It's almost sandal time in the Northern hemisphere and with that comes the unveiling of winter feet. After a long (let me tell you, it has been a l o n g) winter I thought now would be a good time to shed some light on some of the best natural care for your precious pads. Here you'll find a pedicure product manual for the natural lover and pedicure fanatic alike.
Remove: Scotch Naturals & Sante Naturkosmetik Polish Removers
Before you start prettying up the toes, get yourself some natural nail polish remover - and make sure it's either Sante Naturkosmetik's or Scotch Naturals. Most conventional nail polish remover is filled with chemicals that can literally take paint off, so switching to a more natural version was essential for me. Most recently I've been loving Scotch Naturals, while this was a newer addition for me, it was equally as effective as my tried and true SANTE's Nail Polish remover. I had been using SANTE's for over a year and am still on the same bottle. It lasts. While both take a bit of extra work getting off the deeper colours, they both work and are non-toxic.
While I would still recommend using any polish remover in a well ventilated area (they still aren't great for our health), their ingredient lists are short and not overly dangerous. The ingredient list for SANTE's is alcohol (denatured) ethyl lactate, castor seed oil, water, orange oil, limonene and linalool. Ingredients for Scotch's include: methyl soyate , dimethyl adipate (both rated a "0" on EWG's database) and dymethil glutarate.
Because your nails are porous and absorb chemicals much like your skin does, I would recommend going with the least toxic formulation you can find - these two are top of my list.
Soak: Create Your Own with Sea Salt & Mountain Rose Herbs Essential Oils
I have never really purchased a foot soak, mainly because they are so easy to make at home and take no time. In your footbath, or tub, combine:
- Four litres of Water
- 1/4 Cup of Sea Salt (or Epsom Salt)
- 4 Drops of your favourite Essential Oil (I love peppermint and lavender for foot soaks)
Soak for as long as you like and then use these next beauty products for a scrub.
For scrubbing my feet, I love Neal's Yard Pumice Foot Scrub. Using a combination of peach seed and pumice powder, this scrub gently sloughs off unwanted "cells" (it was the most polite way to put it). It also has ginseng and mint to help liven up your peds and put a bounce in your step. It's gentle enough that your hands won't be ripped up, while strong enough to work at even the toughest heels. Shop Neal's Yard in the UK here, here in the US, here in Canada (starting summer 2013), and global shoppers can find locations here.
This one, while great for pedicures, is also in my daily shower regime. The brush side is great for giving a good cleanse to the feet, while the pumice stone is perfect if you need a bit more of a serious scrub. At $4 USD, it is a great beauty buy, and its eco friendly too. Eco Tools uses bamboo and cruelty free bristles in their foot brush, so I have a clean conscience when using their products. You can find Eco tools here in the US, at Boots in the UK and selected retailers globally.
Moisturize: Coconut Oil & Tea Tree Oil Blend & Balm Balm Foot Balm
I've previously blogged about Balm Balm Foot Balm here, so I won't go into major details, other than that this product is fantastic for soothing feet and keeping them relatively germ free with the help of some natural tea tree oil. This is one of my favourite products for the feet and has remained so for the better part of a year. With that in mind, if you can't get your hands on Balm Balm via their online shop, European readers can from one of the many retailers here, and North American readers can find Balm Balm here.
If you want a quick DIY recipe, just mix together the following for a great make-shift foot balm:
- 1 tsp of coconut oil and
- two drops of tea tree oil
While the oil will be a bit more "oilier" than if you had a balm, it still does a brilliant job of moisturizing your feet, and both tea tree oil and coconut oil are anti-fungal, so great for the athletes and yoga studio goers alike.
Paint: 3-Free Nail Polish Butter London & 5-Free Nail Polish Zoya
Have you heard of the toxic trio? If not, it's time to get yourself aquainted with these three ingredients:
- Dibutyl phthalate (may cause birth defects and known for increasing organ system toxicity)
- Toluene (may cause birth defects and is toxic to the nervous system and linked to malignant lymphoma)
- Formaldehyde (a major known carcinogen)
- Butter London (Also free of Parabens)
- OPI's newer ranges (from 2007 Australia Collection)
- China Glaze
- Estee Lauder (among others)
- Formaldehyde Resin (an allergin, and not as toxic as formaldehyde)
- Camphor (can cause seizures when ingested, and is toxic to the liver)
- Zoya - $8 USD
- Kure Bazaar - $16 USD (4 Free)
- Scotch Naturals - $15 USD
- Dior - $25 USD
- Chanel - $26 USD
- SANTE - $18 USD