Pedicures are serious business. Just ask Cindy Vong, the woman who opened a fish spa in Phoenix only to have it shut down by the Arizona Board of Cosmetology. She's in court fighting for her right — and yours — to "fish pedicures," during which small fish nibble away dead skin.
If you've skipped pedicures all winter, you are no doubt stocking enough dead skin to feed a school of fish, as demonstrated by that scratching sound heard when you slip under the sheets at night. But as temperatures rise and take those toes to the ocean, it's time to get back to the business of keeping feet sandal-ready.
Bath time is the ideal time to keep feet well groomed. A quick in-bath foot scrub, daily use of a pumice stone or the application of a chemical exfoliant to feet twice a week should keep sea creatures away.
Callus Blaster is a little-known gel that miraculously removes dry skin in three minutes with twice weekly use. I discovered it in a drugstore years ago and I absolutely swear by it. The manufacturer recommends washing the product off after three minutes and I second that. In fact, I use gloves when applying mine, otherwise this hardcore product, which literally removes dead skin in just minutes without scrubbing, leaves my hands raw.
Daily use of a pumice is a classic yet effective way to keep skin smooth. Everyday use is key as pumice stones slowly and gently remove dead skin with continued use. Use a pumice stone at the end of your shower or bath and be sure to get the pumice itself wet before using, then gently scrub wherever dead skin is to exfoliate. Power up this old-school approach by opting for a product like Spa Sonic's Skin Care System Face & Body Polisher ($65 at Walmart), a waterproof tool that includes battery-operated attachments such as a body polishing unit, facial brushes, a body brush, a facial buffer, and, best of all, a pumice stone.
For those who prefer an even more gentle solution, regular use of a DIY foot scrub should keep feet soft and smooth. Pick up a container of coarse sea salt at the store and mix 1/2 cup of salt with 1/4 cup of oil on hand (like olive oil). Scent the scrub with essential oil such as peppermint, ideal for eliminating odors, or grab a lemon from the fridge and mix the zest of one lemon into the scrub, which further softens skin.
When it comes to the best pedicure paints, shades of blue, orange, green and fuchsia are on trend for spring and summer.
Sephora + Pantone Universe created lacquers in the 2013 color of the year, emerald. Get a trio of emerald polishes for $18 at Sephora. Robin egg's blue hits the perfect note courtesy of "In the Cab-Ana" from Essie's 2013 Resort Collection while Mariah Carey's collection for OPI includes a product called "Liquid Sand," which dries to a textured matte finish and is available in a host of hues. Or get really wild with Zoya nail polish in "Paz," an ultra-bright neon orange.