Do you know that this very topic was the first blog post on beauty that I blogged about on my personal blog in 2007? Back then, the only beauty blog I follow was Paris B‘s and I remember telling her that I really enjoyed her beauty stories and reviews and that I wished I could do write beauty topics too. She encouraged me to write one on my personal blog and as I was battling dry and cracked heels then, I decided to write about it.
Lo and behold, a month or so later, BA was born. 😛
Nine years later, I thought I’d revisit this topic. My heels are far from perfect; in fact, I still struggle with dry and cracked spells. Now that it’s winter in Australia, the situation down there had gotten worse. I decided to follow the advice I gave my readers all those years ago and whaddyaknow, it still worked. While I don’t have soft skin on my heels (the callouses are too deeply formed over the years), they’re not as unsightly as before.
If you suffer from terribly dry and cracked heels like I do, why not give these tips a go?
1. File your heels with a foot file
I don’t like pumice stones as I find them too harsh. A good ol’ cheapie foot file will suffice. If you don’t file your dry, hardened and cracked heels prior to applying foot cream, you can apply as much foot cream as you want but they won’t do as good a job compared to when you’ve removed as much dead skin cells as possible. You can use a cheap foot file that you have to use a lot of elbow grease with, or you can splurge a little and get the Scholl Velvet Smooth Wet & Dry Foot File*, which is motorised. What I like about the Scholl foot file is that it prevents you from filing your skin too hard. If you push too hard, the roller stops. I tend to go a bit overboard with a regular foot file so the Scholl’s motorised one helps to rein me in.
I’ve tried both hard, gung-ho filing and soft and gentle filing with the motorised roller file thingy and while you get quicker results with hard filing, soft and gentle filing actually works better long term as it takes longer for the callouses to reform. You can even use the foot file in the shower (only the Wet & Dry version. The original version cannot be used in the shower). Just make sure you don’t file broken skin. If your heels are so dry and cracked to the point that they’re bleeding (oh yeah, I’ve been there), stop using any sort of files, motorised or manual.
Quick tip: If you walk barefoot in the house (on non-carpet floors), or if you do it outdoors and your heels get really dirty, washing your feet with soap alone wouldn’t remove the bulk of the seeped in dirt. Scrubbing with a body sponge doesn’t work for me but what works very well is applying a bit of shower cream onto the foot file and file the heels. This removes all of the dirt immediately.
2. Apply foot cream generously
Apply a generous amount of foot cream and concentrate on the heels. I like to rub as much foot cream as possible onto my dry heels. I recommend applying foot cream after you’ve had a bath or shower; this softens the heels and allows better absorption of the foot cream (you know the analogy of a dry sponge not able to absorb as much water as a damp one? Same thing). I do this right before bed. I’ve tried more foot creams than I can count, and the ones that I highly recommend are the Scholl Eulactol Heel Balm (contains urea) and Deciem’s Heel Chemistry Heel Hydration Complex (doesn’t contain urea). These foot creams are thick but not greasy and they do a great job in softening hard callouses on the heels.
3. Wear socks to bed
The only time I like to wear thick, fluffy socks to bed is in the heart of winter when it’s really cold. The rest of the time, I can’t stand wearing socks to bed, no matter how cosy and fluffy they are. A few years ago, I discovered Ecotool’s Moisture Socks and they are absolutely fantastic to wear in bed. They’re very thin and best of all, they’re not tight. After applying foot cream, I’ll wear these socks to bed. I’ve worn these socks to bed in the heart of summer when it’s very warm in the evenings and I didn’t feel the need to kick them off in the middle of the night. The next morning, my heels would be much softer and smoother than the night before.
4. Don’t go barefoot at home
I’m Chinese and growing up in a Chinese home, we don’t wear shoes indoors. Having said that, I find that going barefoot in the house exacerbates the dryness of my heels and makes my heels even more cracked. Wearing home slippers makes a big difference for me. I don’t go barefoot in my own home any more. As I wear the heck out of my home slippers, they take quite a beating and don’t last long so I don’t buy the expensive ones. Every couple of months, I’ll buy a new pair from Daiso and once I’ve completely worn the slippers down to an inch of its life, I’ll toss them and get a new pair. I can’t bring myself to do that with expensive slippers.
These tips have worked for me throughout the years. Unfortunately, I’m not blessed in the heels department like Tim, who has never applied any form of cream on his heels, worn slippers at home or done any of these and yet he has the softest heels I’ve ever seen. No callouses whatsoever. Lucky bugger. 😛
If you battle with dry and cracked heels too, I hope these tips help you as much as they did me. Don’t let those damn callouses win!