By Alison Singh Gee for The Style Glossy
Feet, being so far underneath 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 flip-flops 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:
1. A salt bath to soften feet.
2. 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 sanitized tool.
3. A sugar scrub to exfoliate the whole foot.
4. A foot massage, using a natural oil such as grapeseed, which deeply penetrates your skin, returning feet to supple form.
5. A hot paraffin wrap, which seals in moisture.
6. And finally, the fun part: the classic pedicure, during which your toenails are cut and filed, cuticles are softened and nails are painted.
Do-it-yourself Daily Maintenance
1. Sit at the edge of your bathtub and apply a foot scrub. Choose one that contains your favorite 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
Summer’s Hottest Toenail Colors
In-vogue toenail colors change just like lipstick shades, and this season brings surprising hues. Naja Green, who owns Extremydys 2012, a West Hollywood hand-and-foot spa that tends to the toes of Lady Gaga, Fergie and Mary J. Blige, says yellow, bright whites, fluorescent pink and light blues are all big this summer, and soft, creamy colors “look amazing on sun-kissed toes.”
Nail Garden’s Bastawros is a fan of metallic nails like those seen in Sex and the City 2. “Matte lacquer is cutting-edge for sophisticated style, pink always feels flirty with sweet summer dresses, and dark polishes are almost accessories in themselves,” says Bastawros. For an extra touch of edgy chic, slip on a toe ring or ankle bracelet.
Alison Singh Gee is a former style features writer for People magazine and has also written about fashion, beauty and design for InStyle and Marie Claire. She is the author of two books, including an upcoming memoir, The Peacock Sings for Rain.