How To Paint Your Toes For A Perfect Pedicure Every Time

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9 essential steps to giving yourself a pedicure at home

Nail salons have been closed across the country for months now, as a means of maintaining social distancing amid the spread of coronavirus.

And, of course, while health and safety are more important than a manicure or pedicure, people who are used to getting regular salon treatments have had to make quite an adjustment.

While doing a manicure is simple enough, taking the time to do a pedicure at home is also a worthwhile activity.

It doesn't take very long and is actually a pretty easy process. Plus, it's a relaxing way to devote some time to yourself. That way, you'll have neat and polished toes once again. It's sandal season, after all!

Here's how to give yourself a pedicure, all from the comfort of home, in 8 easy steps.

RELATED: 15 Ways To Make Your Manicure Last — And Get Your Nails To Grow Fast!

1. Remove your old nail polish.

(10+Free Sugar Nail Polish Remover, $18)

It's important always to start on a clean slate, so remove all old nail polish before starting your new pedicure. 

Says Niquishia Hassette, head esthetician and owner of InnoSense Spa, “Use nail polish remover and wipe away all traces of old nail polish or any excess oils on your nail bed.”

For flat (regular) nail polish, soak a cotton pad in nail polish remover and apply to the nails, rubbing in a circular motion. Repeat until all traces of old polish have been removed.

For acrylics and gel nail polish, file the top layer of the nail, then apply a cotton pad soaked in acetone to the nail. Immediately wrap with aluminum for 10-20 minutes. Add another soaked cotton if needed. 

RELATED: 10 Best At Home Dip Nail Kits For The Perfect Manicure Every Time

2. Soak your feet and relax.

(Dr Teal's Pure Epsom Salt Soothe & Sleep Lavender Soaking Solution, $4.89)

This is the fun part of giving yourself a pedicure, because everyone deserves a bit of down time, especially these days.

According to Hassette, “Fill your tub with warm water and Epsom Salt (add 3 drops of lavender essential oil), and let your feet soak for 15 minutes.” And while you’re in rest and relaxation mode, add a face mask.

3. Remove the dead skin.

(KBShimmer Crystal Nail File, $6.50)

Feet feel itchy or rough? You may need to remove the dead skin build-up. “After drying off your feet, use a foot file to remove any dead skin from calloused, hard areas,” Hassette advises.

Pay attention to the balls of your feet, then the sides, and your heels. Work those areas until they feel smooth, but don’t overdo it — you could end up causing irritation!

RELATED: How To Paint Your Nails For A Perfect Manicure Every Time

5. Apply cuticle oil and moisturize.

(Deborah Lippman Cuticle Oil and Nail Treatment, $20)

Apply any cuticle oil of your choice to the base of your nail. After applying the cuticle oil, massage it into the cuticle until it's absorbed by the skin. Follow with lotion and massage in for 3-5 minutes. Then, moisturize your feet with any lotion to keep the skin hydrated and smooth.

Why use cuticle oil? Says Hassette, “Cuticle oil keeps your feet soft and moisturized.”

5. File and shape your nails.

(Seki Edge Nail Clippers, $16)

Use a nail trimmer to achieve the length and shape you want. When you come across hangnails, be sure to trim them only and not your cuticles.

Cut the nail straight across, keeping it as even as possible. Then, use a nail file to shape the nail, slowly moving from left to right, and then from right to left, on each toe.

“I recommend cutting straight across and then going in with a nail file to buff out the corners... The cuticle is a barrier to protect your surrounding skin and protect against infection,” Hassette adds.

RELATED: A Step-By-Step Guide To Safely Remove Acrylic Nails Or Manicure Dip While Stuck At Home

7. Apply the nail polish.

(ZOYA Nail Polish Quad, $15)

A foundation here is much like primer on your face: it holds everything in place. It's important to remember your base coat because “it gives your nail polish something to adhere to besides your actual nails.”

After applying your base coat, allow it to dry for two minutes. Now, you’re ready to add color. Says Hassette, “Apply two to three coats of nail polish, making sure each coat has dried.”

Make sure to build thin coats of polish, as thick coats will look clumpy and take longer to dry. After the massage with lotion, use a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover to remove traces of the lotion and cuticle oil. Start with the left foot, then right foot. 

Apply your base coat in that same order, which will allow each layer to harden a bit before adding your nail polish color of choice.

"Polish starting from the base of the nail (right above the cuticles), moving to the free edge (tip of the nail). Using 1 drop of polish on one side of the brush, try to cover the entire nail with 2-3 upward strokes. This will ensure that the polish will be neat, as well as thick," Hassette instructs.

8. Finish with a quick-drying top coat.

(Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat, $5.49)

Finish with a top coat so your nails maintain high shine and luster. This will keep nails shiny and firm and maintain that color and sheen longer, better.

“Because nail polish takes about 8 hours to dry, stick your feet in cold water for a few minutes to help your nail polish solidify,” recommends Hassette.

Wait, 8 hours? Can that be right?. Yes, it actually is.

"With 2-3 layers of nail polish and quick-drying top coat, the polish will harden a lot. But it takes regular nail polish 8 hours minimum to dry completely, so it's advised to avoid wearing shoes within that time frame to reduce smudging," Hassette continues.

RELATED: 20 Best Foot Spas Of 2020 — At All Price Points

Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.

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