You’ve probably heard the saying “never trust a skinny chef”, but what about “never trust a woman with unpainted nails”?
Okay, we made that up… but that doesn’t mean there’s no truth to it!
I mean, how good does it feel to spot a flawless mani-pedi? And if you’re not familiar with that feeling, you need to sit down, relax, and treat your hands and feet to a little pampering. Just sayin’.
Our advice? Grab a glass of wine, turn on the TV, and follow these ridiculously easy instructions for a DIY mani-pedi.
Top tip: Always start with your pedi because you’ll need to be able to freely move your fingers to do your toes – and nobody has time to wait in between for them to dry!
Step #1 Exfoliation
Seeing as we’re on and off our feet for most of the day, it’s no wonder our soles can become quite rough. So before anything else, remove all that dry, dead skin. There are a couple of ways to do this. For instant results, use a foot file (we like Bio Sculpture’s Disposable Foot File, because we can just throw it out straight after) to buff away any excess skin on the heels and corners of your feet. Or for something a bit more intensive, try the Milky Foot Exfoliation Pads – simply slip them on like socks and leave them for 45-60 minutes. They work THAT well, you’ll have skin coming off for a few days – so it’s best to do this well beforehand (the baby smooth results are totally worth it, trust us).
Step #2 Hydration
To enhance and prolong your smooth, freshly exfoliated feet, give them a hydration boost. Layer the Scholl Velvet Smooth Intense Serum (yep, there are serums for your feet!) with your favourite foot cream. Our top picks are AHAVA Deadsea Water Mineral Foot Cream and Nutri-Synergy NS-8 Foot & Leg Moisturiser.
Step #3 Trim and file
Now the skin on your feet has been tended to, it’s time to focus on the toenails. If they’re a bit long, trim them into your preferred shape using either nail scissors (the QVS Toenail Scissors are great) or clippers (like Manicare Toenail Clippers). Then, smooth any jagged edges with a strong nail file. We can’t go past the GlazeMe™ Glass Nail File.
Top tip: If your toenails are rigid, you can ensure a smoother polish application by also giving them a quick buff.
Step #4 Paint
You’re ready to paint! Start by separating your toes (with the help of e.l.f Essential Toe Separator) and brushing on a base coat, such as Revitanail Base Coat. Then, apply your chosen colour (we are loving Intensae in Irreverent on our toes this winter) and leave to dry. You can follow with a top coat for longevity, but polish on the toes usually lasts a while without.
Step #1 Cuticle care
Before you pretty up your nails, you’ll need to pay attention to the skin surrounding the nail bed – aka your cuticles. These can become quite dry thanks to constant hand washing and exposure to the elements, resulting in excess dead skin. If you’re a seasoned mani girl, you can trim this skin, but for beginners, we recommend using a removal solution like Revitanail Cuticle Remover Gel. Simply apply to the area, leave for 4-5 minutes and then push back your cuticles using a cuticle stick (we’re fans of Mavala Switzerland Cuticle Sticks). Wash your hands and then massage in a cuticle oil like essie Apricot Cuticle Oil for a hit of moisture and smoother skin.
Step #2 Shape and buff
While waiting for the cuticle oil to absorb, grab a nail file and shape your nails into your preferred shape. If you do this at least once a week, your nails will stay a good length and won’t chip as often. Next, use a buffer like CND Creative Nail Design Glossing Board to smooth any ridges and add extra shine.
Step #3 Base coat, colour coat, top coat
Because you use your hands to do pretty much everything, applying polish correctly is imperative if you want the colour to last. Always start with a base coat, as it will not only make your colour last longer, but also protect your nails from staining. When applying your coloured polish, use quick smooth strokes, starting with one straight down the middle and then either side of the nail. Try not to go over the same area twice, because this can cause bubbles to appear. Instead, wait for your first coat to dry completely before applying a second. Lastly, always finish with a strong top coat. We are loving Sally Hansen 3D Gel Shine Top Coat, because it adds the kind of dimension and shine you’d expect from a gel manicure.
Step #4 Set
The last thing you want to do is bump or smudge all your hard work, so it’s really important to make sure your nails are bone dry before touching anything. To speed up the process, apply a quick dry solution like essence Express Dry Drops. Or for a DIY job, plunge your fingers into a bowl of icy water.
Step #5 Hand cream
Once your polish is 100 percent dry, slather your mitts in hand cream to finish off your mani. We can’t go past Dirty Works You Soft Touch Hand Cream and Kora Organics Daily Hand Cream – both come in easy-to-use packaging that’s compact enough to pop in your handbag with no fear of leaking.
Do you always do your own mani-pedi? What are your tips for getting the best results?