Bare necessities to get your feet set for summer
Sandal season is here and it's time to get those tootsies ready, says Katie Wright
Ditching the tights, popping on some flip-flops and feeling the sunshine on your skin is one of the joys of summer - or is it?
If the thought of baring your sun-deprived soles in a pair of sandals brings you out in a cold sweat, chances are you're not a regular in the pedicure chair.
"Cracked heels are very common, as hard-working feet take a lot of the strain when walking, exercising and generally being active," says Kate Taylor, Lloyds Pharmacy pharmacist.
"It's no surprise that the skin on the soles of your feet can become dry and cracked."
But that doesn't mean you need to hotfoot it to a salon immediately - there are lots of at-home options to tackle dehydrated heels and overgrown toenails.
Here, footcare experts reveal simple, fast and affordable ways to whip your feet into shape, ready for sandal season.
1. Pop on some peeling socks
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"Wearing Beautyfeet Nourishing Heel Pad Socks assists the sebaceous gland, sweat glands and skin to revive damaged heels," says Shane Doughty, buying director at Sock Shop. "It usually takes seven to 14 days to completely revive heels, but you should start to see results after one day."
Alternatively, Superdrug's new Foot Peeling Socks are designed to be left on for an hour, and use alpha hydroxy acids to encourage dead skin to peel away over the course of a week.
Beautyfeet nourishing heel pad socks, £4, currently reduced from £7.99, SockShop
Superdrug foot peeling socks, £8.99
2. Scrub up
"For the ultimate baby-soft feet, use a foot polish followed by a heel balm and butter to keep feet moisturised, preventing hard skin build-up - especially in summer," recommends Joanna Rind, senior product manager, Sanctuary Spa. "For an extra treat, soak feet in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes before using the foot polish."
Sanctuary Spa foot polish, £6, Boots
Weleda Birch body scrub, £9.95
3. File your feet
"Our feet are extremely hard-working, which, when combined with a lack of TLC, can cause build-up of dry, hard skin and even cracked heels," says podiatrist Dr Bharti Rajput, on behalf of Canesten Foot Health.
"Therefore, just like the rest of the body, treat your feet to a light exfoliation once a week, to help get rid of any dry skin, and refresh and rejuvenate the skin cells. Always use a safe foot file, which resembles sandpaper on a stick, instead of a metal one, which resembles a cheese grater!"
Sol de Janeiro Samba Foot Fetish Care smoothing board and cream, £25, CultBeauty
LloydsPharmacy foot pedi, £34.99
4. Try glycolic
"There is a reason that NeoStrata PDS Cream is known by so many as a 'pedicure in a jar'," says Lorna McDonnell Bowes, director of AestheticSource, of the exfoliating cream.
"Its ability to smooth away dry, cracked skin and leave feet baby-soft in just a couple of weeks is a dream. I never travel without it - it lives by my bed. Its unique, active ingredients help soften the most course, dry feet."
Neostrata problem dry skin cream, £23, currently reduced from £33, Harley Street Emporium
5. Moisturise daily
"Regular moisturising will keep your feet looking and feeling amazing, so use a urea-based cream night and morning" says Julian Ball from DLT Podiatry.
"Urea is a natural, moisturising substance, available in two strengths - 10% urea for keeping the skin soft and supple, or 25% for when the skin has cracked and needs help healing."
Ureka 10% Urea foot care cream, £5.25, FeetLife
6. Trim your toenails
"Trim your nails after a bath or shower with a good-quality nail clipper, cutting straight along the top," advises Ball.
"Leave about 1mm of white tip and do not cut down the sides, as this can cause ingrowing nails. Smooth off with an emery board."
Masqd The Nail set, £18, Boots
7. Pick a polish
"Add a pop of colour to your nails with a non-toxic nail polish, such as Dr's Remedy," Ball recommends.
"This vitamin-enriched nail polish is infused with a special blend of ingredients, including organic tea tree oil, wheat protein, garlic bulb extract and lavender. It minimises the appearance of dry, brittle nails, hydrates nail cuticles and improves the wear-time of your nail colour, providing a high shine."
Dr's Remedy Peaceful pink coral, £11.95, FeetLife
8. Use Balm
Finish your DIY pedi with a generous slathering of nourishing foot balm, then put on a pair of clean socks to help lock in the moisture overnight.
Natural Spa Factory sole food foot nutrition balm, £18 for two
Ameliorate Intensive Foot treatment, £15