Instructions for Performing a Professional Pedicure at Home

You don’t have to wear socks all the time or forsake fashionable sandals as the weather warms up if your toes have seen better days (read: chipped polish and rough, cracked skin), but you can’t get to the manicure salon anytime soon.

It’s not that difficult to perform a pedicure yourself at home as long as you have a few basic tools. You should have nail clippers, a file, a base coat, a top coat, and some pretty bouncy lacquer on hand as a basic minimum. It would be wonderful to include more materials like a foot bath, cuticle oil, and a foot file for calluses. You may still have a long-lasting, professional pedicure without these extras, but they do make the cosmetic procedure more therapeutic and improve the end results.

Rita de Alencar Pinto, the creator of Vanity Projects nail salons in Miami and New York City, has provided this simple, step-by-step instruction for getting started on that pedicure:

Step 1. Remove any previous polish.

Utilize a cotton round and nail polish remover to remove any remaining polish. (Non-acetone is kinder, but acetone will make it easier to remove any hard polish, such ones that contain bothersome glitter.) If you don’t have cotton rounds, you can use paper towel instead, although removal will require a little more work because paper towel isn’t as abrasive.

Step 2: Soak your feet.

This is a nice time to use your foot spa, if you have one. If not, you can fill your bathtub and lean on the edge.

Warm water and a bath soak should be added to your basin; Epsom salt is an excellent option, especially for sore feet. Then, immerse. To soften your cuticles, let your feet sit for five to ten minutes. Then, dry each foot separately. Apply cuticle remover to heels and surrounding cuticles if you have any at home to assist calluses and rough feet become smoother.

Step 3. File and trim your nails.

To start trimming, use nail clippers. Don’t stress about the edges being perfect. Then take out your file to shape and soften.

Use a foot file or pumice stone to gently smooth the skin and any calluses you may have on your heels or toes if they feel a little rough.

Step 4: Massage yourself briefly.

The greatest part is now: after drying and treating both feet, add a small amount of moisturizer for dry skin to each foot. Spend a few minutes massaging your feet and toes, or as long as you’d like! If you have an electric foot massager (in which case, omit the lotion!) or a partner who can assist you with a longer at-home massage, that’s extra credit.

Step 5. Prepare your toes.

To make polish last longer, wipe away any extra oily residue with a cotton pad. Although toe separators are most practical, there is a solution if you don’t have any: All you have to do is grab a piece of paper towel, twist it into a rope, then pass it through your toes.

Step 6. Apply a thin coat of base coat.

The base coat is what creates a barrier between the natural oils from your nails and the polish, so don’t skip it if you want your pedicure to stay.

Pro tip: Raise your leg on a chair or another table if you’re having problems reaching your toes. Just make sure to put down a towel to stop any spills from happening and leaving stains on your furniture.

Step 7: Put on the polish.

Apply a thin coat of your chosen color after the base coat has dried. Apply a second, thin application of color after allowing to dry.

To have a better perspective when painting small toes, attempt to space them apart more. Lessening the amount of polish on the brush can also aid in maintaining order.

Step 8: Remember to apply the top coat.

The top coat is yet another essential step to make polish last. A thin topcoat coat helps to seal everything in and delays peeling. Do a touch test after 10 to 15 minutes of letting it dry, but 20 to 30 minutes is optimal, especially if you want to put on socks or shoes.