It’s officially sandal season. And if you’re anything like us, your feet could use a little TLC before they see the sunlight. With kids, work, and household chores, our feet get pretty neglected throughout the year. So what better way to treat yourself and escape for a moment (or two, if you’re lucky) to do a pedicure at home?
It’s a great way to relax, and you feel good about saving money. Save the salon trip for another day, and check out these easy steps to a DIY pedicure at home. And we also give away our absolute favorite top secret tips to speed up the process for busy mamas.
Without further ado, here are the easy steps to a perfect pedicure at home (plus our bonus tips for busy moms).
1. Remove your old nail polish
You know, the polish you’ve had on since your last pedicure. We won’t ask how long ago, because we don’t want to tell either. Simply soak a cotton pad in nail polish remover and swipe it over toenails to remove old polish and any oils or buildup.
Both acetone and acetone-free polish removers will do the job, but acetone-free is gentler.
And if you don’t have cotton pads, you can use paper towels or bunched-up tissues. It will just take slightly longer, as these tend to absorb more remover than a cotton pad would.
2. Soak your feet
Fill a basin (read: a large bowl) or your tub with some warm water. Even a clean bucket will work in a pinch. Add some Epsom salts if you have them, and a few drops of tea tree oil if you like, for an extra luxurious pedicure at home. Sit with your feet in the basin or tub for five to 10 minutes, and then dry off.
Feeling extra fancy? (Translation: Do you have a few extra kid-free minutes?) Try putting a warm washcloth over your forehead while you soak.
3. Get rid of dead skin
If you have a pumice stone or foot file, now’s the time to grab it. No exfoliating tools? No problem. Try using a warm, damp towel to scrub at any hard, callused skin.
4. Trim and shape your nails
Use your nail clippers—or nail scissors if you don’t have clippers—to trim toenails down to the desired length.
Then, grab your nail file and shape nails into the style of your choice. If you have a nail buffer, now’s the time to take that out and smooth your nails to get rid of any ridges.
5. Moisturize and massage
This is our favorite part. Apply a little cuticle oil, and use an orange stick to push back cuticles. Then grab a foot cream designed to smooth rough skin and massage it into your feet and heels. You can even massage all the way up to your calves to get yourself into a spa-like state. This will make you feel like you’re getting a professional pedicure at home.
When you’re ready, take a cotton pad or tissue to remove excess lotion from your toenails. This gives you a clear surface for the next step.
6. Paint your nails
If you have a toe separator, now’s the time to take it out and put it in place. Otherwise, you can use bunched-up tissue or cotton balls to separate your toes. You can prop your foot up on a chair for easier access. Just make sure you lay an old towel or rag down first, no matter where you decide to paint your nails.
Start out with a base coat. It helps your nail color last longer and prevents stained nails.
Wait a few minutes for the base coat to dry, and then apply a thin coat of your favorite nail color. After a few more minutes, once the first coat is dry, apply a second layer. If you like, you can experiment with designs using whatever colors your heart desires! And if you need inspiration, check out our 15 amazing pedicure ideas here.
Then, once your color is dry, seal with a top coat. This will help seal your color and keep it looking fresh longer. For an even speedier experience, paint a drop of quick-dry oil over your top coat.
Let dry for 10 to 30 minutes, and take a Q-tip (or tissue) dipped in nail polish remover to get rid of any smudges outside the nail.
And voila! you’ve got yourself a professional-looking pedicure at home!
Not enough time for all the steps? Here are our favorite tips for busy moms.
If you’re short on time (and who among us isn’t?) you can multitask and even skip some steps for an equally amazing pedicure at home. No time for a foot soak? Start in the shower and use an exfoliating body wash to scrub off dead skin. Then you can apply lotion as soon as you hop out. Boom: You’ve just combined steps two, three, and five!
And if you need to skip the base coat and top coat, go for a quick-dry polish that combines the steps. That way you can get long-lasting color in a single step. It’s that easy!
So, no matter how much (or little) time you have, you can get an amazing pedicure at home.
What are you favorite tips for giving yourself a pedicure at home? Let us know in the comments below!
Written by Esther Reisberg