Your Best Foot Forward

Words by Janell Hickman

Images of Black man's pedicured feet

Words by Janell M. Hickman

The sun has set on sandal season (or should we say “mandal” season?) but it’s just heating up when it comes to “Netflix & Chill.” Seriously, who wants raggedy feet imposing on their love life? Remember, your beard isn’t the only area that needs a bit of TLC this season, look downward too! We know sitting at a nail salon is not at the top of your to-dos, so we gathered some info for you to get your feet in tip-top shape. Read on to discover how to put your best foot forward for real.

Create A Schedule

“I think the average man should consider a pedicure every 4 weeks,” says board-certified Manhattan podiatrist, surgeon, and founder of daniPro Nails, Dr. Gary Evans. “If someone is very athletic (or very adventurous) every two weeks would be more appropriate. During winter months the big concern centers around skin dryness. Summer months we’re more focused on skin fungus i.e. athlete’s foot.”

“Men should trim their toenails once a week or bi-weekly if they are doing it themselves,” advises  manicurist and beauty consultant, Dawn Sterling. “[I’d say] every two weeks ideally or once a month at the very least for a full pedicure. Never use a razor on your callouses—make sure you only use your own tools.”

Start with the Basics

“Moisturizer and toenail trimming are the two easy steps for a clean look,” explains Sterling. “If men could apply moisturizer on every evening or after the shower it would help a lot for dry feet!” She recommends keeping the following in your pedicure arsenal:

  • nail file
  • toe nail clipper
  • jojoba cuticle oil
  • foot cream
  • foot scrub
  • cotton balls
  • Sea Breeze or rubbing alcohol
  • three-way buffer
  • cuticle clipper

Practice Proper Foot Etiquette

Images of Black Man receiving pedicure
“When bathing, take that extra minute to wash your feet with soap and water,” shares Dr. Evans. “Then,  follow-up with a gentle exfoliation using a pumice stone to remove any dry skin or callouses.  Next, dry feet completely, and apply a light moisturizing cream. Application of a toxin free clear nail polish can offer protection to the toenails and improve the appearance.”

How you clip your nails is equally as important as their appearance. “Toenails should be trimmed properly, straight across,” advises Dr. Evans. “They should not be any longer than the actual tip of the toe. Do not cut into the corners—if you do feel a sharp edge, gently file the nail, making it slightly rounded.” He reiterates again— “never, never trim your toenails into the corners. Also, avoid peeling, or ‘ripping’ off “dead” skin.”

Know When to Call Back Up

“The problem facing most men, is that when they have an issue, they believe it will just ‘go away’ on its own,” explains Dr. Evans. “While that might be true some of the time, it isn’t all of the time.  A normal foot issue, does not include the following: redness, and or swelling in an area.  Anything that causes you to limp.  A persistent or worsening itch—conditions such as these should never be ignored.”

Sterling chimes in, too. “If your toe nail is lifting at the base, you should call your doctor. If there’s splitting, you should call your doctor as bacteria can get trapped under the nail,” she advises. For surface yellowing, tricks like soaking your feet in apple cider vinegar can help. She also recommends rubbing the nail bed daily with tea tree oil or oil of oregano to help keep bacteria at bay.