How to Do a Flawless DIY Pedicure at Home

Asia Milia Ware
·7 min read

While salons remain closed at-home beauty is continuing to become more prominent, nail care being one of them. With no biweekly appointments, we’re being forced to learn how to take care of our natural beauty, which isn't a bad thing. While practicing DIY manicures, it's important to remember that our feet deserve the same care as our hands. so here's how to do a DIY pedicure. Although they may not be seen as often as our hands, maintenance matters. After all, our feet are what keep us mobile so if they aren’t properly taken care of then we’re all off and it’s really simple. Like at home manicures, in just a few steps you can complete a DIY pedicure that’ll have your feet just as (if not more) moisturized as the salon would leave them. Don’t neglect your feet because you’re unaware if we’ll have a sandal season this year or because you feel like they’re going unseen. What matters is, they feel everything so your feet deserve the proper care. Teen Vogue spoke with nail artists Lisa Logan and Ryan Renée, in addition to podiatrist Dr. Jacqueline Sutera on the steps to a DIY pedicure and why the health of your feet is so important.

1. Clip and shape nails

For starters, Lisa tells us to clip and shape the toenails. While clipping, be mindful of the length that you desire versus the healthy length. “Keep your toenails at a length that makes you happy,” Lisa tells Teen Vogue. But, beware! Dr. Jacqueline Sutera says a common mistake people make is cutting their toenails too short. She adds,* “Nails should be cut bi-weekly and leave just a little bit of white a the tip and cut them straight across, filling the contour of the nails.” However, there are rules when cutting and shaping. When shaping your nails, Ryan advises to file in one direction because seesawing back and forth can cause cracks in the natural nail.

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2. Soak feet in a nice warm foot basin

Whether you have a foot basin or a deep plastic wash bin around the house, anything works that’s deep enough to hold water while your feet are inside. You can soak your feet in water or add things as you like. Ryan recommends soaking in Epsom salt as it’s an easy and less expensive way to relax the muscles in your feet and ankles. This is the relaxing step of the process where you should allow yourself to just chill while your feet soak, soften up, and relax.

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3. Push back and clean cuticles

Your toenail cuticles deserve the same care as your fingernails. In fact, Lisa tells us our toe need “extra attention,” so we shouldn’t neglect the cuticles down there. “You should always maintain the cuticles on your fingers and toes by pushing them back and using oils to keep them hydrated,” Lisa tells Teen Vogue. Our cuticles are extremely delicate and without being cleaned right infections can form, so this step is extremely vital.

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4. Buff the nail smooth

Just as you’d do for a manicure, you should smoothly buff your toenails to give them a new luster and shine while also making the nails more consistent. But, don’t buff them so extensively that you thin out your nail. Just enough to gain consistency and shine is enough.

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5. Use a pumice stone to smooth and remove dry dead skin off the bottom of your feet

Dry dead skin is your feet’s worst enemy. The build-up can be extensive and it alters the way your feet look and feel, which is why pumice stones and scrubs are so important to not only DIY pedicure but daily foot care. This stone removes dry and dead skin, while also softening calluses or corns that may live on your feet, thus relieving you of pain.

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6. Dry your feet before you moisturize

Like our hands, having well moisturized and hydrated feet is what is all boils down to. “I love creams that are easily absorbed into the skin - the kind of creams that leave your skin with a glow. Brands like SheaMoisture are great for keeping you hydrated,” Lisa says. Not only do your feet look good when they’re moisturized, but it also keeps your skin from being dry and causing pain to do the simple things like walk.* Dr. Jacqueline Sutera recommends choosing a moisturizer that simultaneously exfoliates and softens calloused skin.

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7. Then you can finally polish your toes!

Grab your favorite polish and get to painting. “Your toenails grow at a much slower rate than fingernails, so finding a polish that lasts shouldn't be an issue. You just want to make sure before you apply a base coat and wipe over your toe nail with alcohol to remove any excess oils, to help with longevity,” Ryan tells Teen Vogue. Whether you try a playful bright color or keep it simple with white, your toes will thank you. This action is more about what you want to see on your toes versus the healthy, now that you’ve taken care of all the healthcare of your toenails and feet you can paint as you’d like.

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8. Wear comfortable shoes to maintain the DIY pedicure

This is less of a step in the process and more of a post-care tip for after DIY pedicures and for your feet in general. “I don't recommend walking around your house barefoot, this is the quickest way to get dry, rough feet. Keep a nice pair of fuzzy socks or slippers handy,” Ryan tells Teen Vogue. Walking barefoot can cause so many issues to our feet that are irreversible. Dr. Jacqueline Sutera adds that since there’s nothing to absorb the shock between the ground and your feet this behavior could “encourage the thinning of the fat pad, which serves as the foot’s natural cushion. Without this fat, you are literally walking or running on skin and bone.” Once that fat pad is gone, it doesn’t return so it’s important to keep cozy slippers and socks around the house for the health and safety of your feet. You could ever pair them together like our editors do.

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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue