Pedicure treatments



A salon pedicure — with its warm-water soak and massage — is quite a treat. But you don’t always have the time, or the cash, for a professional treatment. You can get great results at home, whether you want to get your toes ready for sandals or you simply want to counteract the abuse your feet take all day. Here’s what you need to do.

Remove old polish. Start by removing your old nail polish. Try acetone-free polish remover, which is less drying (but sometimes less effective, especially on darker colors).

Clip and file your toenails. Cut toenails straight across to prevent ingrown toenails. (If you’re having trouble with ingrown nails, your shoes might be too tight in the toe box.) File the nails straight across, barely rounding the corners. Work the file in one direction only. Sit and soak. The footbath you get at a salon is more than just a feel-good step. It helps soften the tough, dry spots on your feet. For your at-home version, fill a bucket or small tub with warm water and add a little liquid soap, bath salts, or oils. Make your feet more comfy by placing a washcloth or towel at the bottom of the tub. Soak your feet for 5 to 10 minutes, then pat them dry.

Treat your cuticles. After your soak, you should be able to gently push back your cuticles. If not, treat them with cuticle remover, then try again. A Popsicle stick will work if you don’t have a cuticle stick.

Exfoliate dry, rough skin. Use a body scrub or a scrub especially designed for feet. For tough, callused spots on your heels, the balls of your feet, and your toes, use a pumice stone or a file designed for use on feet. But go gently — you don’t want to damage the healthy skin underneath by rubbing too hard.

Moisturize. Rub lotion or cream all over your feet and toes and up your legs. You can use your regular body moisturizer or a cream designed for foot care.

Polish your nails. It’s easier to paint your toes if you separate them with a foam separator, or even cotton balls if that’s all you have. Just make sure you don’t get cotton strands in your polish. Start with a base coat. Once it dries, top it with the color you prefer. You may need two or three coats to get deep color and even coverage. Keep in mind that lighter colors are more forgiving when it comes to chips and scratches, though toenails aren’t as likely to chip as fingernails. Darker colors are more popular in fall and winter, while brighter shades might be good choices in spring and summer. Protect the polish with a top coat. Reapplying a top coat every three or four days can prolong the life of your pedicure. A top coat with sunscreen can keep your polish from fading on days when you’re strapping on sandals.

Treat your feet to this at-home pedicure and you’ll be walking tall, with a pretty, polished look.

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