As summer rolls in, your feet are likely used to being tucked in closed shoes during the colder months of the year. With the bitter cold of winter and the rain of early spring, your sandals are unlikely to be in much use. If you put your feet in boots or sneakers every day for months, you probably don’t care how presentable they look. It’s easy to get behind peeling your heels and buffing your toenails when no one sees them anyway.
The warm weather in July and August will eventually encourage you to take off your open wedges and beach flip flops. While you might be ready for summer, your feet probably aren’t. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy ways to get your feet fit for summer in no time, so you can put on your favorite sandals as soon as the sun shines.
1. Leave Damage Control to the Pros
Even if you don’t have the time or money to keep up with regular salon visits, getting yourself a professional pedicure at the end of winter is a good idea. A salon pedicure can help get your winter feet into better condition right away, which you can then take care of at home for the remainder of the summer. If you want to stay away from the nail salon, spend some time at home doing DIY damage control for your feet. Take a few hours to soak your feet, apply a foot mask, exfoliate, moisturize, trim and buff your nails. You will thank you for the trouble if all you have to do is give your feet minimal maintenance for a month or two.
2. Don’t Take Your Shoes Off
Summer offers many opportunities to take off your shoes and go barefoot. Whether you want to run through a meadow or stroll along a sandy beach, resist the urge to walk without shoes if possible. Being barefoot, especially in public places, leaves your feet exposed to unpleasant fungi and infections. It also leads to thick calluses, blisters, and dirt that are difficult to remove completely. Keep a pair of lightweight, thin flip flops in your car or purse. This way, you can replace your bulky shoes with these sandals to go easy on your feet. If you leave your shoes on for long periods of time, wash your feet thoroughly as soon as possible and give them an extra moisturizing and exfoliating treatment.
3. Use Foot-Specific Skincare
As tricky as foot-specific skincare may seem, there are good reasons to use moisturizing and masking products that are specifically designed for your feet. The skin on your feet, especially your heels and toes, is much thicker than the skin on your face and the rest of your body. Using a light facial moisturizer or scrub to moisturize or exfoliate your feet often proves ineffective. Face care products are designed for the thin, sensitive skin on your face and cannot penetrate the thicker surfaces of your feet. Products specifically designed to be used on your feet are usually heavier and sometimes contain harsher ingredients that your feet can handle but your face cannot.
4. Get On Top of Dead Skin
Dead skin is one of the main things that make feet look like they belong on corpses when winter is over.Use it up to three times a week to remove dead skin on the soles of your feet and the edges of your toenail. Moisturize your feet immediately after exfoliating to keep your skin soft, hydrated and avoid irritation.
5. Trimming Your Toenails Properly
Many people tend to grow their toenails a little too long in winter. Trimming your nails should be the first step in getting your feet fit for the summer. Always cut your toenails straight across. Keep the edges square and not rounded to avoid ingrown toenails and an uneven, ragged look.
6. Treat your feet and face equally
You wouldn’t imagine going to bed without washing your face at the end of the day, would you? While most people hold the skin care products they use on their face to the highest of standards, many don’t pay the same amount of attention to their feet. Wash your feet thoroughly every night before going to bed, even if you’ve been wearing closed-toe shoes all day. Wet your feet right after patting them dry. Your skin can absorb the moisturizer when it’s damp. Just as you religiously apply your face mask on a regular basis, keep up with your exfoliating routine at least once or twice a week.
7. Choosing the Right Nail Polish
The nail polish you use to paint your toenails can change or destroy the look of your feet. Avoid pale and dark color extremes. The contrast between pale or dark tones and your skin tends to wash out your skin tone and create an unattractive, corpulent finish. Use the summer style to brighten your feet in cheerful orange or pink tones. To make a summery statement with your feet, choose a neon coral or orange shade. If you prefer a more polished, neutral finish, go for a less noticeable peach or millennial pink. Regardless of which color polish you choose, always apply a generous primer under the colored polish.
A clear basecoat will protect your nail beds from harsh chemicals in your varnish and prevent staining and yellowing. However, when it comes time to show off your pedicure around the neighborhood barbeque, you’ll wish you had better cared for your feet while they were tucked away in your winter boots. Fortunately, your neglected winter feet are not a lost cause. Get your feet back in tip-top shape for the summer so you can enjoy seasonal pool days and beach vacations without worrying about the look of your toes.