At-Home Pedicure Tips
No need to pay spa prices for a pedicure. Use these at-home tips to get polished in minutes!
By: Shandley McMurray
Sandal season is upon us and it’s time to reintroduce our toes to the world. Not ready to show off those winter-weary feet? No worries. Marie Scalogna, owner of New York City-based Spa Chicks On the Go has great tips for giving yourself a professional at-home pedicure.
Remove. Strip old color with acetone polish remover on a cotton ball. (Note: Don’t use a tissue, it will fall apart and doesn’t absorb the remover well.)
Soak. Add Epson salt and your favorite scented oil (Scalogna likes lavender) to warm water and soak your feet for 10 minutes. Although the bath tub might be easier, Scalogna recommends using a large bowl instead (keep it for foot use only). That way it feels more glamorous and luxurious, she says. Place it in your living or bedroom and relax with a book while you soak. For a more deluxe option, invest in a Homedics Bubble Bliss Plus Luxury Foot Bubbler, $25. “It gives you more of a spa experience at home,” Scalogna says.
Buff. Dry your feet with a clean towel. Then, exfoliate feet and heels with Tweezerman’s Pedro Callus Stone, $20 or a biodegradable pumice pad, which can be purchased at any drug store. Rub in any direction you want, but don’t scrub too hard and never rub the top of your foot. Make sure to get your heel, the ball of your foot and your big toe. Thoroughly rinse the pad after each use, let it dry and keep it in a plastic bag. Have big calluses? Never use a razor to try to shave them away – you could go too far and cut your foot. Plus, Scalogna says, “sometimes calluses are good. They’re like a protective area on your feet. You don’t want to eliminate them.” Just use the stone a bit more vigorously in that area.
Exfoliate. Remove dry skin from legs and feet with a homemade mixture of olive oil and kosher salt or raw sugar. Or, choose a scrub (we like Cocoa butter) from The Body Shop, $16. Rub in an upward motion for two to three minutes. Then, rinse them in your foot bath.
Trim. Cut nails with a toenail clipper like Tweezerman’s Deluxe Toenail Clipper, $10, then file them to your length of choice. Make sure not to go too short though, as nothing looks worse than a space between the polish and the top of your nail bed. Run your finger across the top of your toe. If your nail barely grazes your finger, you’ve got the right length, says Scalogna. As for shape, she prefers squared nails over rounded tips. “It looks more modern,” she says.
Moisturize. Massage feet and legs with a rich cream. Scalogna recommends Nivea’s Renewal Night Creme, 10 oz $10. It smells great and helps to smooth and soften skin.
Soften. Apply cuticle oil to nails to soften and revitalize rough areas. Try Sally Hansen’s Vitamin E Moisturizing Nail & Cuticle Oil, 0.45 oz, $5.
Push. Use a cuticle or Popsicle stick to press cuticles back so they don’t get in the way of the polish. Some people prefer to cut their cuticles for aesthetic purposes, Scalogna explains, but it’s best not to do this at home. “Unless you’re a professional, you’re going to end up with cuts all along the side of your nails,” she says. “Just push them back and keep it easy.
Polish Apply a base coat first, or use Sally Hansen’s Double Duty base and top coat. Then, apply two thin coats of polish. Scalogna’s fave for toes is the wild and definitely noticeable You Rock-apulco Red by OPI, $8. Finish with a top coat if you haven’t used one yet.
When soaking your feet, add a few drops of tea tree oil to the water to fight athlete’s foot and reduce itchiness.
- Ask your partner to do the massaging for total relaxation.
- If you don’t have cuticle oil, olive oil works just as well.
- Keep nail polish in a cool, dry place, like the fridge. It’ll last longer.
- A well-done French pedicure can look nice on toes, says Scalogna. But make sure to see a professional. Nothing looks worse than uneven lines and smudges.
Finger and toe nail polish don’t have to match. “Sometimes it’s fun to do different shades of the same color,” Scalogna says. If you’re opting for varying shades, go lighter on your hands and darker on feet.