After a long winter keeping our feet stuffed inside shoes or snug inside socks, chances are they aren’t looking or feeling their best. Once the weather warms up and the sandal and flip-flop season swings into action, we all want to show our feet with confidence. Subsequently, our feet deserve some much-needed TLC. From buffing dead skin and dealing with toenails, the post-winter feet regime can be extensive but doing so will leave your feet looking and feeling fresh. Plus, it is a relaxing and satisfying self-care routine to embark on as the seasons change.
Read on to find out the best expert-approved ways to care for your feet at home.
Try a footbath
Before tackling your foot-related admin, it’s important to soak the feet. This helps soften both the skin and the nails ready for further treatments. You can either set up a footbath in a bowl or soak your whole self in the bath. “Try adding some mineral salts to help to detoxify your feet,” makeup artists and beauty expert Joyce Connor advises. Try a magnesium-based salt like Epsom salts, a mineral best absorbed through the skin and known to help ease inflammation and ward off infection.
When it comes to exfoliating the feet, it can be tempting to really go for it. However, the best motto here is: gently do it. “We can be overzealous with treating hard skin and end up causing more distress,” podiatrist Claire Forbes explains. Her tip? She suggests using an exfoliating glove while washing your feet. “You can easily get in between your toes, and then you can add a little more pressure on heels without being too aggressive,” she notes. If you do want to use a foot file, only use it on dry feet. “Use a light pressure and avoid sawing back and forth,” Forbes suggests.
Tackle your nails
Keeping your toenails short looks smart but also is important for avoiding ingrown nails, a painful and unpleasant condition. Trimming your nails demands good tools like a robust, quality pair of nail clippers. “You can’t beat professional-grade clippers as they are designed to fit in your hand easily and are ideal for thickened and hard nails,” Forbes says. When it comes to aesthetics, simply follow the natural shape of the nail. Once the nails are trimmed, it’s time for filing. “File them in one direction to smooth and seal the ends of the nail,” Connor recommends.
Take care with cuticles
Over time, cuticle build up on the nail plate can cause hangnail (that unpleasant skin at the side of the nail) and dryness on the nail plate. It can be tempting to cut cuticles but this should be avoided at all costs. “I don’t recommend cutting cuticles as that can leave your nail bed open to bacteria and infection,” Forbes clarifies. Instead, try pushing the cuticles back. “Push the cuticle back with an orangewood stick or a hoof stick after soaking your feet in the footbath,” Connor suggests.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Often our feet can get forgotten when it comes to moisturizing but doing so is important if you want soft and supple feet. Connor recommends moisturizing your feet daily and using a foot-specific moisturizer which is usually heavier duty than a standard body moisturizer formula. “Take your time to massage the product into the skin, and include the soles and ankles in your routine,” she explains. When you moisturize is important too. “Feet can get dehydrated very quickly so apply moisturizer onto warm dried feet straight out of the shower or bath to increase absorption,” she adds. When the pores are open, it’s much easier to lock in moisture.
Consider a weekly foot mask
A weekly foot treatment can help moisture levels even further. “Use a foot mask weekly after exfoliating with a foot scrub. Rinse and apply the mask, leave on your feet for 20 minutes, rinse dry and moisturise,” Connor suggests. Overnight treatments can be even more intense. Try applying a foot mask and then wearing socks over the top to bed to trap in the moisturise.
Before you get creative and paint your toenails, think about caring for the nail underneath. “Always use a base coat when painting your nails to prevent nail discoloration,” Connor says. Once the base coat has dried, paint two to three layers of polish for long-lasting color.
Keep up the ongoing care
After your spring feet MOT, remember to keep looking after your feet throughout the summer. Alongside the usual, exfoliation, moisturization and nail care, there are some other things you can do to optimize your feet. “Change your socks and shoes daily,” Connor says. “If you have a lot of foot perspiration a light dusting of foot powder under your feet will help to absorb the moisture,” she adds.
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