Pedicures through the ages

Pedicures through the ages

As the summer nears closer and with sandal season just around the corner, we take a look at how the art of taking care of our feet has changed over the years.


In the beginning

Although scientists think humans first started wearing shoes about 40,000 years ago, it's not certain when the pedicure was actually invented. What is certain until the domestication of the horse, a healthy pair of feet was vital if you wanted to get around. The earliest pedicures are likely to have involved removing dry and cracked skin.


By the time of the Ancient Egyptians, pedicures were important enough to be depicted in tomb art. The Vizier Ptahhotep's tomb paintings, which date from 2400 BCE, shows his servants giving him both a pedicure and a manicure.


For Ancient Egyptians the pedicure included a massage, which may have been a form of reflexology. It's thought they may have used nail paint, of course nothing like therapists use today, a much simpler version.


Using pumice stones to scrape away hard skin from the feet was popular among Roman Legionaries. The word pedicure; comes from the Latin words 'pededs' meaning feet and 'cura' meaning to heal or care.


By the Victorian era, the number of people entering shoe shops with painful foot conditions rose. As conditions began to rise as did interest. William Scholl enrolled into medical school, where he later established the well know foot company 'Scholl' with his brother Frank.





Just like manicures, pedicures began to increase in popularity with the launch of the first commercially available nail polish, created from automobile paint in the 1920's. Before nail paint was available, women often painted their toe nails using red oil and added a glossy finish by using tinted cream powders, to create more of a feminine look on the toes.


The raising of hemlines in the 1920's  made feet more noticeable and two major products were launched into the market in 1927: a tube of rose cream and a white chalk like product, that could be used to create the white tip look, much like a French manicure. In 1985 'Touch' developed the first spa pedicure chair. It was the rise of the spa's that led to the industry's development, with the pedicure becoming the fastest growing service in the beauty industry by 1999.




The 00's saw an explosion of an unusual therapy to help keep feet smooth and soft; fish spa therapy. This treatment couldn't be missed and became a therapy craze of the early 2000's. This treatment involved customers putting their feet into tanks of warm fresh water containing living Garra Rufa fish, which are also known as 'doctor fish'. The fish would then work away at the skin on the feet by nibbling away the hard dry skin that can form on feet.




Most recently 'power pedicures' have made the headlines. These involve business meetings being held whilst receiving a pedicure. Gel nail pedicures have become widely accessible as well as foot mapping. Nail art also an increasing trade, it's not just for the finger nails anymore.





BABTAC's 5 top tips to keeping healthy feet


Keep your feet clean and dry. Healthy feet start with good hygiene


                                                                                            Cut toe nails properly. Cut nails straight across and avoid trimming too close to the skin


 Avoid sharing shoes. Always wear socks if you do borrow shoes


Wear shoes that fit properly. Shoes that are too tight can cause long - term foot problems


                                                                                                                 Know when to see a doctor. Don't attempt to self treat painful foot woes. 

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