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How to Give Yourself a Pedicure at Home

Everyone loves unloading their burdens on their favorite nail professional, but these therapy sessions come at a price. So, if the recession’s got you down, or maybe you get a little twitchy about strangers prodding your pups, don’t despair. Here are a few steps and basic tools you can use to give yourself a professional pedicure in the comfort of your own home.

You can give yourself an at-home pedicure with a little practice, a few professional tips and tricks, and some basic tools. Before you begin your pedi, light some candles, put on some soothing tunes, and relax with your favorite summer read.

Remove Nail Polish
Take off your old nail polish from toenails with nail polish remover. The classic cotton ball and bottled remover is okay, but we love the easy, no-mess concept of polish remover pads. Note: Acetone nail polish remover will degrade your nails health. Always use acetone-free nail polish remover to keep toenails from splitting, chipping or yellowing.

Soak Your Feet
Light some candles and prep your feet for exfoliation with a soothing foot soak. As you fill your tub with the hot water, sprinkle some rejuvenating foot salts to refresh tired toes. Toss a few smooth stones into the tub and move your feet over them for a gentle foot massage. Grab your tablet or current page-turner and relax for 15 to 20 minutes. Add a natural antiseptic, such as tea tree oil, to keep foot fungus at bay.

Massage Cuticle Oil
Dry your toes with a towel and further pamper your pups with a dab of cuticle oil. Use your fingers to massage a drop of cuticle oil into each toenail. The cuticle oil will further soften your cuticles and prep them for shaping. Shaping the cuticle without moisturizing it first can cause rips and tears in the skin that protects your nail. Oil is essential.

Scrub Your Feet
While the cuticle oil works wonders on the skin around your nails, grab a soft bristle nail brush and scrub under your toenails. When your nails are degunked and squeaky clean, use a foot scrub or body scrub to remove dead skin cells from your feet and lower legs. Be firm while scrubbing, but don’t draw blood. We are targeting dead skin cells, not all skin cells.

Push Back Your Cuticles
Gently shape your toenail cuticles with an orange wood stick or cuticle pusher. Toenail care tip: Gentle is the keyword here. Your cuticles are your toenails’ first line of defense against nasty infections. Never clip or cut them, but make sure to shape them with a cuticle pusher, because if they take too much of your toenail’s real estate they will smother your nail’s growth. Push, don’t hack. Once you’ve finished with your cuticles, dip your feet back in the tub and wash off the excess scrub and oils. Pop a towel in the microwave and dry your feet.

Pamper Your Heels
Your heels are the toughest, roughest part of your feet, and a foot scrub is not enough to get your feet through this rough patch. Banish hideous heels by applying slight pressure and rubbing a pumice stone in circular motions on the toughest parts of your feet. This will remove hardened, dead skin without scraping your soles raw. Alternatively, you can use a razor or callus-melting gel on your heels.

Clip Your Toenails
Cut your toenails to desired length with a sharp toenail clipper. To keep the toenail from breaking or splitting, clip little sections instead of the whole nail at once. Also, be sure not to round the end of your toenails too drastically, because extreme rounded edges are the main culprit of painful ingrown nails.

Shape Your Toenails
Make sure your nails are completely dry and file your toenails flat across the top with slightly rounded edges to keep them from tattering your tights. File in one direction to keep the layers of protein that make up your nail from splitting.

Moisturize Your Feet
Revitalize your tired toes with a rich moisturizer. A good foot lotion is not just a home pedicure essential, it’s an everyday must have. Place your favorite moisturizer on your bedside table and apply a generous amount to your feet every night before bed. Slip into socks and allow the lotion to sink in while you snooze. Lotion will combat cracks and keep feet smooth and sandal-ready.

Separate Your Toes for Easy Polishing
If you have some little foam toe separators, slip them on now. If not, pick up a pair the next time you’re out, and make due with a DIY solution. Take a strand of toilet paper about as long as your forearm and twist it tightly, then weave it between your toes. It will give you enough separation to prevent accidental polish smears.

Apply A Base Coat To Your Toenails
Remove oils from your toenails with cotton balls. This will help your base coat adhere to the nail. Whether you plan to add color to your toes or not, we do recommend a nourishing base coat nail polish to keep toenails from becoming brittle and breaking. Tip: It is a good idea to go polish-free from time to time to make sure your nails can breathe. Polish does limit the oxygen the nail receives, so during colder months, try going sans polish to give your nails time to heal.

Polish Your Toenails
Brush two thin coats of your favorite nail polish onto your toenails. These days you can pick textured polishes for special effects, holographic polishes for shimmery interest, or brights in every color imaginable. If you want overly opaque toenails don’t add a ton of nail polish at once, go for a few extra coats, letting the polish dry completely between each coat. This process keeps nail polish from becoming gunky and smear-prone hours after your nails seem “dry.” What you sacrifice in time you recoup in salon-worthy results.

Apply A Topcoat To Your Toenails
Once the colored polish is completely dry, seal your lovely lacquer with a topcoat. If you prefer the classic glossy finish use the traditional topcoat for toenails that shine. But you can also find topcoats is all sorts of special finishes—try a matte topcoat or a 3D finish for a pedicure that pops. A good topcoat will keep your polish chip-free and vibrant for weeks.

Clean Up Any Messes
Use your favorite nail polish remover pen or a small nail art or artist’s brush dipped in polish remover to clean up any stray polish from your toes. This is the key to perfecting your pedi.

A salon-worthy pedicure at home—nailed it! Put your pampered feet up and relax, you’re ready to rock some stunning sandals.


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