10 Steps to Polished Toes

Care for your feet with  our easy 10-step home pedicure.

115,000 miles―that's how far the average person walks in a lifetime. And if you're active, you'll log even more mileage. That's a lot of stress on the feet, and with today's hectic lifestyles, many of us don't give them the care they deserve. But you can keep them in tip-top shape with our step-by-step pedicure guide.

1. Remove polish, and soak feet 10 minutes in a warm foot bath with soothing ingredients like lavender or aloe vera, to soften skin, says Kristi Marie Jones, pedicurist to such celebrities as Renée Zellweger.

2. Refill the bath with fresh warm water, then massage feet with an exfoliating scrub. Use circular motions on the sole, heel, and toes, and long strokes down the top of the foot. You can also make a salt scrub at home by mixing sea salt with a little liquid soap.

3. Lift feet out of the water, and use a foot file with both a rough and smooth to gently remove remaining dead skin. First, use the rough side to carefully buff your heel and other rough areas. Then, rub your entire foot with the smooth side. But don't overdo it: If you scrub too vigorously, Jones warns, your skin will grow back even tougher.

4. Gently push back your cuticles with a wooden orange stick.

5. Clip nails straight across (in a square shape), then file them.

6. Massage your feet with a rich foot cream, then wrap them in dry towels for at least five minutes. Your body heat warms up the lotion so it conditions the feet. Use polish remover to clean any lotion residue from toenails and prepare them for polish.

7. Use a base coat to create a surface to which polish can adhere and to protect nails from staining.

8. Apply polish. For the smoothest application, sit with your knee to your chest and always apply polish away from your cuticles. Use two coats for uniform coverage. If you're in a rush, quick-dry polishes are a great option.

9. Finish with a topcoat, which makes polish last longer.

10. Relax. Nail color takes an hour to dry completely.

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