What is Included in a Manicure & Pedicure?

Student practicing giving a manicure.

Interested in becoming a nail specialist or nail technician? Want to learn more about the reasons clients get a manicure or pedicure? There are many natural and mental benefits for clients from manicures and pedicures. These benefits make getting manicures and pedicures relaxing, while keeping an eye on health. In our Cosmetology program you’ll learn the skills you need to work  as a nail technician, and learn the benefits of working in the beauty industry.

What is a Manicure and Pedicure?

A manicure refers to the curation and care of a client’s hands and a pedicure refers to the curation and care of a client’s feet. This includes skincare, nail care, and artificial nail enhancements that can be customized to a variety of preferences. Let’s take a deeper look at the two main reasons for getting a manicure or a pedicure.

Reason #1: Aesthetics

The central reason for booking a manicures and pedicures appointment with a professional manicurist is to change, enhance, or maintain the look of your nails. There are many different options when it comes to personalizing the aesthetic of your fingernails and/or toenails. Here are some of the aesthetic aspects of your manicure or pedicure you can customize to your exact specifications.

Color – The color(s) of nail polish you choose to polish your nails plays a huge part in how your manicure or pedicure ends up looking. The shades and colors of nail polish available are virtually infinite, so you can feel free to pick how bright, dark, shiny, or shimmery you want your nail color choices to be.

Length – This aesthetic aspect of the manicure or pedicure varies quite a bit for both natural and artificial nails. How long you choose to wear your nails depends on several things, such as the size of your hands/feet, the length of your fingers/toes, and the health and size of your natural nail beds. The most important factor in nail length, however, is your own personal preference.

Shape – Unique or varied nail shape is primarily a characteristic of manicures more so than pedicures. There are several different choices when it comes to how you choose to shape your nails. Rounded tips, pointed tips, and blunted or squared tips are among the most common nail shapes requested. Natural nails can be shaped if they are healthy and strong enough to grow, cut and file. However, artificial nails are usually better for dramatic shaping options.

Designed Nails.

Art/Design – The sky is the limit when it comes to customizing your nail art with manicures and pedicures. It all comes down to how broad your imagination is and the talent of your nail technician. You may be someone who prefers subtle accent dots or classic stripe designs. You may dream of looking down at your nails and seeing miniature works of art.

Accessories: – Gemstones, crystal, beads, and other tiny 3-dimensional nail accessories can take the look of your nails from basic to breath-taking. These accents come in a variety of shapes and colors and can be clustered or spaced out. Even just a little bit of sparkle can go a long way in terms of elevating your manicure or pedicure.

Reason #2: Wellness

Health and wellness are also considered and addressed during a manicure or pedicure appointment. Getting your nails done certainly isn’t the same thing as seeing a medical professional for severe hand and foot issues. However, there are a number of physical and mental benefits to seeing a manicurist.

Skin – Any serious skin issues should always be addressed by a medically certified dermatologist, but a nail technician can address and advise you on many of the minor skin conditions you may be struggling with. Chronic dryness and rough patches such as callouses are just a couple of examples of skin conditions that can be addressed by a nail professional during a manicure and pedicure.

Nails – Having healthy nails is easier said than done for a lot of people. Fungus and infections must always be medically treated, but a manicurist can help you strengthen, grow, and repair your natural nails. Even if you prefer the look of artificial nails you still need to make sure that artificial nails have healthy natural nails to anchor to. This will help avoid excessive and frequent breaking.

What are the Mental Benefits of Getting a Manicure or Pedicure?

There is more to manicures and pedicures than the physical condition and the visual look of your nails. Sometimes going to the spa or salon is about taking some time out to focus on yourself. Let’s take a closer look at the internal benefits of manicures and pedicures.

Benefit #1: Self Care

Getting your nails done is all about self-care. Your mental health may not be the first thing you think of when you make your nail appointment, but there is something to be said for taking a timeout from the everyday grind to reset yourself. Manicures and pedicures are a great way to give yourself some time away from stress and pressure. Having a regularly scheduled break from your demanding life is healthy. Prioritizing yourself in an indulgent way can do wonders for your personal wellness. A manicure and pedicure can help keep you relaxed, give you a boost in confidence, and allow you to express your style and attitude in greater detail.

Benefit #2: Relaxation

A fragrant soak and a relaxing hand or foot massage can help you feel more relaxed. Indulging your extremities with this extra attention is particularly helpful if you are on your feet for long periods of time, or if your career requires a large amount of typing, handwriting, or other handwork. Pampering your hands and feet, with a manicure and pedicure, can relax your internal tension and help you relieve stress from the outside in.

Benefit #3: Confidence

Looking good is part of feeling good. When you are comfortable and happy with your overall look it can help you feel more confident as a whole. Your nails are an important part of your style and can make a difference in boosting your confidence. Make sure you know what you want and figure out your own personal nail style.

Benefit #4: Expression

Your nails make a statement to the people around you. What they say to the world depends on how you choose to have them done. Do they say that you are clean and classic? Do they convey an attitude of rebellion and edginess? Are you Avant grade and out of the ordinary? Do your nails purposefully contradict your personality? It’s all about what you want your nails to say.

What are the Benefits of Becoming a Nail Technician?

If you are someone who is naturally drawn to manicures and pedicures, you may have already considered making your interest in nail care a career. Do you want to academically and financially invest in your passion for nail care and nail design? There are a lot of positive aspects to becoming a fully trained and nail technician.

Reason #1: Interesting and Challenging Work

Being a nail technician leaves little room for boredom. The work itself may share fundamental qualities and similarities, however the specifics will vary from client to client. Here are some of the ways your professional nail work will keep you motivated and on your toes.

Lady showing off nail design.

Variety of Client Tastes and Preferences

Styles and preferences vary widely from person to person. You may have one client who wants to focus on conditioning their natural nails to maintain a more natural look and then another who wants 10-inch artificial nails with elaborately different designs on each one. Be ready to tackle any nail challenge that sits down at your station.

Different Anatomy

Nail shape, nail texture, finger/to length, nail strength and overall hand or foot size will all be factors to consider on an individual client-by-client basis. You will want to make your clients’ hands, feet and nails look, feel, and function the best that you possibly can. That means paying attention to the details of each individual customer during a manicure and pedicure.

Reason #2: Diverse Opportunities for Income

Another benefit to becoming a nail technician is the many career options you have to choose from. Where you work and how you manifest your career will all depend on the demands of your life and your level of commitment. Becoming a manicurist can give you the flexibility to create your own schedule or it can give you the stability of a predictable work environment. These are some of the most common career options for professional nail techs.

Nail Shops – Storefront nail shops are a fantastic way to get exposure to a high volume of clients for manicures and pedicures. These establishments typically have a lot of call-in and walk-in traffic which will give you a lot of practice and experience. It will also give you the chance to work with and learn from other seasoned industry professionals.

Salons/Spas – Spas and salons will often feature an area for manicures and pedicures as part of the services they offer to their clients. People who go to spas and salons are typically looking for a pampering experience, so you will likely be indulging your clients in more high-end treatments and detailed design work if this is the professional avenue you choose.

Retail – Shopping centers, certain flea markets, and fashion malls commonly feature manicure and pedicure services. These establishments usually rely on heavy foot traffic, so scheduling and preparation can be more hectic and fast-paced than it is with other nail care establishments.

Resorts/Casinos – Getaways and vacations are the perfect excuse for a little extra indulgence. Lots of people will seek out nail services and special treatments to spoil themselves while they’re on holiday. Manicures and pedicures are included in these indulgences. If you decide that a resort or casino is the right place to start your career, you will probably want to prepare for a lot of nail care first-timers and frequently changing faces.

Final Thoughts

The accessibility of celebrity and recognition through social media platforms has transformed the beauty industry across the board. Nail care is no exception. You can transform your passion and talent into a career through online tutorials, endorsements, and even entertainment. It all depends on your vision and your ambition.

Did this discussion about manicures and pedicures interest you in becoming a nail technician? Your search for a nail technician program ends at Minnesota School of Cosmetology, where you learn all the tricks of the trade to provide the look and TLC clients are looking for as part of our Cosmetology Program. Our campus locations are convenient, if you are looking for beauty schools that can train you to become a nail technician. You will graduate with a firm understanding of the anatomy of the nails and the skills to perform a variety of nail services, including manicures, pedicures, gel polish applications and nail art.

Both campuses feature salon-grade pedicure chairs and manicure stations where you will get to perfect your skills in a professional salon setting. If you are looking to become a nail technician, you can gain valuable, real-world experience you graduate working with products used in many salons across the country.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a nail technician and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

The Definitive Guide to Manicures & Pedicures

Woman receiving manicures and pedicures

Interested in becoming a nail technician? Here is some advice on how to take care of hands and feet with the help of manicures and pedicures.

We get manicures and pedicures for many different reasons. Fashion and design are two of the most common reasons people go to a salon or spa to have their nails done. This can come in the form of shaping and painting your own nails or having artificial ones applied. Sometimes you have a nail style idea or artistic concept that you need professional help to execute the way you want. We also frequently seek out professional manicures and pedicures when we need help fixing or repairing something about our hands or feet. It could be anything from a broken fingernail to a calloused spot on your heel that needs attention. It is not uncommon for people to need nail or skin help from a trained pro.

You may also be the kind of person who books a manicure or pedicure as part of a self-care routine or relaxation ritual. There are times you book an emergency appointment for last-minute assistance and there are times you book an emergency appointment because you desperately need a break. No matter what the reason is, taking care of your hands and feet by booking a manicure or pedicure appointment can be a great self-investment. Whether the reason is a physical or mental one, manicures and pedicures can be a terrific way to refresh, repair, and rejuvenate. Let’s take a look at the different ways to show your hands and feet a little more love.

Healthy Manicures and Pedicures Start at Home

There is no question that the luxury of being professionally pampered at a nice nail salon can be precisely what you need after a rough week. However, you don’t need a high-end spa experience to feel indulgent and you don’t have to wait for permission to take care of your own body in the best ways possible. There are many things to think about and re-evaluate when it comes to your daily routine. Here are some areas to consider that will help you maintain the health of your hands and feet. We will also take a quick look at helpful questions for you to ask your spa and salon professionals at your next appointment that will help you maximize your manicures and pedicures.

Sanitation and Hygiene

Clean hands and feet are significant priorities that can too often go overlooked. Sure, we shower and wash our hands frequently. But how often do we carefully and thoroughly clean under our nails? Do we keep hand sanitizer handy for unexpected run-ins with dirty surfaces and substances? Keeping your nails and skin clean can reduce irritation, minimize breaking and even help improve your health in general.

Moisture Balancing

The moisture level of your skin can vary based on environmental and genetic factors. Dry, cracked skin on your hands and feet can lead to infections and irritations. Particularly around the cuticles. Dry climates and extreme weather make this worse. Likewise, overly moist conditions created by certain shoes, gloves or work equipment can throw the moisture balance of your hands and feet off. Warm, humid conditions can create a ripe breeding ground for bacteria to flourish and blemishes or rashes to appear. So, it is about creating a balance.


Drinking enough water is good for your entire body. Your skin and nails are no exception. Make sure your water is clean and properly filtered for minerals and contaminants that may be harmful.


As with water, other substances that you consume effect the balance and appearance of your body. Your internal issues can manifest externally in a number of ways. When your body is suffering from an imbalance on the inside it is difficult for you to look your best on the outside. This includes the look and health of your hands and feet.

Proper nutrition is vital for healthy skin and strong nails. If you are having trouble with a particular nail or skin issue you may want to consider getting professional advice about supplements or dietary changes. Don’t make any major changes to what you eat without consulting a physician. You should also be responsible about any allergies or pre-existing conditions that may be affected by such suggestions.

Reduce/Manage Environmental Impacts

There are certain things that we can’t avoid. For example, you may work with certain cleaning agents or chemicals that require protective gear. Dealing with children is another unavoidable impact on our hands and feet that can quickly and easily take a toll. Our lives aren’t centered around our manicures, our manicures should fit into our lives. However, we should make the changes we can to be easier on our hands and feet whenever the opportunity arises.

Professional Skincare, Repair and Relaxation

The professionals who provide you with manicures and pedicures offer a lot more than an opportunity to unwind. They have been certified to help you truly take care of your extremities. Here are some of the things going to a spa or salon offers.

Initial Manicure and Pedicure Assessments

The initial assessment is what happens at the very beginning of your manicure or pedicure appointment. This is the point in which you will divulge any issues you need addressed or may have questions about.

It is important to know that nail technicians and estheticians are not physicians. So, if you have any serious concerns about your skin or nail health you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. However, your spa and salon professionals have been trained to identify and address problems such as minor irritations, blemishes, callouses, nail weakness, and other common nail and skin challenges you might be facing.

Hand and Foot Massages

Including a massage as part of your manicure and/or pedicure experience is a great way to take your relaxation to the next level. There are a lot of spas and salons that offer a full range of massage options. Even salons that cater exclusively to nails will often have hand and foot massage options available.

The relaxation a massage can provide is fantastic, but a hand or foot massage has benefits beyond helping you relax. Massage can help improve your circulation, decrease your stress, relieve pressure or tension, and alleviate pain. So, the next time you get a manicure, or a pedicure don’t be afraid to go for a more indulgent, all-inclusive experience.

Manicures and Pedicures: Soothing Soaks and Smoothing Treatments

Softening and smoothing rough skin is part of maintaining the integrity, health, and the youthful appearance of your hands and feet. One of the ways you might go about softening skin that is particularly rough or calloused is to soak it in warm water. You may also help to further smooth the skin of your hands and feet by exfoliating and conditioning them using various products, tools and techniques.

Cuticle and Nail Care

There is some maintenance in this area that can be done on your own as part of your daily hygiene routine. But there are some things that require professional training, a special product, or a specific piece of equipment to deal with. These issues can easily and readily be addressed by a trained pro during a manicure or pedicure. They are certified to ensure that your hands and feet are in capable hands no matter what the situation may be.

Works of Art Directly at Your Fingertips

Being expressive may not initially seem like an important priority, but it is. The health of your hands and feet are undeniably important. How you feel about yourself and the way you look is also important. Being expressive through the artistic elements of your manicure and pedicure choices can help you feel more confident and help you look the way you want. There are a couple of significant style benefits to expressing your individuality through nail art.

Manicures and Pedicures Allow You to Express Your Individuality Through Design

There are many options when it comes to the design elements of your nail art. You can choose to center your nails around a trending style. Or perhaps you would want to coordinate your nails with a specific outfit for a special occasion. You may want to keep things minimalistic and simple, or you may choose to go extravagantly elaborate with your artistic choices. There are endless options in nail color, length, accessory, cut and overall style design. These choices allow you to be as creative or trendy as your heart desires.

Fun Fashion That is Temporary

Nail color and artificial nails have come a long way in terms of durability. New developments in formulas and technologies have made manicures and pedicures much stronger than they use to be. But even though they are durable doesn’t mean they are permanent. Which is a good thing. Sure, you want your manicure and/or pedicure to last a reasonable amount of time, but it is also nice that you can switch it whenever you’re ready. Retouching and redoing your nails periodically is a great way to ensure frequent self-care while providing sufficient opportunities for renewing or replacing your nail art to fit your changing moods and styles.

Feeling the Glow from Your Fingers to Your Toes

Our hands and feet play a significant role in our everyday lives and take quite a bit of abuse from all the impact and exposures they suffer. Treating your extremities to some extra attention can help keep you feeling and looking the way you deserve. That may include going for a foot soak and a hand massage. It might include having your nails done. Looking and feeling good go hand in hand, and both should be a priority. Being good to yourself with a manicure and pedicure is a great way to stay fabulous, refreshed, and feeling your best.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about manicures and pedicures interest you? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.

We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. You will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

6 Steps to Create Your Own In-Home Spa Pedicure Experience

We all know that when it comes to spa treatments, it is best to leave it to the professionals, but it can be one of those things we don’t necessarily treat ourselves to. There are different treatments you can do at home to stretch out that spa experience until you can spoil yourself again. Here’s how to treat your feet between services:

  1. (Photo courtesy: Nailpro.com)
    Remove your existing polish
    . Then, fill a large bowl or tub full of warm water (1-2 gallons of water). Add ½ cup of Epsom Salts, 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil, and a teaspoon of your favorite essential oil (lavender, chamomile, peppermint, rosemary, etc.) and soak feet for 5-10 minutes.


  1. Use an exfoliant to remove dead skin – here’s where Pinterest comes in handy! Look up homemade recipes for a good sugar scrub. Want something simple? Just mix 1 cup baby oil and 2 cups sugar. It’s really as easy as that. Massage into each foot for a minute or two using a circular motion starting with your heel and finishing with your toes.   Rinse with warm water.


  1. Smoothe calluses. Here’s where I would tell you to exercise a little caution – you do not want to remove calluses completely. It can actually be painful. Just grab a foot file, a pumice stone, or lava rock (you can find a foot file at Sally Beauty, Walgreens, or the dollar store) and gently rub  the bottom of your heels, bottom of your feet, and toes. Do not rub so hard that it rubs you raw either.


  1. Trim your toenails using an actual toenail clipper. It works so much better than the one for fingers and causes less damage. Using the wrong clipper can crack, break, or cause your toenail to peel.   Trim them straight across and then smooth the edges with a nail file; smooth the corners a bit to help prevent in-grown toenails.


  1. The best part – moisturize! Using your favorite lotion, massage into feet and legs in a circular motion. Upgrade – add some essential oils in with your lotion to achieve an even higher level of spa experience! Here are some common oils & the effects that they promote :
    • Lavender – promotes relaxation & helps to reduce anxiety
    • Eucalyptus – clean, refreshing, and promotes alertness
    • Peppermint – promotes alertness
    • Bergamot – citrusy, refreshing, often used in male fragrances, is used as an anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and antiviral – and helps to fight viruses!
    • Rose – helps with a number of illnesses and conditions including depression, anxiety, and digestion. Also helps with circulation, heart problems, and respiratory problems.
  1. Prep Nail & Apply color! To prep your nail, you want to clean off the lotion from your toenails by using a cotton ball with polish remover. This helps to remove the oils on your nails from the lotions so that your color stays on longer. Pick out your favorite color. Each color line has come out with their fall color lines to choose from. And they are branching a bit away from the all dark colors. You can still wear light pinks, mauves, and other colors into the fall. If you are feeling talented, try a French polish application! Apply a base coat on each nail, then go through all 10 nails with the first coat of color, apply the second coat in the same fashion, and finish with a top coat. Don’t forget to apply the top coat over the edge of the nail! It helps seal in the color and helps it to last even longer.


Admire your handiwork! As you probably know, it’s a lot of work to do your own pedicure. So kick back, enjoy and relax!

Your nail technician will give you a recommendation on how often to return for pedicure services. If you can’t go as often as they suggest (typically every 4-6 weeks) then this is a great way to keep up your feet. Don’t neglect them just because the weather is starting to turn. It’s still nice to see pretty toes all year round! Plus, since our skin turns drier during the winter months (yes I said winter! Sadly…it’s coming!) it is still just as important to moisturize and care for your feet all year round.


by Cori Omundson, Licensed Nail Technician