Giving yourself a manicure at home is pretty easy: Although you can go bananas with special creams and manicure tools, you can also get away with a fairly minimalist file/cream/polish approach. The at-home pedicure, on the other hand, is a bit more complex and requires more specialized tools to really do it up right. Here's what you need, if you want to recreate the professional pedi experience in the comfort of your own home.
When it comes to picking a nail polish remover, the important thing is to go for a low-acetone or no-acetone product whenever possible. Acetone dries out your nails and is a pretty serious chemical, besides. Just about any non-acetone nail polish remover will do, but we like Cutex's super-cheap price: Under $2.50 on most sites and at most stores.
2. Cotton Balls
Cotton pads are easier to use, because they don't shred as easily, but they're also more expensive. You can find a giant bag of cotton balls for as cheap as $1 online. If you do decide to go the cotton pad route, we recommend hitting your local drugstore. For whatever reason, pads seem to be much cheaper when you buy them in a brick and mortar store.
For years, we bought those 99-cent toenail clippers from the drugstore, only to have them fly spectacularly apart during hangnail emergencies. Learn from our mistakes. Tweezerman clippers cost a little bit more, but you'll have them forever. Plus, there's probably no real way to assign a dollar value to avoiding clipper-part shrapnel. These cost under $5.
In a perfect world, we wouldn't need cuticle nippers at all. In reality, well, sometimes there's no other way to get rid of those little hangnails. Still, we can't recommend highly enough a good cuticle cream and a few seconds of cuticle maintenance. The less you use the nippers, the less you'll need to use them. Under $10.
A pumice stone is one of the cheapest and most effective beauty tools out there. Our pick is well under $2. (Don't love pumice stones? The Ped Egg is a good alternative, especially for people who find pumice stones hard to grip.)
10. Toe Separators
11. OPI Nail Polish
Some things are worth spending a little bit more money on, and nail polish is one of those things, especially for a pedicure, where you don't really want to have to switch out your polish every other day. OPI nail polish is a dollar or two more expensive than some of the very cheapest drugstore brands, but its longevity and range of hues justifies the expense. Also, you can sometimes find pretty good deals out there: We found OPI polish on sale for $2.