It is the start of summer, meaning that I have officially abandoned socks (and for the most part, shoes at all) for the next three months. The problem is that I have pretty much ignored my feet since the conclusion of last sandal season. Eek.
Should I go get the $28 pedicure at the local nail salon? Tempting. Very tempting. Until I think of what I could do with $28. Time for an at-home foot make over!
There are some really easy things I want to share with you that can give you a salon-style pedicure for pennies on the dollar.
Step One - Epsom Salt Foot Soak
You know that nice swirly foot bath you get to soak in at the nail salon? Ever wonder what's in it? It's pretty much just a solution of epsom salt and water! Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) is incredibly useful and incredibly cheap. I bought a four pound carton at CVS for less than 5 bucks. I bought the unscented kind, but you can find all sorts of scented bath salts that are just regular epsom salt mixed with essential oils.
You can either get a container big enough to put your feet in, like a bucket or basin, or just your tub with ankle-deep water.
I am using one of those plastic rectangle things that they gave me in the hospital when I had my last baby. I'm not sure what it's original purpose was, but for soaking feet and pre-treating laundry, it's stellar.
For a bucket this size, I used about a half cup of epsom salt and water as hot a I could stand it.
To really get the spa experience, sit back and relax (preferably in a comfy chair). Watch something you want to see on TV. Read a book.
Have a nice cup of coffee.
Or if you are so inclined, a nice nap.
After around 10 or 15 minutes, you are going to need a few things. I have all of these on hand, as I tend to like doing my own nails (the whole cheap thing again).
If you have cuticle gel, apply it now. While you are waiting for that to finish softening your cuticles, use a pumice stone or file to remove any dry skin and smooth any calluses. (It should be pretty easy now that the epsom salt has had time to work). Now you can push back your cuticles with...whatever that thing is called that pushes back cuticles. The thingy. If you feel like it, you can trim your cuticles with...that other thingy. Return your feet to the water bath, then make yourself a note to actually learn the proper vocabulary before posting something on your blog. (Sorry).
Note: if you are taking your sweet time with this, feel free to refresh your water bath with more hot water and epsom salt. This is your pedicure. Go at whatever pace makes you happy.
Once you are ready (and not a moment before), remove your feet from the water bath, towel dry, and apply lotion everywhere but the nails. Use the nail clipper and nail file to trim and shape your toe nails.
If your nails are stained from previous nail polish, there are a lot of possible remedies you can use to return them to their natural color.
1) Rub a slice of lemon on them.
2) Use an old toothbrush and brush them with toothpaste.
3) Brush them with a paste of baking soda and peroxide.
4) Soak them in a mild peroxide solution.
5) Buff stains away with a fine emery board.
6) Ignore it and just paint over them.
Finally, if you wish to apply nail polish, there are a few tips to make this easier and more professional looking.
First, take a cotton swab and gently apply some Vaseline to your cuticles. This will make it easy to later peel away any polish that gets on your skin.
Next, make sure to apply a base coat to your nails. Not only will the base coat protect your nails, but it will make the polish last longer.
When choosing a nail polish, save yourself some aggravation and choose a fast-drying type. I like Sally Hansen Insta-Dri. (I know it says one coat, but it looks much better with two coats, IMO). Remember, the faster it dries, the less likely you are to botch it up by smudging it.
Finally, apply a top coat. It will protect the polish and keep it from chipping, so it will last longer. I save money by making sure to get a base and top coat in one. This also means that I have fewer bottles to keep track of.
I'm actually posting this TWO WEEKS after giving myself this pedicure, and it still looks good!
Now, go use that $28 bucks you just saved for something better, like cute sandals.