Splurging on a pedicure is one of the best summer beauty rituals. Fresh nails, soft feet and a new pair of sandals can make you feel like a million bucks. But the day you look down and see a bunch of chips? That is a sad day. Keep that day as far in the future as you possibly can (a quality pedicure should last at least two weeks), and DIY your own pedicure preservation. Here are six tips to help keep your pedicure looking pristine long past your trip to the salon.
Don’t leave the salon until you’re dry
Like, fully dry. Getting into your car and smudging it on the brake pedal is just too much of a crazy-making risk. Bring flip flops to the salon and wear them and the foam toe separators until your pedicure good and ready for them to be taken off. Shoving your feet into socks and shoes before they’re ready is the quickest way to mess up a pedicure (and something we have to deal with enough in the winter). Give it the time it needs.
Avoid high heat exposure up to 12 hours afterward
Polish can take up to 12 hours to harden (especially if it’s a thick formula), so a soak in the bath or hot tub can make it hinder the hardening process and make you more vulnerable to smudges, dents and peeling. Skip the post-salon shower, soak or swim until you know your toes have had some time to chill.
Reapply your top coat
A quick and dirty way to preserve your pedicure is to reapply a top coat a day or two after your pedicure. The top coat the manicurist applied will typically wear off in a few days, so slick on another coat before you see any signs of wear to prevent chipping and maintain shine. Splurge on a high-quality clear polish like OPI’s Top Coat ($10) to stay protected.
Stay moisturized and avoid synthetic fragrance
The perfumes in so many readily-available body lotions can cause nail lacquer to chip (as tough as polish is, synthetic fragrances can be tougher). Look for more natural options that are either non-scented or use essential oils instead. Seeing the word “fragrance” on an ingredients list is an indicator any number of harsh chemicals are causing the appealing smell. Druide’s Karité Body Lotion ($22) is a chemical-free option with shea butter, argan and rosewood oils, and it smells great and hydrates deeply.
Keep your toes covered
It may go against the laws of summer, but wearing open-toed shoes too often in the summer (especially if you’re a cyclist, gardener or beach-goer) can cut the longevity of your pedicure down exponentially. When you can, try and limit rocking those sandals to cleaner, easier-on-the-toes occasions as much as you can. Obviously, the point of a pedicure is to show off your feet, so there’s no point in keeping them hidden from the world all the time. Just use your best judgement.
If you’re paying to get your callouses dealt with by the pros every few weeks, invest in a tool that can help you regularly maintain your feet and you may be able to lessen your reliance on the salon. Rather than have it out with your heels using a pumice or foot file, consider an automatic tool like Bliss Achilles’ Heel Spa-Powered Heel Smoother ($49). This is a two-speed heel smoother that uses an exfoliating disc to remove callused skin. You just switch it on, press lightly against your heels and soles, and it goes to work. (PS: We’re giving that and other Bliss products away here.)