I love the look of a pedicure. Be it a shiny color or a beautiful design, a pedicure makes me think of carefree, barefoot summer days. The weather turning colder across much of America is no reason to neglect your feet. They’re still dealing with all the walking, running and pounding you subject them to daily, only now they’re bound in thick socks and shoes or boots. I say they need some TLC. But, I’m not willing to part with $40 or more to get it.
With just a few simple tools and ingredients (most you may already have) you can easily recreate the comfort and beauty of a pedicure in the comfort of your own home.
First things first — you need to remove your old polish. Sure, you probably know how to do this, but I have to share this great technique for five-minute nail polish removal, plus it only uses one cotton ball. How’s that for saving money?
If you tend to use a lot of dark-colored polishes, after removing polish you may find your nails stained. If so, here’s a simple method to get your nails back to their natural color.
Next step: shaping. Toenails are much less complicated to get into shape than fingernails. Basically just trim them straight across (trimming to much into the corners can lead to ingrown toenails) and then file until smooth. To prevent weakening your nails, file in one direction only.
The warm soak your tootsies get at the salon is not only relaxing but is also meant to help soften dead skin to make it easier to remove. This helps get your feet from dry and cracked to baby-soft. There are lots of foot-soak recipes online but most use the same basic concept.
To start with you’ll need a tub for soaking, a towel nearby for drying and a nice relaxing place to sit and, well, relax. I like this skin-softening soak that’s followed by an overnight moisturizing routine. You may choose to do or not do the overnight part, but it will help. You may also choose to soak, then complete the pedicure and then do the overnight portion.
Keep in mind, those calluses and cracks didn’t get there in one day and it may take more than one soak/moisturizing cycle to see decent progress. This Listerine-based soak (yes, the mouthwash) is quite popular on Pinterest. To be honest with you, I’ve not yet summoned the nerve to try it, but many folks swear by it for callus removal.
After you soak, while your feet are still damp, you have your best chance to get rid of the dead skin. You can use a simple pumice stone that you can buy at your local drugstore in the nail-care department. With a moderate pressure, rub the pumice stone in circles over the callused areas, especially heel and ball of foot.
You may also choose a scrub. Some scrubs help moisturize as well as remove dead skin. This brown sugar scrub is incredibly easy. Another simple scrub is mixing a tablespoon of white sugar with a tablespoon of baby oil gel. I recommend doing your scrub over your soaking tub. That way the scrub falls into the tub and you can easily dunk your feet back in to wash the remaining scrub off. Pat dry with your towel and you’re ready to paint.
I find the problem with DIY nails is the extra polish that manages to find itself all over the skin of my fingers and toes. To help prevent that, take a cotton swab dabbed in lotion or petroleum jelly and rub it on the skin around your nail (not on the nail itself however). When you’re done painting simply wipe off the petroleum jelly and with it the nail polish.
The choice is yours to do a simple color or try a more elaborate design. Either way, start with a clear coat to help the polish adhere better and help prevent staining. If you’re looking to do a bit more than a basic color, Pinterest is loaded with ideas — some easier than others. You can do a simple polka dot design by first coloring your nails a bright or dark color and then using the head of a pin dipped into a lighter color.
Here are some simple Pinterest ideas you may want to check out. Note that some of these are fingernails, but the designs can be copied onto toenails.
Once your nails look the way you want, put on a nice top coat to help seal the color in. You can help your nails dry quicker by either misting them with water or dipping them in cold water.
Now you have beautiful, soft feet — and your wallet is not lighter than when you started.
Top photo by Marin, freedigitalphotos.net.