The time has come to put away the wool socks and snow boots and allow toes to wiggle freely. As feet come forth from their forced hibernation, they may make a desperate cry for salvation. So in order to best replenish the soles, here is some advice from two experts - Cathy Coccoaro of Long Island's Cactus Salons and Essie Weingarten, founder and president of Essie Cosmetics - on how to have the prettiest feet on the block.
Sanitation: Get Pretty Toes
Even if you've had a thousand pedicures at your local salon, don't get casual about its cleanliness. Before dipping your feet into bubbles and softening salts for a blissful pedicure, make sure to ask the nail technician to clean the tub with the proper sanitizing products - think bleach and chemicals to kill off any bacteria. Look for professional brand names on the bottles they use.
The tools to make toes go from gnarled to glamorous also need to be sterilized by either an autoclave or bleach-equivalent solution. The best way to be assured of completely safe tools is to bring your own kit with a nail file, white block, cuticle pusher, and pedicure file.
Before going to get a pedicure, it is not wise to shave your legs. Wait until after the pedicure so that the exfoliation doesn't irritate sensitive skin, leaving you with a break out. Don't worry-the nail technicians will not be troubled by a little stubble.
Under no circumstance should your pedicure involve a razor blade. This is now against the law because there is such a great risk for passing along germs in cuts you may get. Instead, have the nail tech use a file or pumice stone to gently remove dead skin. Be sure to caution the technician before starting if you're ticklish.
Lastly, your nail tech should wear a new pair of rubber gloves, both for your health and hers. You don't want any germs from the last client and you don't want to pass yours on either.
Color: Mix It Up
Colors are constantly changing in salons and you may not be aware that there is a slightly different shade of your favorite color. And if you don't have a color in mind, or just want a change, with the huge variety of shades and hues to complement your skin tone, there will surely be something that catches your eye. This season, leave the deeper shades of purple and red behind and slip into a lighter and brighter palette that reflects the essence of spring. Essie Weingarten names each and every color in her company's palettes, and this season she was inspired by the newest trends at the fashion shows. Dubbing the collection, "The Art of Spring," Weingarten wanted to show how intertwined art and fashion are. She "[loves] "nothing more than a classic pastel hue paired with an explosive burst of color"-so don't be afraid to mix brighter outfits with a softer polish or vice versa.
Until Next Time: Nail Upkeep Between Salon Visits
For those who struggle to make it out of the salon without chipping the fresh paint, there are new gel formulas on the market that are said to last at least two weeks and don't feel heavy like acrylics. The new O.P.I Axxium gel polish looks great after days of normal wear and tear (even for moms). On your toes, the gel polish may even last up to a whole month.
If you reapply polish at home, be sure to remove any lotion or oil from the nail before beginning. Use a base coat and top coat with the polish so that it has the best chance of staying put. Allow a few minutes between each layer too.
For moms, it is difficult enough to find 10 minutes of peace each day let alone set aside a solid hour every other week to get a pedicure. So between visits, the best thing to do is add a bit of nail care to your evening beauty regimen. Brush a bit of cuticle oil on so that the skin around your nails doesn't dry and peel, which may result in some very angry looking nail beds. At the end of a steamy shower, use a file or pumice stone to gently remove the dead skin from your heels. Afterwards, use either lotion or baby oil (while giving yourself a little foot massage) then cover with socks before slipping into bed.