Regular foot and nail care is a way of warding off painful problems like ingrown toenails, calluses, foot cracks and even infections,” explains Levine. Then you can strap on some sandals, wiggle your toes and flaunt your feet all summer long.
* An electric bubbling foot bath (optional).
* A toenail brush to clean both the tops and undersides of the nails, as well as the feet.
* A massaging foot roller (optional).
* Toenail clippers made to cut thick, hard nails without tearing them.
* Fine-grained nail files or emery boards for shaping and smoothing nails.
* Foam toe dividers (or cotton balls) to separate toes when applying base, polish and top coats to prevent smudging.
* A nail buffer to shine the tops of nails before you polish them or to give bare ones a natural, healthy look.
The first thing you should do is soak your feet in warm (not hot) water in your bathtub, a small foot tub or foot bath for five to 10 minutes. Then, as your feet are soaking, use a toenail brush to clean your nails and feet.
Gently push back the cuticles with an orange stick, but don’t cut them since they provide protection between your nail and nail bed, the whole piece of skin that the nail is attached to. Using small, circular motions, massage your feet and ankles with a moisturizer mixed with a touch of your favorite essential oil (like rosemary, peppermint or eucalyptus), or just massage a little coconut, olive or avocado oil mixed with essential oils into your feet. Cut them with a straightedge toenail clipper, leaving the nail length closer to the tips of your toes than to the nail bed. 6 Pre-Polish Prep
*Polished to Perfection
Once you’ve moisturized, filed and cleaned your toenails, apply a clear base coat of polish–this will help your pedicure last longer. Use the time to put your feet up and relax.
A full pedicure takes about 70 minutes: 50 minutes to prep the feet and apply polish and 20 minutes to dry. If you don’t have the time, simply wash your feet while you’re in the shower and give them a quick rub with a pumice stone or foot file. Then, after you dry off, slather your toes and nails with a moisturizer.
* Dry feet and brittle nails: These can be caused by a diet deficient in fat and certain vitamins. To get healthy feet, “add one or two tablespoons of organic, cold-pressed flaxseed oil to your diet every day,” suggests aesthetician Stephanie Tourles, author of Natural Foot Care (Storey Books, 1998).
* Ingrown toenails:
Too short nails can become painfully imbedded in the soft tissue of your toe.
* Yellow nails:
If you wear dark polish regularly, you could develop stained nails. Untreated, onychomycosis can cause nails to thicken, become brittle and flaky and separate from the nail bed.
* Heel cracks:
Neglecting to regularly moisturize your feet can lead to splits in the skin called heel fissures.