Secrets of the At-home Pedicure

Treating yourself at home has never been more relaxing.

There are lots of upsides to doing your own pedicures at home. For one, there’s less chance of catching a bacterial infection on your feet if you don’t share a soaking basin with others. Secondly, there are the standard benefits of not having to leave the house. And thirdly, when you are your own nail tech, you have more control over how to care for and maintain your feet. The main downside is obvious: you’ve got to do all the work. But once you assemble your tool kit and learn how to use it, you’ll be surprised by how simple—and enjoyable—home pedicures can be.

1. Pretreat: The KIMI Peel
(as needed)

If your feet are in need of serious foot care (like that first pedicure in springtime, or if you’ve been walking around barefoot on asphalt), start with the Foot Perfect Foot Peel from KIMI a few days prior to the rest of your pedi. It couldn’t be easier: cut the cloth bags open, put a foot inside each one and sit tight for an hour. Then remove the bags and rinse feet well. Pat dry and apply a moisturizer.

$19.97, amazon.com


 


2. Soak: The Binxin All-in-One Foot Spa Massage

If you want your pedicure to have the luxurious feel of a salon treatment, I recommend getting a soaking basin with massaging and heating properties like the Binxin All in one Foot Spa Massage. Intelligently designed with castors for mobility and a drain pipe for easy clean-up, the Foot Spa features precision temperature controls and several massage settings.

$99.99, amazon.com

 

3. Callus Removal: Zoe + Ruth Callus Remover

There are myriad approaches to the great art of callus removal. There are the cheese-grater type devices which must be used on dry feet. They are effective at removing hard, dead skin, but can cause the fresh skin underneath to crack or dry out. Pumice stones are great in the shower for every-day maintenance, but aren’t practical for removing a large patch of calloused skin. Callus remover pads or gels are very effective, but contain ingredients that could cause allergic reactions in some people. They must be applied and removed strictly according to package instructions or they could corrode otherwise healthy skin. Callus razors are excellent at removing old skin, but are best left to the professionals: they are very difficult to use without inflicting injury. The Zoe + Ruth Electric Callus Remover is a rechargeable hand-held device with small micro-abrasion rollers that remove dead skin. It can be used on wet feet or dry feet, and it is virtually foolproof. I recommend using the Zoe + Ruth Callus remover after soaking, before moisturizing.

$31.95, amazon.com


 


4. Trim: Three Seven Travel Manicure Grooming Kit

It is best to cut your toenails when they have been slightly softened in a foot bath. Toenails can be tough or brittle, and are subject to cracking and splitting. But the most important thing to remember is to NOT cut your toenails too short. Keep them close to the edge of your toe and be sure to maintain a straight (not rounded) shape. Rounded toenails are more susceptible to becoming ingrown. I do not recommend cutting cuticles. To avoid injury or infection, it is better to tamp them down with a push stick. A V-shaped push stick can be used to clean out any detritus from under the nails or along the nail line.

$35, amazon.com

 

5. Scrub: Tea Tree Oil Body and Foot Scrub

Once your calluses have been buffed off, and your toenails have been trimmed, it’s time to do a final cleanse to remove any remaining dead skin. Instead of doing the final scrub in the foot spa, I recommend sitting on the edge of the bathtub, making sure that each part of the foot is scrubbed and rinsed. The final scrub is all about gentle exfoliation, so choose a product like the Tea Tree Oil Body and Foot Scrub, which has a refreshing scent and natural antibacterial properties. Be sure to have a foot towel nearby, and pat in between each toe to make sure that all moisture is removed. Check for any remaining callus patches or irregularities that need attention. Address any callus removal, cuticle management or toe nail trimming issues before you move on to the final steps.

$12.95, amazon.com


 


6. Lotion: CND Cucumber Heel Therapy

The heels of the feet are prone to cracks and callused skin. But regular care goes a long way to soften and repair the skin. Cucumber Heel Therapy from CND is used at finer spas around the country. Fortified with chamomile, cucumber and aloe, it helps improve the elasticity of the skin and heal severe dryness.

$7.75, amazon.com

 

7. Polish: Karma Organic Non-Toxic Nail Polish, Top Coat and Remover

The soaking and buffing and scrubbing can be a bit tedious, but polishing is definitely the fun part. Before you start, configure yourself comfortably on a couch with an ottoman, on a chair with a foot stool, or in any way that makes sense to you. Be sure you have a stable place to put your opened bottles of polish, and place a paper towel under your feet to protect against spills. It’s also a good idea to have a handful of cotton swabs and some nail polish remover on hand to clean up any polish that goes onto your skin. Having some good reading material or must-see television queued up will help you sit still while you’re waiting for your polish to dry.

It’s no secret that commercial nail polishes contain a variety of toxic chemicals, and the quest to create a formula that is non-toxic but durable has been ongoing for years. The nail polishes, top coat and remover from Karma Naturals is made with organic, cruelty-free ingredients, has a pleasant scent and lasts chip-free for an average of five days. Non-toxic nail polishes are still not as long-lasting as their chemical-laden counterparts, but when you consider how hard we work to eat right, exercise and take care of ourselves, it only makes sense to choose a better nail polish.

Karma Organic Base & Top Coat

$9.99, amazon.com


Karma Organic
Nail Polish

$9.99, amazon.com


Karma Naturals Organic Polish Remover

$11.99, amazon.com

Apply a thin layer of base coat to each nail and allow it to dry for about 10 minutes. Apply two coats of your chosen color, being sure to pause for about 10 minutes in between coats. As you go, clean up any polish on your skin with a cotton swab. Finally, apply your top coat and give yourself plenty of time to bliss out to your favorite shows or books while you wait for your polish to dry.

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