We all know the importance of pampering our feet. Or do we? Unfortunately, it’s often our faces that we pay more attention to. While our feet help us run errands, endure long queues and walk us to amazing destinations, we normally neglect their needs until we find a little soreness here or a cracked heel there.
Image: The Internet
Now that summer is here, it’s really time to give your legs and feet some TLC – not only to reward them for being so dedicated and hardworking, but also because now is the best time to flaunt them in bikinis, short shorts and sandals! Here are 7 simple steps to pamper your feet at home:
1. Dead Skin, Calluses and Warts Removal
Corns and calluses are formed because the skin keeps rubbing against shoes. When the first signs of soreness are left unattended, our feet develop calluses as a protective measure. Severe cases of calluses require treatment from a podiatrist.
To remove less severe calluses or dead skin, try to soften the hardened area with a warm salt bath (Kokubo has a variety of fancy bath salts), followed by a foot mask. These masks basically consist of a solution of mild acid and alcohol in a pair of pouches. After soaking your feet in the solution for 1-2 hours, dead skin will naturally peel off in two weeks’ time to reveal soft, baby-like skin.
Alternatively, you can use the more basic pumice stone to remove keratin. That method didn’t work for me though. Also, I’m afraid that dirt and germs may have made their home in the stone, and my skin hurts if it’s too dry. I always prefer the chemical method.
Warts are different from calluses as they’re caused by viruses (e.g., from the beach or the pool), while calluses are formed from excess friction or pressure. I’ve never had calluses but I once had warts . They disappeared in 3 days after I dabbed them twice a day with cotton swabs soaked in 10% salicylic acid, surrounded by a ring of Vaseline and covered by medical tape to prevent the acid from spreading to other areas.
Even though summers in Hong Kong tend to be hot and humid, my lower legs and heels are continuously on the verge of cracking and peeling. One of the best treatments, as I was told by a dermatologist, is to apply urea cream. Mentholatum offers a very promising Cracked Heel Cream with 20% urea and Vitamin E. I also love that it’s fragrance-free. A more affordable alternative is this one from Cosmetex Roland. The cream also has a urea and horse oil version that I’m currently using. Leave it overnight and wear thick socks for optimum results.
3. Hair Removal
As far as I know, Hong Kong girls either spend a fortune at the salon for permanent hair removal or they don’t shave at all. Using a depilatory cream seems like a fair compromise between the two and useful on bikini days and date nights. Veet is a popular brand here in Hong Kong, while Beauty Formulas is a UK brand that’s worth a try. Just remember to do a patch test before you use the cream on the entire leg. Finish with whitening cream on the darker areas, such as the knees and ankles.
Exercising should be the most effective way to slim legs. Make sure you invest in both aerobic and anaerobic exercises so you can burn fat and firm up muscles at the same time. There are also overnight compression tights and slimming gels available on the market, which normally slim down legs by improving blood circulation and draining excess body fluid. In most cases, however, the effect is only temporary.
Your feet shouldn’t smell as long as they’re dry, clean and healthy. Wearing clean socks helps absorb sweat and hence prevent bad odors. You may also use a foot mist or powder to refresh and mattify feet. Baby powder is really useful when your feet are soaked by rain or sweat. Putting dried tea bags or charcoal deodorizers in the shoe cabinet is also a good way to remove bad odor from your shoes. Of course, washing your shoes (if they’re washable) from time to time is also a good preventive measure.
The feet contain a lot of acupuncture points and are considered a great portal to drain away toxins in the body. Kokubo’s Detox Foot Pads contain natural tree sap to absorb toxins, or you can spice things up with Horny’s chili version.
7. Foot Pads
Invisible silicon foot pads prevent the formation of calluses and blisters. These come in handy when wearing high heels over a long period of time!