I had my very first pedicure about two years ago. (I know that’s weird. For some reason I was just embarrassed about my feet. I know, also weird.) Once I had one, though, I was hooked. I’d have them every week if I could afford to, but of course I can’t, so most of the time I do them at home. Gotta look good in those sandals, right? (It’s all about the sandals.)

A few weeks ago I had a girls night with a couple of friends. We watched movies and had yummy snacks and drinks, but the high point (for me, anyway) was the pedicures. Everyone brought their favorite nail polish colors and tools, and I provided the rest! Here’s what I think you need for a relaxing at-home pedicure:

1. Tub to soak those toes. I bought a plastic dish pan for each of us. They’re only a few dollars, a perfect size that’s easily cleaned, and can be used over and over. (You know you’ll want to do it again.)

2. Pedicure kit. If you don’t have one, at the minimum you’ll want clippers, emery boards, and orange sticks. You may also want nippers or a pumice stone.

3. Products. Nail polish remover, nail polish (including base and top coats, if you use them), foot soak, foot scrub, cuticle remover, and foot cream.

4. Extras. I highly recommend buying a bag of smooth river rocks (the kind often used in floral arrangements) and spreading on the bottom of each dish pan/foot tub. You’ll also want a bunch of towels handy.

After you’ve gotten all of your materials together, you can get your foot soak ready. I spread a layer of river rocks on the bottom of each pan, covered the rocks with hot water and let sit for a few minutes, then filled the pan about halfway with warm water. I added scented bath salts, too; if you’d like to make your own, you can add a handful of Epsom salts and your favorite sea salt to the water along with a few drops of essential oils. Lavender is wonderful, and peppermint is also a great essential oil for pedicures.

While your salts are dissolving and the stones are getting warm, you can start working on those toes. Remove any old polish, then trim the nails with your clippers, cutting straight across. Use emery boards to smooth them. Now you’re ready to soak!

Set up a comfy spot and refill your beverage of choice–make sure you’re prepared to sit for a while! Spread a towel under your pan to catch any splashes, then place your feet in the soak for at least 10 minutes. Let those river stones massage the bottoms of your feet as you sit. It’s incredibly relaxing!

Once the 10 minutes have passed, it’s time to exfoliate! We used sugar scrub, which I prefer to salt scrub. (I find that salt stings, and it feels more abrasive to me than sugar.) You can make your own blend of sugar or salt scrub; I find that combining 3 tablespoons of oil (olive, coconut, grape seed, or a blend of your choice) with 1/2 cup of sugar (or salt or a blend) works well. Of course you can also add your own essential oils to enhance the experience! A few drops is all you need. Apply the scrub to each foot in turn, rubbing callouses and heels. A pumice stone is also helpful at this point. Once each foot is scrubbed well, rinse off in the tub and then dry thoroughly.

Now you can apply your cuticle remover, pushing cuticles back and trimming as necessary. Then apply cream to your feet, massaging up onto your ankles. You’re all ready now to pick out your polish color! (This is always the hardest part for me.)

Clean the nails with a bit of polish remover to make sure there isn’t any oil or cream on them, then apply your base coat (if you have one). I “cheat” and go straight for my polish; Sinful Colors is one of my favorite brands, and usually I apply two to three coats and call it a day. Er, I wait for it to dry and THEN call it a day. But of course your polish will usually last longer and have a super shine if you add the top coat, too.

This is so easy to do, I think it would be great fun for a Bachelorette Party or other Girls Night In. And if you’d rather not make your own products, we’d love to put together soaks and scrubs in your favorite fragrances! Talk with us about making fun spa favors for your next event, too.

Have I missed anything? Do you enjoy the occasional at-home pedicure? What else would you do to create a relaxing pedicure? Please share your thoughts!