I was recently surprised by the appearance of an old army buddy in a Target parking lot. In true Minnesota fashion, we first talked about the weather and the misery it was causing before acknowledging it had been decades since our last conversation.
She said, "Do you remember how hot it was when we went through basic training?"
I added, "Remember our graduation and those hideous polyester mint green uniforms, berets, low quarters and RPGs?" How could anyone forget standing in formation, sweating and trying not to move as the sweat trickled down into their low quarters?
At that moment, a woman walked by us, wearing a gorgeous pair of glimmering coral sandals, our conversation paused. We loved the sandals just not how they looked on her feet. She had a callous the size of a pinky toe, cracked grungy looking heels and her nails were yellowish.
As we parted, we agreed that: we should keep in touch, the Army had no fashion sense and the common sense beauty secrets we had learned in basic training had enabled us to walk through our civilian lives with great looking feet. I thought I would share those secrets with you.
- Keep your feet clean.
- Wash your feet twice daily with soap and water. Dry your feet, especially the area between your toes. Bacteria, yeast and fungi need a moist and warm growing condition.
- Keep your feet dry.
- If you aren't lucky enough to be able to wear sandals all summer, use a foot powder to help keep your feet, socks and shoes dry.
- I use a homemade foot powder that I have found to be fantastic in keeping my feet dry, (corn starch) eliminating odor (baking soda) and a little extra protection thrown in. (thyme). Thyme is a natural anti-septic and bactericidal.
- Foot Powder Recipe
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup of baking soda
- thyme essential oil, 12 to 14 drops
- Mix well, allow to dry overnight. Sift out any lumps and store in an air tight container. Dust your feet, socks and shoes with the foot powder.
If your feet get sweaty and you are currently using a foot powder, keep a change of socks in your car.
- Keep an eye on your feet and address any issues immediately.
- Yellow Nails - I use a homemade nail whitener that works in 5 minutes. Before you use it, cut the toes off an old pair of socks to hold the paste on your toe nails.
- Nail Whitener Recipe
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 2 teaspoons peroxide
- Mix into paste and spread on your nails. Cover your toes with the sock toes. Wait 5 minutes. Rinse with warm water. (Note: This paste can be used to bleach out cracked heels but it is very drying to the skin.)
- Cracked heels and callouses - Soften your feet by giving them a nice soak for 10-15 minutes. I love using Epsom Salts, warm water with a few tablespoons of coconut oil. I rub the rough skin on the bottom of the pan where the salt crystals have settled while they are dissolving.
- Use a pumice stone or a foot scrub to remove the dead dry skin and callouses. I prefer to top the wedge of a lemon with Epsom salts, honey and scrub away. The salt will gently exfoliate. Lemon will whiten while honey is a natural anti-bacterial.
If you have any tips, secrets or recipes on natural skin, hair and nail care I hope you will be kind enough to share them. And that do your marching in a pair of adorable sandals because no one, not even Tim Gunn, could make low quarters and a mint green polyester uniform work.