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).
Is it just me, or does it feel like Mercury is always in retrograde? IDK, I’m not an astrologer, and maybe I just always trip and spill things no matter what. All I’m saying is, now that the smallest planet is moving backward, things will really feel out of whack, and we’ll all need a little pick-me-up. Enter: some relaxing mani time, courtesy of Essie. This Essie Mercury in Retrograde Nail Polish review proves that, when the world seems to be falling down around you, it’s best to keep calm and Mercury on.
Now, I’m sorry to remind you, but the current Mercury retrograde period lasts from July 26, 2018, until Aug. 19, 2018. I know, I know, that’s basically a month of hell, on top of the hell we all deal with day-to-day. But Essie’s Mercury in Retrograde Nail Polishes are here to make it a teensy bit better. No, these two little bottles might not push Mercury back direct themselves, but the holographic hues will add a pop of brightness to the dreary days ahead.
Naturally, when the glittery bottles arrived in my office, I immediately couldn’t focus on whatever was bothering me at the moment because I needed to stare at the two polishes for a really long time. I mean, just take a look at ’em yourself — they’re mesmerizing:
Considering Mercury retrograde is well underway and my life is appropriately a whirlwind right now, I had to try the polishes out myself, if not to cure my retrograde woes, then to at least make my fingers look hot AF.
Starting with clean nails (duh), I applied one coat of Essie’s “First Base” ($9, essie.com) as — wait for it — a base coat to help protect my brittle, stubby nails and to try as hard as possible to prevent chipping. Then, because I like to take what should be relaxing moments and make them into challenges, I decided to copy the nail design featured on the model above, but backwards.
Using a little foam wedge, I painted two large stripes equaling the size of my nail: a stripe of “…& Mercury On” (a glimmering royal purple) on the top and a stripe of “Keep Calm…” (a lovely, iridescent blue) on the bottom. After going over the stripes a couple times with the applicator brush, I pressed the wedge flat onto my nail, so that the purple color was closer to my cuticles and the lighter blue was closer to the tips of my nails. I repeated the same process two times on each nail to reveal a not-too-shabby ombre mani, if I do say so myself.
I used Essie’s “Good To Go” Top Coat ($9, essie.com) to seal everything in and to help the polish dry faster. But if I’m honest, these polishes began drying incredibly fast on their own. Essie: 1, Theresa: 1, Mercury retrograde: 0.
One everything had dried, I wet a Q-tip with nail polish remover to get rid of any polish residue on my actual fingers, and I was met with a stunningly shiny set of nails that are oh-so-freaking-cute. I’m serious about the shiny part. Here’s a Kira-Kira video I took post-mani that proves it:
Even with just two stamps of the wedge, I was pleasantly surprised by the color pay-off of these polishes. Though the formula for “Keep Calm…” is a bit sheer as it is, I expected to have to coat this color many more times than I actually had to. Essie: 2, Theresa: 2, Mercury retrograde: 0.
I’m now one day post-mani, and I’m still stunned at just how bright and shiny these colors appear and that each nail’s full coat is still perfectly in tact. As someone who only has to look at a nail for the polish to chip — even with a top coat on — this is a pretty big deal for me.
Now, if you’re looking to grab your own “Keep Calm…” “…& Mercury On” polishes, I have bad news and good news. (Come on, it’s Mercury retrograde!!!) The bad news is that, when these polishes were first released on Ulta’s website in mid-July, they sold out almost immediately. And when they were re-released just yesterday, they sold out again.
The good news, however, is that, according to Essie’s Instagram, the polishes should be available in Ulta stores on Sunday, Aug. 5. So before you get sucked into a web of negativity this Mercury retrograde, head to Ulta, stock up on these glittering hues, and give yourself a mani prettier than the galaxy itself. Perhaps the stars will look with favor upon you.
Head over to Amazon and grab this Nail & Pedicure Kit for just $9.69! (regularly $19.99) It comes with 12-pieces to give you professional looking nails at home! Keep in mind, Amazon pricing can change at any time! Don’t wait to purchase this deal or it might be gone when you come back!
This item will ship free for all Amazon Prime members. Or, regular members can score free shipping by adding $25 or more worth of eligible items to your cart. You can get a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime here.
*Affiliate links used. Full disclaimer details here. I’ll let you in on a little (personal) secret: ever since my IVF embryo transfer back in January, I have religiously worn a pink nail polish on my hands or feet. Call it superstitious, but I’m committed to maintaining this practice until Miss Savannah Faith arrives in October. With that said, I’ve compiled 6 neutral nail polish colors (in mostly shades of pale pinks) that go with anything in your closet and keep your nails looking clean and pretty.
Now, over the last few months, I have been trying Dip Powder nails, and although I love them (longer lasting and shinier than Gel Nails), I’m about to remove them to just give my natural nails a break.
Because I still have them on, I can’t swatch these polish shades on my hands right now and I figured no one would want to see my feet because… well, awkward.
But I’ll include swatches from other bloggers/Instagrammers for the shades I love when available.
6 neutral nail polish colors
butter london – twist + twirl
Twist and Twirl (swatch image here) is by far my most worn, favorite shade! It’s the one I wore during transfer and one I seem to always have on either my hands or feet.
It’s an opaque, super pale almost white baby pink shade.
I love the OPI formula with their big, wide brushes… but besides that, Let Me Bayou A Drink (swatch image here) is a cross between Twist and Twirl and Sand Tropez… somewhere between a soft pale baby pink and a light beige.
It also has a very soft, subtle shimmer if you like having a little sheen to your polish.
It reminds me a lot of the Fiji formula – super opaque/pastel, but instead of being light pink this is a true light lavender.
nails inc – better together
When I feel like being a little more sassy (which tends to only happen on my toe nails), I reach for Nails Inc Better Together* (swatch image here).
It’s a super pale peach… can almost appear rose gold in certain lighting and on certain skin tone… with a silver/lilac iridescence and wears beautifully in the spring/summertime.
*At the time of publication, it seems this shade was Limited Edition. Similar shade: OPI Humidi-Tea
That wraps up my 6 neutral nail polish colors that go with anything! I hope you found this helpful. I always have friends ask me about easy to wear, light pinks and these are literally what I wear 98% of the year.
What are some of your favorite super pale, neutral nail polishes?
There are certain non-negotiables when it comes to pop singer Ariana Grande‘s beauty look—there’s the uber-high, sleek ponytail, a perfect cat-eye, and, well, a fierce attitude.
Besides this smattering of essentials—plus her beau Pete Davidson (with the famous BDE) by her side—she’s been rocking something else on the reg: lavender nails. (You know, because everyone’s got a go-to nail polish color.)
“She loves lavender, she’s a big lavender fan,” says her manicurist and founder of Los Angeles-based nail salon Nail Swag Natalie Minerva, as reported by Refinery 29. “We do lavender for her everyday manicures often and, for the video [“God is a Woman”], she kind of knew what she was wearing and the overall vibe, and lavender was just the direction we ended up going in.”
Chances are, if you’re a Grande fan, you’ve noticed this in the music video for her latest single—which features the musician bathing in what looks like a milky bath of all different hues of pastel purple. Clearly the girl has a fave color (and BTW, it also happens to be mine, as well) which gives a nice touch of femininity to any look.
Keep scrolling to shop lavender shades for your own mani.