Get pretty, polished toes in four simple steps —no appointment necessary
"From reverse French nails at Prabal Gurung to neon brights at Tracy Reese, eye-catching polish is this summer's best accessory," says celebrity nail guru Jin Soon Choi, who lacquers the likes of Scarlett Johansson and Anne Hathaway. While a relaxing beach getaway can instantly deliver on the promise of a golden glow and tousled waves, summer-ready feet require a little more effort. Here, Choi's step-by-step guide breaks it down.
After removing chipped polish, trim nails straight across with steel clippers and smooth uneven edges with a fine-grit emery board or metal file. Opt for a slightly rounded shape to prevent painful ingrown nails, advises Choi. Then, lightly buff out ridges and any discoloration on the nail plate with the coarse side of a four-way buffing block.
MC TIP: Constantly sporting dark polishes can turn nails a yellowish hue. To lift really stubborn stains, try using teeth-whitening strips or bleaching gels on nails for 20 minutes.
For the full spa experience, fill your tub with warm water and soak feet for five to 10 minutes. Go all out by adding a few drops of uplifting essential oils (like antibacterial tea tree) or a pinch of mineral salt to help rejuvenate tired feet. Massage cuticles with a nourishing vitamin E oil and gently push them back with an orangewood stick.
MC TIP: Trim cuticles only if necessary —like in the case of a hangnail, warns Choi. "It's never a good idea to cut the cuticle at the base of the nail, as it will likely tear and ruin a great pedicure."
Slough off dry patches from your knees to the soles of your feet with a sugar- or salt-based scrub infused with hydrating glycerin and sweet almond oil. To smooth trouble spots and hard calluses on heels, Choi recommends using a pumice stone on damp skin.
MC TIP: Create your own scrub by combining 4 tablespoons of granulated white sugar with a tablespoon each of coconut and olive oils.
"Prepping nails properly is key to ensuring a chip-free, long-lasting pedicure," explains Choi. Start by taking off any greasy residue with an acetone-free remover and applying a strengthening basecoat. Next, swipe on two thin layers of polish (allowing two minutes between each) before finishing with a quick-drying topcoat. "Pay extra attention to the tips, since that's where lacquer tends to peel first."
MC TIP: Keep your nails looking fresh by applying a high-gloss topcoat twice a week to protect polish and restore shine.