Treat your feet to a luxurious, DIY pedicure in 6 simple steps

How to give yourself a pedicure in lockdown in six simple steps


With nail salons closed and sunny weather calling for open-toed sandals, our feet are in desperate need of a pedicure.

After all, calluses and left over, chipped polish doesn’t exactly scream ‘sexy’. Most of us need a bit more than a clip and a fresh coat of polish; we need to show our often forgotten toes some much deserved self-care.

Here is a simple and effective way to give yourself an at-home, DIY pedicure.

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What you’ll need

  • Nail polish remover 
  • Cotton pads (or cotton balls)
  • Nail clippers
  • Cuticle oil
  • Pumice stone (or foot file)
  • Salt (Epsom or bath salts)
  • Nail file
  • Lotion
  • Nail polish (colour and clear base/top coat)

DIY Pedicure

1. Remove polish and shape nails

After removing any polish remnants, clip and shape nails to desired length. Be careful not to clip them too short, it can be really painful, especially when wearing shoes afterwards. Try to leave a bit of white on the end, and trim them no more than biweekly. Also, when filing, try to file in one direction, as seesawing back and forth can cause toenails to crack and weaken.

2. Light a candle, salt soak and relax

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Light your favourite candle for some spa ambiance and prepare to soak your feet in warm water for ten minutes. Either fill up the tub a few inches or use a large bowl from the kitchen, and make sure to add salt. Epsom salt is great for sore feet but bath salts or a cup of sea salt will work too. 

3. Scrub away dead skin build up

Using a foot file or pumice stone, lightly scrub your softened feet to remove hard calluses. Focus on the heels, soles and sides of the feet as this is where calluses are most common. However, be careful not to rub too hard otherwise the skin will become raw and tender.

(Make sure to do this over a towel or the bath as flakes of skin will fall away everywhere).

4. Cuticle care

Cuticle care can make a huge difference to nails’ overall health, adding shine and strengthening weaker nails. Add a few drops of cuticle oil to your cuticles at the base of your nails and massage it in. You can push the cuticles back if you feel confident too, but we recommend leaving any cutting or trimming to professionals. Cuticles protect nails from bacteria and it’s not safe to trim them without expert knowledge.

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5. Moisturise and massage

While the cuticle oil soaks, treat yourself to a foot massage by applying lotion and working it into sore muscles. Lotions with ultra hydrating ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil and aloe work best on tough, dry skin. Massage your toes, arch and heels for a good few minutes — it feels amazing! (Also, if your nails are looking a bit dull, give them a few swipes of a nail buffer if you have one, to add a bit of smoothness and shine).

6. Prep and polish

Use some nail polish remover to remove any excess oil on the nails' surface, so that polish will stick when applied. Instead of fancy toe separators, simply weave a rolled up piece of kitchen roll in between each toe and start with a clear base coat on each nail. Then apply your favourite colour and top it all off with a quick dry top coat. Then treat yourself to a glass of wine for a job well done.

We recommend watching a TV show or reading a book while they dry. I cannot count the number of times I didn’t wait long enough and ruined my nails by rubbing them on the rug or nicking them on a couch corner.

Pro tip: If you are terrible at painting clean edges, like me, dip a cotton bud in nail polish remover to expertly remove any unwanted polish from the skin.

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Featured photography by Jason Lloyd Evans.

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