Transform feet with a DIY pedicure to see you through sandal season…

If your feet are far from sandal-season ready, do not fret. With a few great products and some nifty tools, you can totally transform your feet at home with a DIY pedicure that will leave skin feeling silky soft and toenails perfectly polished.

The secret to getting salon-worthy results in our experience? Having the right kit and knowing the techniques to get the most out of it. Here, we’ve compiled our tried and tested list of at-home pedicure essentials, along with our top tips to help you put your best foot forward, whether you’re rocking a pair of flip flops or open toe heels. 

At a glance: how to do a pedicure at home

Step 1: Prep toenails

Step 2: Remove dead skin

Step 3: Soak the feet

Step 4: Apply a foot scrub

Step 5: Cut, shape and buff nails

Step 6: Massage with foot cream

Step 7: Paint on nail polish

Step 8: Tidy up and finish with cuticle oil

Scroll on for the full lowdown on each step and our approved product picks to take your at-home pedi to the next level.

What do you need for a pedicure at home?

First things first, make sure you’re equipped with all the right tools to do a pedicure at home. We recommend:

• Nail polish remover

• Cotton pads

• A foot file or pumice stone

• Nail file

• Toenail clippers

• Epsom salts

• Foot scrub

• Toe separators

• Base coat

• Nail polish

• Top coat

• Cuticle oil

• Foot cream

How often should you do a pedicure at home?

Every four to six weeks can be a good timeline to work towards for a full pedicure (that includes filing away hard skin, a scrub to help slough off dead skin cells and a massage). But a simple shape and paint can be done more regularly to keep toenails trimmed and tidy.

How to do a DIY pedicure in 8 easy steps – & the products to use

Step 1: Prep your toenails

For a clean canvas, start by removing the remnants of any previous pedicure with a nail polish remover and cotton pad. For best results, press the cotton pad onto each nail for a few seconds before swiping it off – this should help remove every last scrap of polish.

Top tip:
If you’re removing gel nails, lightly buff their surfaces then place a cotton pad soaked in acetone nail polish remover onto each nail and wrap them in foil. Wait for around 15 minutes before removing and the gel should lift right off. 

Watch our tutorial on how to remove gel nails at home for all the tips and tricks you need for a flawless removal that won’t damage your nails.

Boots Nail Polish Remover

• Size: 200ml

• Vegan-friendly*

Take off your previous paint job with this nail polish remover that’s brimming with vitamin E and grapeseed oil.

Step 2: Remove dead skin

Next step? Remove hard, calloused skin with a foot file or a pumice stone. Concentrate on the heels, the balls of the feet and the edge of the big toe. Use soft, circular motions until the skin feels smooth.

Top tip:
Do this step while feet are dry so that you can see the hard skin. When skin’s wet, it’s easy to take off too much and be left with sore soles.

Boots Smoothing Foot File

• Includes fine and coarse sides

This dual-action foot file features a coarse side to remove hard skin, as well as a fine side to do away with dry patches. Use on clean, dry skin for smoother soles and softer skin.

Scholl Velvet Smooth Electronic Foot File

• Self-rotating coarse crystal head

• Ergonomically shaped soft touch handle

• Contains additional coarse rollerhead for extra hard skin

If you’re looking for a speedy way to buff and exfoliate, look no further than this genius battery-powered foot file. It’s easy to use and extremely satisfying to watch in action, eliminating rough skin in seconds.

Boots Foot Pumice Stone

• Rope attached

For a dry skin shifting option that fits in the palm of your hand, try a pumice stone. Use in circular motions to get the smoothest results and hang to air dry before its next use.

Step 3: Soak your feet

Our favourite step – fill the bathtub or a large bowl with warm water, dip your feet in for a few minutes and feel all tensions melt away.

What works well to soak your feet in for a pedicure? Warm water by itself works fine, but for an upgrade, try adding a generous handful of Epsom salts for a de-stressing treat.

Top tip:
If you have cracked heels, a helpful pedicure tip is to add baby oil to a foot bath to really help soften skin.

Westlab Mindful Epsom Bath Salts with CBD Oil

• Size: 1kg
• Vegan-friendly*

• Cruelty-free

Add a handful of these Epsom salts into your tub or foot spa. Blended with frankincense and bergamot essential oils, they will soothe both skin and the senses.

Revlon Pediprep Foot Spa

• Two removable attachments

• Foot rest and splash guard

• Waterproof control

• Maintains temperature

No tub? No problem. Soak your feet in this Pediprep Spa that boasts two removable attachments – a pumice stone to exfoliate skin and a rolling massager to revive tired feet.

Step 4: Apply a foot scrub

Post soak, why not massage in a foot scrub to help slough away all that dead skin? As well as leaving skin super soft, it’s the ultimate pick-me-up for tired feet.

Top tip:
Massage the scrub into feet using circular motions, controlling the pressure as you go. Take care when it comes to the tops of the feet, as well as other areas that have less hard skin, to avoid irritation.

No7 Beautiful Skin Softening Foot Scrub

• Size: 75ml

• Contains nourishing oils

Give rough skin the boot by gently buffing in this hard-working physical exfoliator. Almond and grapefruit oils help to leave feet feeling moisturised, too.

Step 5: Cut, shape & buff nails

Once feet are dry, grab the nail clippers to trim each nail to the desired length. Then, use a nail file to smooth away any sharp edges. While it’s not essential, using a gentle buffer can help smooth the surface of the nails, too.

Top tip: File in one direction when shaping nails, as opposed to a back-and-forth motion, as this can cause splitting and peeling.

Boots Toenail Clippers

• Curved blades

As toenails tend to be tougher than fingernails, a specialised nail clipper like this one definitely comes in handy. Its larger size allows for speedier results, while its curved blades provide great control.

Boots Glass Nail File

• Durable

• Easy to clean

Step up your filing game with this glass nail file. Slick, sleek and effective, it gently smooths nails for a clean edge that won’t peel or split.

Boots 4 Way Buffer

• Nail file and buffer

Not only does this must-have tool buff nails in preparation for polish, but it adds shine, shapes the edges, and evens and smooths. Clever!

Step 6: Massage with foot cream

The skin on the soles of the feet is much thicker than the skin on the face, so it requires a richer cream. One that’s specifically designed for feet and has intensive ingredients that help lock in moisture and help keep those calluses at bay.

Massage as you moisturise to help improve circulation, reduce tension and ease sore muscles. Focus on massaging the arches of the feet, using the thumbs to apply light pressure in a circular motion, then moving up towards the toes, kneading as you go. Bliss.

Top tip:
Cracked heels? Try using a heel balm. For best results, it’s helpful to use it daily, but it also acts as a valuable addition to your pedicure product line-up for an extra dose of moisture.

O'Keeffe's for Healthy Feet Foot Cream

• Size: 85g

• Unscented

Treat extremely dry and cracked feet to this SOS foot cream designed to instantly boost moisture levels. Its rich formula works to create a protective layer on skin too, helping prevent further moisture loss while they recover.

Boots Foot Mask, Cream & Scrub Bundle

• Four-piece set

With two pairs of foot socks that work as a fantastic foot mask – one that features coconut and shea butter to moisturise and another with tea tree and peppermint to revitalise – a foot lotion and a foot scrub, this beauty bundle is chock full of feet-pampering goodies.

Flexitol Rescue Heel Balm

• Size: 112g

• For dry and cracked skin

If you have cracked heels and need something extra rich, reach for this intensive balm. It’s a proven hit with fellow Boots customers for its fast-acting results and heel-healing abilities.

Step 7: Paint on polish

Now for the fun part: the polish. To avoid smudges, pop on some toe separators and apply a base coat first, followed with two coats of your chosen colour in thin, even layers.

Wait a few minutes before painting on a top coat to seal in the nail polish and give your handiwork extra staying power.

Top tip:
Before you start, swipe each nail with an acetone-soaked pad to remove any oils that may stop the polish from sticking.

Boots Toe Separators

• Flexible

Make it easier to paint each toe and protect your polish while it's drying with these budget-friendly separators. They’re a must-have in anyone’s DIY pedicure kit.

Essie Strong Start Base Coat

• Size: 13.5ml

Help reduce staining and strengthen nails with this quick-drying base coat containing biotin. We love a multitasker.

Rimmel x Tom Daley 60 Seconds Super Shine Nail Polish Crochet Kiss

• Size: 8ml

• Fast-drying

• Ultra-shiny finish

• Cruelty-free

Bored of beige and greige? Mix things up with this vibrant hue from Rimmel that’s guaranteed to put a spring in your step (ahem).

OPI Top Coat

• Size: 15ml

Up the staying-power of your chosen polish with this must-try top coat from OPI that delivers a glossy, protective shine.

Step 8: Tidy up and finish with cuticle oil

Despite our best efforts, mishaps happen. So if you’ve ended up with nail polish on your skin, don’t panic – just use a cotton bud or raid your make-up brushes for an old concealer brush dipped into nail polish remover to tidy up the edges.

Once the polish has dried, massage a few drops of cuticle oil into the base of each nail for the perfect finishing touch.

Top tip:
Apply cuticle oil daily for happier nails that are strong and healthy.

Morphe M421 - Mini Concealer Brush

• Synthetic bristles

Here’s another use for make-up brushes – use a thin-tipped one to tidy up nail polish. Simply dip it into nail polish remover and run along the edges of your nail bed to keep them sharp and tidy.

Boots 8-in-1 Recovery Oil

• Size: 8ml

Brimming with nourishing natural oils and vitamin E, this lightweight oil can help revive dry and damaged nails in a matter of weeks.

And voila! A pro-level pedicure in the comfort of your home that only requires a few tools, your chosen polish and around 30 minutes of free time. For best results, let your toenails dry for as long as possible and if you’re stepping outside, opt for sandals or open-toed shoes where possible.

Why not give yourself a DIY manicure at the same time? Another undeniably great skill to master, in our experience. Shop more nail care essentials in our full range.

*Contains no animal-derived ingredients or by-products.