The summer months are upon us, presently it is “July,” and you know what that means — the bottoms of our feet have to look nice in case someone sees them on the beach, or in case our sandal falls off in public. There are two main routes to achieving podiatric perfection: the sloughing off of dead skin through physical means, like exfoliating with a pumice stone or a Ped Egg or the Amopé Pedi Perfect, or through chemical means, like the increasingly popular Baby Foot foot peel.
The process involves placing two alpha-hydroxy-acid-filled plastic socks over your feet, waiting a week, and then peeling, and peeling, and peeling like you have an alarming skin-related medical issue. The unappetizing journey from non-baby feet to baby feet has been documented exhaustively across the internet, and each time I’ve see it I’ve felt a pang of fear and jealousy. When Ashley Weatherford told us back in April that Baby Foot season had arrived, I responded by dutifully purchasing a box of lavender-scented Baby Foot chemical bags for my very own adult feet.
I decided to use Baby Foot with some trepidation. “OH MY GOD KELLY IT’S SO DISGUSTING,” a friend told me, regarding the Baby Foot process. A few Cut staffers shared similar feelings. I steeled myself for the sight of a foot’s worth of skin falling off of my feet like a skin sock, allowed myself to feel excitement for the eventual reveal of my perfect womb feet, and put on my body the plastic chemical goop socks that smelled like shots of soap-scented vodka at a frat party. I kept them on for one hour, per the instructions, and then threw them away in my bathroom trash can, leaving the room to be abrasively scented until trash day.
After a week, nothing happened. Usually it takes about a week for the peeling to begin, according to Baby Foot, so that was fine. After about a week and a half I began to worry. Two and a half weeks later, I was sure — goddamn Baby Foot didn’t work.
I’ll tell you this: I didn’t get no peeling. They did peel a little in the shower when I would rub-force the peeling with my fingers, sorry to explain, and once I looked down at my feet and they looked a little peel-y and I got excited and took a photo to send to a friend that I ultimately decided against sending.
At the end of it, though, no large skin sheets. No horrific nightmare. My feet felt and looked a bit better, like after you take a long barefoot walk on the beach, but the areas of concern around my heel and big toe were not “baby” enough for my liking. Not only could you tell I hadn’t just been born, but you could even tell I knew how to walk. Disgusting. Had my feet been too gross for Baby Foot, or were they not gross enough? Could I do Baby Foot again, or would that dissolve my flesh to the bone? Should I have left the foot bags on longer, or would that have dissolved my flesh to the bone?
For clarification, I reached out to Baby Foot and was put in touch with Kim Webb, a member of the Baby Foot communications team. “Generally speaking, it’s very rare that it doesn’t work on everybody,” she said. Interesting.
“Sometimes people’s feet are in really good condition and they honestly don’t have a lot of dead skin buildup. Some people, they’ll peel like a snake. And for other people it’ll be this powdery, flaky-type peel. If you have a lot of calluses on your feet, generally we don’t say it will take care of those calluses.” She cited her father as an example; he’d used Baby Foot once and, though it helped, many of his tough calluses remained. After the second time he used it, he saw an improvement.
I don’t believe I had dad-level calluses, not to brag, so I suppose I leaned more toward the powdery and flaky-type peel. Or perhaps my feet were perfect to begin with; that is up for you to consider. But, according to her anecdote, you can use it a second time right after you used it the first time? I asked Webb if doing this would peel back your skin to the bone — a fear I think you would have, too, if you spent any amount of time searching “baby foot peel” on Google Images — and she said it would not.
“The only thing you need to do is you need to wait two weeks from your first treatment.” She said to think of it like a “mild facial peel,” except on your feet, and, I guess, except for that fact that your friends feel the need to aggressively warn you about it beforehand. “The beauty of it is, the formula targets only the dead skin cells. It doesn’t go any further than it’s supposed to go. We don’t recommend you leave it on past an hour, you know — that’s the recommended time — but even if you do it’s not going to go any further than where it’s supposed to go.”
Webb — my friend now, as we’ve been talking about feet for so long — cited herself as proof that frequent use of Baby Foot will not dissolve your flesh. “I do it quite often because I do a lot of trade shows with my boss, so we always want to make sure we’re peeling for the show. I’ve done it two weeks apart, six weeks apart.” And does she have to, like, walk around in ill-fitting shoes for miles beforehand, to build up dead skin? “No, no! Because everybody has a certain amount of dead skin cells.”
Well what the hell is wrong with me, then? Webb said one’s results could also vary with the climate (drier climates work best) and time of year. “Some people get a really great peel like after the summer months, and summer sandal weather, is over with. You’ve got certain points on your feet or your toes that your sandals are rubbing on that cause a lot of friction, and that friction causes a lot of buildup. So generally you’ll get a better peel after spring and summer sandal season is over with.”
“The only other reason that it may not work,” she said, “is if by chance it was just, I don’t know, a bad Baby Foot.” Hm. Well. I guess I’ll try one more time.
Fingers crossed it’s disgusting!