soft summer feetMonths of winter neglect or summer abuse make your feet prime candidates for some TLC. If you ever needed to splurge on a pedicure, now is the time. But if you’re looking to save some money or keep up your kicks in between spa pedis, here are a few tips.

Undo the Damage

The first step to gorgeous feet is to exfoliate or buff off any dead or dry skin. There are a couple of ways to go. If your feet are only mildly dry, try a good exfoliator applied to wet feet with a damp washcloth.  I recommend the Olay’s Thermal Pedicure ($9.99, 4.9 oz), which is an exfoliating scrub that warms as you work it into the skin and feels incredibly relaxing.

If your feet are certifiable, Sahara dry, you may need to step up your approach with a rasp or pumice. I highly recommend the Diamancel Classic Buffer #10 ($49). I know what you are thinking, while it is a bit pricey initially, it works like a champ, is easily cleaned and holds up.

On a more conservative budget?  Try the Body Shop’s No More Rough Stuff Pumice (shown below) ($6), which is ergonomically shaped for easy grasping and use when maneuvering around the curves of your feet.

No More Rough Stuff Pumice from the Body Shop

Now I am about to say something that I never thought I would. At the behest of a friend, I picked up the Ped Egg (pictured below) ($9.99). Yeah, that Ped Egg. You know, the one you see on the cheesy infomercials. Guess what? It worked well! Downsides: 1) The file plates do need to be replaced periodically, and 2) You have to be seen in public holding a Ped Egg while you purchase it.

The Ped Egg at Bed Bath and Beyond

Tip: Remember to wash your feet before you use a rasp on them, this will reduce any chances of infection since you are using an abrasive surface on the skin and there is always potential for a neck.

That Unspeakable Subject

None of us want to admit to it, but hair removal just might need to be part of your process. While most of us just knock it out in the shower when shaving our legs, there are a few other options that will give you slightly longer lasting results.  Consider a depilatory, such as Nair or a waxing kit, like the Poetic Waxing Kit ($45) from Bliss.

Quench and Drench

Now that your feet are smooth from buffing or exfoliating, they are in need of moisture; time to quench their thirst and drench them in moisture.

For cracked heels or seriously dry skin, try the super-emollient Yu Be Cream ($24 for 2.75 oz at Sephora), or the cult favorite Softening Socks ($48) and Sock Salve ($28) from Bliss.  For a less expensive option to the Bliss sock set, moisturize your feet, then put on any pair of thin, breathable cotton socks before you go to sleep for the night.

Yu Be Cream in the tub at Sephora

Tip: I keep my pedicure tools and treatments on my nightstand so I can moisturize or treat my feet before I go to sleep. The longer your feet have to absorb the cream, the more effective the treatment is. Besides, have you ever put cream on your feet, strapped on your sandals and went about your day? I have. I fell. Hard.

Time to Touch Up Your Tips

Your toenails get prime-time exposure during the spring and summer months, so make sure they are ready to be seen in public. Conditioned cuticles, nipped hangnails, and polished toes are easily achieved through regular pedicures at your spa or in your home, depending on your schedule and budget.

If you are tending to your tootsies, aside from a good pair of toenail clippers, you will need a pair of cuticle clippers, a good file and cuticle conditioner. My cuticles have a huge crush on Solar Oil (shown below) ($11, .5 oz, found at Ulta and nail salons), which boasts natural oils and vitamin E conditioners.

Some great summer polishes can be found in Essie’s classic neutrals and OPI’s vivid bright, so hit your local beauty supply store or salon to check out this seasons’ collections. If you are going for low maintenance, or if you put those feet to the test (that means you joggers and barefoot beach combers), opt for a lighter colour, as it will make the inevitable chips less obvious.

OPI’s Jewel of India at OPI.comOPI’s La Paz-actively Hot at OPI.com

Tip: Before you paint your toes, make sure to run a bit of a polish remover over them to remove any lotion or cuticle conditioner, which could otherwise prevent the polish from properly adhering to your toenails.

Tip: If you can make it to the nail salon on a regular basis, make sure you book your next appointments at least 2-3 appointments in advance if you have a specific time and nail tech that you prefer. Salons are swamped with pedicure appointments in the summer, so thinking ahead will guarantee you get what you need.

Maintenance

Now that you have achieved perfection on ten toes remember to keep it up. A little bit of attention to your tootsies at least once a week will do the trick.

Make Sunday evening your time to focus on your feet. If you make a date with yourself once a week, you are more likely to keep up with maintenance. Sunday evenings have a bonus, as well, in that once you paint your toes or slather your feet with lotion, you are forced to sit still and enjoy some downtime as you calm down from the weekend’s activities and plan for the week ahead.

Aside from your new foot care routine, try Foot Petals, a fantastic line of shoe cushions that are thoughtfully sculpted and coloured to work with even the skimpiest of scandals or Dr. Scholl’s Callus Cushions to treat and prevent any boo boos, blisters and bumps that you may encounter.

Now that your feet are fabulous, I think you should probably show them off in a new pair of sandals.  Weren’t you looking for an excuse to buy that new pair, anyway?

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