The Perfect Sandal-Season Pedicure

I’ve missed my sandals. I missed them so much that I dragged them out of the back of my closet a month ago, only to gaze longingly at them every day, sigh, and pull on another pair of warm socks. After a long, hard fall, winter AND spring of boots, rain boots, and snow boots, I am dying to leave the house in nothing but a kick ass summer dress and a fantastic pair of gladiator sandals.

Before that happens, though, I have to take care of one teeny problem. You know that long hard winter of boots I mentioned? It has left my feet looking….less than pretty. So, in preparation for the day when all my sandal dreams come true, here are some step-by-step instructions for an at-home pedicure that will have your feet ready to see the sun before you know it!

Step One: Polish Prep
Soak a cotton ball or cotton pad with nail polish remover and remove all your old polish that has been on there since last August.

Clip toenails straight across. Seriously, DO NOT cut anything but straight across. If you try and clip down on the sides you risk a seriously painful ingrown toenail. Ouch!

Use a nail file to smooth the edges, and if you want to round down the sides a little, this is the time to do it.

Step Two: Soak It Up!
(Side note: if I’m pressed for time, or just feeling lazy, I’ll skip this step and pumice my feet in the bath or shower before I polish).

Fill a low, wide bucket with hot water and add a half cup of Epsom salt, which eases muscle tension and de-puffs tired feet. If you’re feeling super-indulgent, toss in some scented bath salts or elixir – anything with a scent you really enjoy.

Soak your feet for 5 minutes or so, and after they’re good and soft, take a pumice stone or a foot file and use it to slough the rough bits of your feet: the balls of your feet, your heels, and the outer edges of your big toes and pinky toes.

When you’re smooth, pat your tootsies dry with a towel. If you would like, push back your cuticles (don’t cut em! Another recipe for ingrown toenails!) with the edge of an emery board, and then slather both feet with a super moisturizing foot lotion or cream.

Step Three: Time To Polish

Wash the moisturizer off your toenails with soap and water and let them dry.

Use a foam toe separator to create space between your toes. In a pinch, I have been known to use neat little rolls of paper towel between each toe for that purpose, but believe me, the foam spacers are way nicer and pretty cheap.

Apply one coat of base coat, two coats of color and one coat of top coat. I try and do one wide stroke down the center of each nail, and then two thin ones down each side.

Use a Q-tip dipped in nail-polish remover to clean up any messy edges or other polish mishaps.

Now, this is the most important part: Let your polish dry COMPLETELY before putting on close-toed shoes. This means several hours. If you’ve got to go asap, caaaaarefully slip on some sandals. Apply a new coat of top coat every three days or so, just to keep your polish fresh and chip-free until you’re ready for a new paint job!

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