Health Topics

Healthy Living

October 2009
Manicure the Natural Way
Sonali Seth
Hands and feet are a perfect give-away of a person's age. Though you can camouflage your feet by wearing shoes, hands are difficult to hide unless you wear gloves all the time (totally impractical, especially in India) or constantly keep them in your pockets (socially unacceptable).

Linda Rose, world's first supermodel of hands opines in her book called Hands, "Nails give us an insight into the robustness and sensitivity of a person. They are like windows."

Prim Nails

Hands and feet need constant care. Top stars and models - of both sexes - know that besides the smoothness of the skin, it is the nails that make or mar hands and feet. There was a time when all that was needed for nail care was a set that comprised of a nail cutter, a nail file and an emery board. Today, things have got complicated and nail-cutting has been elevated to an art form with a host of gadgets, creams and lotions invading the hands, feet and nails. The tools can now include such exotic appliances like a cuticle minimiser, nail hardener, night-time moisturiser, ridge filler, hand and feet masks, and more.

Milky Way

When the nails have been cut and crafted to your satisfaction, give your hands and feet the milk treatment. Chill milk in a large pan. When it very cold, plunge your hands in it and keep them there for a few minutes. Repeat the action with the feet. The lactic acid and calcium in milk hydrates hands and feet and keeps the nails soft and shining. If the nails, hands and feet still feel rough, take a spoonful of yoghurt, add to it a spoon of honey and a few drops of lemon. At sleep time, rub it on your hands and feet - gently but thoroughly - so that it all gets absorbed. When you wake up in the morning, you will be pleased to see how your nails, hands and feet have become soft and smooth.

Back to Nature

Even as nail care gets increasingly complex, there is a growing trend among the beauty conscious to reject those harsh chemical-laden creams and treatments and give a gentle makeover to hands and feet the natural way. Here's what they recommend about going back to mother nature for that perfect pedicure or manicure.
  1. Clean your hands and feet with an organic, odourless soap. Pat dry and gently clean the nails of dead cuticles with a soft brush.
  2. Soak hands in a warm solution of half milk and half water for around ten minutes. This will soften the hands, nails and cuticles. Repeat the process with the feet.
  3. Rub a teaspoon of thick whole milk cream to the nails and skin of the hands and feet. Leave it on for a few minutes till it is completely absorbed. Pat dry.
  4. Gently cut the nails straight across so that the part extending over your fingertip is levelled. Smoothen the edges with a file to give the nails the right shape.
  5. Once that is done, round off the nails with an emery stick or board made of any biodegradable material like wood or bamboo.
Olive Oil Treatment
If you are not in the mood for making a yoghurt-honey cream, there's an alternative: spend a little time with your hands and feet when going to sleep. A massage is recommended. Apply some warm olive oil on top and bottom of the feet and massage gently. Repeat the action on the palms and back of the hands. Rubbing the oil gently for a couple of minutes gets the circulation going.

While doing any housework or any other chore, which requires you to soil your hands (washing clothes or utensils, for example), it is advisable to put on surgical or rubber gloves to save your hands from damage when in contact with detergents and washing soaps.

If you give yourself this natural treatment every week, your hands, feet and nails will thank you for keeping them so young and smooth, away from the chemical laden modern cosmetics. And the best thing is: it is free!
  • The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.
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