Get summer-ready hands and feet


SMOOTH THE WAY Our hands and feet are crying out for a little TLC these days.

Tips for DIY home manicures and pedicures, from cuticles to calluses

Maggie Gibbons

By now your hands have probably suffered the full effects of constant washing and sanitising. They may feel sore and itchy, or chapped, maybe all three. I’ve been lashing on the cream, as well as treating them naturally, and it has definitely helped. The age spots are driving me cracked though – you know those brown spots on the back of the hand, otherwise known as ‘liver spots’. Ugh!  Hands are exposed to all the elements, and so they age faster than other areas of the body, and all the hand washing and glove wearing hasn’t helped.
The lockdown has also played havoc with our feet, as most of us have been walking far more than usual. Hard skin and tenderness are just a couple of the issues, so I reckon it’s time for a bit of pampering ladies.
I’m going to give you some home-treatment remedies as well as advice on over the counter creams. You don’t need to spend a fortune on any of them, in fact some of the more expensive ones are heavily perfumed, and not everyone likes scented creams.
And, as you know well by now, I don’t believe in spending a fortune on lotions and potions, unless you want to, and that’s absolutely fine. I just don’t believe in paying extra for fancy packaging and overblown advertising claims. If I could give one bit of advice it would be to read the ingredients in your skincare, in many cases the same ingredients will be in both expensive and inexpensive products. Go figure.

Home manicure
Lemon juice can be used to treat dark spots, freckles and other types of pigmentation. It may help get rid of age spots naturally, as it’s mildly acidic and a natural skin lightener. Take a bowl with warm water and lemon juice and soak your hands for 20 minutes.
Another natural remedy is a mix of honey and yogurt, which can also help to lighten age spots. Mix together one teaspoon of natural yogurt with one teaspoon of honey. Apply, allow to dry for 30 minutes and then rinse.
Your cuticles might need some TLC too. Be careful with them, as you don’t want to have sore skin around your nails. Try softening them with almond or coconut oil – gently push them back with a cotton bud, and massage them regularly with oil.
Mayo skincare brand Ultrapure does a brilliant almond oil for just €2.30. In fact, check out their complete range, as they’ve really raised the bar on skincare, for both quality and price.
When it comes to over-the-counter moisture-boosting products, Eucerin Dry Skin Relief Hand Cream, Eucerin Advanced Repair Hand Creme, and Aveeno Skin Relief Nourish & Repair Cica Balm are all great value for money, and they’re available from chemists nationwide.
Home pedicure
Doing your own home pedicure is easy, and it will save you big bucks into the bargain. It will leave you feeling pampered and your feet will thank you for it by feeling soft and beautiful.
Are your toenails discoloured? This happens if you’ve been keeping them polished on a regular basis. Feet have also been covered up, so now that we’re getting ready for the big reveal it’s time to whiten and soften the tootsies. Believe it or not a bit of whitening toothpaste will help to restore them to their natural brightness and softness. Apply after washing feet and leave it on for about an hour. A great time is in the evening when you’re watching TV.
For dead skin, soften them with a soak, then exfoliate. Add three cups of white vinegar and a cup of bread soda to a basin of warm water and bathe your feet for 20 minutes. Pat your feet dry then apply a little mixture of coarse sea salt (or granulated sugar) and any kind of oil, and rub vigorously into your feet. Follow by rinsing them in lukewarm water. Your feet will feel fantastic! This is also brilliant for the hands.
For a brilliant overnight treatment apply a thick layer of good old Vaseline to your feet after your shower and don a pair of socks. Wear overnight, for great relief from cracked heels.
If you’d like to try some foot creams, consider Neutrogena’s Cracked Heel Foot Cream Intense or their Norwegian Formula Nourishing Foot Cream, or try Scholl’s moisturising foot mask. SVR Xerial 50 Extreme Foot Cream treats calluses and corns, and can also be used on elbows for thickened skin. I’ve just started using it on a couple of stubborn corns, and will let you know how I get on!

Maggie Gibbons is an Image/Style Consultant based in Louisburgh. She can be contacted at