Monday, August 27, 2012

Pedicure Basics

After covering my sister's request for some nail care basics and a how to for a "good old fashioned manicure", I thought maybe a post on pedicures may be in order as well. 

As with the post about manicures, this is just my way of doing things. There are plenty of other ways to go about an at home pedicure, there is no right or wrong here. =)

Cleansing: The first step to a pedicure is to remove any nail polish from your toe nails, and make sure your feet are nice and clean. 

Soak: The next step is soaking your feet. There are various store bought foot soaks on the market, and numerous recipes for homemade soaks as well. My personal favorite, however, is simply white vinegar and hot water. You can also use apple cider vinegar. I get a large bowl big enough to fit both my feet and several cups of water so my feet are covered. I measure out 1/4 cup vinegar to 4 cups of hot tap water. Then I grab a towel and get comfy somewhere and set the bowl on the floor, dip my feet in and relax for 15 minutes while my feet soak. Don't worry, this doesn't make your feet smell like vinegar, I promise. The vinegar does a great job of softening the skin though. You can let your feet soak for up to 30 minutes if you want, but I find that 15 minutes is generally quite sufficient. Once you're done soaking your feet, gently towel them off and get ready for the next step...

Exfoliate: How you choose to exfoliate is up to you. You can use a foot scrub - either store bought or homemade. (Sugar and olive oil makes a great all purpose homemade scrub.) Or you can use a pumice stone. I personally like the scrubs during a pedicure. Concentrate on any particularly rough spots, and then rinse with warm water and towel your feet dry again.

Nails: Now it's time to deal with your toe nails! Begin by clipping any nails that need to be clipped using toe nail clippers. And yes, you will want to use toe nail clippers NOT finger nail clippers. The difference in finger nail clippers are curved, and toe nail clippers are straight. You want to clip your toe nails straight across to help prevent ingrown toe nails. File the edges smooth with a file or emery board. Push back the cuticles if necessary with a cuticle pusher, or follow the instructions on your favorite cuticle remover if necessary. You can buff your toe nails the same as you would your finger nails, if you like. If you want to paint your toe nails, swipe them clean with nail polish remover and apply a base coat, a coat or two of your desired color and top coat. Let your nails dry completely before moving on to the last step...

Moisturize: Apply your favorite lotion and you're done! You can use whatever lotion you like, it does not have to be one labeled as being specifically for the feet.

Additional tips: Keep your feet soft between pedicures with the help of a pumice stone. A good pumice stone will only cost a couple dollars and it should last you many years. Every time you shower, make the final step of your shower a quick foot scrub with the pumice stone. Be sure to concentrate on any rough areas. Rinse the stone well after each use and allow it to dry completely. Periodically rinse it with rubbing alcohol to kill any bacteria. Replace the stone if you notice any signs of deterioration, if it breaks, or if you notice it developing any odors or mold growth.

Apply lotion to your feet after your showers, and at night before you go to bed. If you can stand to sleep with socks on (I personally can't stand it!) apply a thick lotion and put socks on before bed to help keep your feet hydrated and soft. Even if you can't stand sleeping with socks on, massaging some lotion into your feet before bed will help keep your feet nice and soft. If your feet are extra dry (in Winter perhaps?) before bed apply your usual lotion and give it 15-20 minutes to soak in to your skin. Then apply some Vaseline and put some socks on. Your feet should be much softer in the morning. (If you don't care to use Vaseline, try using shea butter or coconut oil instead!)

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