How to Make Ugly Toes Look Good

Rebecca Wiseman
pedicured toes with red nail polish

Dedicated foot and toenail care is essential for beauty and overall health. If your feet are too sore from calluses, corns, or other foot ailments, exercise and even walking becomes painful. Of course, the bonus to proper foot care is having good-looking toes. Follow a few tricks of the trade and give yourself a home pedicure to help make your toes look and feel their best.

Basic Pedicure for Callus and Corn Removal

Calluses and corns can be painful and unsightly problems. Corns are caused by the friction of shoes rubbing the sides of toes. Calluses are caused by walking and not moisturizing the feet. Proper exfoliation will help with both of these issues, and pedicures are a great option to keep your toes looking their best.

There are many pedicure products on the market, but finding what will work can be a daunting task. Pedicure kits can solve this issue. Typically, pedicure kits contain callus softener, foot soak, foot scrub, foot file and moisturizer in a convenient carrying case.

  1. To soften the calluses and corns for removal, first soak the feet for about five minutes.
  2. Lightly towel dry and apply the callus softener. Apply the callus remover to the heel, side of the foot, and toes. Some of these products require you to keep your feet out of the soaking tub while the product works. Others work while the feet soak. It is important to read the directions on the package or bottle to see how to use the callus remover.
  3. Wipe off any excess callus remover before using the foot file. Otherwise, the file will slide over the product and not remove the callus.
  4. Use the coarse side of the file first. The callus will start to roll off the foot. When the callus stops rolling off the foot, use the fine side of the file to finish smoothing. The foot file can also be used to file down any corns at this time. If the corns are still bothersome, use a corn remover product, such as Dr. Scholl's One Step Corn Removers, for a couple of days.
  5. After filing, rinse the foot and apply the scrub to the top of the foot and up the ankle in circles; be sure to scrub the back of the heel area. Work the product down over the toes and between them. Rinse off the scrub and dry the feet; make sure to dry around the toes well.
  6. Use the moisturizing cream or lotion after drying.

Finishing Touches for Lovely Toes

For great looking toes, you will also want to shape and file your toenails, as well as clean up your cuticles and apply polish.

Toenail Shape

There is a debate over which shape the toenail should be - round or square. A good rule of thumb is shape them according to what feels comfortable. Either way, make sure to cut the corner completely and not leave a little piece that can become an ingrown toenail. File the free edge of the toenail with a fine to medium (180 grit) file.

Cuticle Removal

Cuticle removal is key to getting polish to stay on the toenails. Use a cuticle remover, such as Creative Nail Cuticle Eraser, to soften the cuticle so that it is easily removed with a wooden cuticle stick.

Adding Polish

Adding polish is optional, but a little color goes a long way toward making sure your nails look terrific.

  • After the basic pedicure, clean the toenail with polish remover to ensure that all oils are cleaned off. This will make the polish last longer.
  • Before polishing, the toes need to be separated for easier polish application. Toe separators can be used or use a twisted paper towel and weave it between the toes.
  • Apply one clear base coat, two coats of color polish, and finish with a clear top coat. Adding nail art on the toenails is a personal preference. If any kind of nail art is desired, do this before the top coat is applied.
  • A quick drying manicure spray or drops, such as Rapid Dry by OPI, can be used to speed the drying time of the polish.
  • When dry, remove the toe separators or paper towel and show off those pretty piggies.

Special Toenail Care Challenges

A number of issues can impact the appearance of your toes, and may require additional treatment or care. Certain medications can also affect the appearance of nails.

Yellowing Nails

Yellowing nails can be a sign of toenail fungus, and there's a simple way to tell if you really have a problem.

  • Using a buffing block or a fine grit file, lightly buff the nail. If the yellowing disappears, it was simply a stain from nail polish. In this case, use a base coat under the color.
  • If the yellowing does not buff off, it is some form of nail infection or fungus. In this case case, visit a podiatrist for treatment.

Hair on the Toes

Whether people admit it or not, everyone has hair on their toes. For women, this can be embarrassing. This problem can be easily remedied by shaving, waxing, using hair removal cream, or even by undergoing electrolysis. While electrolysis is expensive, it offers permanent hair removal. Most women opt for the less expensive shaving or waxing. Hair removal creams can cause chemical burns if the skin is sensitive.

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are another painful, ugly foot condition. There are over-the-counter remedies that will work if the warts are caught early. However, most are not even noticed until they start causing pain. In this case, a podiatrist can provide proper treatment.

Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot is a type of fungal infection that causes red, itchy, scaly skin eruptions on the bottom of the foot and between the toes. There are over-the-counter treatments for mild athlete's foot. If the infection does not clear up with these or gets worse, a podiatrist can prescribe a more effective treatment.

Take Care of Your Toes

Follow these tips and suggestions to keep your toes looking their best. Not only will this help make sure that you have pretty feet to show off, it can help you become aware of the presence of health problems that may require medical attention. For example, systemic health problems, such as thyroid problems and diabetes, often present themselves first in the appearance of the finger and toe nails. Being aware of the condition of your toes can help you spot problems sooner and get prompt treatment.

How to Make Ugly Toes Look Good