Summer is right around the corner, which means itâ€™s time to officially break out cute dresses, breezy shorts, and open-toe shoes. But if the thought of squeezing your dryÂ feet with chippednail polish into a pair of sandals terrifies you, no need to fret. Weâ€™ve got you covered on how to take care of that.
After a long winter of wearing thick socks and boots, your feet are probably in need of some TLC. Where does one begin? Yahoo Beauty asked board-certified New York City dermatologistÂ Dana Stern and celebrity manicurist and As U Wish Nail SpaÂ owner Skyy Hadley for need-to-know tips to help youÂ get your feet ready just in time for summer.
RemoveÂ dirtÂ underneath your toenails with a soft-bristled brush.
When giving yourself an at-home pedicure, there are certainÂ things to know beforehand, like the correct way to clean underneath toenails and how to properly cut them. â€œIf the nails are kept short there is very little need to actually clean under the nail plate,â€ saysÂ Stern. â€œIf there is dirt and debris, gently clean with a tool that is not going to pierce the nail bed and not cause lifting of the nail plate.â€
Remember: Toenails should always be cut straight acrossÂ and not on a curve to prevent the development of onychocryptosis (ingrown nails), according to Stern.
Cutting your cuticles poses a real threat to your health, so just push them back.
What is one to do about those pesky cuticles that keep popping up? â€œTrimming or cutting cuticles during a manicure or pedicure is purely cosmetic and doesnâ€™t benefit the nail in any way,â€ says Hadley.
UnkeptÂ cuticles look messy and can take away from your pretty pedicure. However, donâ€™t getÂ tempted to cutÂ them, as the cuticle acts asÂ a barrier toÂ protect the surrounding skin and keep nail infections from developing. Instead, apply a cuticle-softening cream or exfoliating treatment, gently push them back, and use a buffing file to help smooth tough skin.
Got white or yellow toenails? Soak them in peroxide.
Now that youâ€™ve trimmedÂ your toenails, avoidedÂ cutting your cuticles, and removed your old toenail polish, you probably notice that your nailsÂ are white or slightly yellow. Stern says post-polish discoloring is common. Using a mixture of lukewarm water with a nail product that contains glycolic acid orÂ hydrogen peroxide andÂ a soft toothbrush gentlyÂ scrubs the surface andÂ removesÂ nail discoloration.
Beware of Babyfoot! A skin-softeningÂ cream and foot file will work to removeÂ dead skin.
Stern believes the easiest way to treatÂ rough, calloused heels and feet is to use aÂ urea cream and foot file. If youâ€™re consideringÂ using a topicalÂ peel such as the controversialÂ Babyfoot, the doctorÂ advises to be cautious, especially if you have cuts or openings in the treatment area.
â€œThis peel is not physician-formulated, and so consider doing a patch test on a small area to make sure that you are not allergic or sensitive to any of the ingredients.â€ After removing the deadÂ skin, Stern says to applyÂ a rich moisturizing cream with ingredients like shea butter orcoconut oil.
Tea-tree and peppermint oils will prevent and treatÂ sweaty, smelly feet.
Smooth feet? Yes. Smelly feet? Sadly, yes. During the hot, summer months when feet tend to get sweaty and funky, Sternâ€™s simple advice is toÂ look for creams with ingredients such as tea-tree oil that have antibacterial properties to prevent odor-causing bacteria. She adds, â€œEssential oils like peppermint oil are soothing to feet and can mask mild foot odor.â€
If you thought letting soap suds fall onto your feet in the shower would simply do the trick, youâ€™re wrong. Stern strongly recommends washing feet thoroughly with anÂ antibacterial soap and properly drying inÂ between toes.
A base coat is nonnegotiable when giving yourself a pedicure.
After cleaning up your toes and achieving smooth-as-butter feet, itâ€™s time to make them lookÂ pretty with a pedicure. Hadley says toÂ always use a base coat before applying polish.Â â€œBy using a base coat, youâ€™re adding in a protective layer between your nails and the polish. This will also help to prevent staining and can actually help keep your nails healthier.â€
When choosing a color that will complement your skin tone, Hadley suggests using nail polish with white and blue undertones for fair skin, pink undertones for medium skin, and transparent tones for dark skin.
Since we all want to be on trend with this summerâ€™s nail polish colors, we asked HadleyÂ which shades she predicts to be the biggest this season. Her response? Baby blue with pink undertones, as well as all nude colors. Yes, weâ€™re running to go pick up those nail polish colors ASAP!
Diligently follow these expert tips, and trust us, your feet will be your prettiest accessory this summer.