In the summertime, we often heap a lot of abuse on our poor feet, who only love and serve us in return. From dealing with stinky odors to painful blisters thanks to countless outdoor adventures and humid weather, we seem to forget how to take care of feet in summer entirely. And even though fashion bloggers have encouraged us all to embrace the comfy and cute ways to style Birkenstock sandals and Tevas, we generally still end up occasionally cramming them into uncomfortable heels to boot.
So I urge you not to end your post-summer healing beauty ritual with simply throwing a treatment on your hair, applying a generous layer of aloe, and mashing up an avocado for a face mask. Whether you hiked and kicked soccer balls until your feet couldn't feel anything anymore, out-danced everyone on some wedding floors, or stood in ankle-deep mud puddles at music festivals, your summered-out feet could likely use a little bit more luxurious TLC too.
You can spend a whole night sloughing, soaking, and scrubbing all at once or pick a single treatment à la carte for smoother, sweeter-smelling, and softer feet ASAP. Your feet definitely deserve a little thank you, after all, so here are nine ways to do just that without springing for a costly visit to the luxurious spa:
1. Give Them A Long Soak
Release those tense and achy muscles after dancing in heels at that wedding. A steamy bath stimulates blood flow when you soak your toes in a nice, hot basin. You can load up a special foot bath or just fill your tub up halfway. Add in accouterments like epsom salts, essential oils, dried flower petals, and coconut oil for extra luxury and effectiveness.
2. Mask Those Puppies Up
A mask? For your feet? Yes, absolutely! Foot masks can serve many different purposes (just like face masks) and this one from Lush cools, softens, exfoliates, deodorizes, and gets rid of bacteria and fungus. Basically, it erases all of the sins that you've incurred against your feet over the past few months and preps them for even deeper care.
3. Buff, Babe
Clarisonic Pedi Set, $230, sephora.com
Skip the pedi shop around the corner and buff your hardened heels in the comfort of your own home. Re-runs of You're The Worst won't judge when your Friday night in consists of de-scaling with a cool bottle of bargain rosé. You can always use a cheap exfoliating paddle from the drugstore or up your game with a heavy duty home buffing system, too.
Green Tea Scrub, $22, babescrub.com
Sometimes you just want that unbelievably smooth feel or don't have time for a full buffer session. For those times, a little sugar and/or salt scrub can go a long way. Pick one with softening oils to exfoliate away your old, dead skin (and the dirt you amassed at that music festival last weekend) and moisturize the new layer of tender skin now on the surface to keep 'em soft.
5. Ice, Ice Babies
If you have sore feet and hot therapy is not doing it for you, treat your toes to some ice therapy. The cold of an ice bath or ice packs will constrict your blood vessels and give you some relief. Whether your job had you running around or you went on a weekend camping trip, give your feet some soothing coolness.
6. Treat Them To A Peel
Baby Foot Peel, $19, amazon.com
While I'm completely enamored and grossly fascinated by watching foot peel videos on YouTube, I've been a bit too chicken to actually try this cult favorite for myself. After a summer of going barefoot in my backyard, I'm ready. The Baby Foot Peel uses fruit acids to attack the dry skin on your feet and causes it to peel off and shed pretty dramatically. If you subjected your feet to a fair amount of abuse this summer, you owe them this.
7. Roll Away
Foot And Hand Massage Roller, $29, amazon.com
There's nothing better than a stress-relieving, muscle-melting foot massage. But if you've got no one around to administer one, then a rolling massager is the next best thing. If your feet are crying out for some TLC after being shoved in soccer cleats or after standing in line for that killer food truck, just administer a little self-massage. Bonus: It's so tiny and discreet you can do it under your desk at work. Shhhh.
8. Paint 'Em Up Pretty (If That's Your Thing)
RGB Polish In Garnet, $18, rgbcosmetics.com
Hey, it's not a holistic solution but a little bit of shine and sparkle never hurt anyone. Make the most of the last of your open-toe days with a pedicure that you won't want to mess up, which will hopefully make you a little more mindful with your feet.
Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil, $22, sephora.com
Whether you've scrubbed, buffed, soaked, and massaged your feet into a state of bliss or are just looking for a quick fix, a luxurious and decadent lotion is an easy way to always keep your feet supple. Slip on socks and a generous application of lotion before bed or rest on top of a hot pack for extra moisturizing power.
Even though our toes take a beating in the summer, foot care shouldn't be a seasonal thing. Make sure you keep these tools and treats handy for smooth, healthy feet all year round.
Images: Fotolia; Courtesy Brands