Footwise: six steps to trim toes

Follow our rules of thumb and get ready to flaunt your feet

Are your feet fit for public display? Or are they rough and ragged from being neglected all through the long winter months? It's easy to remember to take care of our hands as they're constantly on view, but, at least during the winter, we tend to care more about our fancy footwear than about the feet inside. Come the summer, though, who doesn't want to slip on some strappy sandals and step out with pride? Follow our six-step plan for an emergency pedicure and you'll soon be putting your best foot forward.

  • Use good quality clippers or nail scissors and cut toe nails straight across, then shape them using an extra-strong emery board to smooth away any jagged edges. Be careful not to dig into the corners, though, as this may cause ingrowing toe nails. When toe nails are wet, they are softer and easier to cut, but they are also more fragile and tear more easily.
  • Use a cuticle remover cream on the toe nails. Allow it to act for a minute or so and then push back the cuticles with a cloth or an orange stick. You can use the same cream on small areas of hard skin, too, as it will help eliminate the build up of dead cells.
  • Soak your feet in warm water for ten minutes to help soften the hard skin, then use an exfoliating foot cream (thicker than a normal exfoliating cream).
  • Use a foot file or pumice stone to treat larger areas of hard skin, especially around the heel. Remember, though, that the harder skin in these areas is there to protect the areas that suffer most wear, so don't be too demanding.If you have particularly bad calluses, a trip to the chirpodist may be in order.
  • Dry your feet carefully, paying special attention between the toes, and massage in a moisturising cream. This may contain glycerin, which is especially rich, or menthol, which has a cooling effect. If you are going to paint your toe nails, make sure you remove all traces of cream from your nails first.
  • Use a base coat to protect nails from discolouration and to make the varnish last longer. Apply two coats of colour, and top with a protector coat to increase brightness and durability.

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