I'm low maintenance when it comes to beauty, but I'm a firm believer of pedicured toes throughout the summer. Polished nails and hydrated heels are a must for sandal season.
When my boss assigned me to compare an expensive pedicure to a cheaper one, my feet were thrilled — they practically ran out from under my body to start researching where to go.
Finding an expensive pedicure in NYC took all of 10 minutes. A quick Google search for "most luxurious pedicure in NYC" led me to a $120 caviar service at The Ritz-Carlton's La Prairie spa. To find a $20 pedi, I hit the streets and looked for a clean shop with a sweet deal.
So what does an extra Benjamin add to the pedicure experience? Let's take a walk.
We begin here, at La Prairie spa, tucked inside the Ritz-Carlton near Central Park.
I already knew this pedicure would exceed the standards of a simple nail appointment.
A few relaxing moments later, my nail technician, Raynell, came in to retrieve me. Let the caviar pedicure commence.
La Prairie is a Swiss beauty brand founded on the ideology that science is the key to youthful skin. The brand offers both skin care and makeup products with a strong focus on cell rejuvenation.
According to the spa menu, a La Prairie Caviar Luxe Pedicure is "all the luxury and brilliance of The Perfect Pedicure combined with a relaxing foot and lower leg hot stone massage with a Skin Caviar Luxe Soufflé Body Cream finale."
Um, yes please.
I chose a color from the plethora of Deborah Lippmann shades.
Who is Deborah Lippmann, you ask? She's THE celebrity manicurist for prestigious runway shows and magazines.
My pedi started like any other — with clipping and filing. Oh, except I got to choose what music filled the room.
When I first stepped into the room, I saw what appeared to be a regular massage table. Was there a separate room with a foot bath? Are $120 pedicures void of water? Before I could fathom any other scenarios, Raynell lifted the bottom cushion to reveal a small tub.
Foot and leg massages followed the removal of the booties, including a hot stone massage.
After saying goodbye to the booties, I received a foot and leg massage to really lock in all that moisture. Raynell wiped my legs down with a warm, lavender-oil-scented towel before whipping out the hot stones.
The final touch was a slathering of $450 skin cream.
The luxe cream is infused with caviar extract for firming and hydration.
For my polish, I chose what the kids are calling "millennial pink."
We need to take a moment to admire the innovative pedicure flip-flops with built-in toe separators. BOUGIE AF, Y'ALL.
The best part of this polish? The formula is quick-drying (15 minutes) and requires no time under a dryer.
Gaze upon this $120 caviar pedicure. Hydrated feet? Check. Polish-free cuticles? Check. A relaxed body and mind? Double check.
Luxury bitch status achieved.
Best. Pedicure. Ever.
You better believe I took my sweet time relaxing in the La Prairie environment after my treatment. This was more than a pedicure, it was a full spa experience — down to the fluffy embroidered robe.
The day after this blissful nail service, my legs and feet felt silky smooth to the touch. Was it from the caviar extract? The hydrating mask? A combination of everything? Who knows, but I couldn't stop caressing my legs.
But unfortunately, all good things must come to an end...
Instead of a cushion-topped foot bath, I got a water light show.
I was shooketh to say the least.
The clear polish around the nail later peeled off, revealing a nearly flawless pedi. But let's remember, it's a $20 pedicure.
So, which one's the winner?
If a $20 pedicure exceeded a $120 pedicure, we'd have an issue.
The expensive pedicure was an elaborate steak dinner with a full-bodied red: lavish and delicious, leaving you more than satisfied. The budget-friendly pedicure was a Chipotle bowl to-go: quick and tasty, but leaves you wanting more a few hours later. And just like guac, callous remover is extra.
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