If the prospect of exposing neglected soles and toes in sandals is scaring you, don’t panic. Six troubleshooting steps are all it takes to whip feet into show-off shape
1 Glass nail files are a quick fix for out-of-shape nails – unlike emery boards, you can use them in any direction without weakening nail tips (plus, they last ages). Remember, polish stays on a smooth surface longer, so use the file flat against nails to even out bumps or ridges, too.
2 With super-fine grit, Margaret Dabbs’ Professional Foot File is like microdermabrasion for hard skin (concentrate on the heels and balls of your feet and the edges of your toes). Alternatively, her Foot Scrub gets in-between toes, too – use on dry skin to maximise its scrubbing power then rinse off.
3 Skin on your feet is 12 times thicker than the rest of your body, so your regular moisturiser won’t cut it. Hot-foot-it to a supercharged formula like Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Cream or Margaret Dabbs’ Night Treatment Socks, which have a moisturising gel lining to spruce up dry skin while you sleep.
4 Now the fun part: colour! Wipe away any moisturiser residue from nails then apply base coat (non-negotiable to prevent staining). If your first coat of colour looks patchy, don’t stress – a second coat will even it out nicely. Noticed pesky bubbles in previous pedis? Instead of shaking the bottle to mix it, tip it upside down and roll between palms.
5 Shaky hands? Fix mistakes with this neat tip – after painting each toe, dip an angled make-up brush (like this cheapie from Diego Dalla Palma) into nail polish remover and trace it around nails to clean up any polish that’s spread onto skin – genius!
6 Instead of tip-toeing around, apply Butter London’s quick-drying top coat then spritz with Leighton Denny’s Miracle Mist to speed up your dry time. To eke more mileage out of your pedi, keep Leighton Denny’s High-Performance Nail Colour in Angel Dust on standby – its tiny glitter particles reflect light and distract from any imperfections.
Photographer: Dan Smith / Make-up artist: Adam de Cruz / Model: Della at Hired Hands / Beauty editor: Emma Robertson