Do pedicures come with guarantees?

September 23, 2009 at 10:31 pm 48 comments

When we were in Santa Barbara, California last week (a place that has recently been added to my mental list of “Favorite Places”), I got my first pedicure.

I know, I’m thirty years old and I’ve never had a pedicure. I honestly had no idea what the big fuss was about. But I’m happy to report that 45 minutes of pampering to my tired old feet was something spectacular that I wish could happen on a frequent and regular basis.

We strolled into this nail place around 7:30pm in the funky, fun shopping district of Santa Barbara (State Street, for those of you who know it). I was hesitant to spend the money (of course), but Abraham insisted. It wasn’t that it cost all that much, I just have issues with spending money on stuff like that. Anyway…

There were two Asian women working that night. One spoke decent English, but the other one spoke almost none. But she didn’t even need it—she was speaking some unknown foot love language that is kept secret from the population at large. She was the pedicure master.

I had a difficult time picking out what color I wanted, so picked a few finalists and had Abraham pick his favorite from those. He chose a deep burgundy red that I liked a lot. So I went with it.

The pedicure was nothing short of fantastic. There was lots of rubbing, snipping, filing, polishing… my toenails have never shone like that!

I was transfixed by the pretty color and how professional they looked. I never thought of my at-home toenail jobs as unprofessional, but I had now seen a whole new level of potential for my piggies, and I was diggin’ it! Imagine my sadness when I discovered a chip in my polish just two days later!

For all you pedicure veterans, is this normal? Obviously I can’t go back to Santa Barbara (as much as I’d like to) and get it fixed, but do pedicures usually have such a short life? Will nail salons fix it within a certain window of time?

I was definitely thinking it would last a week. Were my expectations totally overblown?


Entry filed under: Fun, Spoutings, Travel.

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48 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lindsey  |  September 23, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    Um, NO. That’s one reason why I love pedicures, because my polish stays so nice, so long. Usually there’s a tiny chip on the big toe (which I use in summertime to flip up the brake on a baby stroller-ha), but usually such places do a killer job on the polish. If you remember the name of the polish, I bet you could go get a touch-up from any pedicure place for a few dollars.

  • 2. Kimberly  |  September 23, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Ok, I get them far too often and the only time mine chip is if I stub my toe. I’ve never gone back, but i’m sure if it was in the first day or two they’d touch it up.

  • 3. Eva Joy  |  September 23, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    My fingernails usually chip pretty fast, but my toes stay forever. Just tonight I took my polish off from a pedicure I got on Aug 15. The polish still hadn’t chipped, but the nail had grown out too much and it looked unsightly. I usually count on having it for about a month. I’m not sure about going back for touch-ups. I’ve never had a problem with my polish chipping.

  • 4. Michelle  |  September 24, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Just dropping in to mention that my pedis also last for 2-4 weeks. Its also nice to know that many “inexpensive” places offer a “paint only” option – no pampering but still excellent painting that lasts for a long time and has that shine.

  • 5. Jennifer S  |  September 24, 2009 at 5:49 am

    It happens sometimes… here’s my tip to manage that situation and extend the life of your pedicure. Take your own polish. Invest in a good bottle of nail polish (like OPI or something similar to what they use at your salon) and have them use that to paint your piggies. Then, when you get a chip at home, it is easy to fix because you own the polish color that is on your toes.

  • 6. laurie  |  September 24, 2009 at 6:25 am

    That’s not normal. Pedicures last waaaaaay longer than manicures. bummer.

  • 7. Cara  |  September 24, 2009 at 7:35 am

    That’s why I don’t get pedicures…I am like you and expect the stuff to STICK by golly!!! 🙂

  • 8. Bethany  |  September 24, 2009 at 7:39 am

    That usually only happens to me if I manage to ding it while the paint is still drying. Otherwise it’s usually pretty indestructible until I finally motivate myself to get out the nail polish remover months later when the polish is all grown out and weird looking.

  • 9. Krysta  |  September 24, 2009 at 7:40 am

    Yes, it should last longer (the last one I had lasted about 2 weeks). They place I went to most recently lets you pick out a new bottle of polish, uses it for the pedicure and then gives it to you at the end. I think is a hygiene thing but it is nice because then you should be able to touch up any chips that may happen. Glad that you were able to be pampered a bit!

  • 10. LDH  |  September 24, 2009 at 7:58 am

    Pedicures are my favorite indulgence…for $25 you can get a decent one and typicaly, they do last 2 to 4 weeks and look pretty darn good (I tend to choose colors that I have at home so I can dot a dab on any chips after that).

    I’m planning on getting one in October…my feet need one at the beginning of summer (to be ready for sandals) and always at the end, after endless sandal wearing has rendered them calloused and rough.

  • 11. Rachel  |  September 24, 2009 at 8:03 am

    No, a pedicure should definitely last a LOT longer than that! I like to get a french tipped one. Since it’s clear near the toe, you can’t really tell as much when your nails have grown and you don’t have the big “gap.” I’ve had french pedicures that last almost 2 months and still look good. I’ve also found that if I get a flower one it, they use an extra polish to seal it in and that makes it stay on for longer. I’ve usually get 3 or 4 pedicures a summer and since they last so long my toes always look nice.

  • 12. Victoria  |  September 24, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Two weeks is about how long my pedi lasts with out chips. But I wear flip flops ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, so my toes get a good amount of abuse. I get the same color almost every time (OPI Cajun Shrimp goes with everything) and keep a bottle at home.

  • 13. carissa  |  September 24, 2009 at 8:33 am

    i have never figured out why mine definitely starts chipping after about a week. i don’t think it’s just the nail salons; i think it’s me, somehow. maybe i’m just not meant to have pretty toes. but most people’s last way longer!

  • 14. carissa  |  September 24, 2009 at 8:34 am

    oh but also, if yours chips the same day or the next day, sometimes the nail place will fix it for free if you go back.

  • 15. Summer  |  September 24, 2009 at 8:34 am

    no way! mine usually last at least 4 weeks, and I am even a runner. Sometimes I can get 6.

  • 16. rachel  |  September 24, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I kind of disagree with everyone, but I’ve only had one in my life – before my wedding – and I remember the week of my honeymoon it definitely started to chip a bit. I mean.. its sort of normal, your feet take a huge beating day in and day out.

    For me the pedicure’s toe-nail painting was just like the icing on the cake of the entire experience of having my feet soaked, massaged, loved. Etc. I feel like the pedicure is more about the experience then the end product, but i could be totally wrong!

  • 17. onewifeonly  |  September 24, 2009 at 9:08 am

    My buddies made me get a pedicure on my wedding day, so this dude was sporting wedding color purple on his toenails during the wedding. It seemed to last forever, because I remember my wife making fun of me for a long time.

  • 18. Barbie  |  September 24, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Next time pick out your own nail polish at the store, buy it and bring it with. Then you can have it to touch up as needed;).

  • 19. Shannon  |  September 24, 2009 at 9:25 am

    I put a top coat on when I get home. I got that from my mom who gets pedicures more frequently.

  • 20. Pam  |  September 24, 2009 at 9:28 am

    I think it on whether or not you’re often barefoot. I rarely wear socks so my pedicures don’t last very long.

  • 21. jennapants  |  September 24, 2009 at 9:57 am


    mine is holding strong. $25. i went w/ jenny and i’d be curious to see if hers is just as pristine! definitely have to go back. i don’t get them frequently, but i have NEVER regretted a pedi.

    like many others, manicures do NOT last for me. can’t imagine getting one before my 25th wedding anniversary!

  • 22. tabithablogs  |  September 24, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Hey, I live in Santa Barbara! How awesome that you got to come here and experience all the beautiful scenery…and yes, a wonderful pedicure. I absolutely LOVE getting pedicures….but they definitely should stay nice for at least a week! That’s a bummer. I actually don’t know what the standard policy is if your nails do chip within a couple of days. I’d imagine most places would be happy to fix it, but I’ve never had the guts to go back to ask for that kinda thing. Anyway, next time you’re in the area, I recommend Century Nails (it’s actually in Goleta, about ten minutes from State Street). They do the best job, and their foot/leg massages are soooooo good!

  • 23. emily  |  September 24, 2009 at 10:22 am

    I’m sorry about the chipped polish. I was a late bloomer with pedicures too, and I think I appreciate them more because I waited : )

  • 24. patty broberg  |  September 24, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Hi Molly,

    Welcome to the pedicure world! I’ve had two now — the first I got as a gift for my 40th birthday (and didn’t use the coupon until my 41st!). The 2nd I got this summer with Dorothy B. before a wedding. Both of mine have lasted for months, in sandals every day. I have been amazed. I just have to take it off when it’s grown out too far.

    My hubby just bought me a gift certificate for another one for my 43rd birthday : )

  • 25. Natasha  |  September 24, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    I always put a least one layer of clear nail polish over it when I get home. It makes it last a lot longer.

  • 26. Andrea Bindewald  |  September 24, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    I am so glad that you got to relax and enjoy your first pedicure! I love them. My pedicure lasts anywhere from 2-6 weeks. I think it depends on the brand of polish you use. Also the place that chips first is my big toe and that is only because of things like closing the stroller or stubbing my toe.

  • 27. Kelly  |  September 24, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    If you get another pedicure, get the OPI brand polish. It lasts for a long time.

  • 28. sarah mosley  |  September 24, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    I always just go with a natural color (light pinkish ivorish shiny) so that when it chips it’s not that noticeable.

  • 29. Jonathan  |  September 24, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    oh, i love the pampering of pedicures. unless i get a pedicure my toes are never painted. i always struggle with getting the polish on my actually toes and they end up looking like a hot mess.

    but i always feel so girly with painted toes! 🙂

    • 30. Melissa Parnell  |  September 24, 2009 at 2:22 pm

      oops. for the record, that was me. jonathan has never had his toes painted.

      jon’s going to kill me when he reads that. 🙂

      • 31. Dawn  |  September 24, 2009 at 3:42 pm

        I don’t know Jonathan or you, but I laughed out loud! Poor guy.

    • 32. Abraham  |  September 24, 2009 at 9:15 pm

      I laughed at this just picturing Jonathan saying it. Then I had Molly read it out loud to me in her best Jonathan voice and it was even better.

      Good times. Enjoy your girliness, Jonathan!

  • 33. Stephanie G.  |  September 24, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    I had my 1st pedicure while I was in Ethiopia, so you’re not the only 30-year-old who hadn’t had a pedicure. The polish lasted well over a month. My 1st pedicure was so milestonish…30, in a foreign country, and I paid the equivalent of $4 for my 45 minute foot heaven! Can’t wait until I can pay $4 on a regular basis to get a pedicure!!!

  • 34. Talitha  |  September 24, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    I LOVE pedicures! And usually mine last about a month. And I do get chips but they are so little you can’t tell.. don’t worry about it!!

  • 35. Christine  |  September 24, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Totally normal! Especially nice when all you wear are flip flops. You can tell those who have gone to have their’s done and those who did them all by them selves.

  • 36. Bethany  |  September 24, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    I am currently staring discontentedly at my pedicure-less feet.
    Perhaps I shall have to remedy their poor plight.
    I feel deprived.

  • 37. Kelly @ Love Well  |  September 24, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    I’m surprised it chipped so easily. If I ever get a manicure, it chips within 24 hours, without fail. But pedicures last stinkin’ forever. They wear off before they chip. And I’m not nice to my feet. I go barefoot until it snows, and I wear mostly flip-flops and sandals.

    My favorite part of pedicures is getting little flowers and/or jewels on my big toe. Did they offer that? It seems standard in California.

  • 38. Kelly @ Love Well  |  September 24, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    (By the way, how can we get you another subscriber? Your total stands at 666 right now.)

  • 39. Nana  |  September 24, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    When I actually get a pedicure, I ask for the French white. My last pedicure lasted…get this….2 months! I cut my nails completely off before I went in (by mistake, of course). Then when the nails grew out, the clear part didn’t look bad, and the white stripe stayed put. Amazing.

  • 40. Melissa Rowe Smith  |  September 24, 2009 at 8:55 pm


    I like to get a pedicure once a year before the summer.

    Just think, if you saved just 4 dollars a month for the year you would have enough money for a (ridiculously nice) pedicure. Or you could save ten dollars a month january-march in just the nick of time to have enough for a like you said “master pedicure.”

    Doesn’t it put a whole new spin on “foot-washing” and Jesus washing the disciples feet?

    It did for me!

    • 41. nmwally  |  September 24, 2009 at 11:25 pm

      Funny, I have thought the same thing about foot-washing! You hear about girls getting together to give each-other manicures, but not usually pedicures! Maybe that could be a modern day version of foot-washing (for women). (and Jonathan :)).

  • 42. Laura  |  September 24, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    If they do it correctly, it shouldn’t chip that quickly (unless you stub your toe, as somebody mentioned). The key is that they run an extra swipe of clear topcoat along and over the edge of your toenail. It doesn’t hurt to touch that up at home a few days later. A good $20 pedicure should last about a month, and even then, the polish is usually intact. It’s just that your toenails grow and it starts to look funky.

    A lot of places will do a polish change for $5 or so, which means you don’t get the whole pampering routine, but you do get rid of the chips (and can get a whole new color if you like).

    Clearly, I totally indulge in pedicures all the time, at least when it’s sandal season (and nothing makes Chacos look more girly than pedicured toes in the river). It is the one thing I do for myself in order to stay sane. And it is worth every single penny.

  • 43. nmwally  |  September 24, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    I have had 2 pedicures in my life — a cheaper ($25ish) one when I was in a wedding in college and a pricier ($50-80ish) one before my wedding. If I remember right, the cheaper one chipped within a few days (but I was working at a camp that summer, so it was to be expected!). I don’t remember exactly how long the one for my wedding lasted, but I don’t think it was THAT long — however, I do know that I bought a bottle of the polish from the salon to use for “touch-ups”. To me the best part of it all wasn’t the color, though…just having my feet pampered was awesome & well worth the $$. Now I’m craving another one. I’m really self-conscious about my feet (mommyhood doesn’t leave much time for tending to them very well). But two things are stopping me: 1). Like you, I can’t seem to bring myself to spend the money, 2). This is silly, but I’ve heard of people developing bad staph infections from poorly sanitized pedicure instruments, and I’m a little paranoid! Does anyone else worry about this?

  • 44. suzanne b.  |  September 25, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Hi Molly 🙂
    I’ve been enjoying your blog lately.

    I don’t get pedicures very often, either, but aren’t they wonderful? They are de rigeur in southern California! One of my friends yesterday was telling me that whenever she gets one, she also buys the bottle of polish, so that she can do touch-ups as necessary if she gets little chips. Another friend brings her own polish. I thought those were good ideas.

  • 45. Ronnica  |  September 25, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    My toenails chip fairly quickly because I spend a good amount of time in a pool. I think it’s either the water softens the bond or the fact that I’m knocking my toes on the bottom of the pool. I don’t know if you went to the pool at all, but that might be the reason.

  • 46. Susan  |  September 26, 2009 at 7:46 am

    I’m almost 28 and have never had one! Sorry your polish didn’t last, but I hope you get to have another one in LESS than 30 years.

  • 47. Melanie  |  September 26, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    I usually pay an extra $5 and get a french pedicure. Then I touch up the white ends at home when they chip and I can get a good 6-8 weeks out of a pedicure.

  • 48. Rachel  |  September 27, 2009 at 9:43 am

    I have two words that will change your life: Orly Bonder. You put it on before your nail polish and it will stay for 2-3 weeks for pedicures. Chips are my biggest pet peeve (weird, I know, but it’s true). Make sure they always do two coats and use a good brand like OPI.


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