Step-by-Step Guide: How to Give Yourself a Pedicure Like a Pro

Wanna know how to give yourself a pedicure at home?

If your feet and toes need some TLC but you don’t have time to get to the salon, this post is going to save your life!

We’ll go over everything you need to do a perfect pedicure and the exact steps to follow.

After that, we’ll answer your questions about pedicures and give you some tips, tricks, and product recommendations.

Sound good?

Let’s dip our toes right in.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What do I need to give myself a pedicure?

You want your pedicure to be a relaxing and stress-free experience.

That’s not going to happen if you’re being interrupted every 5 minutes or you’re running around trying to find things.

So before you start, find a suitable space where you won’t be disturbed.

Gather together everything you need and put it within reach of you before you begin.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A towel
  • A bowl of warm water (large enough to soak your feet in)
  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton balls or pads
  • Nail clippers
  • Nail file
  • Cuticle softener/remover (optional)
  • A cuticle pusher or orangewood stick
  • Buffer
  • A foot file or pumice stone
  • Foot scrub
  • Moisturizing lotion or oil
  • Epsom salt, sea salt, or Himalayan salt (optional)
  • Soap or shower gel
  • Base coat
  • Nail polish in your chosen color
  • Top coat

A cuticle softener or removal product is optional, but it does help if you have hard cuticles.

You apply it after you soak your feet and leave it on for around 10 minutes or so.

Adding salt to the water is also optional, but it has a lot of healing properties and can really make a difference to tired feet.

Once you’ve gathered all of your pedicure supplies, It’s time to get started.

How to give yourself a pedicure – 10 steps

Here are the steps to follow for the perfect at-home pedicure:

Step 1: Remove your old nail polish

nail polish removal from toes

The first step is to remove your old nail polish.

If you’re using an acetone-based nail polish remover, be sure to use it in a well-ventilated area.

Cotton balls are ok for this but they do tend to leave little bits of material that can stick to your nails.

Your best bet is to use lint-free wipes or cotton pads instead.

Soak the pad/wipe in the nail polish remover and place it on your toenail.

Hold it down for 10 seconds over each nail.

Then, use a gentle circular motion to wipe away the polish.

Step 2: Soak your feet (for 5-10 minutes)

soak feet in bowl

Place both feet into a large bowl of warm soapy water for 5 to 10 minutes.

If you don’t have a bowl that’s big enough for you to submerge both feet, plastic laundry carriers and ice buckets can work very well.

You can use shower gel, bath soak, or even a bath bomb in your foot bath.

If you’re using salt, you can either throw that in as well or do a second soak with just water and salt to remove impurities.

Step 3: Exfoliate with the scrub

Exfoliate with the scrub

Once your feet are soaked, lift them out of the water (but don’t dry them off just yet).

Take your foot scrub and rub it all over, paying special attention to your heels, the balls of your feet, and all around your toes.

Dunk your feet to wash off the scrub.

You can use any kind of scrub for this (face scrub, exfoliating body wash, etc).

If you don’t have a scrub you can mix a tablespoon of honey with a tablespoon of sugar or salt and it will do the trick.

Step 4: Dry your feet and use the pumice stone

use the pumice stone on feet

Place your towel on the floor next to your bowl and put both feet onto it.

Let the water soak into the towel for a few seconds then dry your feet thoroughly.

Make sure you get in between those tootsies!

Once your feet are dry, take the pumice stone and gently rub it over your heels, toes, and balls of your feet.

This will remove any dead skin, leaving your feet feeling soft and silky smooth.

Wipe your feet down with the towel and you’re ready for nail care.

Step 5: Push your cuticles back

Push your toe cuticles back

If you’re going to be using a cuticle remover/softener, apply it now and wait 10 minutes before proceeding.

Then, use a cuticle pusher or orangewood stick to gently push your cuticles back.

Be careful not to push too hard.

Run the tool around the edges of each nail to get all the layers of cuticle off the nail plate.

Step 6: Trim, file, and buff your toenails

trim toes

If your toenails need cutting, do that now.

Otherwise, you can just go ahead and file them into shape.

If you have ingrown toenails, it’s important not to cut them too short.

Once you’re done filing, take a buffer or buffing block and quickly go over the nail plate on each toe.

This will make your toenails smooth and remove any minor ridges.

Step 7: Apply base coat

apply base coat to toes

Now for the fun part!

It’s time to start painting.

Apply a thin layer of base coat and let it dry.

Base coats tend to dry pretty quickly, so 5 minutes should be plenty of time to wait before adding a coat of color.

If you are using gel polish, you’ll need to cure it under a nail lamp before you can apply gel color.

Step 8: Apply 2 coats of nail polish

nail polish on toes

Take your colored polish and apply a thin coat.

If you’re using regular nail polish, allow at least 10 minutes for it to dry (I leave mine for 20 minutes just to be safe).

Then apply a second coat and wait another 10 (to 20) minutes.

Of course, if you’re using gel nail polish then just go ahead and paint it on and cure right away.

Don’t forget to remove the sticky inhibition layer before adding the second coat of color.

If you want to add any nail art or gems, now’s the time to do that.

Step 9: Add a topcoat

top coat toes

Paint on a topcoat of your choice.

You could go with a glossy or matte finish, it’s totally up to you.

Step 10: Moisturize

Moisturize feeet

Once your nails are dry, it’s time to moisturize.

Apply a lotion, cream, or oil to your feet and massage in.

If you want, you can put on a pair of socks to help lock in the moisture.

I recommend waiting at least an hour after the polish is dry before doing this.

That’s it. all that’s left to do now is sit back and admire your shiny new toes!

What’s the best thing to soak your feet in for a pedicure?

The best thing to soak your feet in for a pedicure is warm water and either shower gel or bath soak.

You can also use a bath bomb if you like.

If you have tired and aching feet, warm water with Epsom salt or Himalayan salt is a great choice.

Other alternatives include milk, which is great for the skin.

And even red wine, which has anti-oxidant and inflammatory properties.

Pedicure procedure at home

Here is the pedicure procedure to follow if you’re doing a DIY pedi at home:

  • Remove old nail polish
  • Soak feet in warm water and soap for 5-10 minutes
  • Exfoliate your feet with a foot scrub
  • Dry your feet
  • Use a pumice stone to get rid of rough and dead skin
  • Push back cuticles
  • Trim, file, and buff your toenails
  • Apply base coat
  • Paint on 2 coats of your colored polish
  • Add a topcoat and let dry

Pedicure massage steps

You may want to add a massage to your at-home pedicure routine.

Here are the steps to follow to give yourself a luxurious foot and leg massage:

1. Start by making sure your feet are completely dry.

2. Take some massage oil or lotion and rub it into your calves and feet using small circular motions.

Try to maintain constant pressure and rhythmic movement you do this.

Use your thumbs to massage in the product.

3. Squeeze the heel of the foot and then work your fingers under the arches of the feet.

Work your way up the foot, massaging the muscles and tendons.

4. Use your fingers to gently massage and stretch out the toes.

5. Finish by massaging the top of the foot.

Follow these steps and you’ll be feeling relaxed in no time.

Pedicure tips

Here are some of my tips and tricks for a great pedicure experience and results.

1. Use an acetone-free nail polish remover.

It takes longer to remove the polish but it’s kinder to your nails and won’t dry them out too much.

2. Use lint-free wipes instead of cotton balls to remove nail polish.

Because no one wants their pedi ruined by little stringy bits of cotton that stick to your toes.

3. Cut your toenails straight across to avoid ingrown nails.

You should also avoid cutting toenails too short if you have ingrowing toenails.

4. Don’t cut your cuticles!

Just push them back gently with a cuticle pusher or orangewood stick.

You can always soften them up a little with a cuticle softener if you need to.

5. Apply thin coats of polish.

When painting your nails, use thin coats of polish and allow each coat to dry completely before adding the next one.

This will help avoid smudging and give you a professional-looking opaque finish.

6. Don’t skip the topcoat!

This will help protect your nail color and make it last longer.

What are the best pedicure products?

You don’t need to spend a fortune to give yourself a pedicure at home.

Here are some of my favorite pedicure products that you might like to try out:

Dr Teals Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution – This stuff is amazing for getting rid of all those aches and pains.

It comes in 2 scents: Eucalyptus and Spearmint or Lavender.

You can also use it in the bath to relax tired muscles or speed up recovery time after a workout.

Sally Hansen instant cuticle remover – This makes cuticle cleaning so much easier.

A little goes a long way, too.

Homedics Bubblemate Foot Spa – Toe touch controls and plenty of bubbles, need I say more?

Pedicure bowl ideas

If you don’t have a foot spa at home, here are some ideas for what you can use to do a DIY pedicure:

  • A plastic laundry basket/carrier
  • A large plastic container (like a toy bin) or storage box
  • An ice bucket
  • A washing-up bowl

I’m sure you can find something to use if you don’t have a big enough bowl!

How to give yourself a pedicure for guys?

Guys can follow the same basic steps to give themselves a pedicure that is outlined above.

You won’t need to remove nail polish, so begin with a soak (step 2 above) and finish with step 6 (buffing the nail plates).

How long are you supposed to soak your feet for a pedicure?

Most salons will tell you to soak your feet for 5-10 minutes, I find that anything longer than that and my feet start to feel wrinkly.

So, 5 minutes is usually sufficient.

How long should you wait to put shoes on after a pedicure?

I’d recommend waiting at least an hour to avoid smudging if you used regular nail polish.

If you used gel polish you should be good to go after 10 minutes or so.

Let’s wrap this up:

In this article, we have talked about the best ways to give yourself a pedicure at home.

We have also listed some of our favorite pedicure products.

I hope that you found this post on how to give yourself a pedicure useful.

Follow these tips and you’ll be feeling relaxed and refreshed in no time!

Thanks for reading and enjoy your pedi!

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  • Phoebe Meadows

    Phoebe Meadows is a self-proclaimed nail addict, always on the lookout for the latest trends and techniques. When she's not creating stunning nail designs, you can find her researching the latest nail care products or experimenting with new techniques.