I hate feet, and I always have. It doesn't matter if they are my own or belong to the hottest person ever. Jared Leto? Keep your socks on. Beyoncé? Please, every flip-flop you own in a box to the left. I find toes ugly and feet unhygienic, and I used to despise getting pedicures equally as much as going to the gynecologist before finally accepting them as a necessary evil. Which is why I felt both elation and terror when I discovered Baby Foot, a Japanese-devised beauty product that promises to melt off your disgusting, haggard old callouses and rough spots to reveal the infant-soft, youthful soles that have been hiding underneath the entire time. And for just $25! The product's website features horrifying close-ups of skin molting off heels in weird, crusty, translucent sheets, alongside disconcerting stock photos of women whispering into each other’s ears. "Have you heard?" I imagined them saying. "It's literally the best invention since single-serving yogurt!"
All one needs to do to achieve these perfect feet is pop on a pair of plastic Baby Foot booties laced with a fruit acid and "natural extract" formula, sit still while wearing them for an hour, and five to seven days later, voilà: BABY FOOT(S). I realized I needed to try this product after coming to terms with the fact that my marathon-runner boyfriend has infinitely softer feet than me. Yeah, try getting in bed with that knowledge every night.
After getting Baby Foot in my Christmas stocking (thanks, Mom!), I decided to go through with the experiment one Sunday afternoon. Just wearing the booties was pretty damn luxurious. The hazmat-reminiscent plastic sacks are filled with a cool, pleasantly herbal-smelling goo. You tape them up around your ankles to secure them, then commence with the lolling about. The process required me to stay marooned on the couch for 60 full minutes, catching up on magazines while sporadically requesting that my boyfriend fetch me snacks and refill my wine glass. When my hour as Marie Antoinette had passed, I plodded to the bathroom to rinse my feet off in the bathtub. Now, I would wait.
Four days later, I noticed the exfoliation starting. As I sat on my bathroom floor that night, peeling away seemingly never-ending, tissue-paper-like strips of dead skin from the bottoms of my feet, I felt both joy and disgust — pretty much the same combination of emotions I imagined a Bret Easton Ellis character feels during a sex scene. The sloughing continued, tapering off slightly, for another four days, slowly revealing feet that were smoother, prettier, pinker, and somehow newer looking. I was astounded.
I did encounter some distinct downsides to Baby Foot. The skin on the back of my ankles was seriously irritated by it, and I got blisters when I went for a run the morning after wearing the booties. This admittedly may have been because I didn't rinse the formula off well enough in that hard-to-see, who-cares-what-is-even-happening-back-there-anyways spot. Still, it makes me think Baby Foot might not the best idea for someone who already has relatively smooth feet. The formula also didn't completely wipe out my most stubborn callous, but it did a good job hacking away the worst of it. There are other hazards, as well. I attended yoga class two days postbooties, realizing only midway through that the bottoms of my feet looked like that weird translucent layer between a hardboiled egg and its shell (ew!) I then spent a lot of time self-consciously holding onto the arches of my feet in poses where it was not only unnecessary, but extremely weird looking.
But overall, it was worth it. Baby Foot is not painful. It is effective. It is also gross. And because of this, I am confident that it can make our world a slightly better place, two disgusting feet at a time.