1. Kick off to an uplifting start by filling a basin with warm water and adding a tablespoon of almond or olive oil, plus two lemons cut into half-inch slices. Soak your feet for 15 minutes.
2. Take your right foot out of the water and remove any previous nail polish.
3. If necessary, trim your nails with a toenail clipper, cutting straight across to prevent ingrown toenails.
4. File toenails in one direction. Don't saw back and forth or use a metal file—both moves can cause splitting. Double-sided, cushioned emery boards are best.
5. Massage the bottom and sides of your foot with pumice to remove dead skin and increase circulation.
6. Rub lotion all over your foot and ankle. Return your foot to the tub and repeat Steps 2 through 6 with your left foot.
7. Using an all-natural Hindu stone, push back your cuticles with a rotating motion.
8. For a polish-free finish, rub a dab of olive or almond oil into each nail to moisturize and impart a natural shine. If you plan to polish, skip this step and...
9. Apply a base coat, which fills in ridges and provides a buffer between your nail and the color. Allow two minutes to dry.
10. Apply one coat of color. Wait three minutes, brush on a second coat, and wait three more minutes.
11. Finish with a topcoat to seal in polish and add gloss. Let your nails dry for at least 45 minutes; then pause to admire.
When it comes to nail polish, cosmetics companies are starting to realize that less is more. You can now find paints free of the toxic additives formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate.
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