In the summer, we love that we can quickly tie up our hair into a loose topknot and we’re good to go – but there’s one aspect of our beauty routine where we step things up a notch: getting our feet into shape. They take a beating in flip flops and sandals and need extra care and attention. And while we indulge in professional pedis every now and then, sometimes getting the job done at home is a must. Tamara Soogrim, one of the aestheticians at Flaunt Boutique in Toronto, shares her advice on how to get your feet looking their best on your own.

Fill a basin with warm, soapy water and soak your feet for five to 10 minutes. “How long you soak depends on how much softening you need,” says Tamara. Grab your foot paddle and slough away your calluses and rough spots.

Scrub if you’ve got time.
If you’re giving yourself the VIP treatment, add a scrub at this point. “You can even make your own by adding some brown sugar to moisturizer and add some essential oils.”

Pat your feet dry and clip your toenails next. Keep the shape square. “It’s healthier for your toes, if you go with rounded you have greater risk of ingrown toenails.”

File, buff the surface and get to work on your cuticles.
Using a file (Tamara prefers one that’s 180 grade – you want something not too hard or too soft) and try to avoid filing in both directions (“As this can lead to chipping and tearing.”). If you have any furrows or lines in your nail bed, buff to smoothen the surface, then while your feet are still moist from soaking, applying lotion and gently push down your cuticles (“At the salon, a pro will use a cuticle solvent but at home, some lotion will work,” says Tamara).

Finally, apply your polish.
Start by using alcohol or nail polish remover to remove any oil or lotion residue from your nail bed, then apply a base coat to prevent staining. Follow with two coats of your nail colour, and finish with a top coat to protectively seal it all in.

Now that you know the steps, check out our favourite products for the perfect at-home pedi.