The Best Do-It-Yourself Pedicure Tips

Pros share tips on getting salon pedicure results at home

With gorgeous sandals hitting the shelves, it's no time to be shy about baring your toes. Sure, you could splurge on a luxurious pedicure but who has the time and money to keep that up? Fortunately, celeb-trusted nail pros Roxanne Valinoti, Nicole Dihn and Jenna Hipp are sharing their top tips for pampering your feet. Read their advice to find out how to do a pedicure at home -- and look like you went to a salon.

By Charli Schuler

Step 1: Gather Materials Choose a comfortable area of your home that's near a faucet and gather the following items for easy access: • Nail polish remover • A large bowl or foot bath filled with water and bubble bath • Cuticle oil • Exfoliating foot scrub • A bath towel • A hand towel • A foot callus file • Nail clipper • A fine grit nail file • Foot lotion • Cotton pads • Base coat • Your chosen nail polish color • Top coat • Toe separators Optional: • Cuticle treatment and stain remover • Epsom salt • Peppermint oil • Clay foot mask • A terry cloth towel • Short, stiff paint brush * See specific product recommendations listed throughout the story Step 2: Remove Polish If you have any leftover polish on your feet, use mild acetone polish remover (we like Zoya Remove +, $9.99 ) and a cotton pad to remove it. "Acetone remover is not damaging to nails [and] cuts through pigment faster than non-acetone remover, which can leave traces of pigment on nails that can lead to discoloration over time," says Valinoti. Tip: Have dark polish stains? " Orly Cutique, $4.25 , gently removes dead skin tissue from cuticles, making them soft and pliable. It also removes dark or light stains from nails and is sooo great for pedicures," says Hipp. Zoya Remove+ Step 3: Soak "Make an at-home pedicure more relaxing by soaking your feet in a large bowl with bubble bath (we like Davies Gate Nutrient Rich Foaming Bath, $20 ) for 10 or so minutes before you get working," says Dihn. "Read a magazine or listen to music and just relax. Then get to work." Before you fill your foot bath or large bowl with water, make sure to put a bath towel underneath it to catch any spills or "debris" from your pedicure. Tip: Add epsom salt (go plain or use Dermalogica Hydro Active Mineral Salts, $26 ) to your foot bath to soothe tired feet and help reduce any swelling at the end of a long day. Davies Gate Nutrient Rich Foaming Bath Step 4: Treat Cuticles Pull one foot from the foot bath and put drop cuticle oil (we like Lippmann Collection Cuticle Oil, t="new">$18 ) on each nail. Massage it in and glide a wooden cuticle stick around the nail to push back any dead skin that might be clinging to the nail plate. Switch feet, submerging your first foot back into the water, and do the same on your other foot. Lippmann Collection Cuticle Oil Step 5: Exfoliate Pull your first foot out of the foot bath and wet your leg up to your knee. Using a granular foot scrub (like CND Creative Spa Sea Salt Glow, $25.95 , or Essiespa Exfoliating Scrub, $18 ), gently massage along the bottoms of your feet up to the knee. "Concentrate pressure where there is a callus or dry skin build-up," says nail pro Valinoti. Rinse thoroughly and do the same with your other leg. Tip: If you desire, dampen a clean towel and warm in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds, then use it to help rinse your feet. CND Creative Spa Sea Salt Glow Step 6: Smooth Skin Gently glide a callus smoother (try a double-sided one like Titania Double Sided Foot Callus File, $5.09 , which has pumice on one side and a file on the other) over calluses to smooth (not remove) rough, dry areas on the bottoms and sides of feet and toes. Tip: "If you don't have a foot file handy, use a very coarse nail file to smooth rough skin patches," says Dihn. Put feet back in foot bath to rinse. Titania Double Sided Foot Callus File Step 7: Hydrate Remove one foot from foot bath and pat dry with a hand towel. For a relaxing, cooling sensation that will soothe feet and make them tingle for at least an hour, combine a few drops of peppermint oil (try Aveda Blue Oil Balancing Concentrate, f="" target="new">$12.50 ) with a foot lotion or rich cream (Hipp recommends Sally Hansen's JUST FEET Cracked Heel Repair Creme, $6.50 ) and massage into legs and feet. (Or for an all-in-one option, try Miss Oops Pedicure In A Bottle, $18 .) Tip: For more intense moisturization, do a mask first. After removing your first foot from the foot bath, spread an even coat of clay foot mask (try CND Creative Nail Design Raw Earth Foot Mask, $14 ) on your foot and ankle. Wrap with plastic wrap, then a terry cloth towel. Repeat on your other foot. Wait three to five minutes, rinse thoroughly. Then massage feet with lotion as suggested above. Sally Hansen JUST FEET Cracked Heel Repair Creme Step 8: Prepare Nails Use a disinfected, curved toenail trimmer (try Revlon Toenail Clip, $3 ) to cut the corner of each nail at a 45-degree angle to help prevent ingrown nails. Next cut any nails that are too long straight across. Finish by shaping nails with a fine (around 240 grit) flat file (try Trim Salon Boards, $2 ) or glass file to smooth uneven edges and corners. Double-check for any remaining cuticle that might be stuck to the nail and file it smooth. Swipe all nails with polish remover to get rid of residual oils and extend the life of your polish. Weave toe separators between toes. Tip: Practicing a non-toxic lifestyle? Hipp, a "green" nail artist, recommends wiping vegan brand Spa Ritual's Fluent Conditioning Lacquer Remover, $7 , on nails before applying polish. Revlon Toenail Clip Step 9: Apply Polish Apply one thin layer of base coat, followed by two thin coats of nail enamel in your chosen color and one final thin layer of shiny top coat. Let each coat dry for about two minutes between applications. Don't have a steady hand? "Fix any polish mistakes by dipping a short, stiff paint brush in nail polish remover. Just glide it along the edges of your nails to clean up the paint," says Dihn. (Wait until nails are fully dry before you clean up your workspace, and wait at least two hours before putting on close-toed shoes). Tip: Avoid air bubbles in your painted nails by storing polish in a cool, dry place and rolling bottles between palms, not shaking them, before applying. OPI Nail Lacquer in Malaga Wine Step 10: Make It Last To make your pedicure last longer, always use a base coat and top coat, and apply a fresh coat of clear polish every three days. (Do this right after hitting the beach to make polish dulled by sand look fresh again.) Keep polish and cuticles well oiled with a purse-sized cuticle oil like Orly Cuticle Care Complex, $8.25 , which comes with a convenient dropper applicator. "It's easy to apply onto cuticles even on the go and also prevents bacteria, dirt, etc., from going back into the formula (which brush applicators tend to do)," says Hipp. Tip: To keep cuticles and nails soft and smooth, Valinoti says, "Shampoo and condition [them] daily!" Orly Cuticle Care Complex 6 Signs of A Clean Nail Salon Funky Nail Emergencies Solved Luxe vs. Less Nail Polish Subject Subject Subject Message Message Message /content/package/c_home_pedicure/

Products Mentioned in This Story

Revlon Toenail Clip

Average Member Rating: 8.6

Lippmann Collection Cuticle Oil

Average Member Rating: 8.3

Dermalogica Hydro Active Mineral Salts

Average Member Rating: 9.0

Orly Cuticle Care Complex

Average Member Rating: 9.0

Orly Cutique

Average Member Rating: 10.0

Aveda Blue Oil Balancing Concentrate

Average Member Rating: 8.4

CND Creative Nail Design Sea Salt Glow

Average Member Rating: 0.0

Essie Essiespa Exfoliating Scrub

Average Member Rating: 0.0

Zoya Remove + Big Flipper

Average Member Rating: 9.0

Miss Oops Pedicure In A Bottle

Average Member Rating: 8.5

Davies Gate Nutrient Rich Foaming Bath

Average Member Rating: 0.0

Titania Double Sided Foot Callus File

Average Member Rating: 8.5

Trim Salon Board

Average Member Rating: 7.8

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older comments

Wow, so many steps. Thanks for all the detailed explanations.

by LindaDD Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 02:49PM Report as inappropriate

good tips

by venenumletalis Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 04:20PM Report as inappropriate

I'll try this one soon

by LittleBunny Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 09:47PM Report as inappropriate

I'd like to do this one day.

by NillaButterfly Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 04:17PM Report as inappropriate

Can't wait to give myself one of these pedicures. Free, safe, and I can take as long as I want :]

by Lamexicana1 Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 03:52PM Report as inappropriate

I have to try this..really good tips

by mzzr2u Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 05:56PM Report as inappropriate


by lilas Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 02:47PM Report as inappropriate

Great tips

by rachelneed Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 03:43PM Report as inappropriate

Awesome sharing! :)) Many people would just put nail polish,and forget about "nail treatment". I personally feel that nail treatment is really important if you want health strong nails.

by Colours Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 02:28AM Report as inappropriate

Awesome tips

by milenaa87 Sunday, August 5, 2012 at 06:25AM Report as inappropriate

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