Chips on a two-day-old pedicure can drive a girl bananas. The sanity saver: gel nail polish formulas, which “look the same on day 14 as they did on day one,” promises Gabrielle Ophals, owner of Eve Salon in New York City. From the comfort of your couch, try Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Pro Kit ($79, at Ulta), an at-home gel system that comes with base and top coats, an LED light to cure the polish, and a red enamel. Or head to the salon for the new Gelcolor treatment by OPI (from $28, opi.com for a salon near you). Another option: Revlon ColorStay Long-wear Nail Enamel ($8, at drugstores), a gel-inspired formula that stays chipless for about five days longer than regular nail polish.
Ice Cream Colors
Glam and unexpected, opaque pastels are summer’s breakout hit. Peach and yellow look best on golden or olive skin; if you’re fair, go with light blue or lavender, says manicurist Elle. For peach, try M.A.C Cosmetics Nail Lacquer in Life and Beth ($15, maccosmetics.com); for blue, Thakoon for Nars Nail Polish in Kutki ($18, narscosmetics.com).
Can’t sit still long enough to get nail art? No prob. Pre-designed press-on toe-polish strips—which require no drying time and last up to 10 days—are like having Katy Perry’s nail pro on speed dial. Our favorite (cool, not cheesy!) summer designs: colored snakeskin and black-and-white houndstooth. Try Sally Hansen Pedicure Salon Effects in Pink Boa ($10, at drugstores)
Caviar doesn’t tempt only on a plate—it also turns heads on toes. Ciate Caviar Manicure($25 for a kit of beads and polish, at Sephora) lets you stick tiny pearls (multicolored, black, or white) onto wet nail polish. The effect is supercool but not for the fashion faint-of-heart, and it’s very temporary: Beads start to fall off within 48 hours (or less, if you squish feet into closed shoes).
Feet get banged up in the summer—blisters, swelling, moisture-sapping dry days. What you need is a foot mask with super-duper hydrators (like ceramides) and—the essential part—mint, which cools on contact. Try CND SpaPedicure Marine Cooling Masque ($51.50, cnd.com for salons).
Like the Midas touch in a bottle, Sephora by OPI It’s Real 18K Gold Top Coat ($30, at Sephora) is a sparkly gold that adds a little oomph to any gray, nude, or otherwise neutral polish shade, and flatters a glowing (faux!) tan.
Loosening tense muscles is especially important if you’re teetering around in stilettos. “Heels put your feet into a constantly flexed position”—think Barbie—”shortening muscles and tendons in your feet, ankles, and lower legs,” says Lori Weisenfeld, D.P.M., a sports podiatrist in New York City. Exercise some damage control: Sit down with a tennis ball under the arch of each foot and roll back and forth from toes to heels for five minutes. Then knead your calf muscles in an upward direction, moving toward the back of your knees, and then down to your ankle.