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Professional pedicures are pricey, and if you live in a secluded area, they’re also inconvenient. You can get all of the same benefits that a professional would offer in the comfort of your own home by following a few simple tips.

Clip and file

Before you do anything, you need to prep your nails. Remove any old nail polish. Then clip them to your desired length. Lastly, file with a high-quality nail file to achieve an even shape.

Soak, soak, soak

This is, hands down, the most important step to achieving a professional-looking pedicure. An aesthetician would never paint your nails without first letting them soak. It helps soften your cuticles and the rest of your feet, which makes each subsequent step much more effective. The other benefit of a hot soak? It immediately puts you in a relaxed mood—a key ingredient for the complete spa experience.

The easiest method is to fill a dish tub with hot water, adding just a tiny bit of the soap of your choice. That way, you can soak your feet while sitting in your favorite comfy chair. Let your feet hang out for a generous 10 minutes, then dry them off.

Clean, trim and buff

Now that your feet are prepared, it’s time to remove all that dead skin. First clean underneath each nail using an orangewood stick. Use a cuticle trimmer to remove the excess dead skin from your cuticles if necessary. Then buff the bottoms of your feet, especially your heels and any other callouses. You can also use a gentle scrub at this stage.

Get baby-smooth

Almost there! Your feet should be looking brand new by now, so it’s time to restore all the moisture that was lost during the hot water soak and buffing process. Any rich, creamy lotion will work perfectly for this step, though you can buy a special foot cream if you’re feeling fancy. If you prefer to go natural, shea butter or coconut oil will both work well.

Final touches

If you prefer a natural, polish-free look, you can skip this step or add a simple nourishing oil to your nails instead. If, however, you like to jazz up your toes, then now is the time to choose your color and apply it to your nails. Don’t forget to use a base coat and top coat for longer-lasting results. Then sit back and relax—there’s nothing worse than smudging your pedicure a few minutes after you finally finished!

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