First things first, I never paint my fingernails. I am rough on my hands and my fingernails are just plain woeful. There is absolutely no need to draw any kind of attention to my jacked up fingernails.
On the flip side, I love having painted toenails; however, my feet are pretty disgusting. I power walk and run, so my feet are constantly sporting blisters in various states of healing and the calluses should be named. To deal with my feet, I have found several things that can make them appear party ready…at least until the party is over!
STEP 1: Sugar Scrub and Pumice Sponge
Several years ago, my daughter made and gifted me with a sugar/coconut oil scrub that I used on my feet to soften and smooth them. When I ran out of that and couldn’t guilt her into making me more, I found out a crafty friend of mine made herself sugar scrubs, so I talked her into making some for me – don’t worry, I PAY her for it! I generally manage to use it about once per week by rubbing it into my feet up to my ankles, then use a pumice sponge to further help in the smoothing department.
PRO TIP: If the sugar scrub is peppermint (a fave of mine) and you are slumming it by sitting on your shower floor (some of us have a tiny cubicle shower that doesn’t have built-in seating or room to put a seat), make sure the excess is rinsed down the drain otherwise you’re likely to have tingly bits for awhile. It’s not necessarily pleasant. But hey, if you’re into that sort of thing…
A few years ago, my mom gifted me with this amazing tool for Christmas. (Clearly, my family has noticed the state of my feet and coordinated their gifts to me in an effort to improve them.) If you are unfamiliar, it is basically a small, battery operated handheld sander. For your feet. Gross, I know – but hey, at least I know I’m not alone in this category since they make TONS of different models. Naturally, my mom got me the grittiest one she could find prepackaged, then went a step further (pardon the pun) to get the grittiest refill papers they sold – it’s probably best to be honest with yourself here and get the grittier paper, otherwise you may delude yourself into thinking the thing doesn’t work. Anyway…
Before I paint my toenails, I break this puppy out and go to town on my feet. I sand down every last bit of dead skin until my feet look all shiny and new. It usually takes the better part of half an hour to do a thorough job.
PRO TIP: DO NOT inhale near this thing when it is at work. You WILL choke on your own dead skin cells. Plus, it doesn’t smell great. You are duly warned.
STEP 3: Clip, File and Smooth Nails
The sub-header title of this section is pretty self-explanatory, so I won’t go into detail about clipping my toenails. For filing and smoothing my nails, I use a handy dandy nail tool that Avon used to sell a while back that features six sides, each with a different purpose (file, shape, refine, buff, shine and polish). I file the tops of my toenails in order to roughen them up, then buff them to smooth them out and prepare them for polish. If my cuticles are looking sad, I use Avon’s cuticle remover (unfortunately, they no longer carry it) to make them disappear in a hurry.
STEP 4: Polish
My name is Heather and I am addicted to Avon’s Gel Finish 7-in-1 Nail Enamel – I absolutely LOVE them! The 7 products in 1 include the base coat, top coat, strengthener, protection, choice of 28 vivid colors, a gel finish and high shine! EVERYTHING is in that little bottle, so you don’t need a base coat or a top coat…it’s all included. You also don’t need a UV light to dry it PLUS it actually dries pretty fast compared to lots of other polishes! What I really love most about it is that it NEVER chips! I end up having to take off perfectly good looking polish after 4-5 weeks on my toes solely because my toenails have grown out and they are showing that naked nail at the bottom – NOT a good look.
PRO TIP: When you are applying it, apply VERY thin coats (I usually only need two coats). It self-levels, so if you apply too much polish on your nail, it WILL spill over onto your skin.
PRO TIP #2: If you suck at painting your toenails as much as I do and tend to get polish on your toes as well as on the nail, once the polish dries, take a wet washcloth and wipe the excess off of your skin – it’s A LOT cleaner and easier than trying to use a Q-tip dipped in remover.
STEP 5: Adornment
I have several fun top coats that will add glitter and sparkle to any base color. Depending on my mood and the occasion I may or may not add a glitzy top coat and sometimes I even will add mini jewels or beads from another old Avon product which included a variety of tiny beads and jewels along with a pair of tweezers for placing the beads/jewels on your toenails.
PRO TIP: Place the beads/jewels on your toenails while the polish is tacky so they set. If the bead/jewel is a bit bigger, you can secure it further with a clear top coat over it.
STEP 6: Lotion
Once everything has dried and set, the FINAL step is slathering my feet with one of Avon’s Foot Works creams or balms – my usual go-to is the Intensive Callus Cream, but I’ve used several different ones over the years…whichever you choose, you really can’t go wrong!
Et voila! This photo was taken a couple of years ago after following the above steps – pictured are Avon’s Gel Finish 7-in-1 Nail Enamel in Teal Me About It with Avon’s Metallic Fringe in Frayed Edges (no longer available) as the top coat.
What are your favorite tips for a DIY pedi?