Sweet Feet

It’s been long hot summer and if you’re anything like me, your feet are looking a little worse for the wear. All that exposure to the elements can lead to dry skin, rough heels, and calluses. Pedicures rock but not everyone can afford to visit a pro every time. I always gave myself at-home pedicures but after beauty school I realized that adding just a few really easy steps can make a huge difference. Follow these steps and get the same results as your favorite spa.

You will need:

  • bathtub or foot spa
  • nail polish remover
  • cotton pads
  • toenail clippers and/or emery board
  • cuticle remover
  • metal cuticle pusher
  • rasp-style foot file or pumice stone
  • foot scrub
  • foot lotion
  • orangewood sticks
  • nail polish (base coat, color, top coat)

Optional items:

1. Fill your bathtub with enough warm water to submerge your feet and ankles. If you have a foot spa, even better. While the water is running, I like to use a foot file (the kind that looks like a giant emery board) on my rough spots.
2. Soak your feet. Some sort of aromatherapy foot soak is optional. Make your own by sprinkling in a little sea salt, baking soda, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
3. Take one foot out and remove old polish, if necessary. Switch feet.
4. Take the first foot out again and dry it off. Use clippers and/or a file to trim toenails to desired length. If your toenails have a rough service or are prone to cracking, smooth them with a pedicure block. Apply cuticle remover. Return that foot to the water and repeat on the other side.
5. Remove your foot from the water, pat dry, and use a metal cuticle pusher to gently push back your cuticles and remove dead skin from your nail surface. If necessary, you can clip away any excess with a cuticle nipper. Just be careful not to cut too far and break the skin. Repeat on the other side.
6. Again, take one foot out and rub a rasp-style foot file or a pumice stone on heels and other rough areas. (If you have calluses, apply a callus remover like Be Natural’s following the manufacturer’s instructions first.) Then use a foot scrub to slough off dead skin. I used SpaRitual’s Affirming Scrub Masque. Repeat on other side and then use the bath water to remove the scrub.
7. Remove both feet and dry completely. Rub on a heavy coat of foot lotion. I like Be Natural’s Dry Heel Eliminator.
8. Use a little bit of nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad to clean lotion off nails.
9. Apply base coat of polish, 2-3 coats of your favorite color, and end with a top coat. Having an orangewood stick nearby is absolutely essential to professional looking results. Dip one end in nail polish remover and twist it on a cotton pad to pick up some of the cotton fibers. This makes a firmer, narrow cotton swab that it great for cleaning up any polish errors. Here’s a visual:
9-6-10 075

Almost as good as new.
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Note: Any of the required and optional tools and supplies can be found at drug stores or Sally Beauty Supply. It really makes a difference to get a professional quality cuticle pusher. And after one home pedicure, it’s paid for itself. On the flip side, I think inexpensive foot scrubs work just fine and definitely DIY your foot soak.

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