Put your best foot forward in summer’s open-toed sandals with these do-it-yourself tips and the six essentials of a professional pedicure.
Feet, being so far below our eyes, often get overlooked when it comes to a regular beauty routine. The result? Most of us walk around with cracked heels, callused toes and dirty soles that never seem to scrub clean -- not exactly the look you want to show off in your new beach sandals.
Summer is the cruelest season for feet, says Reham Bastawros, co-owner of the Nail Garden, a Los Angeles mani-pedi spa that cares for the cuticles of Renee Zellweger, Miley Cyrus and Megan Fox. “During the winter, when your feet are covered in socks and boots, there’s less damage done to them,” says Bastawros. But by late summer, weeks of rubber thongs and sandals can cause the exposed skin of the feet to chafe against the straps with every step. “I’ve seen heels that are cracked to the point that they’re open wounds,” she says.
For stunning tootsies all year round, follow this nourishing routine:
The 6-step Professional Pedicure
Twice a year (once before the summer season and once before the winter holidays), treat yourself to an intensive professional pedicure. Choose a treatment that includes the following steps:
- A salt bath to soften feet.
- Callus removal, which therapists usually carry out by first brushing a special softening solution onto the affected area and then using a brand-new or properly sanitised tool.
- A sugar scrub to exfoliate the whole foot.
- A foot massage, using a natural oil such as grapeseed, which deeply penetrates your skin, returning feet to supple form.
- A hot paraffin wrap, which seals in moisture.
- And finally, the fun part: the classic pedicure, during which your toenails are cut and filed, cuticles are softened and nails are painted.
Sit at the edge of your bathtub and apply a foot scrub. Choose one that contains your favourite essential oils or make your own by combining 1 tablespoon olive oil with 1 tablespoon raw sugar, oatmeal or chickpea flour. Massage the scrub into your feet and leave it on for five minutes. If time permits, soak hand towels in warm or hot water, and wrap them around your feet. This seals in moisture and works in the same way as a paraffin wax treatment.
Keep a foot brush or designated washcloth in the shower. Pour liquid soap onto your chosen scrubber and rub until your heels and toes are thoroughly clean. Three times a week while showering, run a foot file vigorously across your heels and soles. Be sure to replace your file once a month to avoid bacteria buildup.
Immediately after your bath or shower, slather your feet with a thick body butter, taking care to massage the lotion into your heels and soles.
For an added moisture boost, twice a week before you go to bed, rub olive oil all over your feet and soles, and sleep with socks on.