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How to Give Yourself a Salon-Quality Pedicure at Home

By Renee Cherry | June 16, 2020 | Shape

Like all beauty treatments, pedicures require time and $$$. Sometimes a DIY pedicure is a better move. Luckily, if you know how to replicate a salon experience, you can unwind and keep your feet in their best shape without leaving home. Here's how to mimic a salon experience from the comfort of your couch, based on advice from the pros.  

How to Do a Pedicure at Home

If you're trying to give yourself the full experience, the key is to set the scene. Find a comfy spot, turn on some music, maybe light a few candles, and gather all your tools so that you won't have to get up (and potentially ruin your polish) mid-session. Once you've prepped a workstation, proceed to step one.  

What You'll Need:

  • Large bowl
  • Foot soak (or whole milk)
  • Towel
  • Foot file
  • Cuticle softener and pusher
  • Nail file
  • Foot scrub (or DIY)
  • Lotion
  • Nail polish
  • Cuticle oil

Step 1: Soak Your Feet

Celebrity nail artist Pattie Yankee starts every pedicure by filing then soaking the person's feet. First, buff any dry, rough spots with a foot file and clean your nails with cotton soaked in nail polish remover.

Then Yankee suggests soaking your feet in a bowl filled with warm water and a foot soak (if you have one) or whole milk, since it has lactic acid which helps soften calluses. Soak your feet for 10 minutes or so, then dry them with a towel.

Step 2: Shape Your Cuticles and Nails

Up next: cuticle care. Use a cuticle softener, then gently push back the thick layer of skin surrounding your toenails with a wood cuticle pusher.

At this point, you can go in with cuticle trimmers if needed, but proceed with caution. "Sometimes after you push back your cuticle, there's a really thin fold of skin that surrounds the nail," says Yankee. "That part you can cut off, but you don't want to cut into anything that's living."

Once you've perfected your cuticles, go ahead and shape your nails with a nail file. File each toenail straight across then file down the corners at 45-degree angles.

Step 3: Exfoliate and Moisturize

At this point, you can continue to promote softer skin by exfoliating with a scrub. For a DIY scrub, OPI North America Education and Capability Manager Darlene Sritapan suggests combining one part almond, olive, or coconut oil with two parts sugar.

Buff the scrub onto your feet and lower legs and rinse. Then file rough spots with the foot file again, then towel dry.

Apply a foot cream or body oil and give yourself a foot rub.  

Step 4: Polish Your Toes

Time for the main event. Swipe nail polish remover over your nails again to remove any product that might've made its way onto your nails. Apply a base coat, two coats of color, then a top coat. "Make sure you let each coat fully dry to prevent bubbles or wrinkles in your application," advises Sritapan.

If you don't have a steady hand, you can erase any mistakes with an angled makeup brush dipped in nail polish remover. (Do it while the polish is still wet rather than waiting until the end.)

Apply a cuticle oil and your at-home pedicure is complete.

This article was written by Renee Cherry from Shape and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Renee Cherry
Shape