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(Note: This article is a part of our 31-day series, “31 Days to a Whole Body Makeover“.)
One of the most popular articles here on Better Bee Daily is my step-by-step tutorial for giving yourself manicures at home. I thought it was high time I finally finish the overdue follow-up and give you my guide to DIY pedicures at home!
Any large bowl or bucket will work for this, but I did this in my bathtub to show you that you don’t even need a bucket if you don’t have one! So long as you can soak your feet up to your ankles, that’s all that matters!
- Nail polish of your choice, I love OPI and Essie
- Base coat and top coat (you can buy a combo like the one I have)
- Bath salts or Epsom salts
- Oil (I used coconut, but you can use olive, almond, jojoba, whatever is handy!)
- Moisturizer or lotion
- Cotton balls
- Nail buffer
- Cuticle nippers
- Cuticle pusher
- Nail clippers (Optional)
- Foot file (I do not recommend “rasps” or “cuticle removers”. These tools are extremely harsh and unnecessary.)
- Nail file / emery board
- Exfoliating gloves (Optional)
- 1-2 large older towels you wont be sad if they accidentally get nail polish or acetone spilled on them.
- Toe separators (not pictured)
Fill the bathtub up to your ankles and let them soak. Sprinkle in some bath salts or Epsom salts to start the skin softening process. Grab a magazine, turn on some music, and kick back for a bit. You really want to give the dry skin on the bottom of your feet adequate time to soften.
Taking out one foot at a time, dry off the foot that is out. You will want to do the step described, then you will switch feet and put the one back into the water. Whichever foot you are not working on should be back in the water to soak.
Start with putting oil around each of the cuticles. This will get them to start to soften. Rub it into the cuticles. (Foot back in water, bring out other foot, and repeat.)
Using a cottonball soaked in acetone, remove the old nail polish from each toenail.
If you have really long nails, you can clip them back with nail clippers. To prevent ingrown toenails, file your nails in a straight line, trying not to let your nails dip down beneath the skin line if you can help it.
Using the cuticle pusher, gently push back your cuticles and ever-so-gently clean the edges of your nail bed by lightly removing any skin stuck to the surface of your nail bed.
Clip away any extra skin that is really hanging off. Don’t ever cut the actual cuticle. If you do, you might cause an infection.
Using your foot file, scrub away the rough areas of your feet. Check also the sides of your feet, your big toes, and the balls of your feet.
Now it is time to exfoliate your feet and lower legs. You can do this with exfoliating gloves, OR
You can make a great body scrub using some bath/epsom salts mixed with some oil. Exfoliate your feet thoroughly and your lower legs. Do not use the salts if you had just shaved your legs. In fact, if you can, wait until after exfoliating to shave. You will have the most smooth shave ever!
Every time you exfoliate, you must always moisturize!
Using a nail buffer, buff each one of your toenails. You really want to smooth down the nail beds, and this will help remove any of the remaining stain from the last nail polish you used.
Using acetone and a cotton ball, thoroughly clean each nail bed. You want ALL oils off your nail beds so that the nail polish will stick and last longer.
Start with a coat of base coat. This is how I hold it with my left hand, then I use the right hand to paint. Right now though, my right hand is holding the camera!
Time for the nail polish!
Next, apply a thin layer of the nail polish of your choosing. When I was trained to do nails, I was taught to do one stripe up the middle, then fill in the sides, three swift swipes! With practice, this makes for a super slick polish application!
I wanted to demonstrate to you that you don’t have to be perfect when painting! There is a super easy “life hack” for removing nail polish from the cuticle and edges of your toes. All you have to do is roll your cuticle pusher into some cotton and it makes for a great nail polish removing brush! Add some tissue paper off to the side in case you need to dab off any excess from the acetone or nail polish.
To create your nail polish remover brush, pull the cotton from the cotton ball. Lay the cuticle pusher on top of it and roll it.
When you have the thickness you like, just break it off!
Finish with a coat of your top coat. Allow it to dry for several minutes, being careful not to bump anything!
I’m a total nail polish nerd. I’m curious to hear what your favorite brands are. Please tell me in the comments below.