Let’s be honest, in the beauty stakes feet rank somewhere pretty close to the bottom. Spending hours researching a new hair colour or applying a fine layer of immaculate make up counts as fun to many of us beauty addicts, but getting rid of hard skin from our heels? Not so much.
Ok, so feet aren’t the most glamorous area on which to focus our beauty efforts, but if you’ve ever been thrown into paroxysms of panic by the words “Would you mind leaving your shoes by the front door?” you’ll know that taking care of your toes, even in autumn and winter, saves a whole world of social embarrassment.
Whilst a salon pedicure is the most relaxing and indulgent route to fabulous feet, at home pedicures can turn your feet from Shrek to sensational in just a few easy steps too. Here’s how to transform your feet without spending a fortune:
1. Remove Your Polish
Although dipping pots are great for removing polish from fingers, for toes a cotton ball or pad dipped in remover works best. Struggling to remove the remnants of last summer’s polish? One tip from professionals is to give every nail a quick swipe with a cotton pad heavily soaked in nail polish remover so that the polish starts to soften, then to return nail by nail to carefully remove every last trace of colour.
2. File Your Way to Fresh Skin
Ok, so it sounds terrifying, but taking a file to your feet is the best way to baby soft heels. Although intuitively it seems that soaking feet first would soften skin and make filing easier, professionals swear that dry filing works best. Some foot files can look scarily surgical, (or is that just me?) but remember, you are only removing dead skin that has no nerve endings. Start gently and slowly; as long as what you are doing remains pain free, file away.
3. Soak and Smooth
This is where you get to relax! Fill a bowl with comfortably warm water and some foot soak if you have it, pop your feet in and relax. Short of time? Do this whilst watching TV or reading the paper. After twenty minutes or so, take an exfoliating scrub and work it over the sides and tops of your feet, avoiding the areas that you filed if they feel sensitive, then rinse your feet and pat dry. Whilst your feet are still soft take a cuticle stick and gently push back your cuticles.
4. Break out the clippers
The best tool for toenails is a good quality pair of nail clippers – even professionals use them! Be careful not to get overenthusiastic though – cutting toenails too short can cause painful ingrown nails. Remember that toenails should be square and straight across the top, not round. If after clipping you have sharp edges, file them away, but only just enough to smooth off corners that might snag tights.
Next, rub on a thick layer of foot cream. Don’t have any? If you have any unused moisturiser that proved too rich for your face this is a great time to use it up. Once your feet are suitably slathered, put on a pair of fine cotton socks (you can buy special ones at pharmacies, but any fine, loose fitting cotton socks should work) and hop into bed for a good night’s rest.
5. Paint your nails!
When you wake up feet should be super smooth and baby soft. Give nails a quick wipe over with nail polish remover to get rid of any oily residue from the cream and then get painting!
Whilst pretty pinks look great against a tan, toes are a place where even the most conservative amongst us can really go crazy with colour. Bright colours look fantastic on toes and are really cheerful on drizzly winter days. Try oranges, shocking pinks, bright blues and greens. Remember though, whilst bright colours look fantastic on nails, the stain they can leave behind doesn’t, so always use a base coat before applying polish. Follow with two thin coats of colour and a layer of glossy topcoat for perfectly polished toes that will last and last.