It’s finally sandal season, which means it’s time to get your toes in tip-top shape. However, the recent outcry over mistreated nail salon workers sparked by the spectacular New York Times expose has (hopefully) made a lot of people think twice about getting that cheap mani/pedi.
Even if you know the workers in your local salon are paid a fair wage, there’s lots of other reasons to do your own pedicures at home. Maybe you’re on a tight budget, or maybe you just don’t enjoy having a stranger getting that up close and personal with your feet. Whatever the case, every woman should know how to give herself a wonderful pedicure from the comfort of her own home. Just follow these easy steps for an amazing DIY pedicure; your feet will be sandal-ready in no time!
After removing any existing nail polish, the first step is to soak your feet in warm soapy water, whether it’s in the bathtub or a small basin. Make sure to give your feet enough time to get really soft—at least ten minutes—and feel free to use this time to read a book, watch some TV, browse Pinterest…do whatever interests you, as long as it’s relaxing.
Now that your feet are softened, it’s time to exfoliate any rough patches. You can use a foot file, a pumice stone, or an exfoliating glove. Whatever you use, be sure to exfoliate while feet are still damp and focus on the roughest parts of your feet. And if your feet are extremely rough, consider planning ahead and using a foot peel earlier in the week. This Baby Foot Exfoliating Peel ($21) is a little intense (don’t say we didn’t warn you!) but very effective.
An important step before painting your nails is to prep them: a multistage endeavor that is, thankfully, easier than you think. First you need to shape your nails. Clip them shorter if needed, and then use a nail file—always going in one direction, never back and forth—to shape your nails. Then you’ll want to massage some cuticle oil onto each nail before gently pushing cuticles back with a cuticle pusher. We love this Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil ($8.50) for it’s incredible moisturization powers and gentle scent.
Now you’re finally ready to paint your nails. Make sure to use toe separators to avoid any mishaps. Start with a base coat; we like Colour Prevails Mannequin Hands CC Creme Basecoat ($8) because it makes nails look and feel healthy and pretty, AND it even works on its own as a stand-alone nude color.
Once that’s completely dry, apply one to two coats of your favorite nail polish shade, being sure to wait until each coat has completely dried before applying the next. If contorting to reach your feet isn’t an option, consider using this Julep Plie Wand ($20) to help you reach your toes more easily. Finally, make your polish last with a good top coat; Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Top Coat ($5.99) is legitimately amazing.
5. Moisturize and protect.
The final step: applying a light moisturizer to your feet to keep them soft and hydrated. An unexpected beauty hack is using a multi-purpose hand cream on your feet after a pedicure. Jergens BB Hand Cream SPF 20 ($6.99) will protect your feet from the sun, keep them moisturized, and smooth out skin tone with an even glow.
And what would a pedicure be if your feet get chewed up by blisters? If you plan on wearing any shoes with uncomfortable friction, be sure to prevent blisters either by adding Dr. Scholls Moleskin Padding ($2.97) to your shoes or applying anti-chafing products to your feet. Life hack alert: Vaseline and even deodorant are handy items for preventing blisters—just rub some on your feet and go.
More from Daily Makeover: The Health Benefits of Pedicures.