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On Point

How To Get Flawless Feet For Summer

Now that it's sandal season, there's no hiding those chipped toenails. But if regular pedicures aren't in your monthly budget, that doesn't mean you have to don sweat socks with your swimsuit. We asked Julie Serquinia, owner of the Paint Shop — a luxe mani-pedi spot in L.A. that counts Janet Jackson and Tyra Banks amongst its clientele — how to get flawless feet within the confines of your very own bathroom. Here are her easy-to-follow steps:

Get prepped. Assemble a few tools: cotton balls, a nail clipper, an emery board file, a pumice wand and an orange stick. Skip the metal tools your pedicurist uses, which “are more for pros,” says Serquinia, explaining that wanton skin-cutting with nail scissors can invite infection.

Shorten and shape. Clip your toenails to the desired length and shape. Serquinia likes “to round the corners a bit so they're not snagging on pantyhose or shoes.” Then use a file boasting a higher grid number (the lower the number, the more course the file is) to smooth out the edges.

Create a footbath. Wash your feet with antibacterial soap to kill all the bacteria, then fill up your bathtub with warm-to-hot water and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Heat up smooth garden rocks (which you can buy at any nursery) in boiling water on the stove, and then place them at the bottom of the bath to soothe your weary soles. “Just because you're doing a pedicure at home, doesn't mean you can't make it special,” says Serquinia.

Soften up. Apply a cuticle softener to moist — not dry — feet (Serquinia recommends softeners from OPI and Sally Hansen). Then, wrap slightly moist cotton around an orange stick and gently push back cuticles. “You don't want the cotton to be dry — it will soak up the cuticle softener,” she notes.

Smooth out. If you want to get fancy, “you can make yourself a foot scrub using kosher salt or raw sugar mixed with olive oil,” says Serquinia. “You get moisture and pumice-ing action at the same time.” Then, use your pumice wand to go gently over the heel and work off calluses. But, “don't go crazy,” she warns. “If you start to feel heat, you're doing it wrong.”

Finesse the feet. Then, give yourself a foot massage with your favorite lotion, working from the center of the feet out to the sides, hitting major pressure points including the balls of the feet and the backs of the heels.

Polish off. Spray alcohol on your toenails to remove the lotion (nail polish won't adhere well to slick nails), then apply a basecoat, followed by two coats of color and a high-shine top coat (Serquinia likes Seche Vite's dry fast top coat) — keeping each coat as thin as possible. Top it all off with a spritz of an oil-based nail polish drying spray, such as CND's SolarSpeed. Finally, advises Serquinia, “go out and dance the night away.”

Comment: Do you have any at-home pedicure tips to share?

  • You, too, can get perfect feet without spending salon money.

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How To Get Flawless Feet For Summer
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