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According to podiatrist Dr. Brad Schaeffer, who spoke to Elite Daily for this article, the best pedicure kits will contain a pumice stone or foot file to smooth rough, dry skin, and a set of toenail clippers, which Dr. Schaeffer suggests using to cut your nails straight across, not on a curve, to avoid ingrown toenails. The kits below also include other helpful items, like nail files to smooth down rough edges, and toe separators to keep your nail polish from smudging.
Before you go to town on your feet, though, a few words of caution. Be careful when it comes to calluses or cracked skin. Dr. Schaeffer says he’s seen the “bathroom surgeons of the world” make foot care mistakes that have caused infections. For one, he’s against cutting or trimming your cuticles. “The cuticle is a layer of protection on our nails. They are there for a reason and act like a barrier to block harmful things that we touch from reaching our nail matrix.” Too-aggressive filing against a callus can cause cuts, and “even a small cut or a crack in the skin on your feet can quickly lead to bigger problems, like an infection,” he explains. Instead, Dr. Schaeffer suggests people use a foot file or pumice stone, along with a hydrating balm or cream, to treat dry, cracked skin. Finally, he advises cleaning your nail tools with alcohol before and after each use to eliminate bacteria and fungus, and says not to share your foot tools with anyone else.
To shop the best kits for your at-home pedicure, read on.
1. The Overall Best Pedicure Kit
This affordable, 19-piece nail tool set comes with different-sized files, nail buffers, toenail separators, clippers, and a cuticle pusher (remember, no trimming or cutting your cuticles, per the doctor), as well as a small plastic storage box. A great, basic pick for all your pedicure needs — and one that’s been awarded over 1,500 five-star ratings from your fellow Amazon shoppers.
2. Runner Up
Though slightly more expensive than the first kit on this list, this 23-piece pedicure kit does come with some bonus items, including a wide, coarse-grit file for your heels, a two-sided pumice stone, and a glass file to make the edges of your nails even smoother. Plus, all of the tools come in a fun, bright green color, as an added aesthetic bonus.
3. Best Budget Kit
If you’re looking to spend less than $5, or don’t need a kit that comes with as many tools as the two above, this is the one for you. It comes with 10 tools, including two different foot files and clippers, all housed in a small plastic box that makes for easy storage. Amazon reviewers report that the tools in the set are high quality, or “professional grade,” “not flimsy,” as one person put it. For the price, what more could you want?
Doctor’s Pick: Best Foot File
Dr. Schaeffer says that “Footlogix makes great at home foot care [products].” Their double-sided file, for example, is a lightweight, easy-to-hold, stainless steel file with a gritty, multi-directional surface that won’t cause cuts, but will help gently remove dry, dead skin. This has near-perfect reviews on Amazon, where it’s been given a 4.8-star overall rating — a rare feat for any grooming product, let alone a foot file. In fact, over 85% of reviewers left this a five-star rating after purchasing it.
Best Pumice Stone
The expert says that pumices, such as this one, are a safe way to soften your feet and smooth calluses. The two in this set have nice, rounded edges and a not-too-rough surface to gently exfoliate skin without any harsh scrubbing. They also come with a handy string so they can be easily hung to dry in your shower. Just be careful not to file the callus too much, Dr. Schaeffer warns, as that can create unnecessary cuts.
Doctor’s Pick: Best Heel Cream
“One thing that I tell my patients to do is apply some type of hydration to the dry or cracked skin on their feet,” Dr. Schaeffer says. “Dr. Scholl’s Severe Cracked Heel Balm works great for cracked heel sufferers. It's an easy-to-use stick that glides on smoothly to hydrate, moisturize, and fill in cracks, while leaving an invisible layer of protection. If we can manage our cracked skin with safe and effective treatments like this, then we can avoid using our ‘bathroom surgery skills’ altogether,” he explains. It contains urea, epsom salt, and lavender and peppermint essential oils to leave your feet feeling smooth, soothed, and refreshed.
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This may not be essential, but to replicate the relaxing feeling of a salon visit at home and to make smoothing down rough, cracked skin easier, soak your feet in a soothing bath like this one from Conair. Operated by a toe-touch button, this simple foot spa vibrates to help relieve sore, aching feet, and the non-slip base and splash guards will prevent your floors from getting wet.