After watching Top Model the other night, Mr. Bella and I headed to bed early like the prematurely geriatric lovebirds we are. But right as we were going to slip under the covers, I started freaking out. "Where are my footie socks?!" I kept saying. Mr. Bella had no idea what I was talking about, but then he realized I was looking for my nighttime moisturizing socks. Without them, my feet feel not like those of a young woman, but like those of a troll with crusty hooves. (Fortunately, a crisis was averted.)
Lots of people have rough feet, but it's an easy fix. I don't recommend buying expensive overnight-treatment socks or potentially dangerous callus shavers. Instead, read on to see the best course of action for your unnecessary roughness.
If your feet aren't too bad...
If you're just dealing with a little bit of dry skin, all you need is moisture. Here's a simple lesson that I'm sure a lot of us learned from our moms: Wash your feet before bed, then slather them with lotion. Slip on a pair of thin cotton socks, and in the morning, you'll have soft feet. Lately I've been using Earth Therapeutics Tea Tree Oil balm ($7.99). For having a relatively thin consistency, it moisturizes wonderfully. And it has a fresh, non-perfumey scent, which I love.
If your feet need a little more help than that, read more.
If your feet are feeling a bit rough...
If you're going to exfoliate with a cream or scrub, find one that's specifically for feet. In my experience, most body scrubs just aren't tough enough to take on my rough heels — they're fine for softer body skin, but powerless against calluses. Look for a scrub with small pumice granules (such as this $6.39 one from Dr. Scholl's) or one with very fine grains of salt. I'm particularly impressed by FarmHouse Fresh's version ($24) because the salt is densely packed, which results in a more vigorous exfoliation. Follow with the nighttime socks for extra-soft feet.
If your feet have thick calluses...
Exfoliating tools are your friends. These tools are the most effective way to turn hoof-like feet into healthy-looking ones. The best-known tool is the pumice stone, which can be used in the shower to buff away dead skin. They're inexpensive, long-lasting, and effective. I get better results when feet are wet rather than dry, and I also think these work best for maintaining smooth feet.
Personally, I prefer buffing my feet when they're dry. If your budget allows for it, Diamancel files are amazing; the only drawback is that they're around $50. For a more affordable option, you might like the Microplane Orb. It looks a little bit like a hand-held cheese grater from the future, but it removes built-up dead skin and makes my calluses much softer. Neat freaks will like how it holds the flakes of skin in the container; they look like finely grated Parmesan, to be honest. I used to buy a $4.99 foot file at Target every six weeks, so the Orb is a good investment that pays for itself. I like to use it before bed, then use my socks-and-lotion combo — it's my winning combination.