Scorching hot weather is the perfect excuse to show off your prettiest summer pedicure. You get mega fashion points when toes are painted on-trend shades of bright yellow and moody blue. But the biggest pedicure delight is soothing your tired feet in a warm soak. Whether your choice is an Epsom salts-dosed bath for muscle relaxation or a plunge into mint leaf-garnished waters for cooling refreshment, a summer pedicure is a win-win when it comes to self care. Here’s how to treat your feet and toes to this ultimate seasonal luxury.
Step 1: Remove old polish.
Remove all traces of old polish from your toenails with some cotton and nail polish remover.
Don’t reach for just any old cotton ball that will leave fuzzies to stick to wet polish. Look for a lint-free product such as Webril Cotton Pads (click here) or Deborah Lippman’s travel-friendly The Stripper To Go (click here) nail polish remover pads.
If you’re taking off lighter nail polish shades, alcohol and acetone free nail polish removers that are gentle on nails will work just fine. Deep, pigmented shades will need a little more muscle. A remover such as Sally Hansen Extra-Strength Nail Polish Remover (click here) will work on any color.
Step 2: Trim and file your toenails.
Next, trim your toenails with a pair of nail clippers. You may want to try the Harperton Nail Clipper Set (click here). Always cut straight across to avoid ingrown nails (yikes!), and make sure your nail doesn’t extend over the tip of your toe. Then, with a emery board, gently shape the sides of your nail to get rid of any sharp corners. Next, gently push back the cuticles – don’t cut them.
Step 3: Buff away dead skin.
Buff off calluses from the heels and balls of the feet with a foot file such as the Checi Pro Nickel Foot File (click here), or a pumice stone. Although some calluses can protect your feet, too much roughness can change your gait or leave your feet open to infection. Dry filing clean feet once a week will help you avoid these problems—but don’t file if you have lost sensation in your feet. Dermatologists say take this step before soaking your feet, so that you’ll be able to see the hard, cracked, or dry skin that needs to be treated. Soaking your feet first will disguise these problems.
Step 4: Soak your feet.
In a basin filled with warm water, soak your feet for a few relaxing moments. Adding Epsom salts will relax muscles, and adding essential oils will offer a calming aromatherapy experience. Find invigorating relief on a hot day by tossing a handful of fresh mint leaves into the foot soak.
Massage an exfoliating scrub between the toes and arches of your wet feet to polish away any remnants of dead skin. After drying your feet, moisturize with a thick cream or natural, low-cost moisturizers such as coconut oil, olive oil or shea butter. You could also try a foot and toenail mask from KISS (they’re actually socks) (click here). Before you start applying polish, make sure you clean off any residue of oil or moisturizer from your toenails.
Step 5: Finish off with polish.
Most of us thread paper towels between our toes to provide extra room when polishing toenails. For an easy upgrade, try an inexpensive toe separator that you’ll find at most drugstores, or cut up makeup wedges and place in between your toes.
Start with a simple base coat to make your polish last longer. Follow up the base with two coats of color polish. Start with one stroke down the middle of the nail and don’t hold the brush at an angle.
The choice of color is totally up to you. Moody blues are still in fashion, and one of the hot colors this summer is a happy bright yellow. Muted terracotta and warm peaches are good neutrals that will transition well into cooler weather. Finish with a topcoat for protection against chipping.