It's the season of sandals and bare feet. I love summer and usually count down the days until I'm able to start wearing my favorite sandals and flip flops. After months of hiding my tootsies in boots and sneakers, they don't always look their best.
Dry, cracked heels along with yellowing nails don't exactly look great. What should you do? I've seen the socks with sandals routine. That's not the solution. I have my own routine for getting my feet sandal ready and I'm happy to share it with you.
Say Goodbye to Old Polish
I'm not sure why, but I still like to polish my toenails now and again during the winter months. I'm the only one who sees them, but it makes me feel good anyway. The only problem is I'm bad to leave the polish on longer than I should.
Start your summer prep by removing any left over polish. You want clean nails for the next steps.
Pamper with a Soak
Find a comfortable place to soak your feet. I love this step best because it's so relaxing. It's easy to just sit back, enjoy the warm water, and read a book.
Start by quickly washing your feet with your regular body wash, especially if you've had them in shoes all day.
Fill a small tub or basin with warm water. Don't use hot or you'll dry your feet out. I add a little baking soda and a few drops tea tree oil to mine. Pick whatever essential oil you like best. After the initial summer prep soak, I usually use lavender.
I use tea tree oil to help whiten my nails and fight off any bacteria in case the yellowing is from a mild fungal infection. Essential lemon oil works well for whitening nails too.
Shut out any distractions and soak your feet for 15-30 minutes. If the water starts getting cold, you're all done. Gently dry your feet with a soft towel and you're all ready for the next step.
Scrub Away Dry Skin
A soak doesn't rid you of dry, flaky skin on your feet. I highly recommend exfoliating your feet as soon as you finish soaking them. This makes it much easier to scrub away dry skin without hurting your feet.
Use a pumice stone or your favorite foot scrub. I sometimes use a mixture of sugar and olive oil. It exfoliates well and moisturizes.
Don't scrub until your feet bleed! Give your feet a break if there's still dry skin left. Wait several days and repeat the process. You don't have to make them perfect in a single day.
Soothe and Moisturize
Still have some dry spots or calluses left? This step helps with that. Rinse any foot scrub away completely and pat dry your feet. Left over residue could dry out your feet and you definitely don't want that.
Apply a thick layer of moisturizer on your feet. I prefer shea butter or a Vitamin E based cream. Thicker moisturizers are ideal for your feet. Ideally, you should moisturize every single day. Trust me when I say your feet will love you for it.
Take your time and massage the moisturizer into your feet. I usually spend several minutes indulging myself in a much needed foot massage. Put on a pair of thick cotton socks to lock in the moisture. You can leave the socks on all night or just for an hour or two.
Did I mention you should probably do all of this right before bed? You'll probably be so relaxed that you'll be ready to fall asleep as soon as you're done.
Tackle Your Toenails
Your feet look and feel amazing, but your toes aren't quite as pretty. I always like to put on some music and sing along while I give myself a nice at home pedicure.
Lay out all your tools so you don't have to keep getting up and down during the process. Get an emery board, cuticle oil, cuticle stick or cutters and nail buffer. If you can find one, I love using those four sided nail tools that file edges, smooth ridges, buff nails and shine them.
You're supposed to start by shaping your nails, but I always do my cuticles first. Apply some cuticle oil and let it sit according to the package's directions. This softens your cuticles so it doesn't hurt to push them down or cut away the excess. Wash off the cuticle oil before proceeding. If your cuticles aren't a problem, skip this step.
I know you've always been told to shape your nails with rounded edges, but don't follow this advice for toenails. I've made this tragic mistake and had the painful ingrown nails to prove it doesn't work.
Trim your toenails to your desired length and file the edges into a square shape. I round the edges slightly just so they're not sharp.
Next, buff away ridges and any stains with a nail buffer. I love using the ridge and buff sections on the four way file. Spend at least 10 seconds per nail. If you're like me, you might need another 10 seconds on your big toes.
If you're not planning to polish your nails right away, use the shine section of the four way tool or a nail shine buffer next. It works the same way as the regular buffing step. I like the natural shine it gives my nails. It's like you have clear polish on them. Try it sometime and I guarantee you'll love it.
Add Some Color
It's not just the season of sandals. It's the season of expressive toenails. There's no socks to hide your feet during the summer. Get out your brightest polish and have fun.
I know you just want to get down to business, but don't forget one extremely important step. Apply a base coat first. It only takes a few extra minutes and it helps prevent yellowing or staining from darker polishes.
Apply two coats of your favorite color. Let it dry completely between steps. I find it's a great time to catch up on my way too full DVR.
Finish off your nails with a protective topcoat. I use a shimmery topcoat on mine to add that extra bit of sparkle.
Don't forget you don't have to just paint your nails. I love checking out ideas on Pinterest before I start. They don't always turn out perfectly, but I've had some incredible results after a little trial and error.
Maintaining the Look
I see far too many women start hiding their feet about half way through the summer season. Why? They forgot to maintain their feet. I wish it was a one-time deal too, but it takes work to have cute feet the entire season.
Start by moisturizing your feet every night. If you're going to wear sandals or go barefoot outside, apply moisturizer with SPF 15 or higher before you go out. I've had burnt toes and it's not pleasant.
Finally, treat yourself to a foot soak along with the exfoliation and massage once a week. We all need this little bit of pampering, not just for our feet, but to reduce stress.
My feet are all ready for their summer debut. Are yours?