It’s sandal season, gentlemen, and we all know what that means: time to get those winterized hooves looking fresh and clean! Fear of beach-front embarrassment might be enough to inspire you to give your feet a spring refresher, but the benefits of regular care for your digits go beyond the superficial. To learn a little more about the pros of regular pedicures (and why every man should be getting them) we turned to celebrity manicurist, founder of Organic Body Society, and all-around men’s hand and foot grooming guru Natasha Ray.
For Ray, who will be launching a website featuring her all-natural foot soaks, foot scrubs, and moisturizers designed for men in June, a mani-pedi isn’t just about luxury and relaxation — it’s about the health benefits. She’s on a mission to change the way men neglect proper care and maintenance of their most hard-working body parts.
“I realize that there have been many stigmas around men getting hand and foot care,” she acknowledges, “[but] my advice to men would be to concern themselves with the health benefits rather than the idea of showing their sensitive side.”
From ingrown toenails and fungus to callouses and bunions, the list of ailments that can result from unkempt toes is long and, well … icky. Still, many men either hesitate to seek professional manicure and pedicure services or simply never think of it in the first place. “Honestly, most men were never taught to maintain their hand and foot grooming,” explains Ray. “It’s important that men find a grooming shop, spa, or salon to keep up with monthly maintenance on their hands and feet.”
So how exactly can a little pampering make your digits healthier? For starters, as Ray explains, “the removal of callouses on the feet can prevent the formation of pressure points from uneven weight distribution and having your nails trimmed by a skilled manicurist can prevent ingrown nails and hangnails.”
If you’re athletic, the benefits are even more pronounced: “Many men suffer from a variety of foot issues as a result of … wearing sweaty athletic shoes or exposure from public showers or locker rooms,” says Ray. “Many professional athletes such as LeBron James and Dwayne Wade get pedicures. It’s a regular part of staying on top of their game. When you rely on your feet to perform, the last thing you need is pain.”
The truth is, monthly pedicures can help to reduce the chances of disease and infection, especially for men who may be at a higher risk due to high activity level or ailments like diabetes.
Now that we’ve covered some of the gory details, let’s get to the fun part: What sort of treatments are available that are tailored specifically to your manly needs? Here’s the good news: “Salons and spas are focusing on manly offerings, as men are increasingly becoming aware that a real man is well-groomed from head to toe,” says Ray. “There are a number of manicures and pedicures crafted to focus on the specific needs of men, from beer-infused foot soaks that fight against fungal infections to hot stone treatments that detoxify and relax muscles.”
To get a handle on your own hand and foot care, find a local grooming shop that offers specific treatments for your hands and feet and set a monthly appointment. It won’t just help you look and feel better, it will also give you a little quiet time for R&R every month. Find a Hammer & Nails near you and you can try one of Ray’s five all-natural foot scrubs, which are currently exclusive to the salon.
For truly fresh, healthy hands and feet, don’t stop at a monthly visit to the grooming shop. Ray recommends incorporating a daily in-home routine to max out the benefits of proper care:
- Carefully wash all areas of your foot with mild soap, especially underneath and between toes daily.
- Exfoliate any calloused areas on the soles of your feet with an abrasive exfoliate or pumice stone.
- Pat, rather than rub, your feet to dry them. Make sure to remove all traces of moisture between toes. Any moisture left on your feet can invite odor or allow disease-causing bacteria and fungi to grow.
- Carefully clean underneath your toenails.
- After washing and drying, apply a hydrating foot cream to keep your feet soft and moisturized.
- Use nail clippers, never scissors.
- Wear properly fitted shoes to prevent uneven weight distribution, irritation, callouses, and other related issues
So please, heed this expert advice and show your hands and feet a little love this spring and beyond. Don’t just do it for the all the poor saps who are going to be looking at your toes all summer long, do it for yourself. We promise, you’ll feel so much better.
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