We lavish love and attention on our feet during the spring and summer–cute sandals mean pedicures are essential. But when winter arrives, our foot care game tends to languish. Just because we’re all about boots for six straight months, it doesn’t mean your feet should suffer. Give them the care they need now, and they’ll be beautiful come springtime! Here are seven brilliant ways to nurture your feet through the long, cold winter.
Who doesn’t need a reminder to decompress? At the end of every day, relax by treating yourself to a soothing and smoothing foot scrub. Using a thermal exfoliating scrub will not only boost the smoothing power, but will warm frozen feet in the process, says celebrity podiatrist Dr. Suzanne Levine.
Because we spend winter wrapped up in socks and slippers, we don’t have the natural aid of sandals and sandy beaches to help exfoliate our toes, says Amy Bobeda of Behind the Scenes Beauty. Once a week, try combining a quarter cup of honey with a tablespoon of sugar to create a foot scrub. Soak feet in warm water and rub them down, paying extra attention to heels and the cuticles on your toes. The honey will help soften your skin and the sugar will slough off skin buildup. After your rinse, moisturize with vitamin E oil and hand cream to hold in the moisture.
Moisturize and hydrate.
Keeping feet well-moisturized can actually help keep you warmer. In winter months, skin tends to get dry and can crack. In addition to being painful, cracks in skin can let the cold in, so moisturizing in the winter is especially important, says Dr. Levine. When moisturizing your feet, start at your toes and move towards the heel.
Trim those nails!
Maybe you won’t get a pedicure as frequently during the winter as during the summer, but don’t skip them entirely. “Winter boots can often irritate the toenails if they are not well-trimmed–so make sure to get regular pedicures or trim your nails yourself at home,” says Dr. Mariano Rivera, DPM, at Chicago’s Ankle and Foot Centers.
Exercise your feet.
Often overlooked, exercising feet and toes improves circulation and can keep your feet warmer. Dr. Levine suggests foot exercises, including a gas pedal pumping simulation exercise, or writing the alphabet with your toes, which can be done wearing shoes or boots.
Give your feet the care you’d give your face.
Yep, really. “There are approximately 250,000 sweat glands in each foot and they excrete as much as half a pint of moisture a day,” says Dr. Alan Bass, a board-certified podiatrist. You may have the most absorbent socks of all time, but sometimes that’s not going to keep those snow boots from smelling. Bass recommends Freeman Bare Foot Repair Deodorizing Foot Spray, which absorbs moisture and also neutralizes odors fast by treating feet to fresh, toe-tingling ingredients that smooth your soles.
Wear the right shoes.
A lot of us are wearing shoes that simply don’t fit. “Most of us believe our foot is narrower than it really is, which causes us to buy the wrong shoe size. Three out of four adults admit to foot related issues, which ranges from bunions to blisters,” says Bass. “Go to an independent shoe store to make sure you know your correct size. And, it’s best to go shopping for shoes in the afternoon because your feet swell as the day goes on,” says Dr. Bass. But the right size isn’t the only thing you need to think about. “It’s also important to make sure you wear the appropriate footwear for the activities you are involved in that day.” So fight the urge to go hiking in heels, everyone.
And speaking of heels, Dr. Bass says to make sure you take extra care if you love your stilettos. “Women also have about four times as many foot problems as men due to wearing high heels. Make sure to wear ones that are no more than 2-inches from the ground.”
We may not be ready to hang up our heels for good, but if it helps us in our quest for pretty winter feet, we’ll definitely be more mindful.
Read more: DIY A Salon Pedicure At Home.