Things Needed for a Pedicure

Pamper your feet at home with a relaxing soak and pedicure.
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A home pedicure lets you enjoy a little self-indulgence without having to change out of your sweatpants. Turn on your favorite reality TV show and pull off your socks. If you want to treat those 10 little piggies yourself, though, there are a few staples you can't go without.

1 Rub-a-Dub Tub

Soaking your feet doesn't just feel therapeutic -- it prepares your feet for a healthier pedicure. Make sure that you have a basin big enough for popping in both feet and enough warm water to submerge them completely. Experiment with salts and dissolving treatments, such as Epsom salts, which can rejuvenate the skin and strengthen your toenails. Mix in some natural oils, like tea tree oil and peppermint, to kill bacteria and freshen up.

2 Skin Perfecters

Your feet withstand a lot of punishment, so refresh your skin with a few simple tools and treatments. Start by exfoliating your skin while your feet are soaking or after toweling off. A pumice stone and a foot file help you lightly buff away at dead skin and callouses; just make sure that you grind nice and easily, so you're only scraping off the outermost skin cells and not causing irritation. Afterward, work in a creamy moisturizer to help your skin recover and prevent dryness.

3 Toenail Tools

A few detail tools help you get down to business around your toenails. If you need to tame your cuticles, a simple cuticle stick does the trick, while a set of toenail clippers and an emery board with a fine grit get the nails themselves trim and perfectly rounded. Once they're shaped to your liking, use cotton balls or cotton pads soaked in nail polish remover to wipe away any old color.

4 The Finishing Touches

When you get to the end of your pedicure, taking it slow is more important than ever -- this is the part that lasts. To finish off your nails, separate your toes with cotton balls or a foam toe separator. To get that salon-quality look, lay down a base coat, follow up with two coats of polish and finish with a shiny topcoat -- and remember to let each coat dry between applications. Put up your feet so you don't smudge the polish and watch the end of your show.

Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.