A few weeks ago in preparation for sandal season, I purchased Baby Foot ($25, available at babyfoot.com), the chemical peel for feet from Japan. What occurred over the following 14 days was completely gross, fully hypnotic, and, truth be told, absolutely amazing.
For those of you not in the Baby Foot club already, here's the premise: The kit contains two plastic booties filled with some magic potion (which they say contains "17 natural extracts") that you wrap around your feet and clip in place for an hour. For the first few days, nothing happens at all, and then bam — your feet start to peel like a molting snake. All signs of roughness, erased.
I've always been curious about it but just never got around to trying it. But with all the open-toed shoes I plan on wearing in the coming weeks, I figured what better time to finally get in on the action. So, one night I sat for an hour while the plastic sock thingies worked their magic, then I washed the area with soap and water as the instructions told me to. It tingled, but other than that, the whole experience was pretty unremarkable.
At first, nothing changed. Some people get annoyed during this period, assuming it didn't "take," but on day four my patience was rewarded — I noticed that the top layer of skin on the balls of my feet started separating itself from my body. By day five, it was coming off in sheets. Seriously. I don't know if you've ever shed a complete layer of skin from an area of your body before. You might remember this if you've ever had a really bad sunburn. Or perhaps when you covered your hands in Elmer's Glue in elementary school and then peeled it off? It was sort of like that.
I won't show you a gratuitous photo because the world is already full of gross things. (There are many images out there — if you want to search for them, have at it.) I had to start wearing socks around the house so I didn't have to vacuum every five seconds; I left a trail of flakes while I was in full-peel mode. And on day six, I found myself explaining to my new gynecologist not to mind the state of my feet, as I was "Baby-Footing" (the new verb I made up and continued to use throughout the experience). Oddly enough, she had just bought a box to try. Tales of the magic must be spreading.
In the next few days, the peeling traveled up my feet around the sides and eventually came up to my ankles (where I still have a few little flakes). It's not quite as obvious as the peeling on the bottoms was, so unless you're really looking, you can't tell. I'm now about 95 percent Baby-Footed.
So what is the end result? Well, not to brag, but my feet are gorgeous. They're smooth and even a nice healthier pink shade — looking at my "before" picture, I'm struck by how sad and gray my soles were.
However, there is a downside to Baby Foot. Now my skin down there is, like the product name suggests, like that of a newborn. I have little to no calluses. I just went through an entire box of bandages; every time I break out another pair of shoes, I have to walk around in them for a bit before I leave my apartment to see where I need to block blisters. My feet may be pretty, but like many pretty things, they are extremely high-maintenance.
So I have officially joined the Baby Foot Cult? Absolutely, but next time I'd do it at the end of the summer to get rid of the sins of sandal season rather than prep for them. Socks are a must post-Baby Foot. Either that, or I'll be buying some serious stock in Band-Aids.