It’s January and my feet are ready to revolt. All dry and flaky, they are far from pretty.
It’s easy to overlook feet during the winter. In summer, I go almost everywhere in bare feet. It’s lovely: it feels like the natural state for feet, and with a slick of nail polish they actually start to look reasonably decent.
But in winter, I throw on badly fitting winter boots, slip my feet into cashmere socks and pop them into sheepskin slippers, and at night I scorch them on hot water bottles. And it has started to show. Not only are my feet feeling drier than the Kalahari, but I’ve pushed them to the point where they feel uncomfortable and sore.
The first thing to do is get rid of all that dead skin. There are a few ways to do this. You can soak your feet and then slough off the skin with a pumice (don’t expect immediate results, it does take a few weeks to have an effect) or you can take the 21st century route with a gadget, such as the Emjoi Micro Pedi, which does all the hard work for you.
Yes, it’s battery operated, which is a bit of a pain ( you have to replace or recharge the batteries), but it’s really has a quick effect on the look and feel of your feet, so if you’re not willing to invest the time with a pumice stone, then it’s definitely a good one to try. And it’s not too outrageously priced at €39.95.
Exfoliators are an option, but I find they don’t work well on very dry skin. However, they do improve the surface look of your feet, so I generally like to use them during or just before the summer. There are a huge amount on the market, but I like the ones from The Body Shop and The Sanctuary as they generally tend to have the best scents — peppermint works the best.
My favourite part of foot care is moisturising. Not least because it’s easy to do. If you have a bath in the evening you can make it part of your evening routine, but you can moisturise your feet at any time of the day — try morning and evening for best results.
As with hand creams, the world is full of very bad foot creams — ones that make your feet slippy and slidy or, worse, ones that don’t rub in at all. But there are some nuggets out there that will quickly have you addicted.
Aveda’s Foot Relief, €23.25, is an old-school favourite of mine. There’s no messing about with this one — it’s just a good solid foot cream with fruit, salicylic and lactic acids to help soften tough dry skin, while jojoba and castor oil hydrate. It’s very thick, very luscious and it rubs in very well. Bliss come in very close with their super-pepperminty Foot Patrol, a joyous concoction of AHA and salicylic acid, and aloe.
And don’t be afraid to go plain when it comes to proper foot care. Scholl products may feel a little 1970s East Germany, but what they lack in fancy packaging, they make up for in quality — and are particularly effective for treating rough, neglected feet.