With sandal season rolling around, you’ll want to make note of these pro tips to keep your pedi looking fresh for weeks.
1. Prep Your Base
In the same way your skincare sets the stage for makeup, treating your toenails before polishing is crucial to the longevity of your polish. New York City nail artist Ami Vega recommends swiping nail polish remover over each nail to eliminate natural oils or lotion residue, both of which can inhibit your base coat from adhering, says Vega.
2. Rid Yourself of Ridges
Nail ridges create uneven nooks and crannies, says N.Y.C. manicurist Pattie Yankee, which can make your polish chip sooner than you’d like. Apply a filler like Nailtek’s Foundation No.2 ($11; nailtek.com), which Yankee layers over toenails to create “a really smooth foundation.”
3. Choose The Proper Polish
When longevity is your main concern, Vega recommends avoiding chunky glitter polishes with flake-prone textures. Instead, opt for creamy polishes, which “lie smoothly against the nail,” preventing friction against your shoes.
4. Watch your Footwear
While no shoe is off-limits, some are less pedi-friendly than others. Yankee recommends shying away from pointy-toed shoes for at least 24 hours after a fresh pedi. Vega recommends avoiding running shoes—because the friction created by running is rough on toes. If you have to step into a pair, drop a bit of cuticle oil over nails to “create a barrier between the shoe and your foot,” Vega suggests.
5. Refresh With a Topcoat
Yankee suggests applying a fresh, clear topcoat at least once a week to “keep the color vibrant, and add a little protection, too.” If you’re feeling adventurous Vega suggests remixing your polish: “It’s fun to layer an iridescent sheer color over [your old polish] to create a new look,” she says. Not only does it offer a new sheen, it “covers up the fading that happens over time.”
6. Exfoliate (A Lot)
Vega recommends treating the skin on your feet as you would your face. “You have to tend to it every day,” she says. Slough heels and soles with a scrub to soften the tougher skin. Try a foot peel, like Avon’s dual Action Pedi Peels ($7; avon.com), which contain alpha hydroxy acid to chemically exfoliate. Then soften with a daily moisturizer. Bonus points for slathering feet with a hydrating salve then popping on socks before bed. The results: sublime.