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DIY: Awesome At-Home Pedicure

It's (finally) summertime here, and I'm ready for barefoot days on the beach and adorable-but-uncomfortable summer sandals. But after a winter (and spring) of hiding my feet in warm socks and slippers, they could use a little TLC. Its time to break out the pedicure supplies! I try to do it once a month during barefoot season. It's a nice and relaxing way to spend a Saturday.

(I also promise no foot pictures! That's just weird!)

Step 1: Assemble your supplies

  • A dish washing bin, like this one. You can use a fancy, bubbly foot bath if you want. But these bins are "cheap and cheerful" and have multiple uses. 
  • Epsom Salt. This stuff is crazy-cheap at stores like Walmart, Target, and CVS.
  • Oil. You can use just about any kind of oil for this. I like jojoba, grape seed, and olive. You can even use a tiny bit of coconut oil if your water is hot enough to melt it in a timely manner.
  • Soap. I like to use Dr. Bronners Peppermint Castille Soap. It smells nice.
  • Lavender Essential Oil (optional). This has a great calming effect, but if you don't like it you can skip it.
  • Tea Tree Oil (optional). This stuff is a pretty powerful anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-septic oil. Use very, very sparingly. (I have forced my husband to enjoy foot baths with tea tree oil. It seems to be really effective at clearing up foot odor and helping kill athlete's foot.)
  • Milk (optional). The lactic acid in milk is a great gentle exfoliant.
  • Callus Stone or pumice. I have a Tweezerman Pedro that I love. But you can also get a simple one like this for about $1.00 at any big box store.
  • Filing block for shaping your nails, like this one. Some people prefer filing over cutting with clippers. Either way is perfectly fine.
  • Nail clippers
  • Cuticle remover (This is optional too. Because you'll be soaking your feet in warm-to-hot water, your cuticles will already be pretty soft and pliable.)
  • Cuticle pusher. No nippers!
  • 2 Towels
  • Your favorite foot lotion (optional). I love this stuff, but any old lotion will do in a pinch.

Step 2: Prep your bath

  • Lay one towel out on the floor to set your bin on. Leave room on either side to set your feet out so you can stand up and not slip. Keep the other one handy to dry your foot off.
  • Fill your bin with fairly hot water. Remember to leave a bit of room for water displacement, but still fill it up enough to submerge your feet.
  • Add 1/2-3/4 cup of Epsom salt and stir it around. It should dissolve fairly quick.
  • Add about 5 drops of soap to the water and stir some more
  • Add about 3 drops of your chosen oil
  • If you chose to use lavender or tea tree oils, add just a drop or two now. Less is more with these oils.
  • I like to also add about 1/2 cup of milk 

Step 3: Soak

  • Do you really need instructions here? Put on an episode of  your favorite 30 minute TV show and just chill

Step 4: Scrub

  • Using your pumice/pedro, gently scrub your soles in a circular motion. If you use the Pedro, start with the rougher side first.
  • If you have a favorite body scrub, you can also use it to scrub your feet. Sometimes, I'll diy one by adding a spoonful of sugar to a spoonful of olive oil. 
  • Rinse your feet thoroughly in the bath

Step 5: Cuticle Care

  • Using your cuticle pusher, gently push your cuticles back. I like to use a scoop-shaped pusher, and make small circles as I push. Remember to do this over the whole nail plate, as cuticles are sneaky bastards and like to hide in plain sight.
  • If you have any super loose cuticle hanging around post-push, try rubbing them away with a wet washcloth. I won't tell you to cut them...but I won't know if you do.

Step 6:  Shaping the Nail

  • Always cut straight across. No curves. Curved toenails lead to ingrown nails, which can lead to all sorts of fun surgeries and doctors visits. Straight across, people! You also don't want to cut them too short, as wearing shoes will cause them to grow in a funny shape. You want to try and keep them just to the end of the toe, not extending beyond that. If you kept your nails very short for years, it takes some getting used to...but your toes will thank you!
  • Once you're done cutting (straight across. I'm not kidding.) you can go ahead and refine the shape with your filing block. The point here to smooth over any sharp edges and jagged cuts. Just remember to be gentle!

Step 7: Finishing up

  • Carefully remove your feet from the bath and rest them on the towel you (hopefully) remembered to spread out beneath your work area. Use your other towel to dry off, making sure to get in between your toes! (I know it tickles. Man up!)
  • If you want, you can slather your feet in lotion. Your feet should feel pretty moisturized from the oil and milk, but a little more isn't going to hurt you.
  • At this point, I generally put a pair of cotton socks on and call it a day. I actually don't paint my toes all that often these days.
  • If you are going to paint your nails, don't forget to clean the nail plate completely with remover before starting. All the lotion and oil will completely ruin any chance of the nail polish adhering.


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