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Here’s Exactly How to Give Yourself the Best At-Home Pedicure
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Work, carpool, dinner, repeat—it can be tough to squeeze the nail salon into your daily routine. But when things are getting desperate between the chipped polish and sandpaper heels, rest assured there is an soltuion: an at-home pedicure that can be done in eight easy steps. Below you’ll find a breakdown of everything you need, from products to keep on hand to a quick nail polish drying technique that’ll save you minutes (and smudges).  

Step 1: Remove old polish

Use polish remover and cotton balls to get rid of any Big Apple Red that’s still hanging on for dear life. Be sure to reach for non-acetone removers—yes, acetone may work wonders on eliminating polish, but it can be harsh and strip away your skin and nails' natural oils.

If you find any stains on your nails or notice they have a yellow tint (due to wearing darker shades), rub cuticle oil over the surface of your nails to lighten discoloration.

A few of our favorites: Mineral Fusion ($8); Ella+Mila ($11); Karma Naturals ($12)

Step 2: Soak your feet

Once your nails are completely clean, it’s time for a nice foot soak. Start by filling up the tub with warm water and add in a few drops of body wash. Toss some epsom salts into the mix (which helps reduce any swelling, neutralize odor, kill bacteria and get rid of dead skin) and essential oils like lemon, tea tree or chamomile to upgrade your soak time (and make the bathroom smell amazing). Submerge your feet for 15 minutes to soften tough skin, then dry them off with a towel.

A few of our favorites: Botanic Hearth ($15); FineVine ($15); Dr Teal's ($18)

Step 3: Get rid of any dead skin

Use a pumice stone to buff any dry areas on the sides and heels of your feet. Don’t overdo this step, you don’t want to rub them raw. Just use the stone until rough patches feel smooth. (Psst, stay away from callous removers as they can knick your skin, letting in bacteria and infection.) You can also try a foot peel or scrub to get the job done instead.

A few of our favorites: Spongeables ($6); Majestic Pure Himalayan Salt ($14); Dermora ($17)

Step 4: File and shape your nails

Now that your feet are nice and smooth, it’s time to give your nails some attention. Grab a nail clipper or manicure scissors and trim your nails straight across to avoid painful ingrowns. According to Healthline, toenails should have their own clippers (separate from the ones you use for your fingers) to avoid transferring fungus or bacteria.

Once you’re happy with the length, grab a nail file and slightly round the corners of the nail so they’re not sharp.

Finally, use a buffer to give the nails an even smoother surface, which will prep them nicely for polish.

A few of our favorites: Makartt ($8); Crystal Lady ($10); Melody Susie ($17)

Step 5: Prep your feet

You can start applying cuticle oil to the base of your nail. Cuticles help protect your nails from bacteria (and prevent any nail polish from chipping), so you’ll want to keep them moisturized. A cuticle pusher is a great way to ensure all cuticles are gently pushed back. 

Moisturize your feet using your favorite lotion or a foot cream. Spend a couple minutes massaging it into the skin, paying close attention to the cuticles and any dry areas. 

Finish the prep with some toe separators (or good ‘ol paper towel by twisting it into a rope and weaving it through your toes) to make painting easier and prevent any wet toenails from accidentally touching.

A few of our favorites: Gold Bond ($6); Soap & Glory ($10); Burt’s Bees ($16); Deborah Lippman ($22); French Girl ($22)

Step 6: Put on base coat

Find a spot to perch your foot on to keep it still, and then start painting your nails with a base coat to strengthen nails and help the polish last longer.

Start at the middle of the base of the nail above (but not touching) the cuticle and swipe the brush up to the tip. (Use the cuticle stick to clean up any mess-ups.) Do the same on the left and right side of the nail, so that it’s completely covered. Let the polish dry for about two minutes before putting on your color of choice.

A few of our favorites: Revlon ($6); Essie ($9); OPI ($10)

Step 7: Apply your nail polish

Once you choose a color (a feat in itself, we know), apply a thin coat to each nail. Wait about two minutes or until it’s mostly dry, then apple a second coat. Use the same technique you used for the base coat (middle, left, right). Wait another two minutes before finishing it off with a top coat to maintain the shine and luster of your nails. 

A few of our favorites: Zoya ($9); Sally Hansen Miracle Gel ($10); Seche ($10); Smith & Cult ($18); Chanel ($28); Dior ($28)

Step 8: Dry your nails

It can take a long time for nails to dry (and the last thing you want is a chipped nail after working so hard on them), so to speed up the process, stick your toes into cold water for a few minutes to harden the polish faster.

Other ways to dry them more quickly are using a quick-dry topcoat, a hairdryer (on the cool setting) or baby oil. And if you’re going the gel route, buy your very own UV Nail Lamp to cut the drying time in half.

So, no need to book that emergency nail appointment. Carve out 20 minutes, turn on a podcast and transform your bathroom into an at home pedicure salon.

RELATED: This Is Officially the Trendiest Nail Color in Hollywood Right Now

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