Feet frequently bear the brunt of everyday stressors, as we rely on them to carry us through the day, and often expect them to look good in heels as they do so. The tension this creates can show on our faces, in frown lines and stress headaches. So, reviving the feet can act like a mini face-lift, bringing about an impression of rest and softer features.
Dry skin serum
Massage this serum into flaking or hard skin or nails.
2 tbsp sesame seed oil
1 tsp wheatgerm oil
2 drops each essential oils of
sandalwood and myrrh
Pour the oils into a clean, dark glass bottle. Drop in the essential oils. Lid and store in a dark, cool place. Shake before use. To apply, massage into especially dry areas on the feet.
What could be more luxurious than enveloping tired feet in fruit? ½ pineapple, peeled
½ papaya, peeled
juice of 1 lime
Blitz the fruit in a blender, then mix in the lime juice. Spread the paste over both feet. Place each foot in a plastic bag and envelope in warm towels for 10 minutes. Step into a warm foot bath to wash off.
Aching foot bath
Use this to revive the feet and soften hardened skin.
4 drops essential oil of tea tree
3 drops essential oil of cypress
2 tsp jojoba oil
Mix the essential oils into the jojoba. Stir into a bucket of warm water. Plunge in the feet and legs and relax for 5–10 minutes. To finish, step into a bucket of cold water containing a cup of green tea.
Salt and pepper polish
Combat cracking dry skin with a peppy polish.
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp finely ground black pepper
1 in (2.5 cm) fresh ginger root, grated
1 tbsp runny honey
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Mix together the salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the grated ginger and mix to a paste with the honey. Stir in the olive oil. Massage into hard skin on the heels and balls of the foot. Plunge feet into a warm foot bath to wash off.
Peppermint leg reviver
The essential oils in this blend are cooling and pain relieving.
2 tbsp jojoba oil
1 tsp wheatgerm oil
4 drops essential oil of peppermint
2 drops essential oil of cypress
Stir together the jojoba and wheatgerm oil. Drop in the essential oils of peppermint and cypress. Massage into feet and legs using long, smooth upward strokes.
Off-the-shelf intensive care
Burt’s Bees peppermint-scented Coconut Foot Crème is an extremely effective night treatment for very dry cracked feet—it also smells delicious. Spiezia Organics’ Organic Foot Balm has a unique consistency and brings lasting softness to the feet.
Remove nail polish from your toetails by sweeping acetone-free remover, working from cuticle to tip, then place your feet in a foot bath for 10 minutes. Scrub gently with an exfoliator.
Dry the feet very well with a soft towel, then file your toenails with an emery board, using long strokes from the outer edges inward. Wrap a cotton ball around an orange stick and use this to ease back the cuticles.
Apply a clay or fruit mask, making sure you cover the heels and balls of the feet. Massage well into areas of dry, hard skin. Allow to dry for 10 minutes. Rinse feet and dry well. Buff with a chamois, then moisturize with oil, rubbing well into each nail.
Enjoy a presleep foot massage
Warm some colorless sesame or olive oil. Massage into the soles of the feet and the toes, sandwichingthe top and bottom of the foot between your hands. Make knuckling movements over the sole, rotate each toe, pressing at the tip, and trace the grooves on the top of the foot. Put on warmed cotton socks (zap in the microwave) and retire to bed.
Varicose vein treatment
The best topical treatment for varicose veins is witch-hazel cream or ointment. Rub on gently to soothe discomfort as well as reduce inflammation.
Homeopathy for varicose veins
Take the following daily for short periods of time to relieve symptoms:
• Hammamelis 30 c treats inflamed, sore, or itching varicose veins.
• Pulsatilla 30 c helps varicose veins of legs and feet which feel cold or numb, especially after standing.
• Sepia 30 c is good for women whose varicose veins arrived during pregnancy and have never got better and for tired legs and poor circulation generally.
Walking barefoot stimulates acupressure points on the soles of the feet, with health benefits throughout the body. Construct a walking path by placing in a row different sized pebbles, sticks and broom handles, and balls of various dimensions. Walk along the path carefully. When you feel aches and points of tension on the sole or toes move more slowly, rolling the items around the feet and exerting pressure carefully to ease out tension and enhance mobility.
Nothing feels quite so relaxing after a hard day than slipping into a pair of cashmere socks, and this shows on the face. Carry them in your bag for instant cosseting in any situation, at work, after wearing heels, while camping. If you can afford it, invest in mood-enhancing colors: red and orange promote creativity and zest for life, while tones of green and blue have a relaxing effect.
Try the yoga “legs up the wall” pose
Try this rejuvenating posture before a pedicure or foot massage, whenever your feet ache or to help relieve varicose veins. Find a good clear wall space. Curl up on your side with your bottom close to the wall, then swing your legs so that they end up vertical, heels resting on the wall. If your legs cannot straighten, wriggle your bottom away from the wall until they are comfortable. Close your eyes and relax for up to 10 minutes.
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