Whether you’re planning on giving yourself a DIY pedicure at home or splurging on a spa pedicure, knowing the different types of pedicure tools helps ensure that you get the best foot treatment possible. After all, the difference between using a pumice stone versus a foot file for cracked heels can make a world of difference. Check out this list of tools used for pedicures so you can put together your own perfect pedicure tool kit.
Pumice stones are one of the most well known pedicure tools on the market. The porous pieces of volcanic rock can be gently rubbed on the bottom of the feet and heels to help scrub away dry skin and smooth corns and calluses. A pumice stone makes a perfect exfoliation tool not only because it smooths the skin without tearing it, but also because pumice stones easy to find at most grocery and drug stores like Walgreens and Rite-Aid.
Serious calluses may need a little more than pumice stone action, and that’s where foot files come in. A foot file, sometimes called a foot buffer or foot scrapper, is a handheld device made from exfoliating material like metal or emery board that files away dead skin a bit like sandpaper smooths wood. The trick is to find a foot file that is tough enough to tackle stubborn corns and calluses without damaging the new, healthy skin underneath. It’s a delicate balance that oftentimes leaves foot file users frustrated and grabbing other pedicure tools like a pumice stone or nourishing foot lotion. However, many pedicure enthusiasts swear by the Tweezerman Sole Mate Foot File and Smoother, available online or at beauty stores like Sephora.
READ MORE: How To Remove Hard Foot Skin And Calluses
Nail files aren’t only a tool commonly used for pedicures, they’re also used for manicures, as well. This is because the small, roughened strips of material are used to shape and smooth both toenails and fingernails.
Nail files can be made out of a variety of materials, the most popular being emery, crystal, glass ceramic, and metal. However, pedicure experts swear by glass and Bohemian crystal files from the Czech Republic, considered to be the best in the world at the moment.
A nail buffer is a small tool that gently “sands” your fingernails and toenails so they appear smoother and shinier. Nail buffers can help even out nail ridges and make nail polish appear smoother.
There are two kinds of nail clippers: toenail clippers and fingernail clippers. They’re essentially the same thing, but toenail clippers are a bit larger due to toenails being wider than the nails on your fingers. No pedicure toolbox is complete without quality nail clippers, which are the essential tool in keeping your nails properly shaped and trimmed.
Some people prefer to use nail scissors rather than nail clippers to shorten their toenails. Nail scissors are small metal tools that can be used both for clipping the nails as well as cutting off painful hangnails. They usually offer the user better precision than lever style nail clippers, and some say they're healthier for the nails than traditional clippers because they don't press and squeeze the nail during cutting.
A cuticle clipper (also called a cuticle nipper, cuticle cutter or cuticle trimmer) is a stainless steel pedicure tool made for cutting and trimming nail cuticles. The tool is often used in nail salons, but it is losing popularity due to many nail experts declaring cuticle cutting as an unsafe practice. Snipping your cuticles can create small, open wounds that leave your fingers and toes vulnerable to bacterial infections and stubborn nail fungus, so using cuticle oil and cuticle pushers to push back your cuticles is the best way to keep cuticles looking their best.
Podiatrists across the nation warn that cutting your cuticles is a bad idea, as the cut skin is vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections. Therefore, the best way to keep your toenails and fingernails in great shape is by having a cuticle oil in your pedicure set. Cuticle oils nourish and hydrate the skin that surrounds your nails, which helps you get a perfectly polished look from each and every one of your manicures and pedicures.
Cuticle Pusher / Orange Wood Stick
A cuticle pusher, commonly known as a cuticle stick, is a popular pedicure tool that helps maintain healthy cuticles. Usually made from plastic or metal, a cuticle pusher has a rounded or sharp edge that pushes the skin from your cuticles back and away from the nailbed of your fingernails and toenails. This not only helps create a perfect looking manicure or pedicure, but it also helps keep the nails strong and healthy.
Some cuticle pushers are made from disposable wood called orange wood. Many nail salons use orange wood sticks in place of metal or plastic cuticle pushers due to sanitary reasons; the one-time use sticks are much safer for the customer than reusable cuticle pushers.
Tweezers are a small, handheld device used for picking up small objects or plucking hair. Usually made from stainless steel in a pincer-type style, tweezers are often used by nail technicians to apply rhinestones and other small charms to the nails.
Toe separators are soft, cushioned devices you slip between your toes to help spread your toes apart and make for easier toenail polish application. Toe separators aren’t necessary pedicure tools, but they can help keep newly polished toes from rubbing against each other and getting smudged.
Nail strengthener is a clear base coat that is painted onto the nails. Each brand of nail strengthener is different, but most contain a mixture of vitamins and other additions that help the nails grow harder, longer and stronger as well as resist splitting, cracking and peeling.
Autoclave Sterilization Device
An autoclave is the premiere manicure and pedicure tool sterilization machine. The device uses extremely hot steam under high pressure to achieve absolute sterility on nail tools. Unlike other sterility tools like UV light boxes and liquid disinfectants that many nail salons and spas use, an autoclave has the ability to kill 100% of harmful organisms such as hepatitis and HIV, which makes it one of the most effective manicure and pedicure hygiene tools on the market.
Other Essential Pedicure Supplies
While not technically considered pedicure tools, the following manicure and pedicure supplies help complete a pedicure toolbox:
- A foot basin for pre-pedicure footbaths
- Cotton balls or pads for removing nail polish
- Nail polish remover
- Clear base coat to protect the nails
- Nail polish
- Clear topcoat to protect toenail polish
- Foot lotion or cream