Oh, feet... They take me to see new places and meet new people, yet I am too embarrassed by them sometimes. It isn't an odor issue that plagues my soles. Mine suffer from more discrete problems instead: dry, cracked, and flaky heels, deep calluses, and occasional blisters.
I may not be the most diligent, if at all, with body or foot care. Lotions? Pumice stones? They are almost like foreign concepts to me. But when I compare my soles to my brother's, who also does absolutely nothing but wash his feet, the two are like night and day. My feet like sandpaper. His feet like a nice crisp sheet of paper. Okay, maybe that is too extreme. But you get the idea right?
Maybe being barefoot at home adds to the tough skin. Maybe wearing sock-less shoes contributes. Maybe I got the bad end of the feet skin genes from my parents. Who knows what the cause(s) truly are.
Some people might say they need to get their feet summer ready. Other people might say they need to heal their sandal-clad summer feet. For me, it isn't just a seasonal affair. A weekly or monthly routine is closer to reality. Which is why I completely ignored it for the longest time. As long as my feet were functional and not causing me pain, I was A-okay.
That's not to say that I haven't been interested in possible fixes for these feet problems. Curiosity really kicks in when big events come up: living in a dorm, attending graduation, attending weddings, etc. I tried pumice stones to no avail. It didn't even scratch the surface of the calluses. I tested the Baby Foot Easy Pack a few years ago in hopes of miraculous results but it only helped a small amount. But results do vary from person to person. For the price of the Baby Foot Peel back then, USD $20+, it was too pricey to try it multiple times in exchange for a mediocre outcome. I recently experimented with the Amopé Pedi Perfect Foot File with Diamond Crystals after seeing interesting results via YouTube demo videos but could have hoped for better results with this gadget as well. The electronic file worked alright for sanding the rough edges and flakes on the surface. Alas, it didn't stand a chance against the deep calluses which called my feet home. The absolute worst part was, hands down, the inevitable plume of feet skin dust that came with the filing.
Even though the original foot peeling exfoliator didn't work well for me, I didn't give up hope on all foot peeling exfoliators. I came across The Face Shop's Smile Foot Peeling Mask 스마일 풋 필링 during one of my many many trips to the road shop beauty stores in Korea. Even back in 2014, this was a pretty hot item at The Face Shop. A big motivator that got me to purchase a pack to try was definitely the price. This version was about half the price of Baby Foot's, at around ₩10,000-15,000 (I don't remember the exact price I paid for it in Korea. But in New York it sells for USD $12 at TFS stores.) Boy am I glad I gave this peeling mask the chance because my feet have been forever changed since I first slipped my toesies and soles into those serum filled booties.
Enough with the words talk. Photos speak a thousand words. I am sorry if the above photo made anyone queasy. But it is necessary! How else can I show everyone the results? Do keep in mind that these are photos from the very first time I tested The Face Shop's Smile Foot Peeling mask. The results I had from the first time doesn't look 100% perfect but believe me when I say it surpassed any of my original expectations. I am definitely in no way sponsored by The Face Shop. Plus, I have used the same product over a handful of times. All with varying degree of results. But I think I have finally figured out the kinks to attack all the stubborn skin.
Before the chemical exfoliation process can really begin, a good deep soak in the serum is required. The packaging recommends leaving feet in the booties for 60-90 minutes. I tend to leave it in for the maximum amount of time while sometimes even edging towards the 120 minutes mark. The plastic socks make it possible to walk around but I prefer to be seated while catching up on shows or surfing the web. When the time is up, take off the pouches and rinse off the remaining serum with water. It is also advised to not forcibly peel off any skin and try to let it happen at its own pace. The Face Shop estimates 4-6 days of major peeling and two weeks for full complete callous removal.
First trial.I did the bare minimum. Feet in bootie. Serum in bootie. Soak for 90 minutes. Rinse off excess. Wait for skin to fall off. It took 3 days for my feet skin to show a physical reaction to foot peeling mask. From day 4 onwards, a bit of the skin would detach in a small layer (like dried glue on skin) while most would come off in flakes (like dandruff). The very first time I tried TFS Smile Foot Peeling, it took about 9 full days for all the major peeling to finish. My heels were still stubborn but every nook and cranny else was smooth as a baby's bottom. I remember very vividly gushing to my Besties about how nice and soft my soles felt.
Second to (maybe) fifth trials.I also did the bare minimum but the results from each time I used the foot peeling mask were all different. A couple of times I felt like my feet barely shed at all. A couple times I would get baby soft skin. Why the differences completely baffles me. But the most recent times I have used the peeling mask have given me effective results so I continue to gravitate towards The Face Shop's version whenever my soles need some TLC.
Sixth (most recent) trial.About a month after the fourth trial, I stumbled upon a Snapchat story from (I think) Refinery29 dedicated to Baby Foot's peeling mask. The snaps said something about soaking feet in water for maximum effectiveness. Then everything clicked! The skin on my feet did tend to come off much easier after showers. So easily, in fact, that every step I took when my feet had been thoroughly moistened resulted in patches of skin on the floor. Nasty right? Anyways, I experimented myself and have been completely blown away with the results. Even the deepest callouses and cracks have almost completely vanished. Of all the times I have used the product and similar products, this latest attempt has shown the best results. The downside was the time and effort necessary. I soaked my feet in water for 30 minutes before soaking it in the peeling serum for 90+ minutes. The week following, I continued to soak my feet in water for 30 minutes as well. Skin didn't start to peel until day 3 or 4, as expected. But the water soaking helped speed up the process of the peeling. By day 6, most of the flaking had ended. Only 2 days of being a walking skin shedding machine? Wondrous! Day 7 onwards, the soaking helped to loosen even the super tough skin on the heels.
The image at the top is my day 9 results from the very first time I tried the product and the photo on the bottom is day 11 results from the most recent peeling. Photos cannot lie. Well, maybe heavily photoshopped ones can. But these are not, don't worry! Life is forever changed. I went from not giving a darn about my feet to very diligently using peeling masks every 1.5-2 months in 2016. Callous formation is something beyond my control but callous removal is very much within my grasps now.