You spend hours on your feet every day, so the least you can do is spare a few minutes to take care of them to avoid serious foot problems.
Even if you lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle working indoors in an office, you are likely to clock about 5,000 steps a day. But it’s likely you are not caring enough for your feet (which literally takes you places) even as you slather on your face serums and moisturisers, and body oils and lotions to keep your skin soft and supple. Still, it is only right you spend time and attention on them because tired, achy feet can have a spillover effect on your mood. That’s why some facials and spa start off your treatment with a foot bath to kickstart the relaxation ritual. Here are some simple ways to really pamper your feet at home, since you can’t very well go for a pedicure, massage or spa treatment every day, or even every week.
1. Soak your feet in an Epsom salt foot bath
Prepare a tub of warm water, sprinkle half a cup of Epsom salt in it and soak your feet for half an hour. This is said to help relieve achy feet and reduce inflammation. It also eliminates odour, which is especially good if you wear socks and covered shoes the entire day because the trapped moisture can cause your feet to smell bad.
Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to up the relaxation factor – we like peppermint to refresh our senses on a weekend morning, or lavender to soothe frazzled nerves after a long day at work. Otherwise, put a couple of teaspoons of your favourite bath salt into the foot bath as part of your pre- or post-shower ritual.
Try Herbivore Botanicals Detox – Blue Clay + Eucalyptus Dead Sea Soaking Salts ($28). It has blue clay, eucalyptus, lavender and sea salt to calm and relax the mind.
2. Give your feet a good scrubbing down or buff off hardened skin
There’s something about having baby-soft feet that puts us in a good mood. But maintaining the condition – or getting there – takes discipline. We recommend regular gentle exfoliation using a scrub or pumice stone to improve skin renewal rate (like the rest of the skin on your body) and make your feet feel softer and smoother. Don’t take off layers of skin at one go by overdoing it with a foot file because it may cause your skin to tear and lead to infections. Instead, apply a little more pressure when rubbing the scrub in to make it a mini massaging session. This helps boost blood circulation and relieve achy feet. Don’t forget the areas between the toes, as dirt and grime can accumulate in these hard-to-reach areas and lead to smelly feet or fungal infections.
We like the Sabon Foot Scrub ($37), which has exfoliants made of almond shells to buff off roughened skin on your feet. It also has menthol which imparts a nice cooling sensation, and smells great (like the rest of the Israeli brand’s products), which make for a perfect pampering session.
If you can’t take time out of your busy schedule to soak and scrub your feet, try one of those popular foot peeling masks. They use a high concentration of AHAs and/or BHAs to peel off the top layers of your skin. But if you have any health conditions such as diabetes or eczema, or have sensitive skin, it’s best to stay away from them or consult a doctor beforehand as it could further aggravate your condition, leading to infections and even nerve damage.
Yes, it can be that scary. But if you are healthy, your skin is normal and not prone to sensitivity, and you want to try out a foot peel, the Milky Foot 3D Super 4 Exfoliating Foot Pad ($32.90) has a blend of mandelic, lactic and glycolic acids to exfoliate skin and botanical extracts such as willow bark extract and calendula to soothe skin at the same time.
3. Use a foot mask or foot patch
Once again, just like the skin on the rest of your body, masking after a thorough cleanse helps your skin to better absorb the nutrients of the skincare products that follow. Use a foot mask like the Sephora Collection Foot Mask ($7). It comes in two variants – Lavender to combat fatigued feet and refresh them, and Almond to nourish and soften rough skin.
Or try a foot patch which works like one of those medicated plaster patches to help relieve fatigue. We like the Kyusoku Jikan Cooling Foot Gel Pad ($18.95 for a pack of 12), an overnight foot patch which has raised protrusions to stimulate acupressure points on the soles of your feet to refresh sore, tired feet. You’re supposed to refrigerate it (in the chiller section, not the freezer) before use to enhance the cooling sensation. Simply stretch the gel pad when applying it on your soles to enhance the stimulation, and forgo socks or home slippers because the gel may transfer over.
4. Invest in a foot massager
Having one of these at home means you can get a foot massage anytime. The best thing is that you can Netflix and chill, or whip out a good book while the machine does its job. Try the Osim uStiletto Leg Massager ($599). We like that it has five preset programs that combine different pressure and massaging techniques to match your lifestyle – Beauty’s our favourite as it’s supposed to alleviate water retention in the feet and calves.
The Oto Calf & Sole Mate ($799) has five preset programs and helps massage your calves and feet at the same time too.