Friday, June 13, 2008

Pedicure like an ecochick

Summertime is the time for strappy sandals, cool mules and bare feet in the sand. But with nail polish and nail polish remover both being filled with nasty chemicals (check out the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database for more information) it's high time to find a better way to make your feet look fab.

So: here is an easy, ecofriendly recipe for a home pedicure, courtesy of ecochick.

1. Fill a basin with warm water and have handy your favourite sustainable soap, such as something heavenly from Urban Forest or maybe some Druide Goat's Milk and Almond Shower Gel - sure, you're not in the shower but it's all the same thing! Pop your feet in and wash them clean, and let them soak for a while to soften the skin.

2. Scrub. This part feels great, and helps ease off the rough edges. There are plenty of recipes for homemade scrubs out there, ones that contain a variety of natural essential oils and scents. Try this one with lime, sugar, almond and mint, or perhaps this strawberry version. If neither of those suit your fancy, Google your heart out and find recipes - just do your best to find organic, sustainable ingredients for anything you do use. Once your recipe's ready, scrub your feet to your heart's content, concentrating on your heels, the balls of your feet and any particular trouble spots. Use a natural pumice stone or another similar reliable, reusable element to smooth off rough heels. Once everything's smooth, dry your tootsies off on a soft, squashy towel, like these Organic Cotton Towels from Grass Roots Store.

3. Moisturize. Work a cream into your whole foot, concentrating on areas that feel extra dry. Origins has a great heel softening cream called Reinventing the Heel which soothes and softens dry, hard, cracked heels. Looking for something even more eco-friendly? Green Beaver has a range of yummy-smelling lotions, with their Apres-Ski Body Lotion possibly fitting the bill for a pedicure perfectly, being super-moisturizing and filled with nourishing oatmeal. Work it in slowly and enjoy the foot massage. Don't forget your toes!

4. Nails. After the soaking and moisturizing, your cuticles will be lovely and soft. Now, you need to tend to the cuticles and nails. The best equipment for these maneuvers is a reusable manicure set with everything included. Look for something with high-quality equipment so that you're not replacing it in a year or two - this is something it's worth investing in. There's a good looking one over at Bath and Body Works that has all the pieces you need, but I encourage you to shop around and find a set that fits your price range and has the most eco-friendly pieces possible such as a holder made with sustainable fabrics. When you're ready, rub a little organic oil such as almond or olive oil thoroughly into your cuticles and ease them back gently with a nail stick. Use a cuticle trimmer to gently clean up any edges. Trim the nail and smooth the edges with an emery board or nail file.

5. Polish. After you clean and shape your nails, this is the part where you usually apply polish. But since nail polish and remover both contain serious eco-nasties - and because you need to reapply polish many times over the course of a summer, thus increasing your exposure to the stuff - we're going to change it up here, and buff. Nail buffing removes ridges and shines your nails to a smooth gloss, leaving your nails looking nearly as good as a french manicure. And when you buff, the nail is far smoother and far less likely to capture dirt, so your nails will stay pretty longer. There's a buffer included in the kit shown above, or you can pick one up in any beauty supply store. Buffing involves three steps: Using the rough side to remove ridges on the surface of the nail; an intermediate surface to smooth the nail; and a slick surface to shine the nail. Use approximately 10 strokes per surface on each nail to ensure you don't weaken the nail. You'll be amazed at how shiny your nails look when you're done.

5. Maintenance. Regularly apply moisturizer to your tootsies and buff with the "polish" edge every chance you get, and your feet will stay pretty - and healthy - all summer long!


Anonymous said...

Hi Ecochick-
Just wanted to comment on your statement that nail polish/remover should be avoided for an eco-pedicure. There are alternatives- I use an eco-friendly nail polish remover available at the local natural foods store, it's made from corn- doesn't remove quite as well (cuz it doesn't have the crazy chemicals to strip the nailpolish away) but with a bit more elbow grease it works just fine and smells WAY better- SunCoat.
I also use formeldahyde and toluene free nailpolish- which I buy at Aveda, but also you can get at the natural foods store as well: mine is made by Zoya.
Just a thought- being eco-chic doesn't mean bare toes :)

Anonymous said...

OPI also has a new range called Nicole which is pretty good.