Sunday, March 27, 2011
The Perfect DIY Pedicure, Naturally
The weather is getting nicer and it’s almost time to dust off those flips flops sitting in the back of the closet. Before you dare to bare your tootsies make sure your feet are looking their best. After a winter of snow boots and dry air your feet are probably in dire need of a pedi. Although having your toes done at a salon is a nice relaxing treat (nothing beats the foot massage!) it can be expensive and not so economical to do on a regular basis. I’m going to give you some tips on how to give yourself the perfect at home pedi. You can trust me, I’m an expert :) I used to work at spas and gave pedicures and other spa treatments for a living. My favorite service to do was pedicures. A lot of people get grossed out by feet. Not me. There’s just something satisfying about taking something that looks rough and ugly and making it look nice and pretty. It’s just a kind of satisfaction I can’t really describe. A fun idea is to get your girlfriends together for a girls night and give each other pedis. Then you can get the foot massage too! I try to use the most natural products and things I already have around the house. This makes less of an impact on the environment and my wallet.
Step one: Choose your weapons
If you buy the right pedi tools that are good quality you will probably only have to buy them once. Head to you local beauty supply store where you can quality professional tools at a great price. I don’t like to waste my money on foot soaks or moisturizers. There’s plenty of supplies you already have at home to use for this, more on that later. First, the essentials,
Nail clippers: For clipping your nails, obviously.
Foot file: Don’t bother with those dinky pumice files you find at the drug store. You want a quality file with a strong wood handle and double sided pumice with different grades of grit. Keep it in your shower and scrub your feet a little bit everyday to avoid a big job later on.
Nail file: These come in so many different grades of grit. Choose depending on how thick and strong your nails are. Thicker the nails will need stronger files, thin brittle nails will need a finer grit. The glass files you can find at mall kiosks are awesome. They will last forever and won’t leave the tips of your nails rough or ragged like some traditional files can.
Orange wood sticks: A great all purpose tool. You can push back your cuticles, clean under your nails, and clean up polish that gets stuck to your skin, and they are really cheap!
Cuticle cutters: Buy a nice sharp pair for best results. Don’t worry about cutting yourself. You are much more likely to hurt yourself if you are using a dull blade.
Nail buffer: If your toes have lots of ridges on them you can gently buff them down so they are nice and smooth . Your nail polish will adhere better
Q-tips, cotton balls and non acetone nail polish remover for clean up. Organic cotton is much better for the environment or designate an old rag for nail polish removal and you will have even less waste.
Step 2: Prep the Foot Soak
Fill a large basin or foot tub with the hottest water you can stand. Add a squirt of soap for bubbles. If you want to help soften your skin even more while you soak add one of the following:
3 tbsp of baking soda
3 tbsp salt
Juice of one lemon or lime
Optional: 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Eucalyptus or Mint are always nice for the feet
Trim your nails before you put them into the foot soak. Don’t cut them too short or you will be prone to ingrown or infections. You can always file them down more with you nail file. Have towels and your tools within reach so you can continue to soak your feet while you scrub and work on your cuticles
After soaking for about 10 minutes use your foot file one foot at a time and scrub your heels and anywhere that feels rough of calloused. Take your orange wood stick and gently push back your cuticles. If your cuticles are ragged and there’s lots of excess skin trim them back with your cuticle nippers. A lot of pedi tips you read in magazine will tell you not to trim your cuticles, just push them back. That’s fine and dandy if you don’t have a lot of excess skin but if you are like me you will need to trim them. Clean under your nails with the orange wood stick.
Exfoliate: You can make a simple skin exfoliate with sugar and oil. It really doesn’t matter if you use brown or white sugar or what kind of oil you use. Olive oil and brown sugar make a really nice skin buffer. Mix 3 tbsp sugar with 2 tbsp oil. Massage around your ankles, between your toes and then rinse off in the foot bath. If you have extra left over bring in into the shower with you and use it as a body scrub.
Buff: Use your buffer if you have ridges or bumpy nails, file your nails straight across to your desired length.
Moisturize: Get the foot bath out of the way and cleaned up. Then using your favorite body lotion, give yourself a foot massage. Even better, get a loved one to massage your feet for you! If your feet are extra dry slip your feet into some plastic bags and put warm slippers over to help your skin soak in the moisture. Leave for about 20 minutes.
Step 3 Polish:
Base coat: Provides a nice surface to apply polish to. Helps to prevent the polish staining your nail. It will essentially fill in an groves or rough areas on the nail bed.
Polish: OPI is probably the best known and most popular brand in North America. There are several companies that make a more natural nail polish such as Zoya. They claim to have less chemicals and no formaldehyde. Plus, it's vegan! I’ve used Zoya before and their polishes are really great. If you get any polish on your skin use your orange wood stick and wipe it off while it’s still wet. If you can’t get it all off wait till it dries then dip your stick in the nail polish remover and try again. Q tips also work well for this.
Top coat: Adds shine, protects the polish and prevents chipping
After you paint the top coat on do one extra swipe along the edge of the nail. This will also help to prevent chipping
Now relax and let it dry. This is the hardest part. Not smudging it before it dries. A tip to help prevent smudging is to take a can of cooking spray and spritz the top to the nails very lightly. If you bump your feet the oil will help protect the polish.
There you have it. An easy, natural, at home pedi. Now go put on your favorite sandals and show off your happy feet!