Chances are, you haven’t paid much attention to your feet for a while. Here’s how to show them some TLC
Usually we mark the transition from spring into summer with a great pedicure, but this year it will have to be a DIY job. It may seem like a lot of effort to slough off dead skin cells and get your toes pretty enough to flipflop around in. But there has never been more products targeted at treating the needs of our neglected, hardworking hoofs.
Tackle dry skin
Lots of things can contribute to hard skin on our feet, such as wearing flipflops and sandals, running or walking barefoot on hard surfaces. Soaking your feet before hard skin removal is a big no-no, even though it is common practise. Water weakens the skin tissue, so if you start to file wet skin, you may cause more damage, particularly if the skin is already cracked. Wet skin will also disguise hard patches, making them less visible. You don’t need a specialist device, though it might save you time. You can achieve an even finish with a simple hand-held file, like this one from Boots (€4.99).
Afterwards, use a foot scrub all over the foot to remove dead skin cells. The Body Shop’s scrub contains cooling peppermint and volcanic rock granules which will exfoliate the skin. Of course, a DIY olive oil and sugar scrub will do a grand job too.
If that sounds too much like hard work, chemical exfolatiators can be very effective. Try something like Patchology Poshpeel (€22.50 from Arnotts), which has lycolic, salicylic, lactic, and citric acids which will encourage the skin to peel off. You wear the masks for 90 minutes, and over the course of 3-7 days, the skin will start to peel away. The Starskin Exfoliating Foot Mask Socks (€11.50 from Cloud10) work in a similar way, with lactic and salicylic acid. The Babyfoot version (€18.95, Cloud10) is a viral sensation. These foot peels are unpleasant viewing, but popular with people who can’t resist picking skin. To each their own.
It helps to use a moisturiser specifically for the feet. Firstly, the skin on your feet is much harder than on the rest of your body, so you need a hardworking product. Flexitol Heel Balm (€7.99, Boots) is an affordable and effective solution for dry and cracked skin, that has a nice subtle scent and isn’t sticky. It contains 25% urea to target callused skin.
For a treat, try Green Angel Skincare’s Seaweed and Peppermint Foot Cream (€19.80, Kilkenny) which has moisturising vitamin E and tea tree oil which is antibacterial. Or if you love sheet masks, you will adore Seoulista’s Rosy Toes Instant Pedicure (€10, Arnotts). It contains beeswax, rose oil and Vitamin C to hydrate the skin and cuticles.
Shea butter is another brilliant moisturising ingredient that will do wonders for your feet. L’Occitane’s Shea Butter Foot Cream (€24) is highly praised among beauty experts, but it does leave a residue on the skin. Alternatively, you may already have some Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream at home, which will work really well. Apply before bed and wear socks overnight to wake up with softer feet.
A little colour will put a twinkle in your toes. Neutral pinks and softer shades will always look elegant. We love Nails Inc polishes, particularly Porchester Square ( €17, Brown Thomas). OPI Nail Envy in Samoan Sand (€21.95, Cloud10) will strengthen nails as well as giving a delicate tint. Essie’s Gel Couture in Take Me To Thread (€12.99, Boots) is a timeless mauve.