While there is no substitute for getting a professional pedicure, sometimes this just isn’t possible due to time or budget constraints. This made us wonder, is it possible to give yourself a salon quality pedicure at home? To answer this question we turned to our friend Alexis Luczak, owner of Spa Alexis in Buffalo, New York. She agrees that there are some aspects of a professional pedicure that are difficult to duplicate at home – for example the ability to just sit back in a chair and relax while someone else takes care of you – but she says it is still possible to give yourself a good pedicure. We had Alexis walk us through a pedicure so that we could break it out into steps that you can follow at home.
Step 1: Gather the Necessary Supplies.
You are going to need some supplies to complete your pedicure and you will want to be sure that they are available and in reach BEFORE you get started.
What you’ll need:
- Toenail clippers
- Cuticle Pusher (The blunt end of a bamboo skewer can be used if you don’t have one)
- Nail Buffer
- Nail File
- Foot File (60/100 Grit) – You may also use a Volcanic Rock Pumice Stone instead of this file.
- Essential Oils – These are optional but they have a powerful effect and Alexis highly recommends them.
- Foot soaking tub or regular storage bin
- Foot Lotion and Sugar Scrub – Contact Spa Alexis to purchase their Natureal by Alexis line of products
- Nail polish remover (Acetone)
- Base coat and top coat
- Favorite nail polish
- Drying drops
- Cuticle oil or Olive Oil
- Cotton balls and pads
- Nail cleanup brush
- Toe separators
- Epsom salt
- Rubbing alcohol
- liquid soap
- A large bath towel
Now that you have all of the necessary supplies, let’s get started.
Step 2: Soak Feet.
Fill foot soaking tub with warm water, liquid soap, Epsom salt, and essential oils (eucalyptus, spearmint, and lavender are good choices to help relax) and soak feet for approximately 5 minutes to help soften nails and calluses.
Tip: If you have thicker nails you can add a cap full of Listerine Original (The amber color) to the foot soak to help soften them.
Step 3: Remove existing nail polish.
Using a cotton ball and acetone remove any existing nail polish that might be present on the nails. For stubborn polish spots simply hold the cotton ball on the area for a few seconds and it should easily wipe off.
Step 4: Cut Nails.
Lift your leg bringing your foot toward you then cut your nails to the desired length using the toenail clippers.
Important: Do not lean over to cut your toenails. This creates a poor perspective and can lead to an uneven cut. Also be sure to cut your nails straight across -you will use a file to round them later if you prefer – cutting them on angles increases the likelihood for an ingrown nail…OUCH!!!
Step 5: Push Back Cuticles.
Use the cuticle pusher (bamboo stick) to push cuticles back. Don’t worry about removing them at this point – you will take care of that in a couple of steps.
Step 6: Files Nails.
Starting with the sides of your nails first use the nail file to file each nail down and around leaving the edges smooth and creating your desired shape.
Step 7: Apply Cuticle Oil
Apply cuticle oil (or olive oil) to each nail. This will help soften and nourish the cuticles.
Step 8: Buff Nails
Using the nail buffing sponge, buff the tops and edges of nails. You can use the edge of the sponge to clean up any loose cuticle that still remain from step 5.
Step 9: File Calluses
Using the foot file, file calluses and thick skin that has formed on the side of toes, balls of feet, and heels.
Important: Do not file arches of feet and other sensitive areas of feet as this can cause injury. Also do not use “cheese-grater-like” callus tools as these can also cause injury.
Step 10: Apply Sugar Scrub.
Apply sugar scrub to feet and legs to remove dead skin.
Step 11: Rinse Feet.
Place feet back in tub and rinse off the sugar scrub.
Step 12: Dry Feet.
Remove your feet from the tub and dry them off using the towel.
Step 13: Apply Lotion and Massage Feet.
Apply the lotion and massage it into your feet, toes, and legs. Don’t forget to get the area between your toes. This is the step that is much more enjoyable if you can have someone do it for you. So if your significant other or kids owe you any favors, this might be a good way to cash in.
Step 14: Remove Lotion and Oil from Nails Using Rubbing Alcohol
Wet a cotton pad with rubbing alcohol and use it to remove lotion and oil from each nail.
Step 15: Put on Toe Separators.
Put on toe separators with the openings facing down. According to Alexis, a lot of people make the mistake of putting them on the opposite way which requires them to have to lift their feet to remove them and increases the likelihood that they will hit their nail on something in the process.
Step 16: Apply Base Coat.
Apply a base coat to nails before applying polish. The base coat contains vitamins and nutrients that help keep the nail healthy as well as providing a protective layer that prevents the nail from becoming discolored. The base coat also helps the polish set.
Step 17: Apply Nail Polish.
Prepare the nail polish by either tapping it on the palm of your hand or rolling the bottle between your hands. Alexis advises that you avoid shaking the bottle. Using smooth, even strokes apply the polish to each nail ensuring that the entire nail is covered. Don’t worry about going outside the nail, we’ll show you a great technique to clean that up in a minute.
Step 18: Apply Top Coat.
Apply a top coat to the nails to help protect the polish from chipping.
Step 19: Clean Up Nails.
Use the nail cleanup brush and some acetone to remove any polish that may have gone outside of the nails.
Step 20: Apply Drying Drops.
Apply drying drops to each nail to help set the polish.
Once again Alexis reminds us that there is no substitute for receiving professional treatment, but if you’re in a bind following these simple steps will have your toes looking great and your feet feeling wonderful.
To learn more about Alexis Luczak you can read this article that was published in the Buffalo Business First, visit her website at www.spaalexis.com, or stop by Spa Alexis located within the Hyatt Regency Buffalo | 6 Fountain Plaza | Buffalo, NY.
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