On June 6, 1944, Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, sustaining heavy casualties from a deluge of rifle, machine gun and artillery fire as they advanced through barbed wire and landmines to deliver the backbreaking blow to the Nazi troops occupying western Europe. The civilian mind boggles at the courage required to run headlong into such peril. Seventy-four years later, on June 6, 2018, I applied a set of “Baby Foot” Exfoliation Foot Peel booties to my slightly callused feet.
If you haven’t heard of this product, it does for feet what fires do for forests: clears out the dry and dead things in a terrifying manner to allow for the growth of the fresh and new. And now they make it FOR MEN!
Here’s how you do it:
- Remove any toenail polish.
- Soak your feet in water to allow for maximum gel penetration.
- Stick your feet into the gel filled booties, secure with provided tape, put socks on over the booties.
- Sit somewhere for an hour. The gel contains a relatively gentle acid that penetrates the top layers of skin cells, beckoning the dead and the dying: “I am the reaper from beyond the veil. The bell is rung, it tolls for thee. Loosen your grip and come with me.”
- Take the booties off and wash your feet gently with soap and water.
- Soak your feet in water daily to activate the peeling process. Peeling begins within three to seven days and can continue for up to two weeks.
- Don’t pick at your feet. No, I said don’t! Oh, come on. What is wrong with you? Have you ever resisted an impulse in your life? Can’t you at least just scrub them gently with a warm, wet washcloth?
- When the purge has ended, enjoy your beautiful, nubile tootsies!
The (only) differences in the FOR MEN version are that the packaging is darker, which is tough and cool like Batman, and the purging gel stored in the plastic booties is vaguely mint-scented as opposed to vaguely lavender-scented. This is good because I have spent the entirety of my time on earth knowing that, as a man, it is my duty to grunt and punch my way through life and if I catch a whiff of lavender and like it, I will crumble.
You are about to see some “before” images of my feet. I don’t know about you, but I have never taken very good care of my feet. They take such good care of me, though! They carry me down gangways onto airplanes that take me on adventures; they instinctively reach out when I drop my phone to soften its journey to the ground; and sometimes, if I stare at them long enough, they start to look like hands. So versatile! But I barely even wash them. I just assume they’ll get the cleansing they need from the excess shampoo and soap that runs down my legs in the shower. I call this “trickle down washonomics” and folks, it ain’t working for my lower limbs. I’ve had a mild (occasionally moderate) case of athlete’s foot for five years that I’ve never effectively banished, because why would I attend to a small, fixable problem when I am busy not attending to larger, also fixable problems? My point is, I was excited when I found out about Baby Foot because sometimes we all need a fresh start.
It may not be pretty to constantly have a thick layer of dead skin in a constant state of flakery, but at least I always have something to do!
I hope the awkward positioning of my foot selfies is evidence enough that no, I definitely have not responded to the fetishists’ requests in my DMs.
You’ve heard of hot dogs or legs. Now get ready for…
…heel or raw chicken wing?
See what I mean about the hands thing?
In the interest of breaking down arbitrary performative gender barriers, my plan is to put a man’s foot peel on one foot and a lady’s on the other. You’re all invited to the 2019 awarding of my Nobel Prize.
This is my last commentary on this topic because frankly it isn’t interesting: the man boot has black lettering, the lady boot red.
My hypothesis: In the Baby Foot corporate office, someone pointed out that the primary users were women, so they released a FOR MEN version, which is exactly the same save for minor packaging distinctions. As I mentioned before, they’re vaguely scented, but the dominant aroma is that of rubbing alcohol. You only keep these on for an hour, and after you wash, your feet smell like soap. The product is unisex so grab whatever’s on the shelf for a person you know with gross feet.
The instructions advise you to put socks on over the booties. I was skeptical but complied, and could feel the reason why: it tightens the booty, forcing greater intimacy between foot and gel.
I was a big fan of Leandra’s pregnancy feet, and this reminded me of them. I now completely understand what it’s like to be pregnant with twins. I sat for an hour and watched YouTube, then took off the booties and washed my feet. Here’s the “after” shot:
Don’t they look so much prettier?
If you said yes, consider yourself BAMBOOZLED. There’s no real after to see yet. This is an illusion called “styling,” where I used lighting and backdrop techniques combined with a seductive pose to make the product (my feet) look more appealing. If you read the instructions I included earlier, Baby Foot takes five to seven days to start peeling and another week after that to finish.
Mine looked like this after four days:
This was the result of me sitting at my computer attending to my empire while absentmindedly rubbing my bare feet together for 5-10 minutes. Before embarking on your own Baby Foot journey, make sure you:
- Have a cordless, easily accessible, fully-charged vacuum cleaner ready at all times.
- Sleep with socks on.
- Don’t wear sandals to Trader Joe’s — you will feel obligated to explain to everyone behind you in line that you’re doing this for Man Repeller, your feet aren’t normally like this, there’s no need to make retching noises hey where are you going ma’am you can’t just leave your cart there!
Still going strong a week later!
11 days later, no more peeling! And my toes finally fell off, as promised.
JK, they’re still here. These are my “after” pics. They don’t look as pristine as they could because I spent Father’s Day weekend playing badminton barefoot and tending to a late night bonfire while wearing Birkenstocks. I will not apologize for a weekend well spent with the people I love most on this earth, but I am sorry for the poorly timed foot abuse — please take me at my word that the blemishes you see are from splinter wounds, clingy sap, dirt and soot. But the peeling is done, the parts that were visibly flaking before I did Baby Foot are doing so no longer, and my feet feel smooth and velvety. I honestly can’t remember the last time they felt like this. I also feel motivated to henceforth take better care of them — like when I clean and organize the apartment and proclaim, “Now that it’s clean, I’m keeping it that way!” But I dream.
This is a fun product, but plan ahead. If you have some important event where your feet will be showing — like if you’re on an Olympic beach volleyball team or whatever — do this at least two weeks before your competition. The peeling is fun at first but becomes burdensome. It just accelerates a process your body is constantly doing already. If you have athlete’s foot or a fungus issue, which is common and please don’t feel badly about it, treat it first with antifungal cream. (Talk to your doctor and all that before you start doing anything I say, by the way.) For me, Baby Foot was a good way to get rid of the unflattering remnants after the cause had been handled.
You’ve reached the end of my review, which means you’ve looked at a bunch of pictures of my feet. Congratulations, weirdo! Now let’s talk about all of this in the comments!
Illustration by Madeline Montoya.