Whether you’re a pro at giving yourself a home pedicure or just starting out, we could all use some expert tips on how to get a true spa experience at home.
That’s why we spoke with Boston-based nail care experts Jaclyn Duguay-Gordon, from Green Tangerine Spa, and Christine Haddad, from G20 Spa and Salon, to get their tips and tools for giving yourself an excellent pedicure at home. We can’t promise the massage will be as great, but your feet will thank you for all the attention.
Start by removing all old polish
“Regular formula polish is easily removed with polish remover that contains a conditioning agent,” says Duguay-Gordon. “I have recently discovered Ella + Mila. They have a soy-based polish remover that contains lavender essential oil — two thumbs up!”
Ella + Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover ($11.49; target.com)
This vitamin-enriched soy nail polish remover has lavender essential oil and is acetone-free, promoting healthy and moisturized nails.
Ella + Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover Wipes ($4.99; target.com)
Try the wipe version of the vitamin-enriched remover to get that polish off even quicker.
Cutex Ultra-Powerful Nail Polish Remover ($4.69; target.com)
This classic remover, which is an editor favorite, will do the trick on hard-to-remove glitter and dark-colored polish.
Clip down your nails
“I clip my nails after removing the polish,” says Haddad. “Always clip nails on the straight and always file afterwards.”
Japonesque Pro Performance Nail Clipper Duo ($6.99; target.com)
These straight clippers make grooming your toenails simple.
Tough As Nails Deluxe Manicure Kit ($20; sephora.com)
This essentials kit includes everything you need for a perfect manicure and pedicure, including clippers.
Treat your cuticles
“If you need to deal with overgrown cuticles rather than wait to get to the salon, then soak your feet in warm, soapy water for 10 to 15 minutes,” says Haddad. “Use a cuticle pusher to gently push back the cuticles. If you like, you can trim the cuticles using cosmetic scissors, or a nail clipper to remove a hangnail.”
Tweezerman Pushy and Nail Cleaner ($15.30; target.com)
“I really like a Tweezerman metal cuticle pusher,” says Duguay-Gordon. “Use it gently to push back cuticles.”
Japonesque Velvet Touch Cuticle Remover ($3.69; target.com)
While one side of this simple device beloved by Target shoppers helps push back cuticles, the other can help gently remove them after soaking.
Tough As Nails Deluxe Manicure Kit ($20; sephora.com)
This salon-quality stainless steel tool, included in the essential kit, will help you clip your cuticles gently and with precision.
Formula 10 Pink Creamy Cuticle Remover ($5.69; sallybeauty.com)
Overgrown cuticles can be a little tough to treat on your own, but don’t worry, there are products that can help. “Formula 10 has one called Pink Creamy Cuticle Remover, and it’s amazing,” says Duguay-Gordon.
CND CuticleAway Professional Cuticle Remover ($9.99; amazon.com)
Duguay-Gordon also recommends this product, saying, “Apply product on dry cuticles, let it sit for the allotted time and your cuticles should exfoliate right off.”
Tackling rough spots
It’s then time to look to your feet beyond your nails, says Haddad, who recommends an exfoliating foot scrub.
Deborah Lippmann Get Off Callus Softener Intensive Treatment ($38; sephora.com)
This treatment can help loosen and slough off dead surface skin cells, allowing moisture to penetrate skin optimally.
Biopelle Exfoliating Heel Cream ($70; dermstore.com)
Packed with 30% glycolic acid, we’ve tried and love this treatment that can help remove dead skin to soften hard calluses and allow for skin regrowth.
Clarins Exfoliating Body Scrub for Smooth Skin ($40; nordstrom.com)
This scrub is gentle enough for your whole body but tough enough to handle your roughest spots.
Dr Teal’s Restore & Replenish Pink Himalayan Sea Salt Scrub ($6.19; target.com)
This straightforward scrub can help you chill out, with bergamot and sweet orange essential oils designed to soothe the senses.
Refine your soles
“After exfoliating, use a foot file (coarse grit side) on the bottoms and sides of your feet, and on the heel, to remove dry skin,” says Haddad.
Trim Neat Feet 2-in-1 Buffer & Sole Refiner Foot File ($3.99; target.com)
This two-sided buffer and foot file is exactly what you need to make those rough spots soft.
Japonesque Velvet Touch Foot Smoother ($9; target.com)
This high-quality smoother comes with a molded handle that’s easy to hold, and it can work on all the rough spots on your feet.
Trim Neat Feet Easy-to-Grip Oval Pumice Stone ($3.69; target.com)
Opt for a pumice stone to scrub away any rough skin. You can keep this tool in your shower for any time your feet need a freshening up.
Moisturize your feet
Gehwol Fusskraft Blue ($21; amazon.com)
“My favorite foot cream is Gehwol Fusskraft Blue,” says Haddad. “The rosemary promotes blood circulation, the pine refreshes and the lavender soothes. For the ultimate hydrating experience, after you apply your moisturizer, put cotton socks [on] before going to bed. Your feet will love you in the morning!”
Soap & Glory Heel Genius Foot Cream ($8.99; target.com)
This works on the roughest feet, with fruit acid smoothers and macadamia oil.
Paint your toenails
You can use a paper towel to space out your toes, or pick up some salon-style spacers.
Toe Separators Set ($5.99, originally $9.95; amazon.com)
Prevent slips by spacing your toes out for a perfect at-home pedicure.
More Than Magic Nail Polish Set ($10; target.com)
This sparkly set will put a spring in your step as you show off your bright toes.
Ella + Mila Ibiza Breeze ($10.49; target.com)
This pretty turquoise tone will brighten your day.
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish Mintage ($7.89; target.com)
An edgier spring look, this minty green conjures images of May flowers and picnics in the park, and promises salon results at home.
INM Out The Door Super-Fast Dry Top Coat ($4.99; target.com)
Finish off your home pedicure with a fast dry top coat like this one, which is a drugstore beauty product favorite of ours.