Save Money: How To Get Spa Worthy Nails at Home With This Manicure/Pedicure Guide

I love a good manicure/pedicure. I hate the time it takes at the salon. I’m all about multitasking, and while pedicures give me some time to flip through magazines and catch up on emails, manicures offer up less opportunity. Plus there’s the wasted time getting to/from the salon.

Enter at-home tools and Netflix. TED talks and an endless supply of binge-worthy TV shows makes the prospect of a home manicure and pedicure that much cozier. Plus, with the cold weather around the corner, it nixes any possibility that the polish will get rubbed off by thick socks by the time I walk home.

Tools needed:

  • A hand and foot scrub- I prefer homemade sugar scrubs
  • Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover
  • Nail Polish Remover Pads
  • Nail Clippers
  • Cuticle Moisturizer/Oil
  • Emery board
  • Nail Buffer
  • Orangewood stick
  • Cuticle Clippers
  • Callus/rough skin remover, such as Emjoi Micro Pedi or a pumice stone
  • Base Coat, Nail Polish & Topcoat

Salon-Worthy Manicure & Pedicure in Steps:

  1. Prep all your tools. Wash and dry your hands. Remove any remaining nail polish from previous manicure/pedicure.
  2. If your nails are too long, clip them after soaking the nails in warm water for a bit. Cut your toenails straight across! Always cut them straight to encourage healthy growth and minimize any possibility of ingrown nails.
  3. Use the nail buffing block to smooth out the surface of nails on hands and feet.
  4. Start filing! Choose any shape you like for your nails, and go in one direction when filing. Start from an outer corner and file toward the center of the nail, don’t saw back and forth. Round the edges of toenails a bit to ensure the nails don’t snag on socks. If you find your nails are often breaking, go with a more rounded edge overall on the hands.
  5. Get the scrub out and scrub your feet and your hands to smooth your skin and exfoliate any dry skin.
  6. Apply cuticle oil to nails.
  7. Push back cuticles with the orangewood stick. If you like clipping your cuticles, do so gently with the cuticle clipper. It’s best to simply push them back to minimize the risk of any infection. You can also use the stick to get dirt from under the nails.
  8. Use a callus/rough skin smoothing tool on your feet at this point. I love using an automated tool for this step because the results are super consistent and efficient! The Emjoi Micro-Pedi* beats out my pumice stone by a long shot. (I’m serious here- I don’t usually post pictures of my feet, but you can see the before/after of using this thing for a minute.) You can check out the tool at to see if it’s right for you. I’m betting it is. If you have some extra time, you can also readily use a pumice stone, it’ll just take a little longer.
    The Before on the left and After on the right of using the automatic Emjoi tool. Awful state of feet is thanks to fashion week. This brought my feet back to speed!
  9. Wipe down nails with nail polish remover, even if you don’t have nail polish on (just use a tiny amount). The goal is to clean the nails from any debris and oils.
  10. Start with the base coat. Painting on a base layer ensures an even, prepped surface for the colored polish to adhere. It will prevent streaks, staining, and an uneven pigment.
  11. Rule of thumb is to apply two coats of polish. Hold the brush as close to the bottom as possible. Just like with art, this allows for more precision and control of detail. Start with a stroke down the middle then fill from cuticle up on both sides. Try to have a very thin coat. Allow the polish to fully dry between coats. Paint on another layer of polish. For the pedicure, save the big toes for last to ensure you don’t mess it up accidentally while moving around.
  12. Once everything is dry, apply a top coat, sit back and relax!
  13. Touch up your nails by applying a clear top coat every few days to prolong the longevity of your manicure.

*Disclosure: I received the Emjoi Micro Pedi tool for complimentary use.

Nataliya Ogle


Nataliya Ogle likes making sure others live to their full potential. She publishes articles on her primary website and works as a freelance writer for other women's interest sites. Her physical body is in New York but her presence can almost always be found online. The internet is her first love.


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