Salon Style Pedicures at Home

By Jill Gardiner , last updated December 22, 2011
It’s summertime, and whether you can afford a salon-quality pedicure or not, your feet are going to be on display. If you don't have the time or money to visit your local nail salon, don’t worry; you don’t have to spend the summer in closed-toe shoes and sneakers. Follow these steps for a salon quality pedicure at home and you won’t have to hide your feet under the picnic table at this weekend’s barbecue.

Gather Your Materials

Once you’ve got your feet soaking, you won’t want to get up and slosh around for toenail clippers, so get all your tools together and within easy reach. You’ll need:

Basin for soaking

Foot soak

Pumice stone

A few clean, dry towels

Exfoliating scrub

Lotion

Cuticle oil

Cuticle stick

Cuticle nippers

Toenail clippers

Nail brush

Heavy grit nail file

Cotton balls and Q-tips

Nail polish remover

Basecoat

Topcoat

Nail color

Prep

Start by removing any existing polish with the cotton balls and nail polish remover. Choose an acetone remover rather a non-acetone one, which could leave residue of old polish and lead to staining. Use Q-tips to remove polish you can’t get to with the cotton balls.

Soak

A massaging or bubbling tub especially for soaking feet is a nice indulgence, but all you need is a container large enough to completely submerge both feet in. Place a clean, dry towel underneath the basin to catch any drips or spills. Fill with warm water and add the foot soak. Specialty foot soaks are great, but Epsom salts will soothe your feet as well. Soak your feet for at least five minutes.

Exfoliate

One foot at a time, use a pumice stone to gently slough off dead skin from heels, balls, and edges of feet. Apply foot scrub to feet, ankles, and calves and massage in. Rinse with water from the basin, then dry legs.

Clean Up Cuticles

Remove one foot from basin and dry off nails completely. Apply cuticle oil, or olive oil in a pinch, and then gently push back cuticles with a cuticle stick. If parts of cuticle appear loose or likely to tear, you can use the cuticle nipper to remove them; just be sure not to cut into your live skin. Scrub with nailbrush to remove any loose bits or dirt. Repeat with other foot. Move basin to one side, as you won’t be using it any longer.

Shape

If nails are overgrown, clip them straight across with a nail clipper. Don’t round the edges as this can cause in-grown toenails. If nails aren’t terribly long, you can use a heavy duty nail file to remove extra length, which won’t cause the nail to split or splinter as nail clippers sometimes will. Try 180-grit to remove nail and 240 to smooth. Again, keep the top of the nail straight, not rounded, and don’t file the edges.

Moisturize

Apply a generous helping of moisturizer to feet, ankles, and legs, taking the time to massage it in. For an extra luxuriant touch, microwave a towel for a few seconds, then drape over legs for a minute to help lotion penetrate. Use nail polish remover to remove lotion residue from your toenails.

Polish

Apply a base coat, then two coats of the nail color. Finish with a thin top coat. To prevent smudging, allow two minutes between each application. Remove any smudges with a Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover, or wait until polish has dried and peel away in the shower.

Maintain

Reapplying top coat every three days and cuticle oil to the base of nails every night will help your home salon style pedicure last longer.

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