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Saturday, May 2, 2009

How to Give Yourself a Professional Pedicure

Remove polish from nails: It's best to use high quality clippers made for clipping toenails such as Tweezerman Deluxe ($10). To avoid ingrown nails, cut nail straight across to just above the skin. Make sure your nail doesn't extend over the tip of your toe.

To get a soft square shape, file nails in one direction until they are even and slightly rounded at the corners. (Hint: Don't use metal files, they'll rip your nails). Basic emory boards like the ones from Revlon work great, but if you want to go truly pro, try the Mehaz ingrown toenail file which allows you to easily lift nail corners for shaping. Don't clip the sides of nails, that can cause ingrowns.

Emory board tip: 
The fine-grade surface is for smoothing the nail edge, while the coarser surface is for shortening and shaping nails.

Fill a large flat-bottom bowl with warm water. Throw in bath salts, your favorite aromatherapy oils or Epsom salt and let your feet soak 10 minutes. The more cracked and calloused your feet, the longer they need to stay in.

Trick only the pros know: 
Add a quarter cup of milk to your bath along with the essential oils and salts. The lactic acid in the milk loosens dead skin.

Apply cuticle remover to the base of each nail and rub it in. Sally Hansenis a basic remover and works great. Leave on for a minute, then use an orangewood stick (Tweezerman works great) to gently push with a circular motion everywhere where skin meets the nail (including the sides). Be careful to remove skin only on top of the nail, don't touch the toe flesh. (Below picture you are seeing Kim Kardashian's pedicure)

Use cuticle nippers (Mehaz nippers work best) to trim any loose skin. Be careful not to nip your toe flesh.

Apply an exfoliating body or foot scrub to a foot file or wet pumice stone to slough away the dead skin on the balls and heels of your feet. You'll want to scrub the balls, bottoms and sides of your heels and around the toes. To get the most leverage, sit on the side of a bathtub, facing inward. Remember the pedicure motto we read about once, "smooth, don't remove." You'll want to stop if your foot turns bright red (this means you've scrubbed too hard). Remember, that tough skin is there for a reason.

Any basic foot file or pumice stone from your drugstore will do the trick. Dry feet thoroughly including between the toes and rub in a thick foot cream like Barielle Total Foot Care Cream, $19.50. Rub the feet and the calves. Rehydrate cuticles by rubbing in a dab of cuticle oil.

Use acetone remover to get rid of any excess oils on the nails (including the cuticle oil you just applied). Apply a thin base coat using 3 strokes, one down the middle, then one on each side. Don't paint the cuticle. Wait a minute before adding two coats of your favorite polish, then finish with a thin top coat (try quick-drying Seche Vite, $10. Clean up any errors with an orangewood stick wrapped in cotton and dipped in acetone remover.

Let nails dry for at least 40 minutes.

Tip: It's good to paint any polish remaining on the brush over the front nail edge. This prevents chipping.

After nails have dried, spritz with a moisturizing oil like SolarSpeed spray. This sets your polish and moisturizes your cuticles. Then voila! You're done!

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