How To Get A Salon-Worthy Pedicure In 7 Easy Steps

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A woman in black high heel shoes with straps after a salon-worthy pedicure

Sandal season is finally here, and the last thing you want is to feel self-conscious showing off your heels and toes. While salon pedicures are a treat, it's not always easy or convenient to get there. We suggest a little DIY job right in the comfort of your own home to keep your feet prepped and polished in all their summer-loving glory. It's time to be your own nail technician, because the best at-home DIY pedicure can be done in a few easy steps.

To make the most out of your at-home pedi, opt for a long-lasting nail polish. "Long-wear polishes wear so much better than traditional polishes because they’re formulated with flexible resins.," Rita Remark, editorial manicurist and Essie's global lead educator, tells TZR. "When traditional nail polish dries, it dries rigid. And when nails bend as they are mean't to do, these polishes will crack and chip. Long-wear shades, however, flex and bend with the natural nail preventing chips for much longer." Her favorite long-wear nail polish line? Essie's Gel Couture. It includes basically every color of the rainbow, so have fun selecting a shade.

Ready for spa-worthy pedi? Ahead, seven easy steps to get you started.

At-Home Pedicure: Relax & Soak

"Start by removing any old polish with a gentle nail polish remover from your local drug store or beauty supply store," editorial manicurist Jin Soon Choi of JINSoon Spa in New York City tells TZR. "I recommend a non-acetone polish remover as acetone weakens and dries out nail beds."

Prep your feet by soaking them for 20 minutes in a tub of warm water and half a cup of Epsom salts, which help soften the skin and eliminate odor. "Look for a a bowl that’s large enough to soak your feet, and can be used only for at-home pedicures," Lisa Logan, consulting manicurist for Nails.INC, tells TZR. "I like to use warm soapy water with essential oils like eucalyptus or tea tree oil."

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At-Home Pedicure: Exfoliate

"I recommend you exfoliate your feet closer to the middle of the pedicure, not the beginning or the end," Remark tells TZR. "Exfoliation is a great finisher to some pedicure steps. After cuticle work, and heel filing, but before the polish, I like to exfoliate." Heel filing, especially with a professional grade abrasive, can leave small grooves on the heel that an exfoliation can refine, she adds. And if you don't have an exfoliant at home, all you need are a few supplies in your kitchen. Remark suggests adding 1/3 coconut oil to 2/3 brown sugar to create an exfoliant paste.

At-Home Pedicure: Clip & File

"I personally like the toe nail clippers that gives you a straight cut versus curved, as I like more of a square shape," Logan notes. "When you clip them, make sure the free edge of your nail is either meeting or a tiny bit shorter than the tip of your toe." And Remark explains how a shorter nail is better in the long run. "I recommend square toenail shapes to prevent ingrown toenails," she explains. "If you trim and file your nails in a rounder shape, it can coax the nail to grow inward, causing painful ingrown toenails."

At-Home Pedicure: Prep Cuticles

"Once you’ve soaked your feet, you can push the cuticles back into placeif you have a cuticle pusher or an orange wood stick," Remark suggests. "Remember, the aim is to define a clean and consistent cuticle line — not to scrape the nail or push the cuticle too far, leaving the nail vulnerable for infection." She advises to push gently to get the frame of the nail in check.

At-Home Pedicure: Base Coat

Choi explains that a base coat should be like skincare for your nails. "The JINsoon HyperRepair base coat is a double-patent formula that restores healthy nails as it hydrates, strengthens, and nourishes," she explains. "This base coat is packed with nutrients that are proven to restore nail health to perfect quality in just one week after two applications."

At-Home Pedicure: Polish

Select the color of your choice, and don't forget to apply a top coat for shiny, long-lasting results. "I’ve been loving Nails.INC Crystals Made Me Do It Duo," Logan explains. "I top it off with their 45-Second Retinol Top Coat, which strengthens the nail and ensures that the polish lasts longer and remains glossy."

At-Home Pedicure: Moisturize

"To combat dryness on a regular basis, I recommend filling heavy socks with lotion and letting them sit on your feet, a method that I first learned as a child," Choi notes. "I also love Argan oil for repairing dry, damaged skin; the oil absorbs into your skin really well and helps maintain your skin's natural moisture." Or consider making your own moisturizer. "I make my own combination of shea butters and essential oils," Logan tells TZR. "I also really love the Bliss Lemon & Sage Body Butter; the smell is so relaxing and it’s a great moisturizer. Perfect for an at-home spa day."

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