How to give yourself a nail salon quality pedicure at home

pedicure finished toes - spa alexis

While there is no substitute for getting a professional pedicure, sometimes this just isn’t possible due to time or budget constraints. This made us wonder, is it possible to give yourself a salon quality pedicure at home? To answer this question we turned to our friend Alexis Luczak, owner of Spa Alexis in Buffalo, New York. She agrees that there are some aspects of a professional pedicure that are difficult to duplicate at home – for example the ability to just sit back in a chair and relax while someone else takes care of you – but she says it is still possible to give yourself a good pedicure.  We had Alexis walk us through a pedicure so that we could break it out into steps that you can follow at home.

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Supplies.

You are going to need some supplies to complete your pedicure and you will want to be sure that they are available and in reach BEFORE you get started.

What you’ll need:

Now that you have all of the necessary supplies, let’s get started.

Step 2: Soak Feet.

pedicure foot soak - spa alexis buffalo
Fill foot soaking tub with warm water,  liquid soap, Epsom salt, and essential oils (eucalyptus, spearmint, and lavender are good choices to help relax) and soak feet for approximately 5 minutes to help soften nails and calluses.

Tip: If you have thicker nails you can add a cap full of Listerine Original (The amber color) to the foot soak to help soften them.

Step 3: Remove existing nail polish.

pedicure remove nail polish - spa alexis

Using a cotton ball and acetone remove any existing nail polish that might be present on the nails. For stubborn polish spots simply hold the cotton ball on the area for a few seconds and it should easily wipe off.

Step 4: Cut Nails.

pedicure cut toe nails - spa alexis

Lift your leg bringing your foot toward you then cut your nails to the desired length using the toenail clippers.

Important: Do not lean over to cut your toenails. This creates a poor perspective and can lead to an uneven cut. Also be sure to cut your nails straight across -you will use a file to round them later if you prefer – cutting them on angles increases the likelihood for an ingrown nail…OUCH!!!

Step 5: Push Back Cuticles.

Use the cuticle pusher (bamboo stick) to push cuticles back. Don’t worry about removing them at this point – you will take care of that in a couple of steps.

Step 6: Files Nails.

pedicure file nails-spa alexis

Starting with the sides of your nails first use the nail file to file each nail down and around leaving the edges smooth and creating your desired shape.

Step 7: Apply Cuticle Oil

pedicure cuticle oil - spa alexis

Apply cuticle oil (or olive oil) to each nail. This will help soften and nourish the cuticles.

Step 8:  Buff Nails

Using the nail buffing sponge, buff the tops and edges of nails.  You can use the edge of the sponge to clean up any loose cuticle that still remain from step 5.

Step 9: File Calluses

Using the foot file, file calluses and thick skin that has formed on the side of toes, balls of feet, and heels.

Important: Do not file arches of feet and other sensitive areas of feet as this can cause injury. Also do not use “cheese-grater-like” callus tools as these can also cause injury. 

Step 10: Apply Sugar Scrub.

Apply sugar scrub to feet and legs to remove dead skin.

Step 11: Rinse Feet.

pedicure foot and leg massage - spa alexis

Place feet back in tub and rinse off the sugar scrub.

Step 12: Dry Feet.

pedicure dry feet - spa alexis

Remove your feet from the tub and dry them off using the towel.

Step 13: Apply Lotion and Massage Feet.

Apply the lotion and massage it into your feet, toes, and legs. Don’t forget to get the area between your toes. This is the step that is much more enjoyable if you can have someone do it for you. So if your significant other or kids owe you any favors, this might be a good way to cash in.

Step 14: Remove Lotion and Oil from Nails Using Rubbing Alcohol

pedicure remove oil - spa alexis

Wet a cotton pad with rubbing alcohol and use it to remove lotion and oil from each nail.

Step 15: Put on Toe Separators.

pedicure toe separators - spa alexis buffalo

Put on toe separators with the openings facing down. According to Alexis, a lot of people make the mistake of putting them on the opposite way which requires them to have to lift their feet to remove them and increases the likelihood that they will hit their nail on something in the process.

Step 16: Apply Base Coat.

Apply a base coat to nails before applying polish. The base coat contains vitamins and nutrients that help keep the nail healthy as well as providing a protective layer that prevents the nail from becoming discolored. The base coat also helps the polish set.

Step 17: Apply Nail Polish.

Prepare the nail polish by either tapping it on the palm of your hand or rolling the bottle between your hands. Alexis advises that you avoid shaking the bottle. Using smooth, even strokes apply the polish to each nail ensuring that the entire nail is covered. Don’t worry about going outside the nail, we’ll show you a great technique to clean that up in a minute.

Step 18: Apply Top Coat.

pedicure products - spa alexis

Apply a top coat to the nails to help protect the polish from chipping.

Step 19: Clean Up Nails.

Pedicure Nail Polish Cleanup - spa alexis buffalo

Use the nail cleanup brush and some acetone to remove any polish that may have gone outside of the nails.

Step 20: Apply Drying Drops.

pedicure drop dry - spa alexis

 Apply drying drops to each nail to help set the polish.

pedicure finished toes - spa alexis

 

TADA!!!

Once again Alexis reminds us that there is no substitute for receiving professional treatment, but if you’re in a bind following these simple steps will have your toes looking great and your feet feeling wonderful.

To learn more about Alexis Luczak you can read this article that was published in the Buffalo Business First, visit her website at www.spalexis.com, or stop by Spa Alexis located within the Hyatt Regency Buffalo | 6 Fountain Plaza | Buffalo, NY.

For more great health and wellness information or to learn how we can help your business grow: follow our blog, visit our website, and connect with us on:

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Why does exercise make us feel so good?

This is your brain on the couch

brain_sitting


This is your brain on exercise

brain_walking

ANY QUESTIONS?


Depending on your age,  you may or may not be familiar with the above reference. Throughout the 90’s there was a popular public service spot that showed a person holding up an egg and saying, “this is your brain.” They would then crack the egg into a hot frying pan and say, “this is your brain on drugs. Any questions?” It was a simple but powerful spot that effectively demonstrated that doing drugs causes harm to the brain. Since that time technology has advanced to a point where functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has allowed us to capture actual images of how the brain responds to various activities. Using this technology scientists have been able to generate pictures like those above and  uncover the science behind something that we already know; exercise is not only good for us… it makes us feel good too. But why?

Increased Endorphin Levels:

Endorphins are chemicals that our bodies produce in response to various stimuli such as: pain, excitement, love, sex, and (you guessed it) EXERCISE. Endorphins act as neurotransmitters connecting pathways within the brain, blocking pain receptors and creating an overall sense of well-being or happiness.  The term endorphin is actually derived from the words endogenous (created internally) and morphine (an opium-based narcotic typically used for pain relief) which provides further insight into the effects that endorphins have on the brain.

A number of studies have been done that link exercise to increased endorphin levels. One such study was performed by the Department of Health and Sport Science at the University of Richmond, VA. The study found that the endorphin levels in a test group were nearly 39% higher after exercising for 45 minutes. The invorgation and positive sensations created by these high endorphin levels is often referred to as a “runner’s high” and can last for a couple of hours after completion of the exercise.

exercise bike

Increased  Dopamine Levels:

Also contributing to this extended “high” is dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (chemical substances that transfer signals to neurons) that is at the heart of our brain’s reward center. When our body experiences a reward (something  it perceives as good) the neurons release dopamine which then binds with the dopamine receptors on neighboring neurons; quickly spreading the message that whatever we are doing right now is good and we should keep doing it. Typically once the message has been passed, the dopamine is reabsorbed and recycled for future use. Many addictive drugs like cocaine, heroine, and caffeine effect dopamine levels by blocking the removal of dopamine from the communication process. This leaves the neurons overloaded with dopamine and the users feeling a heightened state of pleasure long after the activity is completed and craving more when the dopamine is finally removed.

Dopamine Pathways. In the brain, dopamine play...

Dopamine Pathways. In the brain, dopamine plays an important role in the regulation of reward and movement. As part of the reward pathway, dopamine is manufactured in nerve cell bodies located within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and is released in the nucleus accumbens and the prefrontal cortex. Its motor functions are linked to a separate pathway, with cell bodies in the substantia nigra that manufacture and release dopamine into the striatum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A number of studies have shown a positive correlation between exercise and dopamine production. When we exercise the rewards center of our brain is activated and our neurons release a large amount of dopamine. These high levels of dopamine take longer to reabsorb and remain in the synapses longer. This creates a natural effect that is similar to the one created by drugs, where the individual experiences pleasure for an extended period after the activity has been completed.

There are a number of other factors that contribute to our overall  sense of feeling good after exercise, but endorphins and dopamine are two of the primary contributors. Exercising daily ensures that we are at our best: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

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Start your day with a Positive Mental Attitude and Carpe Diem

Woman Turning Off Alarm

Have you ever woke up and immediately started to dread the day at hand? One of those days where your schedule seems to be overflowing with meetings, deadlines, quotas, the kids’ after school activities, and a whole host of other responsibilities. You almost wish you could bury your head under the sheets and make it STOP! It turns out that this type of negative approach to the day may be contributing to a self-fulfilling prophecy of misery for your day. Research has shown that our mental attitude has a profound effect on the way that we interpret various events. The key is to focus on having a positive mental attitude and seize the day (carpe diem).

Perception is everything

In her article, “7 Keys To Having A Positive Mental Attitude” Nancy Friedman highlights the power of a positive mental attitude (PMA) through the telling of a funny story about a brother and a sister. The story goes that a brother had finally had enough of his sister’s constant, overly positive attitude so he derived a plan to bring out the worst in her one Christmas morning. He wrapped up some horse manure in a box and placed it under the tree; knowing that there was no way that anyone could be positive about receiving such a crappy gift (pun intended). He watched with eager anticipation as his sister grabbed the box and gave it a shake in an attempt to determine its contents. She unwrapped it and finally the moment of truth was at hand; his sister’s positive attitude was about to come crashing down and he couldn’t wait. However to his dismay, his evil plot failed as he watched his sister excitedly yell, “Where’s the pony?!”

Girl at Christmas Time

While this story may be a little extreme, the lesson is unmistakable. Our mental attitude has a major impact on the way that we interpret the world around us. If we can start the day with a positive mental attitude, no matter how overwhelming our schedules may be, it will be more productive, less stressful, and more enjoyable than if we go into it with a sense of trepidation and filled with negativity.

5 Ways you can boost your PMA and ‘seize the day!’

1. Create a morning exercise routine.
Get your body moving first thing in the morning. Exercise gets your blood flowing and releases dopamine and endorphins that help boost your PMA.
2. Spend at least 10 minutes reading something positive.
Don’t read the news (it’s usually depressing). Instead read something positive and motivational. This could be motivational quotes, a motivational or self-improvement book; anything that helps boost your attitude. NOTE: Social Media (Facebook,Twitter, Etc…) does not qualify as motivational content. I know there are motivational pages – like CANI’s- but your news feed can be a harmful distraction so avoid social media and stick with books and blogs.
3. Meditate.
Don’t know how? Learn! There are many methods that you can research(Transcendental Meditation, Buddhist, etc). Find one that you are comfortable with and practice it. Most methods have you focus on breathing or a mantra to help put the mind into a trance-like state, allowing it to reset. There are a number of studies that show the positive effects that meditation has and how it contributes to a PMA.
4. Take inventory of the positives in your life.
Rather than thinking about all of the things you must do today, begin by being grateful for the things that you have: health, a home, food, your job, etc… Beginning your day with an attitude of gratitude will contribute greatly to your PMA.
5. Create a top 5 “to do” list the night before.
Eliminate the need to overwhelm yourself in the morning by starting your day with a ready-made list of the first 5 things you will do today. Focus on getting through that list before you worry about any of the other things you must do. Allowing yourself to feel a sense of accomplishment will help you approach the remainder of your tasks with the right attitude.
challenge2

Try to incorporate some or all of these items into your routine and begin your day energized and positive.

For more great health and wellness information or to learn how we can help your business grow: follow our blog, visit our website, and connect with us on:

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References:
Friedman, N. (2005). 7 Keys To Having A Positive Mental Attitude. Business Credit, 106(7), 78.

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