The Six Steps To Sandal-Ready Feet

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Associate Beauty Producer

After a long season of wearing winter boots and heavy socks, we're so ready to take our toes out of hibernation. Unfortunately, they don't exactly look ready, so we asked Deborah Lippmann, celebrity manicurist and founder of the eponymous beauty line, for her expert tips. Read on below for Lippmann's six-step guide to getting gorgeous feet, and click through above to shop at-home pedicure essentials!

Step 1: Care
"Keep a foot file and callus softener in the shower year-round and spend 30 seconds on each foot at least twice a week to keep feet feeling and looking great. You should also use a hydrating foot cream like my ultra-nourishing foot lotion, Steppin’ Out, which is packed with kokum butter, aloe vera, acai and olive oil to hydrate feet and leave them noticeably softer."

Step 2: Shape
"When working on your toes, make sure to never let the nail hang over the toe and always shape it well. The ideal shape for a toenail is where the nail comes straight up from sides. Run a buffer in fluid strokes across the nail in one direction—don't saw back and forth. Begin on the right side of the nail and bring the buffer to the center, then move to the left side and shape to the center. You can then tilt the buffer so it comes up from underneath the nail to remove any extra nail 'fuzzies.'"

Step 3: Exfoliate
"Similar to your facial skin, you need to exfoliate to achieve a stronger, healthier nail. Using my Smooth Operator four-way buffer, buff nails using fabrics #1, #2 and #3. (Only use fabric #4 when you are not finishing with nail lacquer. This brings the nails to a high gloss and once used, nail lacquer will not adhere.)"

Step 4: Treat
"Apply cuticle remover liberally to all nails. Use a cuticle pusher to gently push the cuticle back. (You must go around the area several times to get a clean cuticle.) Wipe clean with a piece of cotton. Carefully nip any hangnails."

Step 5: Finish
"Assess the state of your nails to determine which type of base coat treatment is appropriate. Anti-aging? Rehydrating? Ridge Filling? Smoothing? Strengthening?"

Step 6: Paint
"Remove the brush from your nail lacquer by pulling it along the back neck of the bottle. You can see the front of the brush this way and control how much polish is on it. Set the brush on the center of the nail, approximately 1/8 of an inch from the cuticle. Begin to put pressure on the brush. You will see the lacquer flow out of the tip.

Gently nudge the brush ever so slightly toward the cuticle, next pull it directly forward toward the tip of the nail.

Set the brush on the nail a bit left of center (again, not too close to the cuticle). Follow the same procedure but as you pull the brush forward, continue to press the brush down so that the bristles spread to the far side of the nail. Repeat on the right side. Finish by gingerly brushing lacquer across the tip of the nail.

Allow a minute or two between coats. This allows the lacquer to dry faster, adhere better and last longer on the nail. Finish with the appropriate top coat."

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