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The perfect pedicure: What you really need to know

Ursula Dewey
by Ursula Dewey Published on 15 June 2013

Want to know the secret to gorgeous looking feet? Shoe shopping! Trust us - it's true. We spoke to the ultimate foot care goddesses at Margaret Dabbs to find out exactly how to nail the perfect DIY pedicure for feet that look pretty - all year long!

If you're battling with the thought of exposing your tootsies to the outside world after safely storing them away in winter boots, then fear not. We have expert tips from the team at Margaret Dabbs on how to revive your feet and transform them from crusty and drab to soft, peachy and totally sandal-worthy.
​ And if you didn't know, Margaret Dabbs is footcare royalty. Renowned celebrity foot expert, QVC and GMTV regular and boasting several destination clinics for all things foot related if there's anything worth knowing about feet, then the Margaret Dabbs team have got it sorted.

There are some hard and fast rules when it comes to having beautiful feet - and it all starts with your skin. There's no point having beautifully painted nails if the rest of your foot looks prehistoric.

We spoke to Tamara Igerias, podiatrist and all round foot expert at leading medical pedicure institution, Margaret Dabbs, to discover the secrets to healthy beautiful feet - and nails!

Don't file your feet when they're wet

One common misconception is that to have beautiful soft skin on your feet, you need to soak them. While it can be easier to slough away skin when it's wet, it's actually not the best way to tackle a build up of hard skin. Rather the secret to having smooth, soft feet is filing them regularly - making sure you do so when feet are clean and dry.

Tamara says: "It's much better to file skin on your feet when they are dry as the skin is in it's natural state."
Really, it makes sense - the file will have a much better grip and when your feet are dry you can also better identify areas of hard skin that might require some extra exfoliating attention.

Invest in a good quality foot file that won't snap when you apply a bit of pressure on those tough edges. Margaret Dabb's Professional Foot File is a goodie as it's made with stainless steel (nice and durable) and comes with replaceable pads (they're made with compressed crystals) to slough off those pesky layers of dead skin cells.

Do keep your feet hydrated

The next secret to beautiful feet is to keep them hydrated - regularly. Tamara says: "Most people only start worrying about moisturising their feet when it comes to summer, but you should be taking care of your feet all year round."

The trick is to get a skincare habit. Tamara suggests that after you've put your night cream on that you moisturise your feet before going to sleep. Some foot creams can be too rich and sticky so a foot lotion is a good compromise as they absorb more quickly yet still hydrate the feet.

Margaret Dabbs Intensive Hydrating Foot Lotion is a ​good option as it dries with a matt finish in a matter of moments.

Perfect Pedicure © Margaret Dabbs

Don't use blades

This one's important. Tamara says: "Whatever you do, never take a blade to your foot."

There are plenty of different products out there with blades designed to tackle stubborn hard skin on the feet, but taking a blade to your skin is never a good idea. Tamara says: "Leave that to the professionals and if you want to deal with hard skin - just use a decent foot file."

The risk of cutting yourself is too high, plus when you remove skin with a blade it often leaves a ridge which means that the new skin that grows will continue to grow in a ridge-formation - not nice.

Take her advice and step away from the blade. ​​

Do buy new shoes

One of Tamara's best-kept secrets to beautiful healthy feet? Changing up your footwear - and often. Bascially we've all been given a licence to get some brand new shoes in our wardrobes!

The problem with wearing the same pair of shoes day-in-day-out is that the foot gets used to the shoe. Tamara says that it's better to allow your foot to breathe in different styles of shoes - but the main thing is making sure all your shoes have a good fit. ​
Margaret Dabbs says: "Shop assistants might tell you that a shoe that's a bit tight will give with wear, but if they don't fit in the shop, don't buy them. Any shoe that isn't properly fitted can cause painful corns and calluses."

"A shoe that fits too tightly around the toes can cause ingrown toenails from too much pressure on the surrounding skin. Ingrown toenails are extremely painful and can lead to infection."

It's best to alternate between different styles of shoe so that you don't cause any foot problems. Time to invest in that ankle boot habit.

Do cut your nails straight across

If you weren't sure of the rule when it comes to cutting your toenails, there's only one thing to remember - cut them straight across.
Doing it like this means that you will be much less likely to have a painful ingrown nail. Follow up your nail trim with a glass nail file as these can be worked in both directions. This will smooth the edge of the nail ready for a base coat and nail polish.

Don't use Acetone products

The main thing to think about when applying polish is how nail-friendly the formulas are. For starters only use Acetone-free nail polish removers so you don't dehydrate the nails.

Next, chose a base coat to protect your nail and prevent staining, and make sure it's dry before applying your colour.

We're obsessed with ​NARS nail polishes - as they're always fashion-forward, long lasting and most importantly free from the three toxic nail no-no's; ​Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), Toluene and Formaldehyde. Try this Arabesque shade for an eye catching pedi.

With these five secrets you can't go wrong! Got a footcare secret of your own? Tweet us @sofeminineuk to let us know!

by Ursula Dewey