If You Have 35 Minutes...
0:00 to 3:00: Soak
Soften skin by soaking feet in warm water. Add a handful of salts to help soothe tired feet.
RS pick: Eden & Farrow Tea Tree foot soak, $12, amazon.com.
3:00 to 6:00: Exfoliate
Pat your feet dry, then slough off dead skin cells with a dry foot file, says Sarah Chambers, a nail technician at Brownes Beauty Lounge, in Miami. Choose a file with a medium grit.
RS pick: Tweezerman Spa Callus Smoother, $20, drugstore.com.
6:00 to 10:00: Trim and File
Trim nails straight across using a straight-edge clipper. Use three cuts on each nail, as clipping the whole nail at once can cut it too close to the skin. Smooth the edges with a fine-grit emery board.
10:00 to 11:00: Moisturize
Rub a rich cream on your feet, top and bottom. Don’t forget your heels and cuticles.
RS pick: Curél Deep-Penetrating Foot Cream, $6 at drugstores and walmart.com.
11:00 to 20:00: Polish
Clean leftover cream from nails with a cotton pad soaked in polish remover. Apply a base coat, two coats of nail color, and a topcoat.
20:00 to 35:00: Dry
Give nails at least 15 minutes to dry before slipping on open-toed shoes (it can take up to two hours for them to dry fully). To speed things up, apply quick-dry drops after the topcoat.
RS pick: Nicole by O.P.I. Drying Drops, $9, amazon.com.