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Your Hands And Feet Need This From You All Summer Long
Beauty & Fashion

Your Hands And Feet Need This From You All Summer Long

Question: While you’re (hopefully) in the midst of planning for some kind of summer vacation, some outdoor activities, and/or some creative summer-themed dates, what’s your plan for your hands and your feet? I mean, they’re gonna be front and center too — and you’d be amazed how many people have told me over the years that something they notice first on someone is the condition of both; that folks who take care of their hands and feet send the message that self-care is a priority to them.


I would be inclined to totally agree. That’s why I thought it would be a good idea to share a few tips on things that you can do to take extra good care of your hands and feet this summer. That way, you’ll feel great from hand to toe (get it) while giving people another reason to do a double take whenever you come around (hmph…as if you needed one).

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HANDS: A Manicure

I need to get more manicures. Back before the pandemic, I was religious about it; however, after going over a year without getting my nails professionally done, it started to be less of a priority. In some ways, it shows because my cuticles have a way of becoming dry which can, in turn, make them raggedy as hell. Plus, although I do okay when it comes to shaping my nails (I like to keep them natural and low), there really is nothing like a professional shaping them. Professional manicures can handle all of this, plus they give you an expert’s touch when it comes to cleaning your nails, moisturizing your hands, and polishing them perfectly.

So, even if you can’t afford a professional mani every month, at least treat yourself to a couple of ‘em before the summer ends (which is technically September 23rd this year; it’s never Labor Day Weekend). If you want to do some upkeep in between your manicure appointments, a YouTube video that can help you out is located here.

FEET: A Pedicure

On the flip side, something that I never let up on is a professional pedicure, although my nail tech has been letting me have it lately for not giving my toes a break when it comes to constantly having polish on them (because that can weaken nails over time if you’re not careful; it’s a good idea to take breaks for a couple of months once a year).

The main reason why I like professional pedicures is it gives me a chance to relax and treat myself, although some other benefits are a pedicure prevents ingrown toenails, keeps my heels nice and smooth, gets calluses off of the sides of my baby toes and exfoliates my legs and feet. Some other bonuses are pedicures can help to increase blood circulation and reduce stress levels, not to mention, your feet will look so much better in your flip-flops and sandals.

Again, even if you can’t go once a month, try to schedule at least one appointment this summer. And, as I did with the manicures, a YouTube video for how to perform a pretty stellar pedicure from the comfort and convenience of your own home is located here.

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HANDS: An Olive Oil Soak

Remember how I mentioned that the main cause of bad cuticles is dryness? Something that can prevent your cuticles from looking crazy while also making sure that your hands are super soft is to treat your hand to an oil soak. My personal favorite is extra-virgin olive oil. Why should you go the “extra” route? Because that kind of oil is the least processed which means you will receive the most antioxidants and nutrients from the oil, including fatty acids and vitamin E.

Your best bet would be to pour some warm oil (you can zap some in the microwave for about 10 seconds) into a couple of bowls and soak your clean hands in them for 15-20 minutes before blotting them dry with a microfiber towel. However, another approach would be to rub some of the oil onto your hands, making sure to focus on your nails and cuticles and then wrapping them up in either some Saran Wrap or a pair of moisturizing gloves (more on those in a bit) for the amount of time that it would take to watch a 30-minute sitcom.

Whichever route you take, it will be well worth the investment. Your hands will instantly feel amazing and look younger too.

FEET: A Listerine Soak

If you don’t already own a foot spa/tub, let this inspire you to purchase one. And if you’ve only thought that a bottle of Listerine would work on your mouth, let this totally broaden your perspective. Although there is no official scientific data to support this claim, there are many people who sing the praises of using Listerine (specifically) as a foot soak. Why? Well, due to the potent antibacterial, antioxidant, and antifungal properties that it contains, they say that soaking their feet in the solution helps to remove calluses, cracked heels, and even athlete’s foot.

I have tried this method a couple of times, and I will say that it made using a pumice stone on my heels a helluva lot easier to do. Plus, the menthol from the mouthwash feels really invigorating. A couple of YouTubers who are not only fans of this soak but can also walk you through some DIY tips are located here and here.

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HANDS: Tea Tree Oil

If you’re looking for an essential oil that is potent when it comes to antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties, you’re not gonna get much better than tea tree oil, chile. Personally, I use it as a spot treatment for period pimples (it works like a charm!), although it also soothes the scalp if it’s irritated by dandruff or dry skin. What makes tea tree oil beneficial for your hands is it relieves itchiness, soothes irritation that may be associated with eczema or psoriasis, speeds up the healing process of a cut, wound, fungal infection, or bug bite, and can help to prevent dry skin too. It also is a great ingredient for DIY hand sanitizer.

FEET: White Vinegar

If you’re used to using white vinegar to clean your mirrors or wash your fabrics, it might surprise you to know that it’s also good for your skin, including your feet. The antifungal and antibacterial properties in white vinegar will fight the bacteria that cause acne, can keep the pH levels in your skin balanced, soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, be used as a toner, and can soothe your legs after shaving them.

What makes them a wonderful addition to your feet is it helps to remove warts, get rid of foot odor and heal dry feet too. All you need to do is add one-part white vinegar to two parts warm water and let them soak for 15 minutes. Oh, and if you’re worried about the scent, the smell typically fades once the solution dries. Also, you can add some of your favorite essential oil to the soak to make the smell of the vinegar less potent.

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HANDS: Glass Nail File

Even though I will die on the hill that no one can shape nails quite like professional nail techs can (especially when it comes to doing it in a shorter amount of time), I will say that something that has helped me to shape mine better (when I’m in a pinch) is a glass nail file.

What makes them better than traditional ones? A few things, actually. Glass nail files are easy to clean and sterilize, last longer, are gentle on fragile or brittle nails, and, perhaps the best part is, they work on both natural as well as acrylic nails. Amazon has a myriad of affordable ones to choose from here.

FEET: Pumice Stone or Foot Scraper

If it seems like you can’t get rid of rough calluses or dead skin build-up no matter how much you try, I’d first try a pumice stone on skin that has been soaked in some warm water for 10 minutes or so. If that doesn’t work, take things up a notch and get yourself a foot scraper. Long story short, they are the ultimate kind of foot exfoliator. That’s because they are specifically designed to get rid of rough skin.

Just make sure that you go with one that works well on wet and dry skin and that you don’t overdo it (once a week should be more than enough). The key is to remove dead skin, not rub all of your skin off. For this one, I’m gonna shout out a particular kind of scraper; it’s called the Colossal Innovative Nano Glass Callus Remover Foot File. It’s affordable, effective, and safe, as well as waterproof. You’re welcome. #wink

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HANDS: DIY Scrub

Something that comes with aging is the fact that our skin’s cell turnover slows down quite a bit. What that boils down to is it’s easier for dead skin cells to accumulate and make our skin look dry and dull. That’s just one of the billions of reasons why it’s a good idea to exfoliate— especially your hands because they have a way of accumulating dirt, gunk, and dead skin cells like no other.

A really simple yet mad effective DIY hand scrub consists of ½ cup of brown sugar, one tablespoon of coconut oil, one teaspoon of honey, and a half teaspoon of sea salt. Wash your hands, leave them damp, apply the scrub, massage gently for 1-2 minutes, then rinse with first warm and then cool/cold (to seal up your pores) water. If you do this 2-3 times a week, your hands will both look and feel absolutely wonderful.

FEET: DIY Peel

I don’t know how or why YouTube ended up putting chemical peels into my feed but have mercy. There is one, in particular (here) that I watched that low-key freaked me out. They look like they work, but I don’t think I have nearly the patience to wait for the process to end (kudos to sis who did!).

I will say that the final results did remind me that a foot peel can be a good idea too. They are another skincare option that will help to remove calluses, get rid of dead skin, and keep your heels from almost starting fires in your bed at night — and yes, you can do these at home.

From what I’ve read, it takes like a week to get the full results that you’re after, so you probably should avoid doing this right before taking a trip and, instead, over a long weekend or something. Anyway, Glamour has a list of great foot peel options here, and Byrdie has its own list going on here.

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HANDS: Moisturizing Gloves

If you want your hands to be uber-soft and smooth, you definitely need to invest in a couple of moisturizing gloves. The main purpose that they serve is to help to keep moisturizer, oil, sunscreen, or whatever you’re using to pamper your hands on for much longer than you would without them. Some other perks include the fact that they help to reduce skin irritation, are comfortable to sleep in, and are big-time effective at providing extra hydration to your hands and nails. Byrdie has a list of different ones, along with the pros and cons of each, that you can check out here.

FEET: Silicone Socks

I must admit that I’m actually preaching to the choir when it comes to the importance of owning a pair of silicone socks. If you want to prevent chaffing, heal cracked heels, reduce moisture (which can lead to fungal growth and infections if you’re not careful), and even keep blisters from becoming an issue, wearing silicone socks in your house is a smart move to make. Something else that’s (pardon the pun) cool about them is since they are waterproof, you can use them all year long, especially if you want something to provide a barrier for your boots or ski gear during the wintertime.

All you’ve got to do is wash your feet, dry them, apply your foot gel or moisturizer of choice, and put the socks on. That’s it. Your feet will be so thankful that you did (check out some of Amazon’s silicone sock collection here).

HANDS AND FEET: Sunscreen

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One of the biggest mistakes that our people tend to make is not using sunscreen. For one thing, everyone is susceptible to skin cancer, plus sunscreen helps to prevent things like hyperpigmentation and premature aging. And as far as your hands and feet go, because they both tend to be exposed to damaging UV rays longer than the other parts of your body, you definitely need to tend to them in this manner.

As far as narrowing down a sunscreen that will complement you best, Oprah Daily did you a solid by publishing “The 19 Best Sunscreens for Dark Skin Tones That Don't Leave a White Cast.” Make the time to skim the list.

HANDS AND FEET: Top Coat Every 2-3 Days

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Since I am pretty hard on my feet (mostly because I walk around barefoot whenever I’m home and my floors are hardwood), sometimes the polish on my big toe will chip in between pedi appointments. When I go to get a fresh coat, my nail tech will always say that she needs to put a new top coat on all of my toes so that they will shine as much as the polish on my big toe does.

I have actually adapted that practice as an at-home nail-refreshing tip, period. Yep, if you want your manis and pedis to look fresher and last longer, applying a new layer of top coat a couple of times a week should do the trick for you.

HANDS AND FEET: Fruit Salad

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Hydration is something that your body always needs, yet all the more during the summer season — your hands and feet included. That said, some fruits that are in season right now include watermelon, strawberries, peaches, blackberries, mangoes, cherries, papaya, cantaloupe, honeydew, and grapefruit. Since many of them are easily made up of at least 85 percent water, along with other nutrients, how could you go wrong with enjoying a fresh fruit salad at least a couple of times a week? It’s a deliciously healthy way to love on your hands and feet all summer long. Enjoy!

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Featured image by PeopleImages/Getty Images

 

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