Treats for the tootsies
They're out on display at the first sign of sunshine so you want them to look their very best. One good pedicure is all it takes to get your feet ready for flip-flops.
I'm a firm believer in letting the professionals get to work first, because afterwards you can get by for weeks and weeks, however cack-handed you are with the nail polish (one tip: slap it on in the evening, let it all dry, and all the splashed bits can be worked off your toes in the shower the next morning).
Once the basics have been done, you can indulge in as much DIY as you like. For instance, take one tablespoon of rock salt and mix it with three tablespoons of your favourite body lotion to create a cheap and cheerful hydrating foot scrub. Alternatively, you can make a heavy paste using a blend of several strawberries, two tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of finely chopped almonds. Massage it into your feet, leave on for a few minutes before rinsing off. (If you need second helpings, the mixture will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.)
Pat your feet dry, and cut your toenails straight across. Don't be too enthusiastic, it shouldn't be any shorter than your toe's natural ridge. Then file them to a square shape with nice rounded edges. The skin on your feet is much thicker than the rest of the body, so it really is worth investing in a specially formulated product to keep them soft and smooth. Here are our favourite toe treats.
Clarins Foot Beauty Treatment Cream, €25
This contains shea butter, which smoothes away roughness and virgin cashew-nut oil, which is fantastic for restoring suppleness to skin.
Even better, it's non-greasy so you won't slip or slide in your sandals.
If you're planning on painting your nails straight away, then wash the cream off your nails using soap and water.
Emjoi MICRO Pedi, €49.95 Say goodbye to hard skin in seconds with this effective gadget. Its two interchangeable heads use a buffing motion to leave skin feeling smooth.
It's surprisingly painless and not too ticklish. But it is pressure-sensitive so even hard-skin haters can't work it too hard. However, all that hard skin has to go somewhere ... so consider carefully where you operate it.
Aveda Foot Relief, €25
Thick and creamy with a subtle minty smell, this improves the appearance of even the driest and most cracked feet. Your new strappy sandals will thank you.
IsaDora Sugar Crush Nails in Love Crush, €9.75
A stunning colour that works on toes (and fingers), this show-stopping shade suits all skin tones and looks just fab with a tan.
Nails Inc Eaton Exfoliator, €13
Regular cardio workouts are great for your waistline, but not so sweet on your feet, leaving them feeling rough as hard skin builds up. Soften them twice a week up with this scrub.
The Body Shop's Almond Nail & Cuticle Oil, €11.95
There's a slight gel-like texture to this, which helps it to absorb easily with any messiness, leaving dry cuticles and nails feeling moisturised and super-soft, while the latter definitely felt stronger.
Normally I'm not a fan of click pens, but I'll happily make an exception in this case, especially as it includes a cuticle push on the lid that's gentle enough to be used every day.
Mane and Tail Foot Miracle, €12.95
Treating yourself to this foot-friendly product doesn't mean that you're lazy, it just means that you've cleverly identified a hard-working multi-tasker, which hydrates skin, strengthens weak nails and softens cuticles. Plus the oil- and vitamin-enriched cream can also be used on other areas of dry skin, including heels, elbows, and knees.
Bullet Pedi Pro, €23.99 (from Boots, Debenhams, and jmldirect.com)
Sometimes a girl needs a bit of extra help. This nifty device does the trick, quickly buffs hardened heels and bunions. Use on dry skin before your shower.
Sally Hansen Growth Cuticle Pen, €5.95
The applicator brush is dead handy, and the easily absorbed oil is very moisturising and thankfully not at all sticky. Use regularly and the result is healthy, resilient nails.
Health & Living