Keep your feet happy with a few self-care pedicure tips that will make them pretty and pampered.
Our feet carry us around all day and are often stuck in closed shoes or drying out in sandals. The best way to keep them healthy, before it gets too late and you need a specialist visit to a chiropodist, is a self-care pedicure little and often to keep them soft and fresh.
We tend to neglect our feet, which is strange really, especially when you consider how reflexology works with the energy flow and pressure points that are said to be linked to areas of your body, meaning our feet are an important gateway to our overall physical health! So here’s a guide to start some healthy foot rituals that will give our feet the attention that they deserve.
Let’s start with hygiene.
They sweat, walk on the ground, are stuck in shoes and so on so let’s ensure we not only cleanse our feet to fight off bacteria but also soothe, soften and invigorate them with a foot bath! Some might use a foot spa, but make sure you don’t share it with other people and it gets cleaned and dried well after every use. I simply use a wash bowl. I like to add a scoop of Epsom salts to ease muscular tension and soften the skin. Add an aromatherapy chill pill for added fragrance and therapeutic and antibacterial benefit.
Time to buff and exfoliate.
After soaking in warm water for around 10 minutes, the skin should be soft and ready to buff around the heels and ball of the big toe. We won’t and wouldn’t want to remove all the hard skin, it’s there to protect our feet. We only want to stop it from becoming excessive to the point where it thickens, dries out and cracks. Removing too much would leave your feet sore and exposed to damage. Buff the feet using a foot file – it works like sandpaper, or I love a volcanic pumice stone. Do one foot at a time, twice, placing each foot back in the water to soften more as you alternate.
Next, while you still have your feet in the water, exfoliate your feet, ankle and lower legs. This will polish off any loose skin and rough areas after the buff. You can use an exfoliating mitt, gently in circular motions, keeping it wet and focusing around the ankles and sides of your feet.
By now the water will be cold, so set the bowl aside and dry your feet and lower legs. Apply a body massage oil all over your lower legs and feet, treat this like a massage, working the different areas of your feet in small clockwise circular motions, through the arch, over the balls of your feet and over the toes giving them a little stretch as you release each toe. Massage around the ankles, and up the calves, and shins slowly with firm pressure, encouraging circulation and lymph drainage.
Once the oil has been absorbed, focus on the cuticles and toe nails. Using an orange stick, gently push back the cuticles. Using a curved nail scissors or cuticle nippers trim off only the loose skin, the rest should easily come away with the orange stick.
Unlike fingernails, it is better to file toenails while they’re soft as they tend to be a harder nail. Keep the nail file straight, avoid filing down the sides of the nail, this would only encourage ingrowing toe nails and infection, so a straight edge is better.
Now your feet and nails are feeling and looking fresh, you can decide if you prefer to leave your natural nails to breathe, with an option to buff them shiny if you have a buff available, or prepare the nail bed. Do this by ‘squeaking’ the nails free of oils using a varnish remover and cotton pad, ready for a colour.
We strongly recommend a toxin-free polish like ZOYA which allows your nails to breathe. This is important, as I’ve found that toenail polish lasts for so long, sometimes months, that it could cause white chalky marks due to dehydration and lack of air to the nail bed. It’s not an infection, but will be there until it grows out. ZOYA is kinder, breathable, pregnancy safe and yet still durable, while also being vegan and cruelty-free for guilt-free pampering! Also, try to remove polish each month and repeat the self-care pedicure.
Follow these steps for the perfect spa pedi finish:
Step 1: Base
Important to protect the nail from staining and even the nail surface ready for colour.
Step 2: Colour x 2
The first coat is to create the outline around the cuticle without flooding. Don’t try to have a perfect coverage at this stage, focus solely on the edge with just enough polish leaving a 1-2mm gap from the cuticles. Too much polish and it will flood and then you’ll have to start over. The second coat is where you’re aiming for an even colour coverage. You shouldn’t need to even go right up to the edge. Again don’t use too much polish, aim for only three strokes. You’re better off applying three thin coats than 2 thick coats.
Step 3: Top Coat.
Give the colours a couple of minutes to dry then apply the top coat. Three strokes, not too much polish but enough not to drag the colour off.
Step 4: Dry.
I’d strongly recommend quick drying drops. Or wait 20 minutes at least, depending on how much polish you applied.
Step 5: Cuticle oil.
Dab a bit around the edge of the nails, avoid smudging the polish. Leave to soak in while the polish dries.
Top tip: if flooding occurs or you paint polish onto the skin, use a cotton bud with varnish remover to clean up the mistakes.
Between pedicures, keeping your feet soft and hydrated will prevent cracks. In the evenings, apply an oil or foot balm over your feet and cover with cotton socks. Then before bed remove socks to let your feet breathe. Apply cuticle oil often too, it’s a great way to hide dry cuticles when wearing sandals or flip flops.
Why not add this self-care pedicure during your relaxation lounge Spa At Home experience? Or after your bathroom haven when your feet will already be soft and you can exfoliate in the bath then follow the moisturising massage, cuticle, nail file and polish steps while cooling down in your cozy corner.