Foot Prep: Are Yours Ready for Sandals?

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You've been looking forward to it for months — that first balmy day of spring. So you throw on some capris or a skirt and those cute sandals you bought a few weeks ago...and then you notice your feet. The same feet that have been buried in boots and woolen socks all winter. The same feet that now sport overgrown nails, ragged cuticles, cracked heels, and maybe even a callus or two. Oops.

Although you can put your hair into summer mode in no more time than it takes to pull it into a ponytail, your feet require a little bit of prep. The good news is that, if you start now, you and your feet will be ready to take the stage when sandal weather finally arrives.

Moisturize

Cold, dry air can lead to scaly, cracked heels. That's a hard thing to fix overnight, so the sooner you get going, the better. Start by applying a thick moisturizer or foot cream after your morning shower, while your feet are still damp. Then put on some thick socks to hold in the moisture. Repeat the procedure before bed. If you can sleep in socks, so much the better.

Exfoliate

No matter how much you moisturize, that dry skin isn't going away by itself. Try rubbing the scaly areas with a foot scrub or pumice stone. If your feet are in really bad shape, you can even use a cuticle trimmer to gently shear away problem areas.

Trim Your Nails

This is where the cliché "out of sight, out of mind" comes in. It's easy to forget about your toenails when the only place you ever see them is in the shower. Or, even if you want to trim up those nails, you might not feel motivated to peel off all those layers and actually get to your feet. But you can't just paint some polish over them. Putting polish on gnarly nails is like polishing a dirty floor — it just calls attention to the flaws. So trim your nails, preferably with a clipper designed for your toes. If you don't have one, just remember to cut straight across, to ward off ingrown nails. And, if your nails have ridges, you'll want to take care of those with a buffer.

Polish

Everything else has been leading up to this point: applying polish. Start with a base coat, and then apply two coats of one of this season's: nudes, pinks, pastels, and all shades of glitter.

You've waited so long to wear sandals again. Don't let neglected, winter-weary feet get in your way. Take care of your feet now, so that you'll be ready to take full advantage of that first day of sandal weather.

Photo courtesy of Zoie Hope.

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