By Leah Fletcher
With the arrival of summer, Sadie Gilbert’s favorite spring shoes generally disappear and her summer favorites appear. For her that generally means only one thing, sandal and flip-flop weather. And her favorite summer shoes signal two things—exposed feet and toes and the need for a summer pedicure.
The 29-year-old wife and mother, who is stressed by time and budgetary constraints, admits that a pedicure at a salon would be costly and time-consuming. But, she can keep her feet healthy and minimize the cost of a pedicure by giving herself one at home. So whether she wants to sooth her callused feet or she wants a day of pampering, a DIY (do-it-yourself) pedicure is a perfect solution.
“I might have a better chance of fitting a pedicure into my schedule with a do-it-yourself pedicure,” Gilbert, the mother of two toddlers, explained. “A late night or early morning time frame, when the husband and the kids are sleeping, might allow me some much-needed Me-time.”
Gilbert admits that she is excited to indulge in a pedicure and to explore her top polish colors. “I can’t wait to complete my pedicure with my favorite summer polish colors that include bright yellow, tangerine, blue, pink and teal.” She noted that she is just waiting for the right moment.
For a DIY pedicure, follow a few simple steps
What you will need
For a good quality pedicure, you will require some basic supplies. Get a basin of water for soaking, nail clippers, a nail file, a cuticle stick/orange stick, a nail buffer, a pumice stone or scrubbing brush, a clear top and base coat, and a nail polish color of choice. Optional supplies include bath salts for soaking your feet, cuticle trimmers, cuticle oils, and lotion for a massage afterwards.
Remove all existing nail polish
When beginning your pedicure, remove your old nail polish. Adding a new coat of color over the old coat will be difficult. Consider using an acetone remover, be sure to clean along your cuticles.
Begin the process by soaking your feet
Fill a tub or small basin with hot water. Add some bath salts or oils and the sit back and relax. Soaking your feet for 10 to 15 minutes in the hot water softens tough calluses and removes any other particles. It also will soften nails and cuticles, which is critical when preparing to paint your toes.
Trim and file your nails
Trim your toe nails with a pair of nail clippers just short enough to see a bit of white at the tips. Shape your nail, which should be slightly squared, following the natural topline of your toes. Use your nail file to buff and remove any sharp edges left by the nail clippers. Avoid ingrown nails, by not cutting your nails in a rounded shape. Don’t cut nails too short because it’s another reason ingrown toenails occur. Cutting your toe nails incorrectly can leave your toenail susceptible to infection. Lastly, file your nails in the same direction to avoid splitting the layers and damaging your nails.
Prep your cuticles
Although this step is optional, it significantly helps to prepare your toes for painting. Use your orange stick/cuticle stick to gently push back the cuticle around each nail. If you have cuticle trimmers, gently cut away any the excess cuticle skin. Moisturize your cuticles by rubbing on a bit of cuticle oil.
Smooth your nails
Use a buffing pad to file down the ridges and rough edges on the tops of your toe nails. Use your buffing pad in the same direction and tilt its angle to reach each toenail entirely and to ensure a level surface.
Remove calluses for softer skin
At this point of the process, use your pumice stone to scrub and remove the calluses on the heel and ball of each foot. You can scrub these areas vigorously because the skin is often very thick and resistant to pain. After removing any dried skin or calluses, you can use a foot scrub brush to clean your entire foot. Use the brush between your toes and all over the bridge of your foot, rinse your feet with water after scrubbing. Avoid using a heavy grating type tool on your calluses. They are dangerous and can cause fungal infections.
Prepare for nail polish
After removing your feet from the soaking basin, dry your feet. You might want to massage your feet with a bit of lotion. If you do this, be mindful to use a bit of nail polish remover to clean your nails. Lotion can prevent polish from adhering to your nail.
Add a base coat
Use a clear nail polish as a protective base coat on all your toenails. This will prevent nail polish from discoloring your toe nails, as well as providing your polish a solid base to adhere to.
Apply a nail polish of choice
Select a nail polish color. Begin painting each of your toenails in the center of the nail near the cuticle. Use long brushstrokes moving to the tip of each nail to fill in the color until all nails are filled in. Then using a fingernail or the edge of an orange stick to wipe off any excess polish that might have gotten on your skin. To obtain an opaque layer of color, add one or two coats of polish.
Complete you pedicure
Wait a few minutes for your polish to begin to dry, and add a clear top coat, which will set your polish, and help it last longer without chipping. Then allow the polish to completely dry for 10 to 15 minutes. Test the polish with your finger to determine if it still wet. When it is totally smooth to the touch and doesn’t smear under pressure, your pedicure is complete.
Now, it’s time to show off your gorgeous new toes and delight in your soft, silky new feet, adorned with one of the summer’ top nail polish colors.