Let’s face it: during the hottest time of the year, it feels like there’s barely an inch of our bodies that isn’t on display. However, if one feature gets more airtime this season than any other – and needs more primping to look good – it’s the feet.
After months of living in stuffy socks and shoes, it’s time to give your tootsies some TLC with a good all-around pedicure that will slough off any dead skin, condition and moisturise your feet, and have your little piggies looking good as new – ready to complement those cute sandals you’ve been dying to wear.
What You’ll Need
If your feet are sending SOS signals – riddled with callouses, grimy toenails and cracked skin – it’s time to get down to work.
The first step is to have the necessary tools at hand. You will need:
A plastic tub, filled with warm water
A pair of nail clippers
A nail file
A foot file or pumice stone
Liquid cuticle remover
A cuticle pusher
A cuticle cutter
A set of toe separators
Although a dry pedicure is a time-saving option in a pinch, if the skin on your feet is hard and rough, it’s best to do the full monty. You’ll want to soak your feet for about 10 minutes, as this helps soften skin. Important: Don’t forget to disinfect your tools with antiseptic alcohol before and after using them.
What To Do
According to Laura Cortés, trend specialist at foot pampering brand Masglo: “We advise doing a pedicure every 15 days, both for hygiene and well-being: Hygiene because the feet are covered most of the time and they accumulate bacteria, so we have to clean them to avoid odours or possible infections. Well-being because the feet support the entire weight of our body, and a pedicure allows us to give the body rest in general and to massage our feet, especially the reflex points on the soles that affect various areas of the body.”
Trim The Toenails
To avoid breaking or splintering the nails, it’s advisable to trim them before soaking your feet. Cut the nails very carefully: they should not be too short, nor too square or too round. Experts say that to avoid ingrown nails, it’s best to give them only a slightly rounded shape at the edges, so they don’t dig into the flesh of your toes as they grow. Use the nail file to shape them after trimming.
Soak Your Feet
Fill the plastic tub with warm water and add the salts which, in addition being relaxing, will help soften any hard skin. Submerge your feet and soak them for around 10 minutes. Afterwards, use the towel to dry them thoroughly.
Experts insist that cuticles should never be cut – simply soften them and remove any excess. Apply a liquid cuticle remover and let it work, then push and remove the excess gently with a cuticle pusher. Use the cuticle cutter (previously disinfected) only to remove the bits that may remain in the process.
Slough Away Roughness
The skin of the feet is the thickest on the whole body, especially in areas where there’s more pressure from bodyweight – the metatarsal pad and the heel – or more rubbing against footwear. It’s best to eliminate these hard spots on a regular basis. You can rub your foot with a pumice stone to get rid of calluses, and then use a foot file to carefully contour the bottom of the foot so that it’s as smooth as possible – but if you feel pain, stop. “Avoid cutting corns directly with short calluses, as this generates more calluses over time,” Cortés says. It’s better to apply a special callus cream.
Pamper your feet by gently massaging them with an exfoliating cream. There are myriad creams on the market – from ones based on shea butter to almond extract, essential oils and eucalyptus, among other ingredients. Choose one that’s not too abrasive on your skin, and which has a pleasing aroma that helps you relax. Leave on for a few minutes after massaging, then rinse and dry your feet well.
With the rough patches and dead skin cells removed, your skin is now primed to best absorb moisturiser. Experts recommend using creams designed specifically for the needs of the feet, as well as options with natural ingredients such as green tea – which in addition to moisturising, will help relieve some of the daily fatigue. If the skin on your feet is very dry, mix together a mask with coconut oil and cucumber, apply and leave on overnight, sleeping in cotton socks. Another good option for dry and cracked feet is Eucerin’s Urea Repair Plus 10% Urea lotion.
Add Some Colour
Finally, the most fun step! It’s a good idea to use a toe separator when painting your nails if you don’t have an especially steady hand. In terms of colour, choose bright hues for summer like pink, blue, magenta or neon green, which will look striking in your favourite sandals. “We’re currently using semi-permanent nail polish on the toes, which allows the colour to last longer and retain its shine,” says Cortés. “This is the ideal approach when you’ll be wearing sandals constantly.” Before painting on the enamel, apply a base infused with vitamins and minerals, as it will protect the surface of the nail and prevent it from pigmenting with the colour.
Tips For The Perfect Pedicure
If you like to pamper your feet and make them look good, it’s worth emphasising that this is not a task to perform every once in a while or ‘when you have time’. Daily care foot care is important, and greatly impacts the health of your feet.
For one thing, be sure to wash and dry your feet correctly every day. It sounds pretty obvious, but the truth is that a lot of people don’t spend time on this. Make sure you wash your feet thoroughly with antibacterial soap, taking care to clean between the toes. Afterwards, it’s essential to use a towel and completely dry your feet – yes, also between the toes – in order to avoid yucky fungi.
Choosing the right shoes is also vital. We know, you’re eager to try on those trendy sandals that you saw in your favourite store. However, before succumbing to the world of fast fashion, check that the chosen footwear is suitable for your feet. Your shoes should never hurt you, so if they feel tight, uncomfortable or just somehow not right, stop wearing them. Fashion should never come at the cost of your health.
Finally, if you have develop a fungus, ingrown toenails or other foot-related problems, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. Well-cared for feet are beautiful feet – and you’ll be proud to show them off summer after summer.