Baby Foot Is Weird, Gross, And The Best Thing EVER

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unnamed-2Illustrated by Anna Sudit.

Introducing Worth It, the series where we personally test-run some of the more oddball, high-priced, or hard-to-find products to determine whether they merit the effort or the cash. Here, you'll find a no-BS rundown of some of the beauty buys you've always wondered about, from wacko ingredients to buzzy, new tools.

Baby Foot is a chemical peel for your feet. Just know that going in. No ladylike eye cream stories this week, people. Things are about to stop being polite and start getting real — and really, really gross. But, the BEST kind of gross.

I've been wanting to try this crazy product ever since our beauty director used it and described, in revolting detail, the metamorphosis her feet went through. Baby Foot promises to rid your soles of the toughest, roughest calluses and reveal the smoothest feet you've had since, like, birth. We're talking about results that no pedicure can achieve and no cream can come close to, all for $20. Obviously, I was gonna do it.

We ladies have a tendency to put our feet through some pretty inhumane conditions (looking at you, heels). And, if you're an urban dweller, this time of year in particular, things can get downright gnarly, what with the seasonal affliction of Summertime City Foot™. I walk 7,000 to 14,000 steps a day, and though I spend half my time in Keds, and the other in flat sandals, my feet had reached a critical point. While falling asleep one night last month, my boyfriend gave a yelp of actual pain. Had I stabbed him in his sleep? No. The ball of my foot had brushed against his calf.

Something had to be done.

I ordered Baby Foot on Amazon (having gotten permission to use aforementioned boyfriend's Amazon Prime subscription to get the stuff here immediately). I spent the following 48 hours maniacally Googling images of people using Baby Foot (HOLY SHIT), and dreaming of the day my talons would emerge, snake-like from their rough and heinous scales.

babyfoot1Photo: Courtesy of Baby Foot.
The box comes with two plastic-bag booties already lined with the magic gel, a combination of "17 types of natural extracts" according to the website. The ingredients list mainly fruit acids, but also the stuff you'd typically find in a chemical peel: glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids, as well as alcohol. This might be the one skin-care product you actually want to find alcohol in (for reasons that will soon become obvious).

The instructions were simple — almost too simple. According to Baby Foot, all you do is wash and soak your feet, apply the booties, wash off, then wait. In five to seven days, the peeling should begin. But, in sorting through the hundreds of old-pro user reviews, I picked up some useful tips, then set aside a Saturday afternoon for the big event. I set up the couch with necessities: laptop, socks, paper towels, phone. Then, I took a bath.

Baby Foot Tip #1: Soaking is mandatory.
Before using Baby Foot, wash your feet with soap and water, then soak them for about 15 minutes (hence, the bath). Next, dry your feet off and pop them in the booties. Use the provided tape to close loose ends. If you need to walk around, throw some big socks over the booties to prevent slipping. But, if possible, just stay put. (This is a great opportunity to get work done because it's virtually impossible to get up and do something else. Or just watch Homeland reruns. I'm not here to judge.)

Baby Foot Tip #2: Leave it on a little longer.
The box says to leave it on for an hour, and that may be enough for you. But, for many, Baby Foot is most effective when given an extra 20 to 40 minutes on your feet. I left it on for 80 minutes in total, but I leave it to your best judgment as to just how rough your feet are. Either way, an extra 20 minutes of these ingredients won't hurt your feet. Unless:

Baby Foot Tip #3: No open cuts allowed.
I certainly hope this goes without saying, but please don't put an acid peel on your feet if you have any open sores or cuts. I had a few little abrasions on mine, but nothing that would have prevented me from getting a pedicure. Use that as your rule of thumb. Also, if you're worried about warts and corns, don't — and don't get excited that this will cure them. The product has little to no effect on those skin problems. But, if you've recently used acid or freezing treatments on them, cover them with a bandage before using Baby Foot. Cracked calluses are fine. Bleeding is not.

feetPhoto: Courtesy of Baby Foot.
Baby Foot Tip #4: Soaking is STILL mandatory.
When you're done with the treatment, wash and dry your feet then go about your business. Your feet will look and feel exactly the same, if slightly dry. I was dying with anticipation, but a watched foot never boils, so I satisfied myself with more disgusting-amazing ventures in Google images. As instructed by expert reviewers, I soaked my feet daily. The first two nights, I simply plugged up the bath while taking my shower and kind of kicked around in the puddle. Nothing. But on the third day, I took a bath and THAT'S when the fun began.

It started with my heels: After submerging for five minutes, giant swaths of skin separated from my feet and came off with just the lightest tug. Quickly, I got out of the bath and stared at the crazy patchwork of dead skin magically peeling away from my feet. It was so exciting that I took a picture. Then I texted it to five people. (I got mixed reactions.)

Soaking is what gets the peeling going and keeps it going. Soak 'em every night until the peeling is done.

Baby Foot Tip #5: Picking is fine, whatever.
The box says not to pull the skin off but you kind of have to. The dead skin will begin to separate from your feet, but you're going to need to actually pull it off. Alternatively, you can rub your hand along the soles of your feet (or rub the soles together), but that's not nearly as satisfying. This is the grown-up version of pulling dried Elmer's Glue off your hands, so why would you deny yourself this joy? (No, it doesn't hurt. None of the Baby Foot process hurts or feels like much of anything.)

Always do this right after the soak when the skin is softened. Don't pull skin that's not quite ready to come off — it'll be ready soon enough.

Baby Foot Tip #6: No Lotion.
Baby Foot suggests that if your feet feel uncomfortably dry then you can apply a very small amount of lotion. I suggest avoiding this, because moisturizing the dead skin will only make it slower to shed. Just let it dry and flake off, then moisturize the baby-soft skin that emerges.

It's been almost two weeks since my Baby Foot treatment and I am, frankly, devastated. Yes, my feet are more smooth and soft than they have ever been in my adult life. But, I long for the heady days of last week when I could look forward to the horrific and thrilling site of my feet emerging from their soak, shedding wondrous layers of dead skin so great I had to keep the vacuum on hand. Sadly, my soles are in such amazing shape that I fear it will be many months before I can justify another treatment.

But, if you decide to do it and need to send five people the pictures, can I be one of them? Just kidding, but only sort of.


Note: We judged Baby Foot process photos to be, well, not everyone's cup of tea. But, if you'd like to see one, click through to the next page.
feetprocessPhoto: Courtesy of Baby Foot.

I KNOW, RIGHT?


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