GEMs of Beauty:
Summer Feet

Let me start off this month by admitting how much my feet get on my nerves. Yes, I appreciate them and yes, they get me where I want to go…but they are not dainty. They are really long and narrow and my toes are really long and narrow, and—yeah, Mother Nature, I’m blaming this on you, dear heart—they get even longer with age. Goodbye, beloved shoes. Hello, calluses.

Feet are easy to ignore most of the year, but when summertime brings the sandals out of the deep freeze, attention must finally be paid. Since those much-abused tootsies take a pounding on a good day anyway, now is the best time to start taking care of them properly. Always try to slather on the foot cream when you slather on the hand cream, because your feet can get terribly dry, and your heels can get terribly cracked and rough. And since there are so many fantastic nail polishes to choose from each time you get a pedicure, you won’t have to worry about hiding your feet in sweat-inducing sneakers once you start a regular foot-care regimen. Try some of these terrific products:

1. Earth Therapeutics Clean + Cool Foot Wipes and Precisso Pedicure File


Lovely long walks on the beach are great exfoliators for your feet, but that’s the only place where sand feels nice on your toes and soles. Luckily, Earth Therapeutics has launched their Clean + Cool Foot Wipes that come in a resealable pack. Formulated with tea tree oil and peppermint, you can use them anywhere to remove dirt and sand after walking outside barefoot or in sandals, and they’ll cool you right off. Then, when you get home, follow up with their Precisso Pedicure File to slough off calluses and hard dry skin. There’s a coarse side for rougher areas and a fine side for gentle filing, and a removable mini-file at the end tip of the handle. It’s an extremely effective tool, and much safer than the scary razors they use at nail salons.

Buy the wipes for $5.99 (pack of 15), and the Precisso Pedicure File for $14.99 at EarthTherapeutics.com

2. Paula’s Choice Cuticle And Nail Treatment


While it’s a lot of fun choosing a fab color for your pedicure, it’s easy to overlook the health of your toenails, especially if they’re dry or brittle and your cuticles are raggedy (which, I’m sure you know, should never be cut). A great little product is Paula’s Choice Cuticle and Nail treatment stick, made from a blend of several nourishing oils and shea butter that repairs and protects nails and skin. It comes in a handy applicator–just brush it on your entire nail bed, rub it in a little bit, and let it do its magic.

Buy it for $11 at PaulasChoice.com

3. Ahava Mineral Botanic Tropical Pineapple And White Peach Body Butter


If you can’t get to the beach, add a hint of the tropics with this yummy body butter by Ahava. Loading with Dead Sea minerals, shea butter, peach butter, and palm oil, this rich cream smells so good you won’t just want to use it on your feet. And if you want to indulge, you can get a matching body lotion and cream wash.

Buy it for $28 at Ahavaus.com

4. Kneipp Foot Care


Kneipp has long been known for their wonderful bath oils, and their new foot-care trio is just as therapeutic. Nothing feels better on tired and sore feet than a long cool soak at the end of a hot day running after the kids or getting stuck in traffic when the thermometer is as high as your temper. Just pour some of these Foot Bath Crystals, loaded with calendula and rosemary oils, and you’ll revitalize your feet in no time. (Can’t say the same about the temperature!) Next, the Anti-Callus Salve is ideal to slather on when your feet are not so smooth and your sandals are beckoning. Use this salve nightly and you’ll see a big difference in only a week, thanks to the rosemary, jojoba oil, and 25 percent moisturizing urea. It’s great for those who don’t like to use any kinds of tools to get rid of calluses. Finally, when you need intensive therapy on your stressed-out feet, slather on this cream that’s an aromatic blend of calendula, rosemary, shea butter, and urea. Then put on a pair of lightweight socks, get some sleep, and you’ll wake up with noticeably smoother and softer feet. It’s especially good for cracked heels.

Buy the Foot Bath for $22, the Anti-Callus Salve for $25, and the Foot Repair for $30, at KneippUS.com

5. Scotch Naturals Nail Polish


One of my favorite nail polishes is made by Scotch Naturals. Not only are the dozens are colors gorgeous, whether jewel-toned or subtle neutrals, but they are 100 percent free of toxic solvents, phthalates, gluten, fragrances, and parabens so your nails won’t only be stylish but healthy. “You don’t need to throw everything out immediately and start from scratch,” says Ginny Cardenas, CEO and founder of Scotch Naturals about transitioning to healthier products. “It can be too costly and just plain wasteful. When it’s time to replace or purchase a new product, reach for a more natural version. You will find by the end of the year your home will be filled with natural products that are better for you, your family and the environment.”

Buy them for $14.99 at www.ScotchNaturals.com

6. Nails Inc. Polish


When you’re in a playful mood and want to snazzy-up your toes, take a look at the fabulous new colors and textures from Nails Inc. The Gel Effect colors give you a high shine, glossy finish without the need for skin-and-nail damaging UV lamps or soaking in chemicals. The Latex Effect applies glossy and then finishes with a waxy, latex-like look (very subtle and very chic). Garden Party contains a blend of matte and metallic glitters, while Floral polishes contain matte glitter particles for a 3-D effect as a top coat. Indulge your inner Barbie and have a blast choosing the colors.

Buy the Gel Effect for $14, Latex Effect for $11, Garden Party for $11, or Floral for $11 at NailsInc.com

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Don’t forget—your feet need this kind of attention all year round, especially when the weather gets colder and you’re clomping around in heavy-duty snow boots. Just because your toes aren’t display in those gorgeous strappy sandals doesn’t mean that you can’t go for a snazzy color—pick a hue that reminds you of the beach, which is especially lovely on a grey day when you can pretend that summer is just around the corner (even when it isn’t!).