Whether you dance with two left feet, get cold feet every now and then, or fail to toe the line sometimes, our feet manage to find their way into every corner of our lives. And despite their epic task (carrying us around), we often neglect and judge the pair we own so harshly. But it pays to pamper our feet, and treat ourselves to a regular at-home pedicure.
“It’s important to remember that feet are rarely perfect,” says Dr Helen Banwell, podiatry academic at the University of South Australia and a member of the Australian Podiatry Association.
“People tend to cram them into shoes when they have lumps and bumps, and so we don’t realise just how normal this is.”
Here’s how to pamper our feet.
Firstly, don’t sweat it
Given that our feet have about 250,000 sweat glands (producing up to 200ml of perspiration each day), it’s no wonder they can be a bit on the beak sometimes.
“The two main things that make our feet smell are sweating, which increases the bacterial load on our skin, or athlete’s foot, which is the most common infection known to humans,” says Helen.
For both causes, mild to moderate cases will improve by keeping the feet clean (daily washing with soap) and drying well, particularly between the toes.
“For sweaty feet alone, I’ll often prescribe Akileine Green cream, which reduces sweat very well,” she advises.
Now, it’s pamper time
In the same way we reach for a face mask when our complexion needs some TLC, feet also benefit from a treatment that delivers high levels of nourishing and hydrating ingredients.
Podiatrists recommend washing feet twice daily with an antimicrobial formula.
Then, of course, there are extra treatments. Patchology’s heel and foot mask ($16.26) has shea butter, coconut oil and plant extracts and takes 10 minutes
How to do a pedicure at home
There’s something satisfying about walking out of a salon after a pedicure with smooth feet and perfectly painted toes. .But, you can give yourself an at-home pedicure that can look just as good. Jenna Lynch, founder and nail artist at Nails By Jenna (@nails.by.jenna_) sheres her top tips on getting fabulous feet at home.
1. Skip the soak
At home, Jenna recommends a dry pedicure. “It’s so much better for your skin, as soaking can actually make your skin drier.” She recommends a pumice stone or DIY scrub made with Epsom Salt and olive oil, used in the shower to keep heels super soft.
2. Sort your kit
For best results, you’ll need nail clippers, a nail file (“Use a 180 or 240 grit file for shaping the nail,” says Jenna), a cuticle pusher or orange stick, cotton pads, acetone (to remove old polish and tidy up mess), Q-tips (to tidy up edges), a nail buffer and cuticle oil, as well as your base coat and polish.
3. Shape & buff
Once polish is removed, Jenna recommends a soft square shape (known as squoval). “Aim to shape the free edge parallel to your cuticle and then round out the edges to soften the look and prevent them catching on things,” she says. To give polish longevity, lightly buff the nail to remove the shine. “This is what creates texture for the polish to stick too,” says Jenna.
4. Make it stick.
Gently push skin back from the nail and try a cuticle remover (“I love the one from OPI,” says Jenna), which quickly and painlessly removes any dead skin. Then apply a base coat, which creates a barrier between your nail’s natural oils and polish.
5. Throw some shade
Paint on 3-4 coats of thin polish, using 2-3 strokes per coat. “Start with the brush a few millimetres away from the cuticle and once you have made contact with your nail, lightly push downward to fill the gap before stroking up toward the nail edge,” says Jenna. “This avoids flooding the cuticle with polish and it leaking everywhere.” Once colour and top coat are dry, finish with nourishing cuticle oil.
Try these nail polishes: