It's that time of year again. Time to break out your sandals, open-toed shoes and even those $2 flip-flops from Old Navy that are bad for your soles yet we all seem to get them anyway.
Since pedicures are a form of reflexology that exfoliates your feet, reduces the chances of infection, promotes circulation, relaxes your body and helps your feet to maintain its much-needed moisture, hopefully, you've been getting them all year long. But let's be real with each other—pedicures are also what keep our toes looking as cute as ever! That's why the summer season is usually when we choose to shell out a little more cash so that our feet can receive some extra special treatment.
Well, before heading out to your favorite salon to get your feet and toes ready for what this summer has to offer, take out a moment to read about what you should do to get your feet on the right foot and then the all-natural things that you can—and should—try and home so that everything from your ankles down look, feel and even smell amazing long after Labor Day has come and gone.
Do a Rosewater, Vegetable Glycerin and Milk SoakSoaking in nature's goodness
Sandals and open-toed heels are cool but walking around with most of your feet out is a way to expose them to a ton of sunlight and even bacteria. Something that can prevent sunburn and protect your feet from germs is to soak them in some rosewater (click here to learn how to make some from home). Vegetable glycerin makes it easier for you to slough off dead skin. Milk is the ultimate moisturizer.
Pamper your feet by filling a basin a little more than halfway with warm water. Then add two cups of rosewater, a half cup of vegetable glycerin and a cup of milk. Soak for 15 minutes and use a pumice stone to hit the "rough areas". Your feet will be unbelievably smooth after you're done.
Use Black Tea to Avoid Feet Sweat
I've got some people in my life who have a pretty bad case of sweaty feet. Although cornstarch works pretty well during the colder seasons, who wants to look like they've been kicking up dust in their sandals during the summertime?
If sweaty feet are something that you struggle with, consider soaking them in some black tea. It might sound crazy, but the tannic acid in the tea will not only close up your feet's pores so that you'll sweat less, it also kills bacteria so that your feet won't smell as much too.
Also Put Your Feet in Baking Soda Once a Week
Baking soda is one of the most effective (and inexpensive) exfoliants there is! It removes tartar from teeth, lifts up dandruff flakes from your scalp and gets rid of the dry skin that's on your feet too. If you want to maintain the pH balance of your feet and toes while also removing calluses and soothing aching feet, pour 3-4 tablespoons and add 10 drops of lavender essential oil into a basin of warm water. Soak your feet for 20 minutes and I guarantee your feet will instantly feel soothed, pampered and summer ready!
Sleep with Shea Butter and Socks
I don't miss my monthly pedicure. But there is a place on my left heel that stays hard, no matter how much my nail tech tends to it. Something that has finally "tamed" that area is shea butter. Only, I don't rub a lot of shea butter on my feet during the daytime (that makes them all slippery 'n stuff). Instead, I put a generous amount of it on my feet and toes at night and then put a pair of socks on. It is the ultimate moisturizer that has my feet feeling and looking amazing by morning.
Apply Honey and Olive Oil Once a Week
Whether your heels are rough, your feet are sore or you simply want another way to keep your feet bacteria-free, honey's got your back. One-half cup of manuka honey, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and half of a freshly-squeezed lemon in a basin of water is a great DIY foot soak. But if baby soft feet are what you're after, mix one-third cup of organic honey with one-half cup of virgin olive oil. Rub your clean feet with the solution, let it sit for 15 minutes and rinse. Your feet will be date—and other stuff—night ready all night long!
Buff Your Toenails. Then Apply Some Cuticle Oil.
To tell you the truth, I can't remember the last time I only wore clear polish on my toenails (or fingernails, for that matter). That's how much I like colored nail polish! But I will say that whenever it's time to switch over to a new look, those white spots that sometimes show up, they get on my last nerve.
Can you relate and are looking for a remedy? Buff your toenails first. Apply some cuticle oil next. That should be all that you need to get your nails looking back to "normal" again.
Apply Orange Oil to Kill Fungus
If you're wondering if you've got a little bit of toenail fungus lurking around, some signs include nails that crumble at the corners, scaling underneath your toenail, yellow streaks on your toenails, distorted-looking toenails or toenails that are super thick (thicker than your "normal").
While it's always a good idea to see a doctor if you're not sure about a health matter, if money is tight at the moment and you want to use as few chemicals as possible to get the fungus under control, something that you might want to try doing is applying some orange oil. Scientific research reveals that the properties in orange essential oil is able to kill most strains of fungal and bacterial infections (peppermint and lemongrass oil can too but orange smells really good).
Eat Keratin-Rich Foods
Your nails are made up of the protein keratin. That's why it makes sense that, in order to keep them healthy from the inside out, you should eat foods that are rich in keratin. Some of those include blueberries, almonds, eggs, whey protein, fish, collards and kale and citrus fruit. These are the kinds of foods that will make sure that your nails will be strong, not brittle and will keep that nice pink glow.
Always Keep Them Polished
Even if your budget won't let you get professional pedicure every 3-4 weeks, most spas/salons will paint your toenails for you for a pretty nominal fee (if you're wondering, the current hottest nail polish colors for the summer are nude, neon, polka dot, rainbow and pastels). A fresh coat will make your feet look like brand new; especially if you follow through with all of the at-home suggestions you just read.
Remember, summer beauty is all in the details. So, don't you dare step out this summer season without taking good care of those feet of yours!
Featured image by Getty Images
Get a Professional Pedicure
In order to get your feet off to a great start, I personally think it's a good idea to invest in a professional pedicure. That way, you can get your calluses removed, cuticles pushed back, toenails trimmed and nails professionally painted.
Just make sure that you shave your legs no less than two days before going (so that bacteria from the foot tubs don't get into your legs' pores), that the spa/salon you go to sanitizes the tub before you put your feet in it and that there are other options than those callus shavers (the things that look a lot like cheese graters). Believe it or not, in many states, those are now illegal because of the risk they run of cutting you. #themoreyouknow