Whoops. That would be the first thought in our head upon viewing the sad state of our un-pedicured, summer-sidewalk-ravaged feet. We're in the thick of the summer season, which means that our initial thrill at keeping our toes in top-top shape has waned — and, frankly, our feet are showing it.
The good news about foot maintenance? Since pedi mistakes and wear are less noticeable than those on your hands, it's totally possible to skip the ultra-perfect pro pedicure and DIY your toe varnish at home. To tell you how, we reached out to Jin Soon Choi, founder of the Jin Soon nail salon and polish line, to serve up her best tips for getting foot maintenance right.
Before you can get to the fun part (selecting and applying a fun polish, obvi), it's imporant to prep your feet properly. "To best prepare to exfoliate your feet, it helps to soak them first — this softens them for a more thorough exfoliation," says Choi. "If you want to remove calluses without soaking your feet, you can simply use a foot file on the dry callus until it becomes smooth. Exfoliating is both a necessary and luxurious treat for your feet," says the nail pro.
Depending on the length of your nails, you may choose to clip or simply file them — but proceed with caution. "If your toenails are long, you should use a clipper to remove the majority of overgrowth, then file to achieve the final shape. If your toenails aren't long, then simply filing is enough." If you do decide to wield clippers, says the pro, start slowly to avoid cutting too much and injuring yourself. "When you clip your nails, try to clip little by little so you don't crack them." When it comes to cuticles, always push back, and never cut, says Choi: "If you do a good job of pushing the cuticle back thoroughly, you shouldn’t have to cut the cuticle very much at all."
Once feet are exfoliated and nails trimmed, it's time to move on to moisturizer to ensure baby-soft tootsies. "The best way to moisturize your feet is to exfoliate them, have a foot mask for deep moisturizing, and finish with a foot lotion to lock in the moisture," advises Choi.
Now on to the fun part: polish time! For the best and most even results, Choi always starts her polish routine by swiping toenails with extra remover (to whisk away any excess oils from your moisturizer and allow polish to adhere), followed with a basecoat. "Since women tend to use highly pigmented colors on toes — which tend to stain their nails — it's good to have a primer to reduce stains," she says.
Finish up by applying one or two coats of your favorite nail polish, followed by a topcoat. Choi's pro tip is to add a bit of extra color and topcoat on the tips of your toenails, which will help seal the deal and make your paint job last much longer. To keep your DIY pedicure fresh longer, says Choi, re-apply topcoat often, and moisturize your toes with cuticle oil to keep feet moisturized and happy — hot sidewalks be damned!
Photographed by Mark Iantosca