For a well-heeled look, massage is marvelous and manicure's a must TOE THE LINE

June 30, 1994|By Suzin Boddiford | Suzin Boddiford,Contributing Writer

Now that summer is officially under way, there's a whole lot of sole searching going on as we kick off clunky boots, wiggle out of pantyhose and get down to the bare necessities. But before sliding a perfect 10 into a pair of revealing sandals, the ritual

summer pedicure must be performed.

Some cultures feel that feet hold the key to the soul of the body, which could explain the latest trend in foot massages. The Denise Christenson Design salon, downtown, combines a pedicure with a stress-relieving reflexology massage. The theory that applying pressure to certain areas of the foot will rid tension from corresponding parts of the body.

A great place to fuel your foot fetish is The Body Shop, in the White Marsh Mall or at Harborplace, where they have everything you'll need to set up shop at home: from Peppermint Foot Massage Lotion and Pumice Foot Scrub, to pumice stones and sticks, and 35-cent toe dividers.

What polishes have panache this season? Warm red is always a classic and flatters everyone, plus it hides ridges and dents. But the most popular new color, according to Ms. Christenson, is silver as well as soft mango shades, or sheer neutrals that not only look great with a tan but prevent chips from appearing so obvious.

Other trendy toes might go with one of the new frosted shades or opaque white. Even more creative is painting each toenail a different color, or applying temporary mini nail tattoos. If you don't like the effect you can always throw your socks back on.

Once you've got the canvas primed and painted, you need the proper frame to enhance the look. And what better to show off a pedicure than with a strappy, sexy pair of sandals to stay light on your feet?

The latest thongs, a more sophisticated interpretation of the rubber-soled, dime-store flip flops, are being worn with everything from short shorts to evening gowns. Those primary-colored, '70s Dr. Scholls and their copycat cousins -- metallics -- are on the rebound as well. To go with those gossamer slip dresses and sheer skirts, the Grecian or Roman ankle-wrapped styles are a sure bet.

"Sandals and opened shoes are actually your feet's best friend in the summer, because they not only keep you cool, but help combat fungal infections by keeping excess moisture away from the skin, allowing feet to breathe," says downtown podiatrist Dr. Howard Kesner.

As for the best way to treat those new-shoe blisters? According to Dr. Kesner, dab on alcohol before gently puncturing the blister with a sterile needle to release the fluid, but don't peel off the dome. Then let it heal with a bandaid and avoid friction, which is what brings them on in the first place. Footnote: Hangnails, calluses, corns, bunions and various other foot infections should not (unless minor) be taken into any pedicurist's hands or your own.

HOME PEDICURE

If a full salon pedicure is not in your beauty budget, here's

how you can do it at home with 10 easy tips from Denise Christenson:

1. Soak feet in warm water and a bit of bath oil for a few minutes to soften up the skin.

2. Trim nails straight across with a toenail clipper making sure not to cut the inside corners, which can cause ingrown nails.

3. File edges from corners into center of toenail to smooth out.

4. Rub in a moisturizer concentrating on the cuticles, or use a separate cuticle cream or oil.

5. Gently buff feet (including minor corns and calluses) with a pumice stone or Pedi-wand to slough away dead skin.

6. Push back cuticles with an orange wood stick swathed in cotton. Never cut cuticles, which can open up the nail bed to infection.

7. Cleanse nails with alcohol so that polish will adhere more easily.

8. Use foam spacers or a twisted paper towel to separate toes.

9. Apply base coat (always from cuticle to tip), two coats of nail color, and finish with a top coat.

10. Wait at least an hour for nails to dry fully before putting shoes back on or going to sleep.

ON THE COVER

Photo: Patrick Sandor

Styling: Suzin Boddiford, assisted by Maddy McCoy

Foot model: Victoria Van Ness

Pedicure: Robin Carlson of Denise Christenson Design

Silver Grecian sandals: Callisto, $60 at Joanna Gray

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