish has fully dried and set.

Is it rude to eat while getting a pedicure?

Eating during a pedicure is generally not considered rude, but it's best to ask the salon if they allow it. If you choose to eat, be mindful and avoid making a mess.

Is it rude to fall asleep during a pedicure?

Falling asleep during a pedicure is not rude; it can be a sign of relaxation and comfort. Nail technicians are accustomed to this and will continue their work without disturbing you.

Is it rude to be on your phone at the nail salon?

While it's not inherently rude to be on your phone at a nail salon, it's courteous to minimize phone usage, especially during a manicure or pedicure, as it can make the technician's job more challenging. It's also an opportunity to relax and enjoy the experience.



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