How to Paint Your Toenails: DIY Pedicure Tutorial

Amanda Bellantoni
by Amanda Bellantoni
12 Materials
30 Minutes

Hi everyone. Today, I’m going to show you how to paint your toenails at home with gel polish. Follow along with this step-by-step tutorial.

Upstyle Recommends!

Give yourself a pampering pedicure with this Electronic Foot File Pedicure Kit

that Amazon reviewers swear by!

Tools and materials:

  • Nail clippers
  • Nail file
  • Cuticle oil
  • Cuticle pusher
  • Cuticle clipper
  • Buffing cube
  • Hand towel
  • Toe separators
  • Nail dehydrator
  • UV lamp
  • Cleansing solution spray
  • Cotton round
Clipping toe nails

1. Clip your toenails

Use clippers to ensure that your toenails are short for this gel pedicure.

2. File 

Next, file the nails to smooth the edges and to create a square shape.

Make sure the edges are slightly rounded so that they don’t snag on anything.

Filing toe nail

3. Apply cuticle oil, push and clean

Next, apply cuticle oil to each toenail.

Applying cuticle oil

Then, use a cuticle pusher to expose all the new nail growth and get rid of the dead skin lingering at the cuticles.

Pushing cuticle

Then, clean underneath the toenails to remove any dirt.

Cleaning nail

Next, go over the cuticles again and remove any excess with a cuticle clipper.

Clipping cuticle

4. Smooth your nails and rinse

Once the nails are shaped and clean, take a buffing cube and go over all of them. Then rinse off the dust.

Buffing nails

5. Scuff up the nails

Whenever applying gel polish, it’s important to scuff up the nails.

Use a regular rile to scuff the surfaces of the toenails. Then wipe with a towel.

Scuffing nails

6. Apply nail dehydrator and nail foundation

Place toe separators in between your toes and apply a coat of nail dehydrator.

Applying dehydrator

Next, apply a layer of foundation polish. There’s no need to cap off the nails, just do your best to avoid getting this polish on the cuticles or the skin around the toenails.

Use your finger to remove any polish that may have gotten off the nail.

This will prevent the polish from curing to the skin, which in turn will cause the polish to lift.

After this, pop your foot under the lamp to cure.

Applying nail foundation

7. Apply color and cure

Once your nails are dry, apply a thin coat of the gel polish of your choice.

Then clean up around the nails, if necessary, before popping the toes under the lamp to cure. 

Applying color

8. Apply a second coat

Once cured, apply a second coat of color and clean up as you go.

Applying color

9. Apply a top coat and cure

Now, apply a hardy top coat, capping off the ends now as well to seal the nails. Then cure the nails for the last time. 

Applying color

10. Clean and apply more oil

Then squirt some alcohol or cleansing solution over the gel toenail polish.

Follow up by using a cotton round to remove the sticky layer.

Cleaning nails

Finally, apply more of the cuticle oil and that’s it!

How to paint your toenails: DIY pedicure

You can see the improvement here, and my toenails feel totally refreshed with this toenail gel polish pedicure!

How to paint your toenails: DIY pedicure

How to paint your toenails: DIY pedicure

Now that you’ve learned how to paint your toenails with gel polish, will you give this at home experience a try?

Comment below with your favorite shade this season.

Check out my 16 Easy Tips to Make Your At-home Gel Manicure Last.

Suggested materials:
  • Nail clippers
  • Nail file
  • Cuticle oil
See all materials

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation
3 of 12 comments