Pedicures for punished feet

They’re easy to forget about, but your feet deserve some special attention occasionally: the average person walks more than six kilometres per day, or an astounding 184,000 kilometres in a lifetime. And bearing the brunt of this are those two complex but compact anatomical networks at the end of your legs, containing 26 small bones and more than 150 ligaments.

One way to treat your feet is to give yourself a home pedicure. You’ll save the cash you’d otherwise spend on a salon pedicure, and the time you’d have to spend getting there as well.

They’re not just a luxury

Arline Finch, a beauty consultant with Spa of Siam, advises that pedicures can do much more than soothe tired feet. "They can help reduce fluid retention, and help the lymphatic system get toxins out of your body. And they improve the visual appearance of your feet, which can be important in places like Thailand, where open-toed shoes are popular and perfectly pedicured toes are really noticed."

She recommends the following:

· Take either a foot spa if you have one, or a bowl of warm water and add some essential oils. Lavender is good choice for its relaxing and rebalancing properties, while lemon and lime are uplifting.

· Soak your feet for five to 10 minutes to soften up hardened skin and cuticles.

· Use an almond-kernel based body scrub to sweep away the dead cells from the surface of your feet’s skin. Rinse off.

· Dry your feet with a towel, and clip your nails back using clippers. Make the shape slightly rounded: keep some support in the sides of your nails to prevent weakening.

· Use an emery board to smooth the nails.

· Apply cuticle cream remover around the cuticle area, and massage.

· Take an orange stick, protect the end with a piece of cotton wool, and gently push back your cuticles.

· Using cuticle clippers, trim hangnails.

· Use a shoal scrubbing pad to remove dead skin cells still left on the bottoms of your feet.

· Massage an edible oil such as almond, avocado or sesame, or a naturally-based cream into your feet.

· Weave a folded tissue between your toes to separate them.

· Use a nail polish remover to clean off the toes, then add a base coat, two coats of colour and a top coat.

If you’re in a hurry

Nirin Saiseang, a manicurist/pedicurist at The Oriental Hotel, recommends the following no-frills procedure be done fortnightly by those who are in a hurry but are still want good-looking feet:

· Soak your feet in warm water with a dash of Dettol – good for its antiseptic qualities – for about five minutes.

· Rub a quality body lotion around your nails to help further soften your cuticles.

· Moving your fingers in a circular motion, massage your nails and push your cuticles back.

· Take a wooden toothpick, snap it in half, and cover one broken end with cotton wool. Use it to push back the cuticles a little further.

· Use the sharp end of a nail file to clean the nails if necessary.

· Take a soft brush and shower gel or soap, and wash your feet.

· Change the water, add some more Dettol and soak your feet for a further five minutes.

· Men should cleanse the foot with an alcohol before adding a massage or cream lotion, while women should add a massage lotion prior to painting their nails if desired. (Nirin advises that you should use a cream on your feet every second day. Apply to your feet before bed.)

"Nurture yourself," are Finch’s final words. "If you’re busy and successful, it’s important to take time out to look after yourself and recharge your batteries."