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Given that our feet carry us through life, it’s a shame that foot care is so often perceived as an indulgence, rather than a part of daily self-care.

Michelle El-Chacra, a veteran aesthetician at Spa St. James at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal, says that an at-home pedicure can give the same rejuvenating benefits as one at the spa. Begin by removing any nail polish from your toenails before soaking feet in warm water for five to 10 minutes. For an aromatherapy bonus, add a few drops of an essential oil such as tea tree oil, which has antibacterial properties, invigorating peppermint or relaxing lavender.

Once the skin has softened, exfoliate bottoms of feet with a pumice stone and then use an exfoliating scrub all over feet, including toes and around the cuticles (if you don’t have one on hand, DIY a batch at home using sugar and oil). Toenails should be cut straight across, never at a curve, which can lead to ingrown nails, and edges should be filed. Use a toothpick to gently push cuticles and clean under the nails. Finally, apply a rich moisturizer. “Really take the time to massage your feet and give them the love they deserve,” El-Chacra says.

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