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 a Black Tea Foot Soak 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!
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
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Victoria Monét has had an incredible year. Thanks to the success of the widely popular “On My Mama” that went viral, the singer/ songwriter’s Jaguar II album debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart. She also went on to headline her own sold-out tour. So, when the MTV VMAs happened in September, everyone was surprised to learn that Victoria’s team was told that it was “too early” for the “Smoke” artist to perform at the award show. However, a couple of months later, the mom of one received seven Grammy nominations, including “Best R&B Album” and “Record Of The Year.”
Victoria is currently in London and stopped by The Dotty Show on Apple Music and shared how she feels “validated” after being dismissed by the VMAs.
“It really does feel nice and validating because, in my head, the reason why I wanted to be a performer at the VMAs or award ceremonies like that is because I felt like I am at the place where I should. I would work really hard to put on the best show that I could, and I was excited to do so,” she said.
“And I guess the best way to describe it for me is like when you're like on a sports team, and the coach is like, ‘No, you gotta sit this one out.’ When they finally put you in, and then you score all these points, and it feels like that feeling. You're like, yes, I knew it wasn't tripping, but I knew I worked hard for this, and so it's been super validating to just have these accolades come after a moment like that, and I know the fans feel vindicated for me.
While her fans called the VMAs out on their decision, the “Moment” singer kept it cute and is still open to performing at the iconic award show. “I feel no ill towards them because it's just maybe that's just truly how they felt at the time, but I hope their mind has changed,” she admitted.
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Feature image by Amy Sussman/WireImage for Parkwood