Finally, it’s sandal and flip flop weather! Time to set our toes free and wake them from their winter hibernation. But if you are like me and are practicing social distancing — or your state is under mandatory quarantine — you can’t get to your salon to have your feet made over by your favorite trusted professional. So what is the next best thing? A DIY Pedicure at home, of course!
The first thing you should do is gather all of your supplies.
Step 1: Gather Supplies
- 2 Large Bath Towels
- Liquid Soap
- Foot Scrub or Body Scrub
- Nail Brush
- Basin, Bathtub, or Small Foot Spa
- Epsom Salt, Bath Salt, Dead Sea Salt, Himalayan Salt, or Bath Soak
- Essential Oils (Peppermint, Tea Tree, and Eucalyptus are great for pedicures!)
- 2 Small Hand Towels
- Acetone or Nail Polish Remover
- Cotton Balls or Cotton Pad
- Nail Clippers
- 180 Grit Nail File (This is the lowest grit appropriate for natural nails and is suitable for filing both finger and toenails down and into your desired shape. However, if you have weak or damaged nails, then you should probably try a finer grit.)
- 240 Grit Nail File Buffer (An excellent size for buffing natural nails to a smooth finish or buffing away stains, it’s also suitable for filing down and shaping weaker or damaged nails.)
- Foot File or Pumice Stone
- Cuticle Remover
- Birchwood Stick or Cuticle Pusher
- Cuticle Nipper
- Massage Lotion, Cream, or Oil
- Toe Separators
- Base Coat
- Nail Polish
- Top Coat
- Nail Oil
IMPORTANT! Before you get started, it is essential to make sure that you have all your supplies ready to go. For your safety, you want to refrain from getting up while your feet are wet or have oil or lotion on them to ensure you do not fall and become injured.
Step 2: Cleansing
Products Needed: Bath Towel, Nail Brush, Liquid Soap, and Foot or Body Scrub
Start by wetting your feet in basin or bathtub with warm water. With a nail brush and a pea-sized amount of soap, scrub your feet, paying particular attention between toes and the bottom of feet. Rinse your feet and apply a small amount of foot or body scrub to the foot and ankle area. Massage into skin in circular and upward motions. Rinse the scrub thoroughly from feet and ankles and dry both of your feet.
Step 3: Soak
Products Needed: Basin, Foot Bath, or Bathtub, Bath Towel, Salts, Essential Oil
A foot soak should be between 92°F and 100°F. This will feel slightly warmer than your own body temperature, so not too hot. Fill your basin, bathtub, or small foot spa with enough warm water to cover the feet up to the calves. If you are not able to soak to the calves, ensure the water is up to, at least, your ankles. Allow feet to soak for 5 minutes to allow for your skin and calluses to soften.
- Basin or Small Foot Bath Instructions:
- It is recommended to set the basin or small foot bath on a large bath towel. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of Epsom Salt, Bath Salt, Dead Sea Salts, or Himalayan Salts to the water. Add 5 to 7 drops of your preferred Essential oil to the water.
- Bathtub Instructions:
- Add 1 cup of Epsom Salt, Bath Salt, Dead Sea Salts, or Himalayan Salts to the water. Add 10 to 14 drops of your preferred Essential oil to the water.
Step 4: Nail Care
Products Needed: 2 Small Hand Towels, Acetone or Polish Remover, Cotton Ball or Cotton Pads, Toenail Clippers, 180 Grit File, and 240 Grit File
Remove your left foot from the soak water and lightly dry with a hand towel. Leave your right foot in the soak for now. Remove any existing polish using a cotton ball or cotton pad moistened with acetone or nail polish remover. Remove polish from the little toe on your left foot, working toward the big toe.
Next, clip nails using toenail clippers. Carefully clip the toenails of the left foot so that they are even with the end of the toe. Don’t clip nails too short. Take care not to break or damage the skin around your toenails, which is an essential part of the seal that protects the toenail and toe from infection.
Finally, carefully file the nails of the left foot with a 180 grit file. File them straight across, rounding them slightly at the corners to conform to the shape of the toes. Smooth rough edges with a 240 fine grit file. Place your left foot back into the water to continue soaking.
Remove your right foot from the soak water and lightly dry with a hand towel and repeat the steps for nail polish removal, nail clipping, and nail filing. Then place your right foot back into the water to continue soaking.
Step 5: Skin Care
Products Needed: Foot File or Pumice Stone, Cuticle Remover, Birchwood Stick or Cuticle Pusher, Cuticle Nipper, and Hand Towels
Remove your left foot from the soak and lightly dry with a hand towel. Use the foot file on the ball and heel of the foot to smooth dry skin and calluses. Do not try to completely remove all of your calluses. Removing this protective layer can lead to blisters, irritation, or infections. Rinse foot. Place the left foot back into the footbath. Repeat foot file steps on the right foot and then place the foot back into the water. Scrub your toenails on your left foot while in water with a nail brush and repeat on your right foot.
For cuticle work, remove your left foot from the soak and lightly dry with a hand towel. Use a new cotton-tipped wooden push or eye dropper to apply cuticle remover to each toenail on the left foot. Begin with the little toe and work toward the big toe. Removing cuticle tissue. When performing a pedicure, do not push back the healthy skin tissue. Carefully remove the cuticle tissue using a wooden or metal pusher, taking care not to break the important seal it creates between the nail plate and the healthy skin tissue. Use a nipper to carefully remove any loose tags of dead skin, but don’t cut, rip, or tear the living skin; this could lead to serious infections, as well.
Dip your left foot back into the footbath. With the left foot over the footbath, brush with a nail brush to remove bits of debris and cuticle remover. Dry the left foot thoroughly and place the foot on a towel and Repeat cuticle work on the right foot.
Step 6: Hydration & Massage
Products Needed: Massage Lotion, Cream, or Oil & Hand Towels
Apply lotion, cream, or oil to the foot for skin conditioning and massage. If you use a firm touch, you can avoid a tickling sensation.
Massage is a wonderful way to increase circulation and boost energy. Start by performing a foot massage on the left foot. Twist your foot so that the sole is visible, and the side of your foot is lying on the thigh area. Hold your foot between both of your hands and rub your hands up and down the sole of your foot using medium-firm pressure. With your fingertips or the palms of your hands, gently apply pressure to both sides of your heel just below the ankle, and then rub around your ankle clockwise.
Next, hold the heel of your foot with one of your hands and, on the other hand, hold the toes individually. Squeeze, extend, and move each toe to the left and right. Then, hold all the toes in one hand and gently pull them forward towards you, then push them back, away from you.
Use your knuckles to press and knead your foot. Next, take your thumbs and place one on top of the other and press into the sole of the foot, keep the thumbs moving in circular patterns. Finally, knead and squeeze your calf muscle to release tension. Then place the foot on a clean towel on the floor and repeat the massage steps on the right foot.
Step 7: Polishing Nails (Optional)
Products Needed: Toe Separators, Alcohol, Base Coat, Nail Polish, Top Coat, and Nail Oil
First, insert the toe separators. Remove traces of lotion, cream, or oil from toenails of both feet with a small piece of cotton or plastic-backed cotton pad that has been saturated with polish remover or alcohol. Apply base coat, then two coats of color, followed by a topcoat. Place feet on a towel to dry. Once nail polish is completely dry, start with the left foot and apply 1 drop of nail oil to each toenail. Repeat on the right foot.
At the end of your pedicure, remove traces of excess lotion and/or oil with a towel for safety and enjoy your soft, moisturized feet!
—The BEing WELL Team