How to Give Yourself a Foot Facial at Home

Sandal season has arrived.

We spend a lot of time slathering skincare products across our face and nourishing our hair with oils and potions. We even budget a good chunk of our time and money for monthly manicures. Our feet tend to get the short end of the stick in terms of self-care, but they’re just as worthy of some TLC as all the rest. Enter: The foot facial, which is similar to a pedicure but so much more. 

“A foot facial is considered a multi-step routine for your feet—including nail beds and soles—that is customized to address your concerns,” explains Marcela Correa, a licensed professional medical pedicurist and owner of NYC’s Medi Pedi. “Foot facials utilize different tools and products to maintain healthy, soft feet that are always sandal ready and pain free.” 

Indulging in a professional foot facial is a nice treat, but you can also give yourself a foot facial at home. We’re diving into the benefits of foot facials, discussing ideal frequency, and offering a step-by-step rundown on how to DIY your own. 

RELATED: 5 DIY Pedicure Tips That Will Save You Time and Money

The Benefits of Foot Facials 

Aside from the aesthetic benefits—we all love a cute pedi peeking out of stylish sandals—caring for the skin on our feet is important from a health perspective.

“Dry, cracked, and callused skin serves as a portal of entry for fungus and bacteria,” explains Anne Sharkey, DPM, a podiatrist based in Austin, Texas. Keeping skin clean, exfoliated, and moisturized ensures that our skin barrier is in the best shape possible to prevent these pathogens from entering our body.” 

Correa agrees, adding that when we’re digilent about our foot health we’re also more apt to catch minor issues before they morph into something greater. Think changes to your nail beds or the soles of your feet. 

“More often than not, when we aren't looking at our feet daily, small clues go unnoticed that alert you to other problems,” notes Correa. “[Foot care] is the missing link in preventative care and avoiding long-term and hard to deal with ailments. Your feet are your body’s foundation. The smallest change can throw off your way of life.” 

How Often Should You Do Foot Facials? 

Tex Song, DPM, a podiatrist at OrthoSouth in Memphis, Tenn. recommends getting a professional, customized foot facial every one to two months. From there, you can supplement with at-home foot facials that keep your feet feeling and looking healthy and happy. 

“People who spend more time on their feet due to their occupation or from sports may benefit from more frequent treatment to relieve the stress and tension on the lower extremity,” notes Dr. Song. 

That said, remember that it’s natural for calluses to develop over time, especially in relation to our personal activity level and how much we walk. That said, foot facials are sometimes less about removing the “ugly” things, and more about ensuring good foot hygiene. Dr. Song says, “Don't make the mistake of overdoing it and going to have a foot facial every day as this can damage your skin and make it more vulnerable to injury.” 

How to Give Yourself a Foot Facial at Home 

Step 1: Cleanse & Soak

Start by cleansing your feet with some soap and water. Next, soak your feet in some epsom salt and warm water for 15 minutes. “I love an epsom salt soak,” says Dr. Sharkey. “Epsom salts have been shown to ease aches and pains, gently exfoliate, and moisturize the feet.” She recommends the Pedestrian Project Purifying Foot Soak ($14; Amazon). You only need about two tablespoons per half gallon of water. 

Step 2: Exfoliate  

Gentle exfoliation can help smooth your feet for that baby soft feeling. Dr. Sharkey says you can opt for either mechanical/physical exfoliation or a chemical exfoliation. 

“Mechanical exfoliation uses scrubbing to remove the dry and callused skin. My favorite and most recommended methods of mechanical exfoliation are the use of sea salt scrubs and foot files,” she says. Try Dr Teal's Restore & Replenish Pink Himalayan Sea Salt Scrub ($6; Target) and/or Colossal Foot File and Callus Remover ($10; Amazon). 

Chemical exfoliation breaks down dead skin cells to reveal fresh skin underneath. Try The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Exfoliating Toning Solution ($13; Sephora), a gentle treatment that’s gone viral on social media for its ability to make feet baby smooth. 

Step 3: Treatment

Now’s your chance to customize your foot facial for your specific needs. For those dealing with dry and cracked skin, Dr. Shakey recommends first applying a heel repair balm, such as Pedestrian Project Cracked Heel Repair ($14; Amazon), to aid in the healing of cracks. She adds, “Using socks immediately after balm and lotion application can help to increase absorption, as well.”

If your cuticles could use some attention, Correa recommends working a nourishing oil into the cuticles and nails. One of her favorites is the Gehwol Nail Care Oil ($26; Nordstrom) since it also helps stimulate nail growth while strengthening the nails.

This is also a good time to apply any treatment creams for nail fungus or discoloration, as recommended by your podiatrist, dermatologist, or physician. You can also trim your toenails if they’re getting long. However, Correa says to make sure to trim and file them straight across to prevent ingrown toenails.

Step 4: Moisturize

Finally, take some time to apply a layer of moisturizer over your feet. Your best bet is a thick foot cream with emollient ingredients that help lock in moisture. L'Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream ($30; Sephora) or Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Foot Magic ($5; Target). 

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