How to Do a Pedicure at Home Like a Pro

Bella Cacciatore

It’s almost summer, which means two things: It’s time to go shoe shopping and maybe it’s time to learn how to do a pedicure at home. Whether your salon is still closed, you’re not ready to return back yet, or you’re trying to save some cash, the art of the DIY pedicure is always a skill worth mastering. Plus, it’s surprisingly easy to do once you’ve got the basics down.

Before you get started, make sure to carve out a good chunk of time for yourself. Moving slowly will not only give you the best results, but it’ll also give you time to really pamper your feet—they do a lot for you, and they deserve it. We spoke to top nail artists and gathered the tips and tricks you’ll want to know. Read on for our step-by-step guide for how to do a pedicure at home.

1. Gather your at-home pedicure tools.

The key to a professional level pedi isn’t only about the proper technique; it also comes down to having the right tools on hand. While it might be a bit of an investment up front, good-quality tools will make all the difference and save you cash in the long run. For a basic at-home pedicure kit, you’ll need:

2. Start in the shower.

Your shower basically acts like a makeshift steam room, which helps soften the layers of dead skin on your feet—making it the perfect start to a DIY pedicure. “When you’re in the shower, use an exfoliating scrub after washing your feet,” says celebrity manicurist Honey. If you have serious calluses, celebrity manicurist (and founder of the eponymous nail brand) Deborah Lippmann suggests even stashing a foot file or pumice stone in the shower and using it to slough off dead skin twice a week.

Once you’re out of the shower, follow up with a foot cream like Soap & Glory Heel Genius. And if you’re planning to paint your toenails, Honey recommends buffing a moisturizing oil into your nails now. “The oil acts like a moisturizer and treatment, and oil penetrates your skin more quickly than lotion,” she says.

Formula 10.0.6 Save My Sole Rescuing Foot Scrub

$7.00, Formula 10.0.6

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Earth Therapeutics Cooling Foot Scrub

$10.00, Earth Therapeutics

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Ulta Dual Sided Foot File

$8.00, Ulta

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Earth Therapeutics Big Ceramic Foot File

$12.00, Earth Therapeutics

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Soap & Glory Heel Genius Foot Cream

$10.00, Soap & Glory

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Lano Minty Foot & Leg Balm

$19.00, Lano

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OPI ProSpa Nail & Cuticle Oil

$16.00, OPI

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Sally Hansen Nail Rehab Oil Cuticle Balm

$10.00, Sally Hansen

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3. Shape your nails.

It’s generally best to leave your cuticles to the pros, but feel free to push them back with an orange stick while they’re still damp. Only clip away any hangnails with a nipper. Once your nails are dry (filing damp nails can lead to breakage), you can start shaping them. While your first instinct might be to go straight to the nail clippers, they can actually do more harm than good, so proceed with caution. “Cutting toenails too short leads to a higher chance of developing an ingrown nail,” says Honey.

If you’re using a clipper to trim your toenails, be careful not to cut them right to the edge of your skin, and take off as little as possible. If you can get away with it, only work with a nail file instead and follow the natural shape of your toe, making sure to smooth out any jagged edges. “Round, square—everyone’s toes are shaped differently,” Honey says, so there’s no need to force yours into a new shape.

Tweezerman Combo Clipper Set

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Flowery Pushit Pro Pusher/Cleaner

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Flowery Ultra Violet Nail File

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Sally Hansen Nip Em Neat Cuticle Nipper

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4. Paint your nails.

Raise your hand if your “pedicure” usually consists of you haphazardly dabbing a dot of polish onto each toenail while you’re bingeing Love Is Blind. Same. Taking the extra time to really focus on what you’re doing will ensure your pedi not only looks great but lasts way longer. The first step to getting your polish right? Use a base coat. This will not only help your polish go on smoothly and make it last longer, it can also help deliver strengthening and nourishing benefits to your nails.

Then when it comes to apply polish, go slow and steady. “Most people make the mistake of trying to do thicker coats of polish so they get the color as it appears in the bottle in a single application,” says Lippmann. “But you end up over-polishing your nails, slowing down the entire application process and making the polish more prone to chipping.” Instead use just three strokes per nail—at most—and do only two thin layers, waiting two minutes in between so each coat has a chance to dry. You’ll get longer wear out of the layered approach, plus two thin coats will actually dry faster than one thick one. Finally, finish off with a top coat, and be sure to “seal” it off by painting a thin coat of polish under the tip of your nail (check out some more life-changing nail polish tricks here).

Essie Expressie Quick-Dry Nail Polish

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Jin Soon Nail Lacquer

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Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Polish

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Sephora Collection Color Hit Mini Nail Polish Top Coat

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5. Maintain your hard work.

If you’re diligent about taking care of your feet, you won’t have to shell out for another pedicure the rest of the summer. Once a week, “apply cuticle oil all over your feet, apply foot cream, and then put on some socks,” says Lippmann. Do that overnight, and you’ll wake up to smoother, softer feet—no work required. Or go for a pre-packaged foot peel or mask, which will keep your feet from getting dry or cracking.

Sephora Lavender Foot Mask

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Karuna Exfoliating Foot Mask

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6. Short on time? Try buffing.

If you’re too tight on time to pull out all the stops with a pedicure, the fastest way to get your feet in good shape is to just buff your nails. “Skipping the polish saves time, but proper buffing will still give you a super-high-gloss finish,” says Lippmann. Quickly rub on some lotion afterward, and you’re good to go.

Revlon Shape 'N' Buff File & Buffer

$4.00, Ulta

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Deborah Lippmann Smooth Operator Nail File

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Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.

Originally Appeared on Glamour

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