Crammed into boots, heels and flats for the better part of this year, your feet get to breathe now that sandal season is finally here. Great news for those of you who kept up with pedicures all winter! For the rest of us? We’ve got some work to do.
Whether you’re painting the town in peep-toe pumps or flaunting your finest pair of flip flops, you want your polish to be perfect, your cuticles controlled and your heels soft and healthy. A salon visit might seem like the ideal shortcut to fabulous-looking feet, but why spend the extra cash and spend an hour sniffing chemical fumes when you can get the same results—or better—at home?
Soften with a soak
You don’t need bubbling jets or fancy foot wash to give scratchy skin and hardened heels the old heave-ho. Fill a small tub with warm water, add four to six drops of essential oil (sweet orange is refreshing, or try tea tree, which has antiseptic properties) and soak your feet for about 10 minutes. If your cuticles are coarse, rub on some Organix South Theraneem Nail & Cuticle Oil before the bath to help tame the toughness.
Scrub your way to soft
To remove rough spots, slather on an exfoliating scrub such as Kiss My Face Peppermint Foot Scrub, which contains bits of walnut shells and pumice that buff away dead, dull skin and leave your feet soft and tingly-clean. Work in a circular motion, covering your entire feet and working up to your shins for a real spa-like treatment. If you have especially hardened areas of skin, wear a pair of exfoliating gloves to double the scrubbing benefits.
Buff away bumps
Anyone who wears high heels or snug sneakers knows: some spots are going to need a little more than just soaking and scrubbing. Constant friction from tight-fitting footwear causes calluses, or impossibly stiff patches of skin—usually on the heels or balls of the feet or sides of your big toes. Break out a pumice stone and, while your skin is still damp, buff back and forth to gently shave away layers.
A pampering pedicure wouldn’t be complete without a warm moisturizing massage. Pump several squirts of your favorite foot lotion (Moisturizing Foot Butter by Life-Flo Collective is my favorite) into a microwave-safe bowl and heat, covered, for 5 to 10 seconds. Smooth into your skin, sit back and let the moisture sink in.
Trim and Primp
For the perfect trim, clip your nails straight across, holding clippers at a 45-degree angle and snipping in small sections to avoid splits and breaks, and use a nail file to round the edges. If your cuticles are unruly, gently push them back with a cuticle stick or pusher—don’t cut them (which only makes them harder over time and can lead to infection).
Get pretty with polish
Now for the fun part! Swipe your nails with a cotton ball dipped in natural polish remover to get rid of lingering lotion or oils. Then choose a bright, bold color for summer, such as Honeybee Gardens Water-Based Nail Enamel in Oasis, Tease or San Francisco, and paint away. To make your polish last, apply two coats (waiting two minutes between each coat) and follow with a clear top coat to seal in the shine.