To Pedicure Or Not To Pedicure?

To pedicure or not to pedicure? With endless Australian summers, exposed feet and toes litter the pavement from east coast to west; flip-flops and sandals providing much needed ventilation to cope with the excruciatingly hot weather. Whilst I love pedicures and a splash of brightly coloured nail polish, I am also mindful of exposing my body to potentially harmful chemicals and toxins contained many beauty products – like hard to pronounce ingredients that are used to create nail polish.

In 2007, one of my favourite nail polish brands OPI, reformulated their product to remove the chemical ingredient dibutyl phthalate, which is suspected of interfering with the endocrine system. Whilst OPI removed this ingredient and has none of the toxic trio (DBP, formaldehyde, and toluene), it still contains solvents, film-formers, plasticisers, suspending agents, colorants and UV absorbers/stabilisers. Based on current research, some dermatology and toxicology experts agree that cosmetics ingredients in the marketplace are safe to use as directed. However, I would argue extensive, longitudinal research is needed on the long term effects of exposure to potential harmful cosmetic ingredients, including measurement of other environmental toxins and lifestyle factors, over a woman’s life span.

For this reason, I rarely* paint my toenails throughout the year and view having a pedicure as a special summer treat. In winter, I don’t see the point of painting your toenails when they are well hidden, tucked snuggly in socks, tights and stockings, and firmly encased in your winter shoes for most of the day. And because I only have pedicures once or twice a year, I always have them professionally painted as a beauty-treat experience. There is nothing more relaxing than visiting a professional nail salon or day spa, having your feet pampered, your back lovingly pummelled by the massage chair, and walking out with perfectly manicured and neatly painted toenails.

So, to pedicure or not to pedicure? The answer is a personal choice, and will be different for every woman based on her assessment of potential risk and/or benefit in wearing beauty products such as nail polish. For me, the answer is ‘yes’ to an occasional pedicure during the summer months. A splash of cherry red or burn orange are my favourite, go-to colours; and the vibrancy instantly adds a touch of summer femininity to your feet and outfits. As for the rest of the year, my nails are blissfully happy in their bare, natural state; and my body is free from exposure to potentially harmful nail polish chemicals and toxins.

Alexander McQueen slides ali peat

Alexander McQueen slides | OPI nail polish 

Photos by Gina Jenkin – ZEN Events & Photography Services

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*I also rarely have manicures and can count on one hand, the number of manicures I have had over the past 8-10 years. My fingernails are healthy and strong; and at the right length, look like a natural version of the French manicure.

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