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Get picture-perfect feet for poolside posing…
Nothing says summer like freshly painted toenails and lightly tanned feet! Follow our simple steps to get a flawless salon finish, wherever you are.
1. It’s all in the prep
A good pedi starts with soft, smooth skin. ‘Never prep feet by soaking in water,’ advises Michelle Humphrey, Maybelline nail expert. ‘This can make nails dry and prone to chipping.’ Instead, buff feet with New Scholl Velvet Smooth Wet & Dry Rechargeable Foot File, £59.99/5,999 points, and smooth on a moisturiser, such as Soap & Glory Heel Genius Foot Cream Boots Exclusive £5.50/550 points (125ml). ‘Wrap your feet in cling film, pull on socks and leave for an hour,’ says Michelle. This will give dry heels a conditioning treatment.’
2. First-class filing
Squeezing your feet into high heels or tight sandals can damage your nails. ‘Keep them short and filed straight across to prevent ingrown nails,’ advises Michelle. And never use scissors to trim before painting. ‘Toenails are much thicker than fingernails, so opt for a pair of clippers,’ says Michael Harrison-Blount, Scholl podiatrist.
Brittle nails? Help improve their condition with a coat of Sally Hansen Maximum Strength, £4.95/495 points (13ml), under polish.
3. Strike a pose
‘To get a steady position for painting, sit upright with one leg crossed over the opposite thigh, keeping the bottom leg bent, with your foot flat on the floor, and pointing straight ahead,’ says Metta Francis, Barry M manicurist. ‘Keep your back straight, then lean forwards to paint the foot that’s resting on your knee.’ Switch legs to do the other foot – and remember, practice makes perfect!
4. Different strokes
Once you’re sitting comfortably, start to apply your colour. ‘Paint smaller nails using sideways strokes,’ says Michelle. If you want a pedicure that’ll last for a couple of weeks, you’ll need a base coat, two or three layers of colour, and a top coat to seal it all in. Smudged your handiwork? ‘To flatten a dry ripple, wet your finger, smooth it over the mistake, then apply a top coat to even out the colour,’ says nail artist Adam Slee. ‘If it’s a wet ripple, coat it in cuticle oil and carefully move it into place,’ adds Michelle.
Add these innovations to your nail kit to help shake up your look
ADHESIVE DOTS ‘Stick these half on and half off the cuticle,’ says Adam, ‘to create the perfect stencil for painting a half moon on the nail.’
SURGICAL TAPE ‘I use this to create straight lines over dry polish for nail art,’ says Michelle. ‘And cocktail sticks can help to clean up any flooding in the cuticle.’
BRUSHES ‘I always keep a slanted concealer brush in my nail kit,’ says Metta. ‘I dip it into a small amount of remover and use it to tidy up the area around the nail and cuticle.’ We love NYX Pro Brush 09, £10/1,000 points.
5. Time to dry
Be warned: impatiently applying more coats of polish when the others haven’t dried can cause cracking and peeling just a few days later. ‘A drop of cuticle oil over wet polish helps to speed up the process,’ says Michelle – we like No7 Cuticle Oil Boots Exclusive £8/800 points (10ml). ‘Contrary to popular belief, spritzing hairspray onto your nails won’t set varnish – it can actually make it curdle,’ she adds.
6. Lasting finish
Keep your pedi looking smarter for longer with this ace tip from nail artist Vernice Walker: ‘After you’ve applied your top coat, use the same product to paint over the free edge and the underside of each nail, to create a protective layer.’ We love Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat, £11.99/1,199 points (14ml).
Ditch winter darks
Switch summer pastels
‘Baby pinks and blues give a clean, fresh look,’ says Metta. Try New Rimmel London Super Gel Nail Polish in New Romantic, £5.99/599 points (12ml), and New Barry M Coconut Infusion Nail Paint in Laguna, £4.99/499 points (10ml).
Ditch single shades
Switch colour duos
Ditch tricky nail art
Switch single nail dotting
‘Make big toes your “hero” nails and apply polka dots using a bobby pin,’ says Michelle. Try Boots Essentials Blending Hair Grips, £1.49/149 points (30 grips).
Words Philippa Pearne Photography Will Whipple Beauty direction Donna Francis Hair and make-up Lisa Valencia at Carol Hayes Models Daisy at Nevs, Tenna at Premier With thanks to Beaches Ocho Rios Resort, Jamaica