I don’t think I’m alone when I say that each year, without fail, spring comes as a “shock” to my body. Namely, my legs need a good shaving, my milky skin needs a good tanning and my feet – especially my heels – need a heavy-duty sloughing. Even though I partake in pedicures year round, I don’t enjoy them nearly as often in the winter as I do during open-toe shoe season, and my heels are the worse for it. Also, as I’ve gotten older (and my skin has gotten drier), I find it much harder to keep my feet soft and smooth. The dryness…the cracking…the overall unattractiveness…not a good look when its time to don sandals, slingbacks, flip flops and the like.
Four Steps to Fine Feet
Never one to blanche at a beauty obstacle, I have amassed an arsenal of foot-fixing weapons to heal my heels of unsightly dryness. These weapons range from a diamond-encrusted foot file to a camphor-enhanced skin cream. It won’t be an overnight process, but regular use of even a few of these items will guarantee you happy (looking) heels and feet.
Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash: As you can imagine, it’s important to start the pedi-curing process with clean feet. But even cleaning your feet can contribute to their softening. Glytone Body Wash is my all-time favorite shower gel. As the name implies, it contains free glycolic acid to exfoliate and retexture skin. With the very first use, you’ll see smoother, softer skin all over your body. Start with a few times a week to get your skin used to it; if you use it every day right off the bat, it can over-exfoliate, leaving skin uncomfortable, itchy and actually drier than before. Ease into it, though, and you’ll be fine. Glytone is not only wonderful for feet, knees and elbows, but also helps to banish ingrown hairs and keratosis pilaris. Because of its exfoliating abilities, nothing leaves my skin feeling cleaner and fresher. It’s a must-have in warmer, sticky months and/or for that post-workout shower.
A physical body scrub is essential to really soften the hardened skin on your feet. To begin, I’d scrub up 2-3 times a week, and at least once a week thereafter for maintenance. If you’ve never used a body scrub before, Yu-Be Foaming Skin Polish is a great choice, as it is not to “scrubby” (technical term). It is gentle enough to use on your face, and it cleanses too, so you don’t have to soap up before or after.
If you want a scrub that packs more of a punch, I cannot recommend (again and again) Juara Invigorating Body Scrub enough. This is an aromatic body scrub made with fresh Indonesian coffee beans. Used in Indonesian treatments to stimulate circulation in the skin, coffee has been clinically proven to provide powerful antioxidant and tightening benefits when applied to the skin. Also, because it contains gentle, sulfate-free cleansing agents, no other soap or shower gel is necessary. I have been using this scrub for over a decade. No matter how many others body scrubs I try (whatever the number in your head is, quadruple it), I always come back to this one.
Scrubbing on Steroids
I have 5 words for you: Diamancel Foot File For Calluses. Discovering this tool was one of the biggest rev-heel-ations of my life. It is called “Diamancel” because it is made with genuine diamond particle. We all know that a diamond’s beauty is rivaled only by its strength. The hard and strong diamond particles in this metal file make it super-effective at sloughing away unsightly dry skin and calluses. There is no pumice stone, egg or shaver that can do what this does…with minimal effort and minimal risk of injury! Sorry, those razor blade heel shavers scare the heck out of me. Diamancel makes a few different foot files, and they are not cheap. But, the most important one – the only one you really need – is the #20 for calluses. Also, before you scoff at the price, know that you will have this tool for years; I am going on 8 years with mine.
Use this unique tool on dry – not wet – skin. This seems counter-intuitive: You’d think wet, softer skin would come off more easily. But you’ll see the skin falling off your feet in a fine dust (do this over the tub or with something under your feet to catch the fallout). I do this right before I shower, then any rough edges left by the file are smoothed out.
Once your feet are clean, scrubbed and smooth, adding moisture back in – and locking it in – is crucial. Since you’ve gotten rid of the layers of dead skin, any moisturizing product will now be able to better seep into thirsty feet. Yu-Be Skin Cream is a cult-favorite that has been used in Japan for generations. It’s one of the longest and best selling skin care products in Japan today. Yu-Be is a Glycerin-based moisturizing cream enriched with Vitamin E, Vitamin B2 and Camphor (which gives it that slightly medicinal smell we love here at Travel Beauty. Yu-Be’s uniquely high Glycerin content makes it incredibly effective at hydrating, healing and soothing severely dry skin. It helps heal split or cracked skin on heels, cuticles, lips and is great for replenishing lost moisture after exposure to cold, wind, water and sun. It’s non-greasy formula absorbs quickly and locks in for hours.
If the camphor smell of Yu-Be Skin Cream isn’t for you, Alchimie Forever Dry Skin Balm is another choice. This organic skin balm has a creamier texture and a very subtle smell. It is also quite the multi-tasker: In addition to hydrating and softening even the driest skin, it also helps minimize brown spots and alleviates swelling! Slather either one of these on your feet before bed, then put on a pair of thin cotton socks. You’ll wake up with noticeably nourished, pedi-ready feet.
By: Claire McCormack, Twitter & Instagram: @clairemcmack