Shed your running shoes shame-free! Get your feet sandal-worthy with our at-home pedicure routine.
Soak It Up
Start with a soak to soften and cleanse feet, while setting the stage for relaxation. “A good soak is the key to making an at-home pedi feel like a salon experience,” says celebrity manicurist Elsbeth Shuetz, who recommends Nailtini Club Soda Fizz ($18, tinibeauty.com) or Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Sea Foam Foot Soak ($15, crabtree-evelyn.com). Fill a basin with warm water and add your soak of choice. For a DIY alternative, mix sea salt with sprigs of rosemary and fresh mint. Up the indulgence factor by placing massage rocks at the bottom of the basin and rub your feet over them for a quick foot massage. “Soaking softens calluses and rough patches, making them easier to remove or buff away,” Shuetz says.
Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate
Now that your soles have been softened, the most important step is to remove dead skin cells and smooth calluses. “After soaking feet, use a sugar scrub to exfoliate dry areas,” says Jessica Knep¬per, licensed nail technician at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture. Knepper recommends creating your own sugar scrubs at home by mixing grape seed oil with brown sugar to form a paste. “Grape seed oil is a mild astringent and easily absorbed by the skin,” says Knepper. We also like Bath By Bettijo CocoaMint Fresh Foot Scrub ($29, bathbybettijo.com), which combines hydrating cocoa butter and antibacterial sugar with peppermint essential oil to revive aching muscles.
When it comes to exfoliating, concentrate on scrubbing the heel and ball of the foot. Slowly remove dead skin cells layer by layer, taking care not to irritate any cuts or blisters. Exfoliating is a gradual process and should be a daily summertime ritual; don’t try to get feet super smooth in one sitting.
As a runner, you need your calluses to protect your feet from the friction caused by pounding the pavement. “If you have rough patches, use a gentle foot file to take away only the skin that comes away easily after soaking or showering,” Shuetz says. “Going too deep can irritate and make running painful. Calluses can provide natural protection from impact or friction, so removing too much takes away some of that barrier.” Avoid harsh shavers or scrapers and only use soft scrubs. Pevonia Botanica Skincare Callus-Free Dry Oil ($32, shoppevonia.com) exfoliates calluses with salicylic acids and safflower oil. Spray all-natural Deborah Lippmann Get Off Callus Softener ($38, lippmanncollection.com) on tough skin to soften calluses, corns and cracks.
Hydrating skin is a crucial step in maintaining soft and supple feet. While skin is still damp, thoroughly massage a rich moisturizer in until fully absorbed. Try L’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream ($28, loccitane.com), which contains antiseptic lavender essential oil, anti-inflammatory arnica extract to help reduce redness and irritation, and refreshing mint to cool feet. Curél Foot Therapy Cream ($6, drugstores) is formulated with Shea butter, vitamin E and coconut milk, known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. An all-in-one treatment, Miss Oops Pedicure in a Bottle ($18, missoops.com) exfoliates, hydrates and soothes achy soles with cooling peppermint and menthol.
Shuetz also recommends taking preventive measures and moisturizing pre-workout. “Before running, applying foot cream will make skin more pliable and less susceptible to blisters,” she says.
For a deep, nourishing treatment, try an overnight foot cream to heal painful cracked skin. We love Soap & Glory Heel Genius Amazing Foot Cream ($15, sephora.com), which rejuvenates feet in a single overnight session, giving even the roughest skin a run for its money. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Foot Magic ($7, drugstores) makes it easy to pamper tired tootsies without a lengthy spa visit. Simply apply at bedtime to transform feet from dry to supple, with a soothing blend of pure mango butter, vitamin E and eucalyptus oil. Slather on generously, and slip into white cotton socks to let the healing begin. Wake up to naturally lovely feet!