Summer is the only time of year I seem to remember I have toes. Most of the year I live in trainers and boots so when open-toe time would roll around I’d feel perpetually unprepared. Because painting your nails is one part but prepping your feet for sandal season is also about filing, moisturising and buffing your feet to perfection. I love to treat myself to a salon mani/pedi but just like with your hair, at-home maintenance is required to keep things looking tip-top for months on end.
So, I’ve been slowly building a core collection of manicure and pedicure essentials and made foot and hand maintenance a part of my weekly (and sometimes daily) routine. Fingernail-wise I tend to get gel manicures or SNS in-salon but at-home I keep things simple with daily moisturising, cuticle oil and occasional exfoliation and masking– everything else I leave to the pros.
At-Home Manicure/Pedicure Kit
(Price shown is members price. £15 as a non-member)
If your feet are dry and callus-y from neglect this should be you first stop on your at-home pedicure. I do them every few months as a kind of foot refresher. These from Beauty Pie use glycolic and lactic acids to exfoliate away dead skin over about a week. Just make sure you use them about a week before you want to be in sandals as your skin sheds non-stop for a few days.
The best accompaniment to foot exfoliation socks is a sturdy foot file. I find that if I’m filing the dead skin daily after using the socks makes the peeling process is a lot quicker. This one is reusable so once you have the handle you can just buy the replacement pads.
Once your feet are baby soft it’s important to keep moisture locked in. “During the summer months our feet are a lot more exposed than other months, this means the moisturiser you apply in the morning may not be enough to keep the hard skin at bay,” notes Laurie Nicholls from Lacquered + Stripped. Having noticed this, at night I’ll use a thick body cream or lotion and then apply this foot oil. It contains Emu oil which is an anti-inflammatory and the texture is light and absorbs easily. I’ll apply this before bed and then wear socks to really help feet soften. “If you suffer from calluses, having a pedicure is the best solution,” advises Laurie “After your pedicure keep up the moisturising routine and include a weekly foot mask before bed for the best results.”
This scrub is of course amazing for all over the body but I love it for weekly foot maintenance. The sugar crystals are highly-exfoliating and the coconut oil softens as it moisturises. Tag this on to the end of your shower routine a few times a week to keep foot smooth.
Since the pandemic, I’ve found that I naturally use a lot more hand cream because of sanitizer leaving them dry. So, I’ve upgraded my hand lotion to one that contains SPF to protect from sun damage and photo-ageing. This pick from Hello Sunday is SPF 30 and lightweight so you can carry with you on the go.
When I don't have gel polish on, or if I'm taking a break I will normally have a nail strengthening base coat on. This one from Nails.Inc is a really pretty nude hue too.
Relaxing watching Netflix? Slip these gloves on for at least ten minutes to soften and hydrate your hands, nails and cuticles. Make sure you don’t rinse the serum off when you remove the gloves though, the rosehip oil in the formula will continue to soften.
“Cuticle oil should be used twice a day,” says Laurie. “Include cuticle oil as part of your moisturising routine to help keep your nails healthy.” I love this one from OPI as it smells great and genuinely makes a difference to nail health. Keep it on your bedside table to remember to apply it.