How to Do a Pedicure for Men (Illustrated)

Updated on February 22, 2019
Jacob J Morris profile image

Jacob is a lifestyle blogger who writes about men's grooming, style, and health.


You put a lot of wear and tear on your feet, and they deserve the best. That means giving them a regular pedicure. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but does require the right tools and a simple process.

For some reason, most men seem to have an aversion to the idea of a pedicure; perhaps they think it seems to girly. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes, Pedicures = More Love & Romance

Men, I can give you one good reason to do a pedicure--love and romance.

The first three visual queues a potential mate looks for in a suitable partner is teeth, watch, and shoes. After that, it's your hands and feet! If they're dirty, then don't expect any play. Just think about it--if your nails are dirty, then what else is dirty? Plus, there is nothing more frustrating than being scratched by monster Smaug talons under the sheets.

And, There Are Other Benefits Too...

  • Helps prevent ingrown toenails
  • Removes dirt and bacteria that can cause foot odor
  • Removes unsightly (and sometimes painful) calluses
  • Improves blood flow to feet when you massage your feet during pedicure

Take Care of Your Feet Regularly

It is best to give yourself a pedicure once a week or every two weeks. If you can’t do it that often, then simply decide on a schedule and stick to it. You are much better off being consistent, even if it’s not weekly, than letting your feet go and trying to fix the damage in one long session.

How often do you trim your toenails?

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How To Do A Pedicure For Men, Step-by-Step Guide (Illustrated)

Step 1 - Setup your pedicure tools and work area

Step 1 - Setup your pedicure tools and work area
Step 1 - Setup your pedicure tools and work area | Source

Unlike most of the other grooming routines for men, a proper pedicure requires a bit of work to get setup. If you want to do a full, spa-like pedicure, you will need to setup the following items:

  • Foot basin, bowl, or bathtub to soak your feet
  • Bath salts
  • Pumice stone to scrub your feet
  • Nail clippers
  • Nail block (for filing, re-surfacing, and polishing)
  • Cuticle pusher
  • Cuticle nipper
  • Foot cream
  • Clean, dry towel

Station a comfortable chair in the kitchen or put the cover down on the bathroom toilet and sit there. Or, if you have enough room around your bathtub, you can use the tub as well. Linoleum flooring is more practical than a rug in case you slop water over the side of the basin. Use a small table or another chair to lay out your tools.

Step 2 - Prepare a bowl of warm water to soak your feet

Step 2 - Prepare a bowl of warm water to soak your feet
Step 2 - Prepare a bowl of warm water to soak your feet | Source

Fill the bowl with enough water to cover your feet and ankles. Make it hot enough to open your pores but still be comfortable. Add one tablespoon of bath salt for each gallon of water; this will help soften and relax your feet.

Before you dip your feet into the bowl, add a little bit of foot cream on top of your cuticles--this will help soften them so they are easy to remove later.

Then, soak your feet for at least 5 to 10 minutes or until the water cools off.

Step 3 - Remove dead skin and dirt from your feet

Step 3 - Remove dead skin and dirt from your feet
Step 3 - Remove dead skin and dirt from your feet | Source

Use the pumice stone to exfoliate the bottoms of your feet, especially around the heel and the balls of your foot. Also rub it on your toe pads, the sides of your big and little toe, and anywhere you feel built up skin.

If your calluses have built up over time, you probably won’t be able to get rid of them in just one pedicure. Work away at it week by week. Within two or three months, it should be gone. From then on, all you need to do is maintain your foot’s texture with a regular weekly or biweekly pedicure.

Once you've finished scrubbing your feet, rinse your feet and then dry them off with a towel.

Step 4 - Cut your toenails

Step 4 - Cut your toenails
Step 4 - Cut your toenails | Source

Use your nail clippers to cut each toenail straight across. Do not round your nails with a clipper--toenails should always be cut so they are square. Squaring your nails prevents ingrown toenails.

Next, you can use the scoop on the opposite end of the cuticle pusher tool to clean out any remaining dirt from underneath your toenails.

Step 5 - Pushback the cuticles and nip any excess skin

Step 5 - Pushback the cuticles and nip any excess skin
Step 5 - Pushback the cuticles and nip any excess skin | Source

Pushing back the cuticles on your nails gives your pedicure a finished, clean look. Gently push the cuticle using the cuticle pusher. The cuticles will be soft from soaking, so it shouldn’t take much pressure.

There may be some excess skin from pushing back the cuticles. You can use your cuticle nippers to gently cut off that skin. A lot of guys get confused with the purpose of a nipper. It is not to cut toenails at all. It's just used to gently nip excess skin from the cuticles. You will need a steady hand to do this effectively, so make sure you're sitting in a comfortable position.

Step 6 - Use the nail block to file and buff

Step 6 - Use the nail block to file and buff
Step 6 - Use the nail block to file and buff | Source

Now you can use the nail block for smoothing and buffing. A nail block has 4 sides, and the sides of the block should be used in numerical order.

Side 1 - nail filing (Edge of the nails)

You can use this side to soften the edges of your nails. Sometimes, after cutting your toenails, they can be a little sharp; just run the filing side gently across the edges to soften them.

Side 2 - Ridge Filing (Top of the Nails)

This side helps smooth the ridges on top of the nails. You can rub this back and forth on top of your nails to smooth them out.

Side 3 - Smoothing and Buffing

This side buffs and smooths the nails. Side 3 for many men is the last stop, unless you want a shiny buff finish.

Side 4 - Shiny Buff Finish (optional)

If you want shiny, sparkly toes (some guys do), then you can use side 4 of the nail block. This side will create a shiny buff finish that is very long lasting.

Step 7 - Apply foot cream and massage your feet

Step 7 - Apply foot cream and massage your feet
Step 7 - Apply foot cream and massage your feet | Source

Rub foot cream all over your feet and toenails, gently massaging at the same time. This will leave your feet feeling soft and fresh. While you're in between pedicures you may want to frequently reapply foot cream if your feet start to feel dry and hard. You can also use a pumice stone with foot cream to enhance the skin softening effects.

Recommended Pedicure Supplies for Men

Here are some of my favorite pedicure supplies. You don't need all of these, but if you are looking for a spa-like experience, you may find these options useful.

You'll notice that I did not recommend a traditional pedicure nail set. I think nail sets tend to include a lot of tool that go unused, so when assembling nail kits, it's best to just get the pieces you need.

Inomata Foot Bucket

Inomata Foot Bucket
Inomata Foot Bucket | Source

For most guys a large bowl or tub will work fine for soaking your feet. However, for you expert pedicurists out there, you may want to invest in a foot bucket. They are designed specifically to the shape of your feet, and allow for you to add a good amount of water to soak your feet. I also think they work great for storing all your other pedicure supplies.

I recommend the Inomata Foot Bucket; I love its simplicity. There are other foot buckets out there that are electric with lots of settings, bubbles, and other features. I think most guys just appreciate a simple bucket to add warm water.

Ahava Dead Sea Mineral Bath Salts

Ahava Dead Sea Bath Salts
Ahava Dead Sea Bath Salts | Source

I use Ahava bath salts all the time--they are wonderful. You can use them for a foot soak or in your regular bathwater to help relax your whole body.

These salts, unlike other bath salts, are made from salt from the dead sea. Dead sea salt is some of the most nutrient dense salt and very healing to the body. The container is pretty large on this, so one jar will last you many months.

These come in a variety of scents: natural, eucalyptus, lavender, and honey. Natural and honey are probably my favorites, but the eucalyptus and lavender are equally as good. If you have any sinus problems or suffer from muscle aches you might really enjoy the eucalyptus.

Dead Sea Pumice Stone

Dead Sea Pumice Stone
Dead Sea Pumice Stone | Source

A pumice stone will exfoliate your feet to get rid of rough skin, bacteria and dirt. These stones can be used on a regular basis, even between pedicures. Simply add a small amount of liquid soap, shower gel or salt scrub to the stone, and buff your feet to leave your skin feeling soft and smooth. It is especially effective on built up calluses on the heel, ball and big toe of your foot.

There are non-natural pumice-like products on the market to scrub your feet, but they are made from metal. I'm not a huge fan of those because the metal can corrode and they are harder to clean; a natural stone works best.

Clyppi Toenail Clippers

Clyppi Toenail Clipper
Clyppi Toenail Clipper | Source

The Clyppi toenail clipper is one of the best toenail clippers on the market for guys.

I love its ergonomic grip, so it's easy to handle and maneuver. Plus the width and angle of the lever ensures easy use for those guys with large hands and monster thick toenails. The matte finish keeps it from slipping and the sharp cutting edge ensures a clean and precise toenail cut. It also has a convenient nail file built into the lever.

They are a little on the pricey side at about $15, but they will last you a long time.

The Body Shop Nail Block

The Body Shop Nail Block
The Body Shop Nail Block | Source

I've purchased several nail blocks, but this is probably my favorite because its the longest lasting, and the material is a better quality as well.

Like all the other traditional nail blocks it features 4 sides: filing, smoothing, buffing, and polishing. However, I think you'll find this block to be a bit more durable than some of the cheaper nail blocks found at the convenience store.

However, I don't want to mislead. Nail blocks don't last forever--you'll get a few uses out of this block, and the quality of those uses will be better than other blocks.

Suvorna Cuticle Pusher

Suvorna Cuticle Pusher
Suvorna Cuticle Pusher | Source

This cuticle pusher is made with surgical grade stainless steel for a hefty feel and durability. It is textured for a secure grip.

One onside you have the cuticle pusher and the other a spoon that makes it easy to clean under your nails.

The alternative to this product would be the wood cuticle pushers and picks. Those really have to be disposed after each and they're a little more difficult to use to clean under the nails. So I recommend a stainless steel pusher; you only have to clean it with alcohol after each use.

Cuticle Nipper & Trimmer

Cuticle Nipper & Trimmer
Cuticle Nipper & Trimmer | Source

This cuticle nipper makes it quick and easy to trim your cuticles. It's easy to grip and also easy to use in hard-to-maneuver spots; this is very important when using nippers--you don't want to nick yourself. The width and the angle of the grip also works well given the size of men's hands.

It's made with carbon steel and the edge retains its sharpness even with extended use. Bathroom utensils don't always hold up well given the humidity, however these nippers should last you a long while--they are corrosion-, rust-, and mildew-proof.

O'Keefe's Healthy Feet Cream

O'Keefe's Healthy Feet Cream
O'Keefe's Healthy Feet Cream | Source

O'Keefe's Healthy Feet Cream is the best-selling foot cream on Amazon at over 1,000 positive, 5-star reviews. It hydrates incredibly well, helping the skin stay soft and retain essential moisture.

It also penetrates cracked and split skin on the bottom of your feet and adjusts the pH balance to help keep your feet moisturized.

What I really like about O'Keefe's, unlike other foot creams, is that it is both odorless and non-greasy--so it's great for guys who don't want feet that smell flowery or feel oily.

Which product do you need the most?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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