Even if you’re not on your feet all day, you still use those peds to get you everywhere. So any bumps, blisters, ingrown nails, cracks, and odor will follow you every single place you go, and might even remind you of their presence with each agonizing step.
Footcare shouldn’t only come into play when these baddies show up on our feet. Instead, you can keep them at bay by using effective footcare techniques and enjoying soft, strong, smooth, and odorless feet every single day. Best of all, those benefits will follow you everywhere you go, too, and perhaps with a tingling freshness to boot.
Here are the best ways to take care of your feet, whether they need restoring or simply to retain that suppleness with each step.
1. Start with a peel
If you need any kind of reset at all—from that callus that just won’t disappear, to the cracked heel that persists perennially—then start with an at-home foot peel, and use it as a much-needed reset every 3-6 months.
You simply soak your feet inside a product-lined plastic bag for 20-60 minutes (depending on the brand), and a week or so later, all of your dead skin starts to peel away. It’s a gross process (we suggest wearing socks to bed until you finish molting), but it’s also a painless one, and it ends in baby-smooth feet. We love Dr. Scholl’s and Baby Foot Peel.
2. Moisturize nightly
It’s kind of inconvenient to moisturize your feet every night, which is largely why most of us neglect it. But, doing so will solve about 95% of your problems, especially if the foot cream has exfoliating ingredients, like urea, to soften hard calluses and promote smoothness.
Two strategies for remembering to do this step each night: First, put on a pair of socks after you hydrate the feet so you don’t leave lotion-y footprints all over the place, much less collect dust bunnies with every step. Alternatively, keep the lotion next to your bed and apply to your feet before you sleep. That way, you can tuck them into the bedsheets and not worry about having greasy feet for the rest of the evening.
3. Buff as needed
A callus grinder can be a proactive defense against callus buildup, cracked heels, and overall dryness. Yes, it’s best used on huge patches of dead skin, but it’s terrific at spot-checking periodic dry spots, too.
Don’t use it on smooth, healthy feet though; that’s when you can swap in a standard-fare foot scrub to more manually manage the task. The main takeaway, though, is that regular exfoliation plays as much of a role in preventing hard, dry, crackly conditions as it does in removing them.
4. Soak ‘em
A salt soak (or a full-on Epsom bath) is a terrific way to calm and nurture your feet when they’re sore. It’s also a prime way to soften hard calluses and prepare the skin for a scrub down.
You can also add nourishing, antimicrobial, and rejuvenating oils to the soak, should you want to freshen the feet at the same time. We recommend eucalyptus oil for calm, rosemary oil for replenishment, peppermint oil for a tingle and antimicrobial kick, as well as tea tree oil for its antimicrobial powers. A couple drops of any/either in the soak should suffice.
5. Clip nails straight across
Most of us use the fingernail clipper on our toes, too. That’s because we look at the huge big-toe clipper, with its straight-across chopper, and feel silly clipping our teeny little toes with it. It is, in fact, for all ten of your toes, so use it as such.
Leave the curved clippers for the fingers and thumbs. (It only takes one ingrown removal procedure to get that 20/20 hindsight with a side helping of trauma; take it from us that it’s best avoided.)
6. Keep peppermint oil on hand
One way to look forward to your nightly moisturizing regimen is to add a drop of peppermint oil into the dollop of cream before you apply. This gives you that refreshing tingle in your feet, while the oil simultaneously mass murders all of the bacteria, fungus, and viruses that might be taking residence there.
The tingling is magnified when you apply the oil right after a deep scrub down, too. Give it a minute before it sets in, but once you feel it… you’ll instantly have a new favorite grooming habit, and a hygienic one at that.
7. Powder in the morning
There’s a reason we experience so many problems in our most tucked-away, covered body parts. Because the lack of light, mixed with the lack of ventilation, leads to sweating, which creates an ideal dark and damp environment for critters to proliferate.
This yields fungal infections, odor, chafing, and more. One way to avoid it all is to apply talc-free powder (or a lotion-to-powder formula) to the area before we tuck it away beneath the socks. (Or beneath the underwear, since this applies to both regions.)
So, keep a product like Happy Nuts or Natural Foot and Shoe Powder on hand and give your feet a coat of it after showering and drying off, and before tucking them into your socks/shoes for the day. You can even sprinkle some powder into the shoes themselves in order to prevent moisture buildup all day.
8. Get insoles ASAP
And on the topic of footwear: In addition to proper shoes and moisture-wicking socks, do yourself a favor and put some arch-supporting insoles in all of your shoes. You’ll avoid the blisters, the calluses, the full-body pain—from your feet to your knees and back. You already know the best name in the game for insoles; they’ll have you covered for every type of shoe foot, or support possible.
These are just 8 tips, but that’s not all. If you’re ready to add some extra love to your feet, consider body butters to add an extra layer of luxury.