Seven tips for taking care of traveling feet

Feet need love too. (Photo by JG.Hampton.)

Whether you’re leaving footprints in the sands of the Sahara, meandering through the market in Florence, or navigating the broken sidewalks of your own neighborhood, feet take a beating, especially in summer. Last week’s article provided tips on finding the perfect summer travel shoes and, although choosing the right shoe can help keep your feet energized and blister-free, we all need to take some time to thank our feet for their hard work with a routine of regular maintenance.

For this, I turned to the expertise of a hand and foot care specialist, Ms. Patsy Mulvihill of Patsy James Exclusive Nail Spa in Bellevue, Washington. With her bright blue eyes, her ready smile, and those hard-to-miss golden curls, she may look like she’s only 25, but Ms. Mulvihill has been taking care of the hands and feet of celebrities, dignitaries, and VIPs for the last 19 years.

Before starting her own exclusive nail spa, she was Head Trainer and Department Manager at Gene Juarez, a popular salon and day spa in the Seattle area. She also spent many years building up retail shops for butter LONDON before being endorsed by them as the flagship service provider for their famous butter LONDON Waterless Manicure and Pedicure. Knowing all this, and having experienced her renown TLC first-hand, I knew she would be the perfect person to give me advice on how to take care of hard-working, traveling feet.

1. Moisturize

Ms. Mulvihill says moisturizing is the key to keeping your feet healthy. “After a nice shower, dry your feet thoroughly. Don’t forget in-between your toes! Afterwards, massage on some yummy foot cream.”

She recommends the FC5 Cooling foot creme from Arbonne, which, as an Arbonne consultant, she carries in her spa. She says it is important to moisturize your feet everyday, especially at night, so the moisturizer has a chance to do its magic under the cover of cozy cotton socks. This also keeps it from rubbing off in your shoes before it has a chance to work.

Arbonne FC5 Cooling Foot Cream

2. Exfoliate

Every other day, or as skin gets dry and flaky, it’s a good idea to exfoliate your feet as well. You can do this after your shower, once the skin on your feet has had a chance to soften up. “My favorite tool that I have used since beauty school is called the Swedish Clover™ Fot Fil.” Use it to work away the flaky skin and hardened callouses, but not so much that your skin becomes raw and overworked. Between exfoliation and moisturizing, your feet will be ready for action whenever you are.

Swedish Clover™ Fot Fil. (Photo from Spilo.com.)

3. Get those toenails in shape

Skin isn’t the only concern when it comes to foot care. Toenails need to be kept trim and shaped so they don’t cut into your socks or dig into the skin around your toes when you walk. For this, Ms. Mulvihill recommends Mehaz Professional Slant Toenail Clipper. “It has a slanted edge so it makes it very easy to get under the nail without cutting the skin. It also makes life much easier when cutting thicker nails.”

Mehaz Professional Slant Toenail Clipper (Photo from Amazon.com.)

Washable files, such as the 100/180 grit Purifiles Disinfectable Files, work well to shape and shorten the nails, she says. For a healthy looking shine, without any nail polish, reach for her favorite nail buffer, the D-File™.

Purifiles Disinfectable Files. (Photo from Spilo.com.)

D-Files™ Buffer. (Photo from Spilo.com.)

4. Don’t forget the cuticles!

Cuticles are a vital part of healthy nails and feet, too. They protect the nails from dirt and bacteria, which can lead to infection. Keeping them healthy is just as vital as anything else you do to take care of your feet. To do this, gently push them back with wood manicure sticks and then trim off the dead skin with Ms. Mulvihill’s favorite cuticle tool, the stainless steel Tweezerman V-Cuticle Nipper. Don’t tug or pull at cuticles when they loosen up and pull away from your skin. This can damage the cuticle matrix and allow dirt and bacteria underneath the nail. Just trim the unsightly and agitating dead skin with the cuticle nipper.

Tweezerman V-Cuticle Nippers (Photo from Amazon.com.)

5. Spice up your routine with a seasonal treat

If you really want to knock your socks off (pun intended), Ms. Mulvihill recommends using any of the body sugar scrubs, shower gels, and massage oils or body lotions from the Skin Organics brand to create a multi-sensory, at-home pedicure. At her nail spa, she is currently offering an anti-aging pedicure using the Cherry Marzipan line. Skin Organics is the perfect brand with which to do this because of the different variety they offer. Each season brings a new idea to keep things interesting and fresh. In the fall, she does a Spicy Pumpkin pedicure and, in the winter, she indulges her clients with the Chocolat line.

Chocolate Sugar Scrub. (Photo from Skin Organics.)

She also speaks highly of Arbonne products as well. “I will be adding the Arbonne SeaSource Detox Spa line for my pedicure services very soon.”

Arbonne SeaSource Detox set. (Photo from Arbonne.com.)

6. Splash on some color

Now that your feet are feeling soft and fresh, your toenails may be hankering for a little splash of color. While Ms. Mulvihill has seen a lot of people opting for natural fingernails these days (“Falsies are out”, she says), color is still very much in for both fingernails and toenails. According to our expert, you can’t go wrong with the many colors butter LONDON offers. Always start with a clear base coat, then do a couple of rounds using your chosen color, and finish with a top coat.

butter LONDON Girls Night Out Gift Set. (Photo from butterLONDON.com.)

For those who like a little color on their nails but hate the upkeep and drying time, Ms. Mulvihill suggests a “power nail polish” using Creative Nail Design’s Shellac™. “It looks like regular nail polish but what is so amazing about it is that, when your service is over, your nails are completely dry and they will last without chipping for ten days to three weeks!” She says her customers love it because they can immediately put on their closed toe shoes without worrying about smudges. She does recommend letting a professional do it, though, and warns that Shellac is a product name, not a service itself. “I see a lot of other nail salons that advertise that they do Shellac but, in fact, they are using a knock off brand.”

7. Leave it to the professionals

Of course, the best way to give your feet a real treat is to take them in for regular professional pedicures. Ms. Mulvihill suggests doing this every four weeks. “It is very relaxing, keeps the callouses at bay, is great for your circulation, and it keeps your nails healthy and nice looking.”

If you’re in the Seattle area, the only professional hands for your feet are, of course, those of Ms. Mulvihill herself. At the Patsy James Exclusive Nail Spa, pedicure services start at $40 with either a butter LONDON Signature Pedicure or a mini-pedicure. The Classic Pedicure is $65 and includes “a warm foot bath, skin exfoliation, nail shaping, cuticle care, mini reflexology massage, callous care, and lacquer application”. And, for an even greater indulgence, enjoy the Spa Pedicure, which is $75 and includes everything from the Classic Pedicure with the addition of a warm paraffin treatment.

Ms. Mulvihill provides peace of mind and one-of-a-kind, luxurious service when it comes to taking care of weary traveling toes and feet. Even though she has worked with a lot of celebrity and VIP clients, you don’t have to be Angelina Jolie to be treated like her. Ms. Mulvihill is a master at making every client feel like a VIP. To book an appointment, it is advised to do so as far in advance as possible. You can view all of her services and even book them online at her website.

Whether you keep your routine simple at home, or leave it in the hands of professionals, keeping your feet happy and healthy is an important step for any road warrior.

4 thoughts on “Seven tips for taking care of traveling feet

    • Hi, Mom! If Patsy was giving the pedicure, you’d be hooked forever, I’m sure. ;) Otherwise, we may have to look around for a good place to try together around here! Love ya!

    • Sherry, I’ve been following your trek across Africa and you’re not kidding! You seemed to have done it all–camping, hiking, as well as exploring urban paths along the way! I’m glad you were able to get some TLC for your feet while you were enjoying an amazing part of the world! Thanks for stopping by! ~ Sherry

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