I still remember the first (and last) time I had a professional pedicure. It was for a friend’s wedding, and I was a bridesmaid. The bride booked us all for a “day of beauty,” which included tending to that most neglected of all body parts—the feet. When she said “pedicure,” I imagined polish (preferably something showy and neon in the 80s’ colors I favored at the time). What I hadn’t bargained for was the foot soak, the loofah sponge, the scary little pointy implements that nipped and tucked at cuticles and toenails in turn. By the time the salon turned me loose, I was convinced I was walking out on someone else’s feet. However, after discovering the price tag attached to that little adventure, I haven’t been back. Instead, I use these low-cost (or free!) home helps to keep my feet soft and smooth!
Pedicure cost comparison: professional vs. home
You can see right away how much you can save—in both money and time—by tending to your feet at home instead of scheduling a professional pedicure!
- Average cost of professional salon pedicure: $15-$25 (not including tip)
- Average cost of one home foot treatment: $0.25-$0.50/treatment
Average cost of each of the home helps listed here (based on Internet search of average prices).
- Banana: $0.60/pound
- Honey: $3-$4/12 oz jar
- Milk: $3-$4/gallon
- Olive oil: $3-$5/16 oz jar
- Vaseline (petroleum jelly): $1-$3/tub
- Lemon juice: $1-$3/pound
- Sea salt: $1-$2/canister
- Dry oatmeal: $1-$3/bag
- Moisturizer/Essential oils – use anything you already have on hand at home.
6 Budget home helps for salon-worthy feet
Each of these home helps can give you pretty pedicured feet—try them all and choose your favorites.
1. Blended banana
Not only will your feet carry the heady scent of the tropics, but this banana puree gives you a great way to use up overripe bananas! Just blend one or two overripe bananas in your home blender, pour into a shallow basin (roomy enough for two feet) and submerge your tootsies. After fifteen minutes, you can remove your feet and rinse with cool water.
Note: This works equally well with overripe papaya, and is also a great help for cracked skin on feet and heels.
2. Honey and warm water
Honey is one of the most universal beauty-boosting panaceas, and feet are no exception. You can actually use honey in more than one way to treat feet. The simplest way is to simply mix a drizzle of honey in with some warm water in a shallow basin and soak feet for 10 minutes. You can also make a thicker scrub with some honey, olive oil, rice flour and apple cider vinegar that you can massage into skin for 3-5 minutes. Either treatment will leave the skin on your feet soft, supple and smooth as silk.
3. Warm milk and essential oils
Who doesn’t love a nice calming glass of warm milk? Feet love it as much as the rest of us, and if you add a few rose petals or a few drops of your favorite essential oil, your feet will smell as sweet as a spring morning. Simply soak feet in warmed milk for 10 minutes, then rinse and towel dry.
4. Olive oil or petroleum jelly
Like honey, olive oil is one of nature’s all-purpose miracle cures. If you simply massage your feet with olive oil or petroleum jelly, your skin will begin to soften immediately. This is also another very healing remedy if you have cracked skin on your feet or heels.
3. Lemon juice
Lemon juice has natural cleansing, detoxifying and astringent properties. Adding lemon juice to warm water (and mixing in some papaya puree if desired) can soften skin and begin to heal any cracked or extra dry skin.
4. Oatmeal and oil
From easing the itch of chicken pox to healing cracked heels, oatmeal is on the job! Here, simply mix oatmeal (dry is best) in with a few drops of jojoba or olive oil and mix it into a paste. Apply to areas where skin is very dry or cracked and leave on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with room-temperature water and dry gently.
5. Sea salt and warm water
Tourists don’t flock to the Dead Sea (and surrounding pricey spas) in Israel each year for no reason. The healing salts and minerals leave skin silky-smooth after just one application. Sea salt in warm water (or Epsom salts if you have them) can accomplish the same effect for free. If you like, add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil for feet that smell as good as they feel.
6. Moisture it up
Finally, moisturizing is key to maintaining the soft, smooth skin on your feet. One of the easiest, cheapest ways to keep feet well-moisturized is to make it part of your bedtime routine. Choose any lotion or moisturizing formula you like and already have on hand. Slather some on your feet, then pull on a pair of thick socks. When you wake up the next morning, remove and rinse. You’ll notice right away that your feet have never felt so soft and silky!
Note: These helps also work equally well to soften and smooth the skin on your hands!
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