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Step into spring with pretty feet

Pedicures can get your feet ready for sandal season

Posted: April 16, 2009 10:18 p.m.
Updated: April 17, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Michelle Sathe (left) has her feet massaged with lotion by Darlene Corpolongo.

 

The approach of swimsuit season used to terrify me, until I discovered tankinis. Nowadays, panic strikes my heart at the thought of revealing my feet in the strappy sandals of spring.

See, I’m not much of a girly girl. I wear hiking boots and socks in the winter and go barefoot in the spring and summer. This does not do much for creating feminine feet. Besides the mysterious bruise lurking underneath my left big toe, my callouses and overgrown toenails have been termed “lethal” by my boyfriend.

So, I decided this year is going to be different. I would spring (pun intended) for a pedicure and let out my inner foot fashionista.

I headed over to Chic Salon, owned by Frances Nguyen and located in the Bridgeport Marketplace, where now through Mother’s Day they are offering 30 percent off pedicures and selected services, which is great news for those of us on a budget (i.e. 90 percent of the population).

The atmosphere is well, chic, yet very comfortable, decorated in various shades of taupe and brown. Jazzy standards play overhead.

There are six pedicure stations with massive leather massage chairs, where I watched my nail technician, Darlene Corpolongo, pour in a stream of blue crystals into the swirling basin of water underneath.

Corpolongo’s own feet were smooth, tan, and flawless, her toes painted a festive pink to match her hip sandals. She was friendly and chatty, revealing she had been doing nails for 25 years and that some men, including her sheriff fiancé, enjoy getting pedicures, though they only make up five percent of her clientele.

I felt comfortable with Corpolongo right away, which is a good thing when getting one’s feet fondled by a stranger. Having my stress-induced kinks worked out by the incredibly effective massage chair helped, too.

She told me I’m not the only one who gets spring fever when it comes to her feet. “In the winter time, it’s cold and people’s feet are covered up, so they don’t think about getting pedicures. They wait until it gets warm out,” Corpolongo said.

As my feet soaked in the mentholated, moisturized water, Corpolongo opened a sanitized packet of pedicure tools.

“You should always make sure a salon cleans and sanitizes their tools and basins after every service. Otherwise, you could get a fungus,” she said.

Once my feet had softened up for a few minutes, Corpolongo took them out, one at a time, to clip my nails, clean out any residual dirt, and remove overgrown cuticles. She added some cuticle oil and buffed the nails softly before dunking them back into the warm water.

I giggled like a schoolgirl at the next step, which involved toweling off the water and buffing my callouses with a soft file – I am cursed with ticklish feet. Corpolongo understood and moved through that part of the proceedings briskly.

Next came my favorite part. Corpolongo massaged by legs with lotion, which relaxed me completely. I could get used to this.

Finally, it was big decision time. What color to paint my toes? Did I mention I’m not a girly girl? Ignoring the sea of pink, I went with my favorite color, a deep burgundy (which translated to “Suzie Loves Sydney” in polish land). It was the perfect base for a white flower to be painted by Corpolongo on each big toe.

The woman does wonders with a one-inch canvas. While she said her claim to fame is marbleizing, which involves adding three layers of colors before using a tool to create the marble effect, Corpolongo’s teeny tiny flowers are works of art.

She dotted white paint in a circle, then using a little hook-like object, turned the dots into petals before my eyes, adding delicate green leaves and the grand finale, a rhinestone for “dazzle.”

Whose feet were these? Certainly not the grungy mountain girl who walked into the shop a mere 45 minutes before. These feet were not only sandal-worthy, they looked downright flirty and ready to hit a Hawaiian beach.  I wiggled them in delight.

Corpolongo told me other popular pedicure polish designs include zebra stripes, tiger spots, and the current pedicure bestseller, the pink and white (AKA French manicure). “It’s classy and it goes with everything,” she said of the latter.

I asked Corpolongo how long my pedicure should last and what I should do to maintain it. The answer? Three weeks to a month, wear slip-on shoes or sandals at all times, and if your tootsies are really dry, massage in lotion before going to bed or right after a shower.

My final bill came to $23. If I brown-bagged lunch once a week, monthly pedicures could definitely be a part of my springtime beauty regimen, which prior to this, involved using sunscreen on a semi-regular basis and buying a few new clips for my hair. According to Corpolongo, the investment is well worth it.

“We stand on our feet, work on our feet, and our body carries its weight on our feet. It’s good to take care of them, like they take care of us,” she said.

Chic Salon is located at 24009 Newhall Ranch Road, in the Bridgeport Marketplace, Valencia. To make an appointment, call (661) 255-8988. Open weekdays 9:30am-7pm; Sat 9am-6pm; Sun 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Walk-ins are also welcome.

 

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