As tempting as it is to dish out money for a salon pedicure (with the soaking, foot scrubbing, massage — the works) it’s not always doable, especially when you already splurged on makeup in the beginning of the week and are left to question your self-control. So if you currently find yourself in a similar position and are in desperate need of a pedi, we’re here to prove that it’s possible to achieve salon-quality results pedicure in the comfort of your own home — for a lot less money.
STEP 1: Let Your Nail Polish Remover Do Its Thing
Completely remove any nail polish that’s still on your toenails using nail polish remover and a cotton pad. If you don’t have any leftover polish, you should still run nail polish remover over your nail to remove any excess oil.
Primp Tip: If you’re left with any weird stains or a yellow tinge (you’ll usually see this after removing darker colors, like red or black), rub cuticle oil over the surface of your nails to lighten any residue.
STEP 2: Soak Your Feet Like You’re at the Spa
Okay, before you start soaking, your first job—and this is important—is to go around your house and gather every candle you can find. Oh, and get yourself a glass of wine while you’re at it. The trick to making an at-home pedicure feel like a spa experience instead of, you know, rubbing your own feet in your too-small-for-comfort apartment is setting the ~mood~ at your makeshift pedicure station.
Once the ambiance is right, you’re ready to soak your feet—which softens tough skin and cuticles (and is downright relaxing). Lennon suggests using a basin (aka a really big bowl) if you have one, but your bathtub is also a sound option. Fill ’er up with warm water and add a liberal scoop of skin-soothing bath salts (Lennon recommends Côte Re-Treat Himalayan Pink Salt Soak, but you can also try my favorite Kneipp Mineral Bath Salts or just use a cup of kosher salt). Let your feet soak for a few minutes before moving to the next step. This is a great opportunity to multitask and try out that new face mask.
STEP 3: Get Rid of Dead Skin
After drying off your feet, use a foot file to remove any dead skin from callused (hard) areas. Parts to pay attention to are the balls of your feet, the sides of your feet and your heels. Scrape these areas until they feel smooth, but don’t overdo it. Try a pumice stone or foot file to gently smooth the skin. Then, switch your feet and repeat.
STEP 4: File and Shape Your Nails
Use a nail trimmer to achieve the length and shape you want (we recommend trimming nails straight across). Follow by filing the corners of your nails and buffing to make them smooth. According to Hadley, a big mistake people make at this point in the process is cutting their cuticles. “Trimming or cutting cuticles during a manicure or pedicure is purely cosmetic and sometimes it doesn’t benefit the nail in any way,” she explains. “The cuticle is a barrier to protect your surrounding skin and protect against infection.”
STEP 5: Apply Cuticle Oil
Apply cuticle oil to the base of your nail. Cuticle oil doesn’t just keep your feet soft and moisturized, but it also keeps your polish from chipping.
STEP 6: Moisturize
Take both feet out of the tub and dry them off with a towel. With a foot cream or body lotion, begin massaging your toes, feet, and calves until, well, you wanna stop. Moisturize your feet with an unscented lotion. “Scented lotions with synthetic fragrances can cause your nail polish to crack.”
STEP 7: Prep Your Toes
Use toe separators (you can buy a 12-pack for cheap online) to make painting your toes easier and avoid making a mess.
If you don’t have toe separators, Lennon suggests tearing off a piece of paper towel, rolling or twisting it into a rope, and weaving it through your toes to prevent the polish from smudging.
STEP 8: Apply Your Base Coat
Then, apply a thin layer of base coat on each nail. Follow with two thin coats of your color of choice, letting the paint dry for a few minutes between each coat.
STEP 9: Finally, Do the Damn Thing
Paint on your base coat and wait at least two minutes to ensure it’s dry. Don’t forget your base coat because it gives your nail polish something to sink into besides your actual nails.
STEP 10: Finish With a Quick-Drying Top Coat
Finish with a top coat so your nails maintain high shine and luster. Because nail polish takes about 12 hours to harden.
Primp Tip: Recommends sticking your finished toenails into cold water for a few minutes to make your nail polish harden faster and help it solidify.
Tell me: Do you do your own nails?