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5 Tips to make your feet summer-ready

Julie Sprankles is a freelance writer living in the storied city of Charleston, SC. When she isn't slinging sass for SheKnows, she enjoys watching campy SyFy creature features (Pirahnaconda, anyone?), trolling the internet for dance work...

Sandal season is upon us! Here's how to get your feet ready for freedom

The sun is shining and open-toe shoes are calling, my friends. At long last, summer is upon us, which means it's high time to ready your feet for all of the cute strappy sandals you'll undoubtedly be rocking soon. Need a few pointers? Say no more — we've got five tips for getting your tootsies gorgeous.

1. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate

This may look like three tips, but rather it's one really important pointer. Make this your pre-summer mantra: "Exfoliation is my friend." You know that thick layer of seemingly powdery skin on your heels? I mean, you know, hypothetically of course. Well, hypothetically, that's a whole lotta dead skin cells just waiting to be sloughed off so you can unveil the smooth steppers hidden dormant beneath.

Luckily, exfoliation doesn't have to be difficult or costly. Mix some kosher salt and oil in a bowl for a great DIY scrub. Or, if you simply have to get your feet to the beach, take a long walk along the shore — sand is a fantastic natural exfoliator. If your feet are in need of more, ahem, intensive attention, you'll likely want to look into purchasing a mechanical exfoliating tool or a chemical foot peel utilizing fruit acids.

2. Consider a nice, soothing soak

If you're anything like me, you long ago invested in a brilliant — albeit probably overpriced — heated foot bath with which to pamper your tired toes. If not, just grab a large bowl or basting pan and fill it up with warm water and essential oils. If you are feeling adventurous, you can try the viral 1 cup of Listerine, 1 cup of white vinegar, 2 cups of warm water soak courtesy of ol' Pinterest. A less alternative option would be the solid stand-by of warm water and Epsom salt, though. Either way, incorporating soaks into your foot-care routine — either before exfoliating to soften skin or afterwards to rinse off the slough — will ensure your bare feet stay beautiful year round.

3. Make moisturizing a priority

All that time spent exfoliating and soaking will be for naught if you forget to seal in all the moisture. And really, who has time to waste like that? Especially when beach season is right around the corner. Your best bet for super-soft, sandal-sportin' feet is using a thick emollient cream on a daily basis. In fact, one of the most popular tricks of the trade is slapping said foot balm on at night, slipping on a pair of heavy socks and sleeping your way to pretty tootsies.

If you favor more organic foot moisturizing methods, coconut oil works wonders for achieving that baby-soft feel. Just slather it on your feet after bathing. Bonus: You'll smell like a tropical paradise, too.

4. Pay attention to detail

Once you've established a regular routine of exfoliating, soaking and moisturizing, you may be tempted to call it a day and slip your feet into your sandals already. Sure, you'll be just fine if you do — it's not as though the pedi police are going to alight on you and cart you off to the clink for having ragged cuticles. However, your feet will look better, feel better and hold pedicure polish longer if your cuticles are pushed back and trimmed. This is also a good time to be on the lookout for any lingering callouses that could use a little extra TLC, and to shape your nails in preparation for some punchy color.

5. Polish 'em up

No pedicure is complete without a little toe dazzle. It's a law of nature — feet just look better in open-toed shoes when said toes are coated with a plucky polish. Bright pinks, corals, reds and oranges are classic summer hue choices, but don't be afraid to pull inspiration from your outfit or from your surroundings. A blue as deep as the Adriatic Sea? Yes, please! Don't skip a base coat, lest you dig that whole yellow toenail look once you remove the polish, and add a top coat to prevent chipping. Look for a high-quality polish with a decent brush for easy application and enduring results. Lastly, have fun! Your feet will thank you later.

This post was brought to you by Almay.

More summer beauty tips

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Beach waves that don't require sticky salt spray (VIDEO)
10 Natural tricks for beating summer beauty woes

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