As part of my efforts toward a zero-waste lifestyle, I recently decided to give up pedicures. This was not an easy decision, because I love going to the spa and having my feet pampered and polished. I love having shiny red toenails to show off when I wear sandals.
But I decided to quit because I just couldn't justify a process that costs me money every couple of weeks, uses harsh chemicals, creates waste, and damages my nails. I haven't gone without polish on my toes for a long time, because my nails are cracked and yellow underneath. Yeah, it's gross. And my nails are probably cracked and yellow because I constantly keep them covered up with polish.
I've been treating my nails with vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and coconut oil to get them back to health, and will post a before/after photo in due time, once I get them looking normal again. In the mean time, I'm keeping my feet looking as tidy as I can with a simple at-home pedicure, using tools that I already have.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
- Nail clippers
- Nail file
- Cuticle clippers
- Orangewood stick
- Castile soap
- Pumice stone
- Coconut oil
WHAT TO DO
- Cut your nails straight across from edge to edge. Cutting at an angle can result in ingrown nails, so be sure to go straight across.
- File your nails, rounding off any sharp edges. If there are any sharp edges that are digging into the side of your nailbed, you can clip off the sharp bit using cuticle clippers.
- Soak your feet in hot water. You can add some epsom salts if you like, but it's not necessary.
- Once your feet are soft, remove any dirt or grime from under your nails with the orangewood stick, being careful not to dig too deeply or to push dirt further down into the nail.
- Lather your feet with castile soap, and scrub your callouses with the pumice stone. Try to only scrub the roughest areas, as the pumice stone will be too harsh on tender skin. How much you scrub is up to you. Since I'm a runner and form new blisters any time my callouses are removed, I tend to leave a little bit to protect my feet.
- Pat your feet dry with a towel and apply a small amount of coconut oil to your cuticles and nail beds. A little goes a long way.
- Slather your feet in a luxurious moisturizer.
That's it! I don't apply polish anymore, as I'm trying to embrace the natural health and beauty of my nails and allow them to stay free of bacteria and fungus. Though I miss the look of freshly polished nails, I feel better knowing that I'm enabling them to stay healthy, since I'm going to need them for a long time to come!