DIY Tips for Perfect Pedicures at Home

The next time you go for a pedicure, put down the magazine and pay attention. By watching carefully and following these tips, you can learn to do your pedicures at home when you can't make it to the salon or want to save a few dollars.

Pedicure Tools
You're going to need a small list of supplies at hand to perform the perfect pedicure. Remember to clean and dry the pedicure tools after each use. This not only keeps items clean and more effective, but it also helps prevent possible infections.

You'll need a large basin to fill with water and soak your feet. For the best results, you want some sort of antiseptic, cleanser or moisturizing product mixed into the foot soaking water. If you really want to pamper yourself, make sure whatever you add to the water also smells wonderful.

A towel should be nearby for drying your feet. One of the best parts of a pedicure is getting rid of all that dry, dead skin, so make sure to buy a foot file or pumice stone. A super-intense moisturizing lotion is also required to help heal your newly cleaned skin.

Some nail clippers and nail files are needed to help trim and shape toenails. If you plan to play with nail polish, you should have toe separators, nail polish remover, base coat nail polish, colored nail polish, topcoat nail polish, cotton balls and cotton swabs.

It never hurts to create your own, mini-pedicure kit for regular use. If you don't feel like finding the elements of the kit yourself, it's not a problem. Pedicure kits are sold at a variety of stores in every price range. Slip your pedicure tools into a bag, and then place the bag in your foot basin. Store it under the bathroom sink, and pull it out whenever you hear your feet crying out for attention.

The Pedicure Process
Before you can work on your feet, you need to soften up all that hardened, calloused skin. The best, and most gentle, way to do this is to soak your feet in warm water for 5 to 30 minutes, depending on how bad the build-up is.

Add some bath oil, Epsom salt, peppermint soap or whatever extra goodies you want to the foot-soaking water. Remember to wash the dirt off your feet before soaking them, or you may just end up with grubby toes. If you're wearing any polish, wipe it off with a cotton ball and polish remover before soaking.

After the dry skin has softened, use a foot file or pumice stone to gently remove it. Pay attention to the heels, the balls of the feet and the outer sides of the big toe and small toes. If your poor feet are feeling tired, massaging the arch of the foot after exfoliating is a quick way to relax them.

Once you've removed the calluses, rinse your feet well, and pat them dry with a towel. If your toenails need some cuticle work, use a nail file or orange stick to push them back. It's best not to clip the cuticles with nail clippers. Instead, try using a nailbrush or shower scrub to smooth the ragged edges.

If your toenails are growing long, you need to trim and shape them. The safest, and best-looking, way to trim toenails is to cut them straight across, which helps prevent ingrown toenails. Gently round the edges with a nail file to give a smooth and even shape.

Once you've dealt with your toenails and cuticles, wash and dry your feet if needed. Now it's time to lather those puppies in some heavy-duty lotion. Massage the lotion into your feet, ankles and calves. Pay attention to the curves of your foot, get in between the toes and really work the lotion into your heels.

Painting Your Toenails
If you plan to paint your toenails, you need to use a dab of polish remover and a cotton ball to clean the lotion from each nail. It's important to start the polish process with a completely clean and dry nail.

Push your toes apart with the separators. Make sure to wear them down toward the foot, not up where they'll rub against a newly polished toenail. Cover the nails in a thin, even coat of base polish and let dry.

Apply two coats of your color polish, letting the paint dry between each coat. Finish things off with an even layer of clear topcoat polish, and let that dry. It will take several hours before the polish is dry enough to withstand chipping. Try not to wear any tight or closed-toe shoes until the color has had time to set.

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