It's summer. You shouldn't be wearing boots or kneesocks on the regular. It's time to be brave and bare your soles.
For the purpose of this post, I've qualified Feet into four categories according to Their Level of Busted-nessTM.
Level 1: Princess Feet (as smooth as the day you were born)
Level 2: Just Feet (maybe a tad rough in the heel area, but not too bad)
Level 3: Jacked Up (pretty damn bad, but potentially salvageable)
Level 4: Wrecked (most of the people in this category think they can't be helped and just skipped to another blog, shaking in fear and self-loathing)
A quick note to Level 1's: Maybe you're blessed with those baby soft feet that never look bad. Maybe you've got a standing appointment with a fabulous pedicure-ist. If you are one of these types, you're excused. Go on and read some of the pithy and genius things I've previously written. This post is for the rest of us.
To read about how to fix your situation, keep reading.
Things we can all do to keep our feet from being unholy disasters
Start humming kumbaya softly, ya'll, 'cause I'm about to discuss the things we all have in common and the things we can all do to help our feet.
- Maintain your toenails.
It's not cute to let them curl, no matter what the Guinness World Records people think. Louise Hollis (no, really: click the link!) already won. Hers were over 4 inches long and when her husband gave her the old "It's me or the toenails" line, she got a divorce. You can beat that; let it go.
And when you do cut them, follow Proper Toenail Maintenance Protocol. Cut straight across with small nips on dry tootsies. Use a nail clipper, not a hacksaw or your teeth.
- Wear shoes. And slippers.
It helps. This practice keeps things in (hydration, moisture, stench, your germs) and out (germs, bugs, athlete's foot, discarded gum, shards or metal and glass, blueberries the baby tossed off of the highchair). I am convinced that his constant shoe-and-sock-wearage is why my husband has Level 1 Princess Feet.
- While you're at it, wear the RIGHT shoes (at least some of the time).
Lassies, you know those Pradas are hawt, but you also know they're bad for your feet. Let's not pull a Rachel-from-Friends and become the girl who hasn't felt her own feet in years. Instead, give it a rest from time to time and wear something a bit more foot friendly.
Yes, there are foot stretches. Actually, this news could have helped me when I was standing in heels at MAC! Too little, too late, Internet, but maybe these stretches can help someone else.
- Make sure your pedicure is a safe one.
I just got skeeved by reading these tips, because I like to live in a cloud of pleasant and blissed-out naivete. I can't believe I've made it this long without a major foot disease!
- Be responsible.
Read through this list, remember what's on it, and if any of these things come up, go see a doctor!
- If your toes stink, do something about it.
Try the amazing T for Toes by Lush.
Level 2: Just Feet
Exfoliate: Once a week, go ahead and scrub off any yuck. I like True Blue Spa's Toe the Line (get it at Bath & Body Works). It's got a bracing fresh menthol-style smell and surprisingly gentle but effective walnut shell bits that help get everything nice and soft. I also love my ginormous Crystal Pedi-Buff - like crystal files for manicures, but for smoothing feet! It's the best file/buffer I've tried. I use it at night before moisturizing.
Moisturize: Again, True Blue Spa gets it done with their Shea it Isn't So Shea Butter Cream. I stock up on the stuff! Lush's Fair Trade Foot Lotion (soothing, cooling, moisturizing, and softening) is also aces!
Keep 'em that way: Buy some flip flops if you hate shoes - this is the perfect time of year for them. Try Vaseline or a shea butter product on your feet at night (slip on socks for extra oomph). Give yourself a pedi every other week (or get one, if you can swing it - follow the safe instructions above).
Paint: Anything works on pretty feet, so take a look at the suggestions in the sections that follow, too. I personally hate the French Pedicure, but neutrals are a nice way to show off your feet. Try shades of sand, bisque, caramel, shell, peach, or sheer pink. Bonus: these shades are less obvious when they chip or start to grow out! Try: Revlon Gold Get 'Em, Rimmel Desert Beauty, OPI Malaysian Mist, Essie Ballet Slippers, Essie Mademoiselle, China Glaze Chiaroscuro, China Glaze Simply Stunning, Sally Hansen Petal Pusher.
Level 3: Jacked-up
Exfoliate: Twice a week, sister! Lush has a great bar, Running to theEmbassy, that has sea salt and pumice to soften, cocoa and shea butters to moisturize, and two mints to revitalize (and de-stink!). The Pedi-Buff also is appropriate here (see Level 2), as the Mr. Pumice (see Level 4).
Moisturize: At night, slip on True Blue Spa's Moisturizing Gel Socks (at Bath & Body Works) and let the all-natural ingredients like olive oil, jojoba oil, and Vitamin E moisturize while you sleep. Or, if you're like me and you hate your feet to be hot at night, at least slip them on during True Blood!
Keep 'em Nice: Socks on when you're home, please, and a bit of lotion on those puppies won't hurt. Keep cuticles moisturized, too, and if your pedi looks shabby take off the paint -- chips call attention to feet in a bad way.
Paint: Show off your hard work with classic shades or pink, red and coral!
Try: OPI I'm Not Really a Waitress, OPI Keys to My Karma, Rimmel Posh Pink, Essie Tiny Wine-y, China Glaze Fiji Fling, China Glaze Hawaiian Punch, Revlon's Revlon Red, Revlon Oh My Magenta, Sally Hansen Sonic Bloom.
Level 4: Wrecked
Exfoliate: You may need to exfoliate two or three times a week, girl. Just accept it, and move on. Try Callus Blaster (I reviewed it here) to really get rid of the dry bits. No, seriously - it's cheap so give it a try even if you're thinking "there's no way it will work on my busted feets!" It's hard hitting. Use it in a ventilated room! I also swipe my Mr. Pumice doo-dad over my feet when I shower then I slather on some moisture (I only use it 3 times a week, but it helps!).
Moisturize: A moisturizer with exfoliating ingredients is the key here (urea, LHA, AHA are good ingredients to look for). Try Lush's Volcano Foot Mask (slather on, wrap feet in bags, reap rewards - papaya is the all-natural exfoliant here) or my must-have nightly moisturizer, La Roche Posay Lipikar Feet (no lie: good stuff that has 5% LHA and gradually reduces calluses over 5 days).
Keep 'em Nice: My best advice is to use the exfoliation and moisturization suggestions here in Level 4 (and the previous levels) and do it consistently. A professional pedicure is a big help every month or two as well. I confess: my feet are Level 4 (at least!). Dry? Check. Rough? Check. Calluses? Check, Check!
I use all of the things I've mentioned here. I exfoliate 3 times a week (more than that seems not to make any impact, less is a mistake!); I moisturize whenever I can (especially with Lipikar); Callus Blaster has been a god-send; and though I'm a bare-foot-lover I've been trying to wear slippers in the house (always shoes outside!). These things are all helping - it's the first summer I haven't been horrified of my feet more often than not.
Paint: Ok, here's my trick (please keep this between you and me): BOLD and BRIGHT are the key! It's probably counter-intuitive to use bright colors on feet that may not be so nice, but bear with me while I explain. I use vibrantly painted toes as a magic trick. People will stop and admire your green, purple, fluorescent, or otherwise bright toenails and be too distracted to check out the rest of your feet! So pick the brightest shade on the shelf or try the trend du jour. Just think "Distract!! DISTRACT!!" Try: China Glaze Coconut Kiss (the world's best purple!) is perfect for this. Also check out China Glaze For Audrey, China Glaze Frostbite, Essie Aruba Blue, OPI Gargantuan Green Grape, OPI The "It" Color, Revlon Fuchsia Fever, Rimmel Green With Envy, Sally Hansen Lightening.
Coincidentally, these items are currently being sold as specials (though I found that out as I wrote):
Lush has lost their collective minds and are offering 7 (SEVEN!) products for only $20. In the Sole Revival set you get Volcano Foot Mask, Little Feet Bath Bomb, Running to the Embassy, Pied de Pepper, Fair Trade Foot Lotion, and Lemmony Flutter Cuticle Butter. Only twenty bucks? What?!
Callus Blaster, Lipikar, Crystal Pedi-Buff, Toe the Line. The rest were purchased by the author.
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