DIY at home Pedicure – Staying inside for weeks has lead to my toenails looking a little, ahem, less than their best. Since we can’t head outside right now to spend money on a professional pedicure, it’s best that we tackle our toe needs from the convenience of our own bathrooms.
Thankfully, it’s not that hard to master an amazing at-home pedicure, especially if you’ve got expert nail technicians and spa owners giving you step-by-step instructions.
Before you proceed, make sure you’ve carved out a good amount of time to go through the at-home pedicure process. Yes, there are quite a few steps, but it’s only so that you get the most luxurious, safest treatment for your precious toes. Plus, if possible, don’t we all deserve to allocate a little bit of time to self-care right now? (The answer is yes.)
It might look like a lot, but you can find most of these tools online and they’ll last you a while. Or of course we can help you out at LA Beauty for the tools.
Here’s what you’ll need for your home pedicure kit:
While these aren’t all essential, if you’re really aiming for that professional level, spa-like me-time, I want you to be prepared.
Grab a gentle nail polish remover I recommend a non-acetone polish remover since acetone can weaken and dry out nail beds a little. Then, soak some into a cotton ball before running it over your toenails to remove old polish, debris, buildup, and natural oils from your nails,
Fill your tub with warm water and soak your feet in there for about 15 minutes. This is prime time to catch up on your Insta feed or FaceTime your family or friends.
To make the experience more spa-like, add a cupful of distilled white vinegar (to cleanse and tone), a few drops of tea tree oil (to banish stinky bacteria), or a few tablespoons of Epsom salts (to help with achy feet). You can even throw in a few slices of lemon, which can help soften your cuticles and calluses, and sanitise even your feet.
After a nice soak, gently pat your feet dry with a towel. Make sure they are totally dry and hardened before grabbing your toenail clippers, nail file, nail nipper, and buffer.
Whatever you do, make sure you don’t cut your nails too short. Doing so can leave your toes with that stinging feeling caused by overexposed skin. Most know I love my toes short, so do what works for you, as we are all different of course, but just be careful.
Once you’ve cut your nails down to your desired length with the clipper, shape the corners and edges with the file before clipping off any hangnails using the nipper. When you’re done, gently buff your nail beds to smooth out any ridges that would make your nail polish application look uneven.
Apply a cuticle eraser or remover to the skin around your nails, with a metal cuticle pusher, gently push your cuticles back. If you’re confident, go head and cut the loosened skin around your cuticles off with the nipper. If you’re not, don’t worry about it.
Then, regardless of whether you cut or don’t, apply cuticle oil to the skin around your nails. It will help prevent damage to the cuticle and nail, plus, it will help your pedicure last longer.
Now that your nails are almost ready for some colour, dedicate a few moments to getting your feet in shape, too. I recommend running a foot file or a pumice stone back and forth across your heels, soles, and sides of your feet. This will get rid of all the dead skin and callouses.
It sounds gross, but it’ll be super satisfying to watch all of the flakes fall off of your now-smooth feet. All of my clients know it’s my favourite bit!
Then, with a scrub, LA Skincare sugar scrub is amazing of course, massage your feet and ankles. When you’re done, rinse off with warm water, making sure there’s no residue in your cuticles or between your toes, and pat dry with your towel.
No scrub? Make your own with equal parts sugar and coconut/olive oil.
You’ll want to hydrate your feet and calves with lotion or foot cream (or a foot mask if you’re feeling extra!). This replenishes any moisture lost post-scrub.
If you can give yourself a little foot massage during this portion to mimic the relaxing feeling of getting professional pedicure at a salon.
Use a chair or the edge of the bath to hold your foot up as you lather the lotion between toes and along the arches and heals of your feet. Work your way up to your calves and rub out any knots you may feel lingering from your last workout.
Make sure whatever moisturiser you choose isn’t too greasy. A greasy lotion will leave oil on your toenails making it harder for the nail polish to latch on. But don’t worry too much as I recommend removing any residue with nail varnish remover first anyway.
Clean your nails and cuticles with a Cotton bud or cotton ball soaked in polish remover to nix any remaining oils which can mess with the polish. Before you start swiping, I recommend using a toe separator, or a twisted paper towel in between your toes, to prevent smudging.
Prop your foot onto a chair or even the toilet and, with smooth strokes, use base coat to create a bottom layer which will help the polish stick better to your nails. “Take care to cover the entire nail, this is the foundation you’re building off of, so take your time to make a smooth surface for the colour coat.”
Apply your favourite polish. Apply thin, even layers, more thin layers will last longer than fewer thick ones.
To reduce the chance of nail polish getting on your skin, I recommend painting the middle of your nail first. It will create guidelines for the rest of the nail, which will allow you to easily connect the painted sides of the nail to the middle strip.
Once you’re satisfied with a first coat, go in for a second thin coat. Make sure to hit the tips of your nails with the paint, as that’s where polish chipping tends to start. Give the polish a couple minutes to settle, then top it with a clear top coat to give shine and protect from chips.
And if you’re anxious for your toes to dry, try using a hair dryer on its cool setting on your toes. Otherwise, be patient!
It takes nail polish longer than you’d think to dry. If you rush it, you could end up with a sloppy, uneven finish. It takes 24 hours for nail varnish to really harden. There is a difference between dry and hard!
Don’t forget if you did have your own gel polish you would apply the gel before massaging.
Don’t worry if you got a little colour on your cuticles use a cotton bud covered in polish remover and it will clean them right up so no one will ever know.
All of these steps can require quite a bit of your schedule. That said, if you’re in a hurry , here’s a quick tip for fast tracking your pedi.
Plan your pedicure around your shower—the hot water will act as your soak time so that fifteen minutes isn’t wasted. Before you get out from the shower, scrub your feet.
Once you’re done, slip on some comfy clothes, clip, file, buff the nails and snip off your cuticles, then polish. Easy!