Sometimes, there’s nothing quite like a pedicure to brighten up our week. It’s a chance to relax, treat ourselves, and pay some attention to an otherwise neglected area of the body. But that doesn’t mean we have to schedule a salon appointment every single time we desire smooth skin and painted nails. Because that would be too expensive not to mention time-consuming. Plus, it wouldn’t give us the chance to test out new pedi products (and as you know, we love testing out new products). That’s why we take matters into our own hands (or feet?) by conducting our very own at-home pedicures.
In fact, we’ll go as far as to say we’ve mastered the art of the at-home pedicure. With the right preparation and the right products, we can successfully mimic the look of a professional pedi. Keep scrolling to see some of our favorite DIY pedicure products.
If you’re used to sitting for a half hour while a nail technician files off calluses and dry skin from the soles of your feet, then you’re probably not big on at-home pedicures, since it’s hard to achieve that level of exfoliation on your own. That’s where Baby Foot comes in. It’s a Japanese foot peel that penetrates through tough, dried skin, eventually peeling it away.
It seriously works, too. A week after I first tried it, the dead skin on my feet (dead skin I didn’t even know I had) started painlessly peeling away. It was a little gross yet very satisfying. After the peeling was done, I had soft and smooth feet like those of an actual baby. That’s why if I’m gearing up for a professional-looking DIY pedicure, I’ll use this about a week beforehand. I just slip my feet into the little plastic booties, wait an hour, rinse my feet, and then go about my business. After the peeling period is over, I paint my toes and it looks like I have a brand-new set of feet. So basically, it’s an aptly named product.
If you don’t have a week to wait for foot exfoliation, start by filling up your bathtub and soaking your feet in warm water. Not only is it relaxing, but it also softens the skin and cuticles, making it easier to remove dead skin. Instead of using plain water, add some Epsom salt for a spa-level foot-soaking experience. This formula from Dr. Teal’s uses milk and honey to smooth and soften the skin (which is exactly what you want from a pedicure).
After soaking your feet, use a traditional file or foot scrub to slough off the dead skin. For the latter, we like this natural formula from Majestic Pure. It uses salt, jojoba oil, and tea tree oils (among other essential oils) to cleanse, moisturize, and exfoliate the feet. As a bonus, tea tree is antifungal, which helps keeps icky foot conditions like athlete’s foot at bay. Amazon customers seem to love it, if their glowing reviews are any indication. Take it from one, who wrote, “love this product, makes my feet baby smooth. I will definitely keep buying.”
Or opt for a foot mask because, yes, those do exist. Lush’s Volcano Foot Mask uses kaolin clay and pumice to exfoliate the feet, papaya and lemon juice to cleanse, and tomatoes and potatoes to de-odorize. Simply slather on the thick clay formula to your feet, let it work its magic for 10 minutes, and then rinse. It will leave them feeling soft, smooth, and tingly.
After exfoliation, we like to make sure the newly revealed skin stays soft and hydrated. That’s why we apply a foot cream, like this coconut-infused one from Burt’s Bees. It hydrates with coconut oil, along with rosemary and peppermint extracts and lanolin.
If you have foot cream–defying cuticles, look for an effective cuticle remover, like this one from Deborah Lippmann. While there seem to be at least 1000 options when it comes to cuticle remover, we like this one because it never fails to soften them up and lift them away, especially when paired with the right cuticle tool.
Speaking of cuticle tools… Using one of these keeps the nails looking smooth and uniform, while also allowing nail polish to glide on easily. We don’t like when we apply nail polish only for it to snag and clump on dried cuticles. That’s why these are a must. And why not? They’re inexpensive and effective (take this one, for example, which only costs a measly $3).
After you remove dead skin around the cuticle area, it’s important to re-moisturize. For this step, we go back to another Deborah Lippmann product. This time it’s a nourishing cuticle oil with coconut and jojoba. The smell is tropical, breezy, and incredible. Just take it from this Sephora reviewer. “My nail tech used this on me and I NEEDED IT. The SMELLLLLLLL. It is amazing. It smells like summer… banana/beach/coconut/sweet I don’t know! But I am sensitive to smells and I have no problems with this at all.. smell isn’t over powering. I bought this just put on my nails everyday. Loveeee it.”
After our feet are exfoliated, moisturized, and primed, we have nothing left to do other than paint our nails. For that, we have endless options, but this Revlon polish, called Wild Card, is a particular favorite. The cobalt/marine blue is perfect for summer. Plus it’s a gel formula (which conveniently requires no UV light), so it lasts forever without chipping.
We also love a classic red, though this shade from Smith & Cult is anything but. The bright poppy red verges on pink and pops against any skin tone. We’re kind of obsessed with it.
For more nail polish inspo, be sure to check out 10 of the best nail polish brands ever, according to Byrdie editors (plus see some of our favorite shades from those brands).