Monday, July 27, 2009

Do-it-yourself pedicure

Like most girls, I love a good pedicure! Can you believe that I never had a pedicure until I was in my 30's? When I was pregnant with my fourth child, the ladies at church presented me with a gift certificate good for a mani/pedi, hairstyle, and massage. After that, I was hooked.
Of course, at $25-30 a pop, and finding time where I can get away for an hour, it's something that happens infrequently. I have always wondered what sort of chemicals are they putting on my feet? I've also always wondered if I could do this myself at home. This summer, after looking at my poor dry feet and not having the money or time to get away, I decided to give it a shot. I googled "do it yourself pedicure" and got lots of good tips, then I put together an "all natural" version for myself. It's easier than you'd think. It's cheaper than going to the salon. I can involve the kids when I do it at home, it's fun for us all, and I don't have to try to set an appointment and find someone to watch them while I go. It makes a nice, relaxing weekend activity.

First thing to do is get rid of the old nail polish. I like to use Honeybee Gardens Odorless Polish Remover. It is non-acetone and enriched with botanicals, but I do have to scrub a bit harder to remove the darker or sparkly colors. If your nails are yellow, you can rub a drop of lemon or lavender oil and rub a nail buffer back and forth over the nail.

Next, cut and file your nails. Cut straight across to avoid ingrown nails, and file the nails to soften the corners. File in one direction and use an emory board rather than a metal nail file.

Then, soak your feet. I like to use epsom salts with about 1/4 cup of milk, but if I don't have epsom salt, sea salt works fine. The lactic acid in the milk is supposed to help loosen the dead skin. If you want to get fancy, add your favorite essential oils or herbs to the soak. I like peppermint, lemon, and lavender. Soak for about 10 minutes, or even longer if your feet are rough.

Now that you've gotten your feet softened up, push back your cuticles. I rub my cuticles with Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream or a little almond oil, leave on for a minute, and push back with a wooden nail stick. Use a circular motion to push back where the skin meets the nail. Trim any dead loose skin with a cuticle clipper, but be careful to not cut the good skin!

After that, scrub your feet with a foot file or pumice stone and some foot scrub. I've tried a few fancy shmancy foot scrubs, but my favorite is still a mixture of sea salt, olive oil, and peppermint essential oil. (If you are pregnant, avoid peppermint eo and go for something like lavender instead.) Scrub all the rough areas, but smooth rather than remove. If your skin becomes bright red, stop scrubbing.

When you've gotten all scrubbed up, it's time to moisturize. My favorite moisturizer for my tough feet (remember, I'm always going barefoot and I condition my feet for karate) is the whipped body butters made by my friend at Ink and Essence Candles. Her products are natural, luxurious, and reasonably priced...and I always prefer to support work-at-home moms instead of corporations whenever possible!

Now you are ready to polish. If I'm using polish, I like to use Honeybee Gardens nail polish-- it has less toxins in it than some other brands. Paint a thin base coat, two layers of your favorite color, and finish with a clear top coat. Use three strokes when painting--one down the middle and one on each side. Brush the polish over the nail edge to prevent chipping. I touch up any errors I make with a q-tip dipped in polish remover. Let your nails dry completely, and enjoy!
If you do go the natural route with your nail polish, there are more tips and tricks at the Honeybee Gardens site that I linked to.

Here is a picture of the kids and my feet after a pedicure. Yeah, we used the non-natural kind of nail polish here--"fairy dust" was the only kind of natural polish I had at the time, and nobody really wanted sparkly pink. Sunshine chose orange, Mojo chose blue, Caveman chose blue and orange, Gem chose pink, and Mama chose a deep burgundy.

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