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How can I Give Myself a Pedicure?

J. Beam
J. Beam

In many ways, a pedicure is more relaxing than a manicure. While nothing beats a full-service pedicure, many of us do not have the time or money to spend on routine salon visits. It’s great to treat yourself to the luxury of a pedicure once in a while, but you can achieve the same results if you give yourself a pedicure at home. Though not quite as relaxing, a home pedicure does provide care for a frequently neglected, but hard-working, body part.

To give yourself a pedicure, begin by soaking your feet in warm water. Typically, pedicure water contains some form of botanical oil or other additive, but you can achieve the same thing at home with either a specialty product purchased in a store or by simply adding a few drops of baby oil. Though a massaging foot bath designed for home use is nice to have, you can also use a simple shallow bucket or other vessel. The objective is to soak your skin to soften it.

Foot baths can be part of a pedicure.
Foot baths can be part of a pedicure.

After soaking your feet for roughly five to ten minutes, remove them and pat them dry. Using a pumice stone or foot file for sloughing away dried, dead skin cells, gently file your heels and the ball of your big toe. Any other rough spots can also be filed with a pumice stone. To avoid possibly cutting your skin, use caution not to file too hard and try moving the stone in one direction at a time.

A pumice stone, which can be used to smooth feet.
A pumice stone, which can be used to smooth feet.

Return your feet briefly to your foot bath to rinse away debris and then pat dry again. Then apply a moisturizing lotion liberally to both feet. When you give yourself a pedicure, it’s easiest to position yourself in a chair where you can cross each foot on top of the opposite leg to reach your feet. Remember to apply lotion between all your toes and work up the ankle as well.

Toenails with a French pedicure.
Toenails with a French pedicure.

If you plan to give yourself a pedicure with polish, it may be helpful to purchase toe separators. These are inexpensive little gadgets that you can buy in the cosmetics department of most chain retailers. They are generally foam or plastic and are used to place between each toe to make them easier to polish. Though you’ll want to trim and file your toenails whether you use polish or not, be sure to do this before polishing.

Nail clippers.
Nail clippers.

With your nails trimmed and neatly filed, apply a small amount of cuticle oil to the nails’ cuticles by gently working it into the cuticle while pushing it back. If the cuticle is overgrown, carefully trim it with cuticle scissors. With that accomplished, you are ready for polish if desired. Because toenails are exposed to washing much less frequently than fingernails, polish tends to last longer on the toes – meaning less maintenance. Choose a color that matches your fingernail polish if you’re wearing it. When you give yourself a pedicure with polish, you should generally apply two even coats.

Foam toe separators are great at keeping pedicures tidy.
Foam toe separators are great at keeping pedicures tidy.

You may be surprised to find how much softer and prettier your feet are after several pedicures at regular intervals. If you take the time to pamper yourself every other week, you will likely notice a marked improvement in skin quality and appearance as well as reduced calluses and rough spots. Be sure to always dump your pedicure water after each use and follow the manufacturer’s directions on any brand of foot bath. For hygienic reasons, do not share pedicure supplies with anyone else.

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    • Foot baths can be part of a pedicure.
      By: Jan Andersen
      Foot baths can be part of a pedicure.
    • A pumice stone, which can be used to smooth feet.
      By: dimasobko
      A pumice stone, which can be used to smooth feet.
    • Toenails with a French pedicure.
      By: Valua Vitaly
      Toenails with a French pedicure.
    • Nail clippers.
      By: ibphoto
      Nail clippers.
    • Foam toe separators are great at keeping pedicures tidy.
      By: Valua Vitaly
      Foam toe separators are great at keeping pedicures tidy.
    • After a pedicure, it's always a good idea to moisturize the feet and toenails.
      By: StockPhotosArt
      After a pedicure, it's always a good idea to moisturize the feet and toenails.
    • When using nail polish, a person usually wants to apply two even coats.
      By: Valua Vitaly
      When using nail polish, a person usually wants to apply two even coats.
    • If your cuticles are overgrown, manicure scissors may be necessary to cut them before polishing your toe nails as part of a pedicure.
      By: artzenter
      If your cuticles are overgrown, manicure scissors may be necessary to cut them before polishing your toe nails as part of a pedicure.
    • A steel nail file may be more suitable than an emery board for filing toenails after clipping.
      By: terex
      A steel nail file may be more suitable than an emery board for filing toenails after clipping.