But it’s not only about the color on your toenails that attracts attention.
Calluses on the back of your heels, dry, broken skin that looks like perched land in a draught, also tell a story. We haven’t been cared for in a long time, they say, we need hydration! This person won’t be smooth to the touch when you rub against their feet, but rough and sand-paper like. What a turn off.
From a health point of view, having a pedicure at least every two weeks is a must. This is the time to pay attention to the feet. Has anything changed? Did new spots appear? What is the condition of the nails? Any signs of fungus you might have contracted in the gym?
Unfortunately, we only find out how important and functional our feet are, when something goes wrong. Even something small and relatively easy to solve as an ingrown toenail. When this nail hurts, every step, every movement in the shoe reminds you of the existence of your feet, down there, at the furthest point from your eyes.
Sometimes it’s best to use the services of a professional to do the pedicure if you can’t bend or see very well, but generally the pedicure can be done alone, at home, wearing your favorite robe.
Prepare a little station where you will do the pedicure. Choose a comfortable chair, by a bright light source. Gather all the ‘instruments’, and settle down for a relaxing few minutes. You can do it in front of the TV, if that is what you choose.
This is What You Will Need:
- A tub of warm water, big enough to contain both feet up to the ankles,
- Bath salts or Dead Sea salts or aromatic oils,
- Cotton balls or pads,
- Nail polish remover,
- Instruments: nail clippers, nail files, scrubbers, buffers etc.,
- Container for waste,
- Foot cream or moisturizer,
- Alcohol pads or Acetone,
- Nail polish,
It might be wise to create a ‘kit’ containing most of the pedicure stuff. If you plan on doing it regularly, you will not need to think about the list. Just grab the tub, a towel and the kit and you are ready to go.
Pedicure at Home: Step by Step
Put the tub on the floor, mix in the salts/oils, sit down, soak your feet and relax. You are soaking away the dirt of the day, the pollution and the smelly shoes. After about 10 minutes, pat your feet dry.
- Step 1:
Remove the old nail polish. Use a nail polish remover without Acetone. Acetone will remove your polish quickly but will dry out your nails. Other polish removers do not use Acetone so it might take a bit longer. If you use cotton balls, be aware that you might leave traces of cotton behind. You do not have to be religious about it, you’ll soak your feet again in the water, so there is no need to obsess. It might take a few rubs to get all the nail polish off. Use the container to throw away the used cotton balls, so they won’t color anything else.
Do it one foot at a time, and when you’re done, soak both feet for another few minutes. It’s your chance to exercise the feet a bit by moving them in circle inside the warm water. Towel dry thoroughly.
- Step 2:
Trim your nails. Use a toenail clipper not scissors. If your big toe’s nail is really tough, start from the outside of the nail toward the center, on both sides.
The nail length should cover the nail bed and not be too long; otherwise they might look like claws. The rule of thumb is: the length of your toe, no more.
Cut the nail across from side to side, not in a rounded shape. You might cut too deep with the clippers, so instead use the file to give it shape and remove ridges. For a soft shape, file the nail in one direction, not back-and-forth, from the outside toward the middle. It is best to use emery board a file and replace it from time to time. The coarser side of the emery board is for shaping, the gentler side is for smoothing the edges.
After prolonged use of nail polish, nails might appear somewhat yellow is shade. Buff lightly the tops of your nails. That will remove the outmost layer and the nails will appear normal again. Soak your feet to remove all the dust.
- Step 3:
Pat dry your feet and apply cuticle oil. Using a cuticle pusher (that 45 degree angle instrument, sometimes made of wood), push your cuticles back gently around the nail. Use cuticle trimmer to remove excess skin all around the nails. You don’t have to trim every cuticle. If the nail looks good after you’ve pushed it a bit, leave it be.
- Step 4:
Remove dead skin. Scrub the rough skin on the back of your heels with pumice stone. If your skin is very dry, they say putting half a cup of milk in the tub water helps loosen dead skin. It might take a few times of scrubbing and washing off the get to the required result. Feel around your feet to see if there are any other dead skin patches to smooth out.
When you are done with one foot, apply an exfoliating body or foot scrub all the way to your knee. Massage well and let it sit while you take care of the other foot.
- Step 5:
Wash off the exfoliating cream and dry your feet well. From now on you will not need the tub anymore and it can be pushed aside. Make sure you dry between the toes as well.
Apply a generous amount of cream on your feet and legs, up to the knee. Rub it in, in slow circular motions. That is the time to ask your partner for a foot massage which will rub the cream in and increase blood flow and circulation.
- Step 6:
After the cream has been absorbed it’s time to apply the new nail polish. Use alcohol pads to clear your nails from the cream, dry and apply nail polish.
Most professionals recommend using the 4 layer method; a base coat, 2 layers of color and a clear top coat. Wait a few seconds between coats, and wait at least 20 minutes for your nails to dry. Try, if you can, not to wear restrictive shoes immediately.
Now your feet are clean, hydrated and smooth. If after the treatment you find that your feet are still dry and chapped, you can use petroleum jelly or generous amount of cream just before you go do bed. Wear clean cotton socks to protect the bed sheets and do not walk around or you might slip.
The whole process can take between 20 and 30 minutes. The more often you do it, the less time you’d spend doing it because there will be less dead, dry skin to remove.
Now you are ready to show off those lovely toes with those amazing colors, in your new, amazing sandals.