10 Steps to a Perfect French Pedicure


While French manicures are more common these days, a French pedicure can be a great way to dress up your feet for any season. The clean look of the pedicure is a must for every woman. You know it’s important to care for your feet and toenails regularly and it’s also important to give your feet a pedicure at least every two weeks, though it’s better to do it once a week.

Even if you decide to do a French pedicure, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have your pedicure professionally done in an expensive salon. You can do your own perfect French pedicure in the comforts of your home. Sure, it may be difficult at first, but with a little bit of practice and patience you will do your own French pedicure with almost no effort.

You can go with the traditional white and transparent polishes or get creative with some bright colors. Trust me, you can give your toes a whole new look without ever stepping foot in a salon. Read on to find out a few essential steps to a perfect French pedicure. With a French pedicure, you can always show your beautiful feet without any shame.

1. Assemble your supplies

The first step to a perfect French pedicure is to assemble all of the essential supplies you will need for your pedicure. You are going to need two bottles of nail polish, one opaque and one transparent, as well as a sealer and a primer if you want your French pedicure to last more than a day or two. You will also need a basin of warm water, a pumice stone and nail file/clippers and some nail polish remover. You need to make sure that your nippers, pumices, files and scissors are in shape.

Having everything ready to go will help you move faster and will lessen the chance of the pedicure getting messed up. You should also have a towel handy, too. You may think that this step is not so important, but do you really want to run about looking for necessary items while you’re in the middle of your pedicure? No one wants, so we should admit that this step is a must. If you are going to do a French pedicure regularly, I suggest you to store your pedicure tools and nail polishes in one place. This way, you can easily skip this step the next time you want to get a French pedicure.

2. Get rid of dead skin

Getting rid of dead skin on your feet is as important as on your face. Soak your feet for at least 10 minutes in the warm water with added oils or a special foot soak. If you want to soak them longer, add more hot water to keep the water nice and hot. Dry your feet carefully with the towel. Don’t forget about the areas in-between your toes, where dirt and bacteria gather. Pull the corner of your towel through the areas between your toes to clean and dry them. Use the pumice stone to rub away patches of thick, dead skin on your feet. You can use the file and clippers to remove all dead skin around the nails.

Cleaning and trimming your toenails while they are soft from soaking make the process much easier and quicker. If needed, apply your favorite cuticle oil to your toenails to soften the hardened edges, wait a few seconds and then push back the cuticles with a cuticle pusher or orange stick to create a smooth area ready for your French pedicure. If you want to leave your cuticles untouched, it’s okay, but only if your toenails are long enough for a French pedicure.

3. Moisturize your feet

While it’s essential to moisturize your feet each day, when it comes to a French pedicure you need to consider this step too. If you don’t have a special foot cream or moisturizer, don’t worry, you can slather your feet with coconut oil or your favorite heavy duty moisturizer. Your feet will feel much better once they are hydrated. Give the lotion some time to soak in before moving on to the next step. This is the perfect time to give yourself a foot massage.

How to give yourself a foot massage:

Start with your soles of your feet. Use your thumbs to knead them in a circular motion. It helps relax and loosen the tight muscles. You can also use a golf ball or a massage ball to massage your soles. Now it’s time to stretch your toes. Gently pull each toe back and forth to stretch it out and relieve soreness and tightness.

While a foot massage is not absolutely necessary, especially if you don’t have a lot of free time, it’s a sweet little way to pamper yourself. Foot massage has been practiced for centuries and it has plenty of wonderful benefits. It has been shown to help reduce tension, manage pain, boost circulation, and stimulate the muscles.

4. Clean your nails

Remove any excess lotion and nail polish from your toenails with a cotton swab soaked in nail polish remover. This step is essential if you want to avoid issues with the nail polish sticking to your nails. Allow the remover to dry for five minutes after you have wiped the nails. You can also wash your toenails with soap and warm water to clean them of excess lotion and remover. Dry your toenails with a towel and let them air dry for a few minutes before you start shaping them. If you want to get a soft and nice square shape, you should file your toenails in one direction until they are smooth and rounded at the corners.

Avoid using a metal file since it can rip your toenails. It’s always a good idea to use professional nail files such as a crushed stone nail file or a glass nail file. Many women think that any cheap nail file is perfect for pedicure, but this small thing can make a huge difference. I’m certainly not promoting buying super expensive nail files, but quality is what really matters here. Invest in a high quality nail file to do your pedicure faster and make it look more beautiful.

5. Apply primer

Skip this step if you only plan on having the pedicure for a day or so. Primer helps keep the nail polish in great condition and should be carefully applied in even strokes starting from the bottom of the nail and moving to the top. Start on one side of the nail and work your way across for large nails. Smaller ones will be simple as they are only one or two strokes.

How to choose a good nail primer:

Nowadays you can find 3 types of nail primer, namely acid nail primer, non-acid nail primer and acid-free nail primer. The main difference between these nail primers is the kind of chemical bonds they make. Acid nail primer is usually used with acrylic tips. It’s very corrosive and it can burn the skin around your nails and can also turn your nails yellow. If you decide to use an acid nail primer, make sure you use it carefully.

Non-acid primer contains acids as well, but it doesn’t contain methacrylic acid. You can use it, but do it cautiously and properly. Acid-free nail primer seems to be the best option when it comes to nail primers. This type of primer is becoming very popular in most beauty salons these days. But again, make sure you use it properly.

6. Apply stickers or templates

French pedicure templates are often found in the stores that sell cosmetics or you can buy them online. French pedicure templates are available in different sizes and shapes – round and rounded. But straight templates are mostly used for French pedicure.

You can use round stickers or specially designed French pedicure templates to expose only the part of your toenail you intend to paint. Press firmly along the edges to prevent the polish from leaking under the edge. It’s best if the sticker goes over the skin at the sides of your toes, as well.

If you don’t have any stickers and templates for your French pedicure, you may want to try to do your pedicure using tape. Yes, you read that right. I often use tape when I want to give myself French pedicure or manicure, but don’t have templates. Simply cut small pieces of clear tape and apply them to your toenails just like you apply French pedicure templates or stickers. Sure, it may not be convenient to use tape instead of French pedicure templates, but when you are on a budget or you just don’t have templates and don’t have time to buy them, tape is the best option, at least for me.

7. Paint your toes with an opaque color

Use an opaque color to paint the exposed part of the nail. While this is traditionally white, you can use any solid color you like. For summery nails, try tropical blue or hot pink. I like to use black with pink tips, blue with green tips, and red with black tips. When it comes to a white nail polish, it’s important to find a formula that doesn’t require a few coats. If you apply too much nail polish on the tips of your toenails, it can result in fast peeling or chipping. I always test nail polishes including the white one at the store on a piece of plastic to determine if the color of nail polish is suitable for me.

You can also use a white nail pencil on the underside of your toenails if you have a little bit longer toenails. But I suggest you to use a white nail polish or any other color you like so that your French pedicure can last longer. You can get very creative here and even alternate colors on your toenails. Allow the nail polish to dry for at least five-ten minutes before continuing. If you think you applied too much nail polish, don’t continue, remove the nail polish, apply a thin coat again and let it dry for five minutes.

8. Remove templates

Another step is to remove French pedicure templates. Peel the stickers or templates off to reveal the neat line that remains. If you have any sticker residue or excess polish on your nail, you can carefully remove it with a Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover. Just make sure you do it carefully. Skipping this will result in the next layer peeling easily. It will not be able to adhere to the nail if there is any grease or residue on the nail. If you use a tape, you should be extra careful when removing it.

Once you remove the templates or pieces of tape, let is dry for at least 5 minutes (the longer, the better). I don’t recommend you to apply a transparent or tinted nail polish right after removing the templates since you can smudge the white nail polish. When I’m in hurry, I usually dip my toenails into cold water to make the polish dry faster. Many women say that dipping the nails into cold water is not effective, but it works wonders for me. Give it a try and if it works for you, you can use this tip when you need to speed up the drying process.

9. Paint nails with transparent color

Using a transparent nail polish is traditional. You can use tinted polish, however, to match the colors on the nail tips. This is a great way to have fun with the colors. For longer lasting polish, allow the first layer to dry completely and then add another one. Be sure to use slow, broad strokes to paint your nails so the end result will be nice and smooth.

How to choose the best nail polish for your French pedicure

Nowadays there are plenty of awesome nail polish colors to choose for a French pedicure. Gone are the days of using only white and transparent nail polishes for French manicure and pedicure. You can get creative and use two bold colors. If a bold look is not for you, opt for your favorite nail polish color as the base of your toenails and a bit lighter color for your tips.

If you want everyone to notice your toenails, opt for two bright nail polish colors from your favorite brands. My favorite combinations are blue with green tips and pink with black tips, though I spent lots of time looking for the perfect combinations. I suggest you to buy cheaper nail polishes to find your favorite combination and then consider buying more expensive brands.

10. Seal

If you really want that pedicure to stick, plan ahead and paint on some nail polish sealer. This is a polish that is designed to dry extra hard. It can help preserve your look for several weeks if you are careful. However, this step is not entirely necessary. You can also dip your toes into cold water shortly after painting the top transparent layer. This will help the polish harden up a little more than normal. You should avoid direct contact on your toes for about 30 minutes.

To make your French pedicure last longer, touch up the tips of your toenails by applying white (or the color of your choice) nail polish. Opt for a white nail polish that is specifically created for French manicure and pedicure. Since the top coat can wear down, apply a transparent coat of nail polish every two days to ensure your French pedicure looking neat and beautiful.

A regular pedicure really makes a difference in keeping your feet soft and your toenails clean, neat and beautiful. A French pedicure is your ticket to beautiful feet. Stick to the traditional white and clear look for elegance, or opt for more exciting colors to spice things up. The choice is yours. Either way, it is surprisingly simple to do your own nails. You can save yourself quite a bit of money by just doing them yourself. Do you have some other tips for a perfect French pedicure?