Friends, I've tried it so you don't have to: those crazy foot-peeling masks.
I had seen ads for various incarnations of this product — which uses some combination of chemicals and dark magic to trigger all your dead foot skin to fall off — on social media and late-night TV. I wasn't at all tempted to embark on my own foot-peeling journey, however, until I received Kocostar Foot Therapy, $9 on Amazon, in a beauty subscription box.
The one-time-use product looks like a pair of plastic socks and comes prefilled with the correct amount of chemical and dark magic. Wear for 90 minutes, the packaging says; after three to four days, rough and calloused skin will start to come off, and you will have soft feet after two weeks.
I was game. I tightened the plastic booties around my feet and settled in to watch TV; after 90 minutes, I rinsed with warm water as directed. My feet felt softer, as though I had applied a deep moisturizer. But nothing else happened.
I had all but forgotten about the mask and its promised peeling effects until about 10 days later, when I got home from work and took off my shoes — and left behind a snakeskinlike replica of my feet.
Seriously. Whole sheets of dead skin had detached themselves from my feet, without my being at all aware.
My feet didn't hurt. My feet didn't itch. My feet just looked as though I were suffering from leprosy. And the dead skin just kept coming off.
We don't wear shoes in the house, but my husband asked whether I might make an exception to that long-standing rule because I was leaving a trail of dead skin in my wake. "Babe, you're kind of disgusting," he said, with as much kindness as one person can muster while trying not to get too close to you.
I was kind of disgusting. (In the interest of journalistic integrity, I took pictures of my shedding process, but my editor says they're too disgusting to share. You're welcome.)
A few days in, I thought that might be the extent of the peeling. I get regular pedicures; how much dead skin could there be? After all, whole layers already had come off!
But as of this writing, the peeling has lasted nearly a week. The skin underneath is baby soft; callouses that I had long ago decided were permanent are gone. (Though a colleague asks: Do we want baby-soft feet? Baby's feet are soft because they don't walk; callouses are there for a reason.) Still, my feet look beautiful.
The takeaway? Applying and wearing the foot mask was easy, and the peeling process didn't hurt. But there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to how long it might take for your feet to start peeling, and how long the peeling might last once it does start. The only way I would recommend trying it for yourself is if you have no cause to show your feet for about a month.
In other words, wait until winter.