Because we often neglect them, and because they take a lot of hard wear and tear, it is true to say that many of us have particularly ugly feet. You can be honest with yourself, look at your naked feet and decide, are they pretty or not? If you decide the latter then it is very important to follow a foot care routine for at least 3 months in order to bring your feet up to the healthiest condition possible. Even if you decided that your feet are pretty, in order to keep them that way a foot care routine is important.
- Wash your feet carefully when in the shower or bath (daily foot washing is important, twice daily if you suffer from athletes foot or any other foot maladies. At least once a week soak the feet in a warm bath and use a pumice stone to remove dry dead skin on your heels. Do not scrub overly at hard skin, it has taken a long time to build up and will not disappear after only one or two soakings, this will take time to remedy. There are no shortcuts, you are in this for the long haul! You can buy some pretty powerful creams to remove this dry skin however they also take diligence in application on a daily basis and if you stop using them the dry skin returns fairly quickly - one winter will show your feet to be the same as before, so it is wise to get into a footcare habit and simply stick to it.
- Occasionally you may prefer to use a sugar scrub on your feet. This will moisturise and help remove loose flaky skin cells. Once a month it is a good idea to use a foot mask. This is exactly the same as using a face mask only you will choose ingredients for very dry skin. Pop the feet in a plastic bag and put them up for 20 minutes while you watch tv or catch up on some light reading.
- Rinse off the foot mask with warm water and dry the feet very carefully. Pay particular attention to the area between the toes.
- Now moisturise the feet with a rich cream or oil. Or ask a partner or friend to do it for you, a foot massage can be very relaxing. Raw Shea Butter is excellent for this purpose and if used at bedtime will work its magic during the night while you sleep. It isn’t necessary however to buy a special cream or lotion for the feet, any vegetable oil such as olive, sunflower or rapeseed will work almost as well – you may need a couple of applications before bed to achieve the same results. A pair of light cotton socks can be worn to bed to save the sheets getting oily!
Sugar Scrub for FeetA quantity of dark brown sugar (about a handfull will do)
Vegetable oil to moisten (just enough to make the sugar like wettish sand)
4 or 5 drops of peppermint essential oil (or find a different blend to your liking - look up the essential oil links on this site for some suggestions)
Mix these ingredients together and leave covered in a bowl for a few hours to allow the essential oils to infuse properly. Then massage the mixture onto wet feet paying particular attention to your heels and any areas of dry skin. Take your time to do this (it is better to be sat on the edge of the bath with your feet in the bath or in the shower). Finally, rinse your feet with warm water and pat them dry. Follow with a good moisturiser or a moisturising foot mask.
Foot Mask Recipe
20g Clay (Argiletz, Dead Sea Mud or Rhassoul)
1 tablespoon Jojoba Oil
Enough warm water to mix to a paste
A few drops of essential oil of your choice
1 egg yolk and a tablespoon of honey
A handful of organic oats
Mix the oil into the clay and then add enough water to make a paste. Add any extra ingredients if desired and mix well. Apply to damp previously soaked feet, pay particular attention to areas of dry skin. Leave for 20 minutes and then rinse.
If you have ugly feet you may prefer to keep your nails as natural as possible so as not to draw too much attention to them. Careful choice of summer shoes or style of sandals can go a long way to disguising unattractive feet. Take the opportunity to try on lots of different styles, even ones that you normally wouldn’t want to wear. Always look in a mirror rather than straight down at your feet to ascertain the full affect.
If your toenails are especially thick you may wish to soak the feet BEFORE cutting and filing them, however if it is easier, you may cut and trim the nails first and soak the feet afterwards. The choice is yours. To avoid problems with in-growing nails always cut straight across the nail. The length of nail you leave is again your choice but for comfort when wearing shoes and socks the nail shouldn’t extend beyond the end of the toes. File any rough edges left by the scissors or clippers.
Rub a little nail oil (recipe below) onto the surface of your nail and allow it to soak in for a few minutes. Gently push the cuticle down to expose as much nail as is comfortable. The surface of the nails can be polished in exactly the same way as the nails on the hand. Buff them up vigorously for a few minutes and try on your sandals and look in the mirror. If you decide that you would prefer a higher shine on your toes then you could apply some nail lacquer. Clear nail varnish is pretty without drawing too much attention to the feet. Or a French manicure, where the ends of the nails are coated with a white varnish, can give a ‘natural’ look.
Nail Repair Oil
50% Jojoba oil
50% Avocado oil
A few drops of Essential oils of Carrot seed and Lavender
Combine the oils together in a bottle and apply frequently to strengthen and condition the nails. Carrot seed essential oil is expensive but it is possible to get an olive or sunflower oil that has been macerated with carrot, this could be used instead.
If you do apply a coloured varnish remember to remove it after two days and allow your toenails to breathe for at least a day before re-applying. This is very important, nails that have been painted for too long a time are inclined to turn yellow.
Having fish eat the dead skin from your feet seems to be all the rage at the moment. It is expensive and I think it must be effective or it wouldn't be so popular, however, I have no direct experience of it so I cannot say for sure - I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has had a go of this novel approach to footcare. I suspect that afterwards you would still have to continue with a routine in order to keep your feet clear of dead skin so you are still back to square one really.
A Railway Incident
(Home Notes February 1895)
She sat beside me in the train,
Her eyes were shut, her face was fair,
Her lips were red as cherries ripe,
Of soft brown colour was her hair.
Her face a look of sadness wore,
I spied a tear upon her cheek.
Alas! I, too, was sad at heart,
And so resolved to speak.
“Fair maid”, I said, “I, like to thee,
Am suffering from an aching heart,
My sympathy I’d gladly give,
Then pray thy secret woes impart”.
“I thank you kindly, sir,” she said,
“I am enduring pain, tis true,
But tis no trouble with my heart,
It’s only that my boots are new!”