When boots are winter’s de rigueur, it’s easy to get accustomed to cushioned, protected toes. But now that it’s practically summer, it’s time for your tootsies to come out of hibernation. We welcome the open-toed season like a shining ray of light, but there's always a price to pay for exposure: Dehydrated, flaky feet—not a pretty sandal-ed sight! Pair scaling soles with any strenuous summer excursion, and you've got a recipe for frightful feet—and who wants that? From exfoliating scrubs to skin-softening soaks, read up on DIY foot spa basics from Manhattan-based Blush Nail Lounge founder Vanessa Diaz.
THE PERFECT SCRUB
"We make our homemade foot scrub on-site daily, and it's so simple!" reveals Vanessa, whose nail salon transforms into a metropolitan hotspot come June. All the basic pedicure services at the Lower East Side-based lounge begin with natural cane sugar—the granulated texture serves as the perfect exfoliant and skin-softening agent. Then, they add vitamin E oil (a fantastic antioxidant) and aloe vera (which is incredibly soothing) to the sugar to soften the coarse particles.
DRESS IT UP
To easily "dress up" the exfoliating scrub, turn to your kitchen! Citrus aromas from oranges and lemons add the perfect scent. "Any kitchen grater works, just sprinkle the zest into the scrub," says Vanessa. "Blush Nail Lounge uses this technique in our Lemon Spa pedicure service."
THE PERFECT SOAK
Whether you're bone-tired from a mountainous hike or just hit rough, sandy terrain, foot soaks are ideal for tired, lackluster toes. "For basic pedicure soaks, Blush always uses sea salt in its foot baths," reveals Vanessa. The combination of sea salt and warm water increases circulation, reduces swelling, and relieves the tension that so many of us hold at the base of our body. "In our Milk & Honey Spa pedicure, we opt to use milk as the central ingredient in the foot soak,” she adds. The high concentration of lactic acid in milk works to soften feet and eat away at dead skin cells. Vanessa also suggests buttermilk for added thoroughness, which has a higher amount of lactic acid than regular milk.
DRESS IT UP
Essential oils are the perfect accent ingredients for any kind of foot soak. While countless kinds exist, Vanessa recommends these three staple oils to have on hand:
For invigorating and revitalizing tired feet. The crisp, refreshing scent wakes up the skin.
A magnificent, fresh floral scent with a light woody undertone. Lavender is said to have anti-depressant, antimicrobial, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, antitoxic, decongestant, deodorant, diuretic, fungicide, and sedative properties.
Tea Tree Oil
A powerful antiseptic with antiviral and antibiotic properties, tea tree oil is a very effective natural preservative and is used to treat foot fungus.