How to do a pedicure at home: 10 simple steps

Get your feet sandal-ready by performing a salon-quality pedicure in the comfort of your own home.

how to do a pedicure

by Catherine Ball |

Having a pedicure will get your feet ready to be seen by the world and it’s a good opportunity to pamper yourself too.

But if you don’t have the time or budget to head to a beauty salon, don’t worry. Follow these simple steps explaining how to do a pedicure yourself – your feet will thank you for it.

What do I need for a pedicure?

You’ll probably already have quite a bit of what you need to do your own pedicure but check your supplies and gather everything together before you start so you have it all to hand. You may also want to treat yourself to something new, whether it’s a nail polish in a gorgeous shade or a luxury cuticle oil.

As a general rule, you’ll need the following for a good pedicure:

  • Nail polish (ideally a base and top coat as well as your colour of choice)

  • Nail polish remover

  • Nail file

  • Pumice stone or foot file

  • Foot cream

  • Cuticle oil

STEP ONE: PREPARATION

If you’ve got any polish on your toenails already, make sure it has been completely removed by soaking a cotton pad in nail polish remover. Hold the pad in place for a few seconds to make it easier to wipe the polish off. Don’t be tempted to leave any scraps of polish as this will affect the finished results of your pedicure.

If you’ve been wearing a dark nail varnish, you may notice that your toenails seem a little yellow or even stained. Rubbing cuticle oil on your nails can help make the staining less noticeable.

The best nail polish removers

Cutex Ultra-Powerful Nail Polish Remover, 200ml

Cutex nail polish remover

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This powerful nail polish remover can tackle even the trickiest nail varnishes, including salon UV gel and glitter polishes. It is enriched with 98% acetane and has a fresh cucumber smell.

Mylee 100% Pure Acetone High Quality Nail Polish Remover, 300ml

Mylee 100% acetone nail polish remover
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Mylee is a brand used by beauty therapists and nail technicians so will give your DIY pedicure a professional feel. Made from 100% acetane, it is the strongest available on the market.

Opi Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover, 110 ml

Opi acetone-free nail polish remover
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If you prefer your nail polish remover to be acetone-free, try this product by Opi which is gentler on your skin and enriched with aloe vera. Quick and effective, it offers mess-free varnish removal.

STEP TWO: SOAKING

This stage is the most enjoyable part of the pedicure experience and you could make it feel even better by adding some ambient music, lighting some candles and maybe even pouring yourself a glass of wine.

Get a really big bowl and fill it with warm water and a scoop of bath salts and then just sit back, relax and let your feet soak for a few minutes. Soaking softens the skin on your feet and makes it easier for you to get rid of any tough areas.

STEP THREE: DEAD SKIN REMOVAL

Your feet work hard for you all year round and most people will have areas of tough skin and calluses. Dry your feet and remove these areas of tough, dead skin using either a pumice stone or a foot file.

Focus your attention on the areas where you have hard lumps and bumps and also your heel. Aim to keep going until your feet feel smooth but don’t go too far. You don’t want to leave your skin feeling sore and irritated.

The best products for removing hard skin

Maryton Glass Pumice Stone for Feet u2013 2 pack

Maryton glass pumice stones
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The pumice stones in this pack of two are made from 100% siliglass pumice. The stone is two-sided u2013a coarse blue side to exfoliate the tough skin and a finer white side to smoothen your feet.

Revitale Natural Volcanic Lava Pumice Foot Stone -2 pack

natural volcanic pumice stones
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These stones are made from natural volcanic lava so each one is completely unique and free from any toxins. Effective at removing any tough skin, they also come wrapped in tissue paper so feel like a proper treat.

NYK1 Ultimate Foot File

NYK1 foot file
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This may look disconcertingly like a cheese grater but this foot file can remove calluses in seconds and has a strong reinforced handle to hold. Easy to clean, it even works if you donu2019t have time to soak your feet first.

STEP FOUR: TRIMMING

Use nail clippers or scissors to trim your toenails. They don’t have to be perfect at this stage but get them to the length you feel most comfortable with.

STEP FIVE: SHAPING

Get your nail file out and use it to shape the edges of your toe nails and making sure they are even and smooth. This is a good chance to get rid of any sharp corners on your nails.

STEP SIX: CUTICLES

Cuticles are a layer of clear skin found at the bottom of your nails. They play an important role in protecting your growing nails from bacteria so it’s best to leave any trimming or cutting to the professionals. If you’re really keen to get to work on them, you could use an orange stick to push them back.

What you can do safely at home is take care of your cuticles with by rubbing in a few drops of cuticle oil. This will strengthen your nails and make them shiny and healthy.

The best cuticle oils

Mylee Sweet Almond Nail & Cuticle Oil 50ml

Mylee cuticle oil
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This nourishing oil contains sweet almond, grape seed, sunflower and peach and has a lovely scent. It will hydrate your nails and help lock in moisture as well as soothing and renewing cracked cuticles.

JESSICA Midi Phenomen Oil Intensive Cuticle Moisturiser, 7.4 ml

JESSICA Midi Phenomen Oil Intensive Cuticle Moisturiser
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This oil will help strengthen your nails, soften your cuticles and promote growth. Containing natural jojoba, almond and rice oils, it can also be used on any part of your body that needs intensive moisturising.

Burt's Bees 100% Natural Moisutrising Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, 15g

Burt's Bees cuticle cream
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A butter rather than an oil, this cuticle cream contains sweet almond oil, cocoa seed butter, vitamin E and sunflower oil to moisturise and soften dry cuticles. The fresh lemon scent will also have your feet smelling delicious.

STEP SEVEN: MASSAGE

Give your feet a good massage with a nice foot cream or body lotion. When you’re first learning how to do a pedicure yourself, it is easy to forget this stage but it will help your feet will wonderful afterwards. Once you’ve finished massaging your feet, clean the surface of your toenails quickly with rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad. This will remove any oil which might still be on your nails and could stop the varnish from going on properly.

STEP EIGHT: ADD A BASE COAT

Add a clear base coat to your toenails to protect your nails and prevent them from staining – this is particularly important if you’re keen on using deep colours on your toes. Putting a base layer of clear varnish on will also help your pedicure stay looking great for longer.

STEP NINE: PAINTING

Choose nail polish in a colour of your choice and use a toe separator to keep your toes apart. If you don’t have one, that’s fine, you can simply roll up some kitchen roll and pop it between your toes. Apply two layers of your chosen polish but take your time and let each coat dry before you add another.

If you make any mistakes or get varnish onto your skin, don’t worry. You could use a very small makeup brush dipped in nail polish remover to clean up your toes afterwards.

Alternatively, there are special products available for tidying up nail polish errors like this one by Opi:

Opi corrector pen

Opi corrector pen
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The Opi corrector pen is great for cleaning up any little mistakes so your finished nails will look perfect. It comes with one replaceable tip and it can be refilled with polish remover.

STEP 10: FINAL TOP COAT

Adding a final clear top coat of nail polish will help prevent your polish from chipping and keep your pedicure looking fantastic for longer.

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