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A pedicurist is a nail technician who enhances his clients’ appearance through grooming their feet and toenails. He normally provides the same service for hands and fingernails, a professional position commonly called manicurist. The work may be performed in retail salons in department stores, hair styling shops, spas, nail salons or at private residences. He may be an independent contractor who owns and operates his own business or be part of a staff of cosmetologists, also commonly referred to as personal appearance workers.
The services provided by a pedicurist vary according to client preferences, the cost of the treatment and the available equipment. Some customers may prefer a simple nail job that consists of only cutting and shaping the toenails. Others frequently want the full spa treatment pedicure.
The spa-type pedicure typically includes the feet being soaked in warm, soapy water and smoothed with brushes and pumice stones. This water bath is generally followed by a foot massage, nail and cuticle trimming, treatments and applications to improve nail health and a coat or two of colored or clear nail polish. Some pedicurists offer decorative appliqués for the nails that frequently include tiny flowers or hearts. Massage chairs are often available for the customer to relax in while the pedicure is being performed.
The prices a pedicurist charges for his services commonly vary depending on the depth of the treatment and the products used. A simple cutting and shaping of the nails is usually the least expensive option. If high-end or therapeutic processes or products are used, the price can substantially increase.
Small shops that are independently owned and operated by a pedicurist frequently have only the most basic professional tools. These commonly include toenail clippers, a pumice stone, toenail scissors, emery boards, a buffing wand and a small plastic tub in which to soak the customer’s feet. Fancier locales generally offer extended amenities such as basins equipped with water jets to relax the feet and massage technicians to rub customer shoulders and enhance their overall experience. Tiny heat lamps that hover above the toenails to speed up the drying process are available in some high-end salons as well.
When a pedicurist is not serving his clients, he is typically involved in cleaning his shop or station. Keeping the area neat and sanitized reduces the risk of harmful bacteria growing and possibly infecting customers. He is also normally occupied with scheduling appointments, ordering equipment and supplies and maintaining business records.
Educational and age requirements vary by region and vicinity. Most pedicurists receive training at cosmetology schools or community colleges. Licenses are frequently required for podiatrists to legally provide services.