Since the dawn of pedicures in ancient Egypt—the tomb walls of pampered pharaohs tell the story our tootsies have never looked bet- ter. Last year, nearly a quarter of all salon services were dedicated to our lowest—but hardly our lowliest extremity. Toe lacquer that lasts three weeks is big, but there’s a growing focus on foot wellness set to rival spa facials, too.
At the forefront is London’s Margaret Dabbs Foot Clinic & Nail Spas, which employ podiatrists—that’s right, foot doctors—certified with four years of clinical training. Dabbs, a chiropodist, invented the medical pedicure in the ’90s, gaining a cult following among journalists, celebs and royals. At her Marylebone Village flagship, toe techs diagnose skin disorders, medically reconstruct damaged nails and prevent bunions with acupuncture.
They’re equally dedicated to beautifying. “People in the medical profession might treat whatever you came in about,” starts Dabbs, “but in the end your feet don’t actually look any better.” As of February, an elevator ride from Céline’s toe-squishing stilettos at Level Shoe District—a 96,000-square-foot shopping mecca in Dubai—you can enjoy an Oxygen Therapy pedicure akin to the anti-aging face treatment, with a swish polish finish. Here, Toronto’s One to One Studio now offers Dabbs’s signature pedi, applying patented techniques using her emu oil–based range.
As for the shade? Runway minimalists Céline and Prada chose crimson, the little black dress in any nail wardrobe. “Red is all-time,” says Tom Bachik, L’Oréal’s global nail artist. “You can never go wrong.” We’re finding the robust red of our favourite summer fruit to be extra right.
Damn, That’s Smooth: Three steps to the at-home “foot facial”
1. Start with dry skin, since moisture masks the area to be treated, suggests Margaret Dabbs, London-based foot clinic empress. Plus, especially if you’re prone to cracks, “bathing in water weakens skin, so it’s more likely to tear afterward.”
2. Use a fine foot file. Metal graters take skin off in clumps, causing uneven regrowth. Callouses come back faster when you’re too vigorous, adds L’Oréal pro manicurist Tom Bachik, since skin treats the area as a wound.
3. Massage in your own hydrating cocktail, advises Bachik, who combines two drops of lavender essential oil with L’Oréal Revitalift deep set wrinkle day cream, $30, for clients such as Victoria Beckham and Beyoncé.
From left: Margaret Dabbs foot hygiene cream, $40. Revlon nail enamel in impulsive, $6. Margaret Dabbs professional foot file, $48.
Heirloom Haute: The orangy-red hue that goes with every shoe
Clockwise from top left: Kawaii Cool at Prada, Strap Happy at J.Mendel, Elite Sport at Céline and Major Minimal at Nina Ricci.