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Cosmetic Pedicure- don't shave legs

Cosmetic Pedicures: Why Skipping the Shave Matters


A cosmetic pedicure is described as a beauty and therapeutic treatment for the toenails and feet. It involves softening the skin, removing dead skin, shaping and trimming the toenails with an optional application of nail Polish and or gel Polish.


Is Shaving Before a Pedicure Really Necessary?

cosmetic pedicure shaving legs

We understand that you don’t want to walk into a salon with very fuzzy, hairy legs. There is a really good reason why you shouldn’t shave your legs immediately prior to getting your pedicure.

Shaving creates micro tears in this skin that could increase your chance of infection. Shaving 60 hours before your pedicure treatment will give your skin enough time to recover from the little micro abrasions that shaving causes and seriously reduce the chance of an infection.

Debunking the Myth: Why Not to Shave Legs Before a Pedicure

Contrary to popular belief, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t shave your legs before a pedicure.

Rachel Miest, assistant professor of dermatology at Mayo Clinic, said (in an interview with USA Today) “It’s not always obvious how bacteria and fungus can wreak havoc and even clean-shaven legs or cut nail folds could seriously raise risk of infection. Note: Serious infections associated with nail salon services are rare, but they do happen.”

Understanding the Core Objectives of a Pedicure

A cosmetic pedicure should make you look good and feel good. Pampering your feet and shaping your toenails is a relaxing experience. Finish that off with a gorgeous nail Polish or a gel Polish and you’re good to go.

Remember, if you’re having your nails polished, your nail Polish needs to be removed in time.

Nail Polish or nail varnish has a life cycle and after about 7 to 14 days, depending on which brands your salon is using, the product starts to breakdown and little mini cracks appear in it. These mini cracks allow water when you’re showering or taking a bath to creep underneath the fractured nail polish and you could develop a surface fungal infection called White Superficial Onychomycosis. The same applies for your gel polish, it too has a life cycle, usually around 3 weeks, then it will also show signs of fracturing, and showering or taking a bath will allow water to creep underneath your gel Polish.

If however, removing your gel Polish or your nail Polish is too much hassle, get your salon to put a permanent nail product on your nail plates before applying the gel polish or the nail polish. A thin layer of Liquid & Powder acrylic will make the world of difference and means you can enjoy the color of your toe nails a lot longer.

Leg Hair Removal: Not a Standard in Pedicure Procedures

Removing the hair on your legs is not a standard part of this process and this shouldn’t be combined with a cosmetic, medical or normal pedicure.

Potential Risks of Shaving Before a Pedicure

Shaving just prior to your pedicure causes little micro cuts and irritation abrasions to your legs. You can’t always see them but they are there.

skin micro cuts
Micro cuts and irritation abrasions after shaving

During your pedicure, The salon may use some kind of exfoliation products to remove the dead skin on your legs. If by some vague chance there is a bacteria hanging around, this bacteria will then be rubbed into your micro abrasions and you run the risk of contracting some kind of infection.

Open Hair Follicles and Salon Tools: The Infection Risk

Cleaning Nail Tools
Salon tools should be new or sanitised

All salon tools should be new or sanitised before they touch your feet. That means technicians should be opening packaging or pulling tools out of a hygiene solution, (usually a blue liquid). New nail files and buffers should be used for each customer and disposed of afterwards because there isn’t any way to fully sanitise them. Only non-porous tools can be properly disinfected.

Prioritising Salon Hygiene: A Must for Safe Pedicures

Pay attention to the pedicure spa basin before you stick your feet in it. Salons should be disinfecting those after each use or using Disposable liners that they get rid of after each service. If you’re unsure of salons cleaning practises, it doesn’t hurt to ask them.

Removing the skin around your nails has no benefit, but for some reason is a routine part of most cosmetic pedicures. The only possible advantage could be that when this skin is removed, there is more nail to polish. But this process doesn’t make sense. The proximal nail fold and the lateral nail folds (that’s the skin around your nails) are there for a reason. They protect the nail, and the nail unit from infection. Cutting the skin or mechanically removing it is asking for trouble.

Removing the cuticle from the nail plate is always a good idea as a nail polish or gel polish cannot adhere to this single cell layer, but it needs to be done passively.

Freshly Shaved Skin and UV Exposure: Understanding Sun Sensitivity

A lot of people experience getting irritation after shaving. Maybe you have some little red bumps. You might even encounter an ingrown hair or even razor burn. Remember to avoid exposing yourself directly to the sun immediately after shaving in order not to cause the skin further stress in addition to the stress of the razor.

Shaved skin is also generally lighter and therefore more sensitive to sunlight. That’s easy enough to deal with, by using a moisturiser or balm with an SPF factor after you have shaved, you apply extra protection that your skin is missing while it naturally starts its recovery process.

Tips for Preparing Your Legs for a Pedicure

When you see in your agenda that you’re going for a pedicure this week, Just make a note to yourself a couple of days before to jump in the bath or if you’re having a shower, to shave your legs. Also remember on the day of your pedicure to give your feet a quick rinse.

If you suffer from fungal infection, athletes foot or something like that don’t make an appointment with a cosmetic pedicure, but go to see a podiatrist and get the problem solved. Athletes foot is a is a fungal infection that is quite contagious, you really don’t want to be carrying that into a cosmetic pedicure salon. If your cosmetic pedicure has been trained properly, she will refuse your service As she will be putting the rest of her clients and customers at risk of extra infection when they actually just coming to be pampered.

Unveiling the Advantages: Clean and Exfoliated Skin

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, exfoliation can leave your skin looking brighter and improve the effectiveness of topical skin care products by enhancing absorption. Regular exfoliation can also help prevent clocked pores.

Enhancing the Pedicure: The Role of Moisturized Skin

Moisturising your skin improves its elasticities and will reduce skin problems. It can also reduce the chance of developing extreme dryness or oiliness. Both extremes are harmful for skin and can cause common skin conditions like acne. Cold weather or hot weather, air conditioning or indoor heat, all of these environmental factors can suck the moisture right out of your skin. Moisturising minimalizes signs of ageing, protects you from the sun, and will soothe your sensitive skin.

Dressing for Success: Opting for Loose Clothes Post-Pedicure

Dressing casually
Wear loose clothes

Think about shoes when you’re going for your pedicure, shoes that are easy to slip on or off will help stop blemishes in your nail polish and loose fitting clothes will improve your relaxing experience and don’t forget, you need to be able to roll your trousers up to benefit from a relaxing massage during your cosmetic pedicure.

Building Rapport: Speaking Openly with Your Pedicurist

Before you make your appointment with your cosmetic pedicurist, just make sure he or she understands exactly what you need. If you want nail care that lasts longer than two or three weeks, let him/her know, also if you are having any major problems with callouses or excessive hard skin. She/He will need to book extra time to take care of your toenails and feet properly.

It’s very important to communicate with him/her if you are suffering from any medical conditions that could influence the way she can treat your legs and feet.

Diabetics and people with immune problems should inform the salon of their diabetes or chemo/immunotherapy to avoid any complications during the service.

Beyond the Razor: Rethinking Hair Removal Before Pedicures

In the realm of beauty and personal care, shaving isn’t the only method to achieve smooth legs. Alternatives like waxing and depilatory creams offer longer-lasting results, with different pros and cons. Considering these alternatives before a pedicure can be beneficial, especially if you’re aiming for longer durations between hair removal or want to avoid the risks associated with freshly shaved skin. By understanding your options, you can make informed decisions that cater to your skin type, pedicure schedule, and personal preferences.


Having a cosmetic pedicure should be a relaxing and fun experience. Good communication is part of making this happen. No one wants to walk out of a salon with somebody else’s infection and I am sure that there are no salons that want their clients to do so. Just pop into the salon any time before you make your appointment so you can see how serious the salon is about customer and personal hygiene.

It’s just smart to not shave your legs the morning before you go to your cosmetic podiatrist. Why run the risk?

Join the Conversation: Share Your Pedicure Tips and Tales

There are some truly amazing places to get cosmetic pedicure done. If your client is happy, they’ll tell their friends. People like to share positive experiences. But maybe you’re salon owner and you’ve had a great time with one of your clients – Take pictures after you finish, maybe before and afters and ask your client if you can share these on social media, When you do that, thank you client for allowing you to do so. You’ll be fully booked in no time.

Don’t forget – Cosmetic pedicures aren’t just for the summer. Think about holiday days, maybe Christmas and New Year. You want gorgeous feet and beautiful sandals under a lovely gala gown. And in that hectic run up to Christmas and New Year and the summer. Don’t forget to allow some time to pamper yourself.


EID              Vugia DJ, Jang Y, Zizek C, Ely J, Winthrop KL, Desmond E. Mycobacteria in Nail Salon Whirlpool Footbaths, California. Emerg Infect Dis. 2005;11(4):616-618.
AMA           Vugia DJ, Jang Y, Zizek C, et al. Mycobacteria in Nail Salon Whirlpool Footbaths, California. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2005;11(4):616-618. doi:10.3201/eid1104.040936.
APA             Vugia, D. J., Jang, Y., Zizek, C., Ely, J., Winthrop, K. L., & Desmond, E. (2005). Mycobacteria in Nail Salon Whirlpool Footbaths, California. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 11(4), 616-618.

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