Your feet contain 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 ligaments each. They are designed to bear your weight, act as shock absorbers and propel you forward when you walk. Your feet just may be one of the hardest working, underappreciated parts of your body, so show them a little love, and give yourself a perfect pedicure in the comfort of your own home. Leigh Toselli, author of Pro Nail Care: Salon Secrets of the Professionals, suggests the following steps for a perfect pedicure:
First things first. Your perfect pedi won’t be a relaxing exercise if you have to jump up, dry your feet and run through the house looking for the tools you need at each stage of the process, so gather nail files and clippers, nail brush, cuticle sticks, cotton balls and a bowl full of warm, soapy water before you begin. Also, round up massage and foot oils and creams, Epsom salts and baking soda, and at least two soft, fluffy towels. You’ll also need nail polish and remover, if you’re already wearing or want to add polish.
Nail it down. Remove old nail polish using cotton balls and nail polish remover, preferably acetone-free as it’s gentler to the nail. Then clip, trim or file the nails until the edges are smooth.
Soak it up. Place a towel under the bowl to catch spills, and check that the water isn’t too hot for your sensitive feet before slipping them into warm water for a nice long soak. Scrub toenails with a nail brush, and then dry them off with a towel.
Paste it on. Mix equal parts baking soda and Epsom salts with a little water to make a thick paste. Slather this all over your feet and let it go to work on your rough dry skin. Rinse off after a few minutes in the warm water, and dry your feet again.
Soak it again. Replace the water with fresh warm water with a teaspoon each of Epsom salts and baking powder and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Lavender, eucalyptus, wintergreen and peppermint are all good choices for feet. Soak for around 10 minutes, remove and pat dry.
Rub it in. While the skin is still soft from soaking, use a cuticle stick, preferably wooden, to push dead skin away from the nail bed. Then, use a massage oil or foot cream to give yourself a thorough foot rub. Use your thumbs to massage the soles of your feet in circular motions from the balls to heels. Flex your toes back and forth, and gently rub each toe between your fingers. Flex the ankles, and take the lotion at least up to your calves, ideally up to the knees.
Paint it on. If you’re going to paint your nails, use a towel to remove any traces of oils and lotions from around the toes. Separate the toes, either using a foam separator or cotton balls. Start with a base coat of a strengthening or moisturizing polish. Allow the nails to dry completely between coats. Add one or two thin coats of color if you prefer, and then finish with a top coat to seal and protect your perfect pedi.