Pedicure vs Manicure: What’s The Difference?

Published on: Sep 28, 2022 • 5 min read


Two of the most popular beauty treatments routinely enjoyed by men and women are pedicures and manicures.

But if you’re new to the world of these treatments, you might wonder if a manicure and pedicure are the same things.

Well, it’s true that a manicure and pedicure have two common goals: beautiful and healthy nails.

pedicure vs manicure

However, they are quite different.

Knowing the differences between manicures and pedicures will save you a lot of hassle when you head to the nail salon.

What Is Pedicure?

Pedicure treatments focus solely on the toenails and the feet. Some treatments can involve the calves, too.

Several tools are used to create a lovely pedicure, such as nail clippers, cuticle pushers, and nail files.

What Is Manicure?

On the other hand, a manicure focuses solely on fingernails.

The same tools are used to create beautiful nails.

However, manicures tend to have more options. For example, nail polish, a manicure using gel polish, and artificial nails are far more common on the hands than feet.

What Does Pedicure Treatment Include?

A standard pedicure typically starts by trimming and shaping the natural nails. The nail technician will also treat any ingrown nails or cuticle issues during this time.

The next step is exfoliation. Your nail technician will use an exfoliating scrub and a pumice stone/foot file to remove dead skin cells, leaving you with flawlessly smooth skin.

Pedicures tend to start and end with a warm water foot bath.

This ensures that there is no leftover debris on the feet while also allowing your feet to look and feel their best.

Some pedicures also come with a delightful massage.

This is undeniably relaxing but also promotes blood circulation, which is critical for a healthy, well-functioning body and mind.

Last but not least, the toenails can be painted. This is more of a personal preference, though, and not everyone wants colors on their toes.

What Does Manicure Treatment Include?

Pedicures are all relatively the same. You can add extras like massages, different oils, and even nail art, but typical pedicures focus on the client’s feet and toenails.

A manicure, on the other hand? They have far more options.

Which manicure you purchase from your professional manicurist will determine the treatment.

However, a standard manicure will go as follows:

  • Trim and shape the nails.
  • Apply a necessary skin treatment, if required. For example, brittle nails may need an in-depth cuticle treatment.
  • A quick hand massage is conducted to improve blood flow to enhance the health of your hands and nails.
  • Oil, cream, or another hand-friendly ingredient is used to produce a lovely, smooth finish.

Some people do not want colors applied to their fingernails, but it is far more common than on toenails.

There are plenty of choices, including:

  • Regular nail polish. Regular nail polish can be applied, followed by stunning nail art (if desired). A top coat and base coat are typically included.
  • French manicure. This type of manicure may require tips and involves applying ivory-colored polish on the base of the nail with striking white tips.
  • Gel manicure. A gel manicure is much like regular nail polish. However, during a gel manicure (and pedicure), a UV light is required to “set” the polish.
  • Acrylic. Acrylic manicures involve fitting and gluing a tip to the nail. The manicurist then “builds” the nail using various components. The nail is then shaped and trimmed to your liking.

Manicure vs. Pedicure: Comparison

Although manicures and pedicures tend to have many similarities, they also share some key differences.

Check out the difference between a manicure and a pedicure below.

1. Area of Focus

The most obvious difference between a manicure and a pedicure is where the beauty treatment occurs.

A manicure is for the fingernails, while a pedicure is for the toenails.

However, it’s also important to note the area of focus when it comes to the actual procedure.

For instance, pedicures tend to focus more on the feet and surrounding skin more so than a manicure, which focuses mainly on the nails themselves.

2. Treatment Cost and Time

A “regular” manicure tends to be less expensive and takes less time compared to a pedicure.

Of course, this is hit or miss.

For example, French manicures may take as long - if not longer than a regular or gel pedicure.

3. Enhancements

You’re not likely to find enhancements, such as gel polish, fake tips, or nail art on the toenails.

Nail enhancements are almost always seen on the fingernails.

4. Longevity

Regular manicures tend only to last a week or two, while a pedicure can last up to four weeks.

This is simply because our toes don’t do as much as our fingers, so the paint is less likely to chip and fade.

Keep in mind this does not account for other types of manicures. For example, acrylic nails can easily last up to the eight-week mark, which is leaps and bounds beyond pedis.

Area of focuscallus smoothing and reduction (skin exfoliation)Trimming and shaping the nails
Treatment Cost/Time30-90 minutes/$30-$6030-60 minutes/$10-$40
EnhancementsLess commonMore common (gel, acrylic, etc.)
Longevity4-8 weeks2-8 weeks

What Is Better: Pedicure or Manicure?

The truth is that manicures and pedicures are both wonderful treatments that serve a specific purpose.

Because they focus on two separate areas of the body, it’s common for manicures and pedicures to be done simultaneously: i.e., a “mani-pedi” in many salons.

It really comes down to your personal needs. Are your feet in bad shape? You may need a pedicure.

Are your fingernails lacking pizazz, and you want length and color? Consider a mani.


Does Pedicure Last Longer Than Manicure?

Pedicures tend to last longer than manicures simply because the toenails are used less and do not come in contact with as many elements are the fingernails.

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