I Tried It: Korean Foot Peels
Korea seems to know what it's doing when it comes to skincare and beauty products. Even this lazy beauty writer is officially on a 10-step Korean daily skin care routine and my skin has never looked better. So when my sister first told me about Korean foot peels, I was equal parts disgusted and intrigued. It took a bit for her to convince me to try it out, and she eventually won.
For those that haven't heard, Korean foot peeling masks do just that; they remove the dead skin from your feet using a chemical exfoliant. The results look horrifying while the peeling is happening but are supposed to be amazing after the peel is finished.
I made a trip to The Face Shop on Bellaire, a South Korea-based skincare and cosmetics company that sells the infamous foot peeling product. I bought a package of Smile Foot Peeling mask along with some face sheet masks and headed home to try out this experiment. The foot mask comes with two plastic booties (for each foot, duh) and the acid product, which is made of natural plant and fruit extracts—the same type of stuff found in regular chemical peels.
The steps are simple enough. Wash and soak your feet, then put on the booties and tie them up at the ankles, pour in the acid solution and wait 60-90 minutes for it to do its magic. A couple of suggestions: Stay off your feet while doing this, and wear socks over the booties to really keep them secured. To pass the time, I put on a couple of episodes of Nashville and admired Connie Britton's hair.
After the time was up, I washed the solution off my feet and the real wait began. The thing with this product is that the shedding doesn't happen right away. It takes a few days for it to start. In my case it was five days and I didn't actually notice it happening until I went to my regular Thursday night aerial class. It was, as expected, horrifying. Dead skin was literally falling off my feet as I tried to climb the fabric. It was all over my mat afterwards, leading to a lot of embarrassment. It was also disgusting. If you're going to do this, try to avoid any and all barefoot activities during the peeling phase. Just wear socks, always, to everything.
I needed to find a way to speed up the shedding process and to minimize my embarrassment. Thankfully I have the internet, and the internet told me to take daily foot soaks. I won't argue with that! The internet also advised me against removing the dead skin myself, no matter how tempting. And as much as I wanted to put on lotion to minimize the grossness, the internet told me it was a no. Lotion will just extend the shedding process. Please note that none of this actually hurts or is even uncomfortable. It's just annoying. And gross.
At about day 10 the peel was complete and a beautiful set of callous-free feet emerged in time for sandal season! It wasn't just my callouses that disappeared, but the entire top layer of skin on of my foot, including the skin between my toes and around my toenails. No nail salon could do this kind of work. I think I'll keep this up, maybe get a touch up every six months or so. When I have plenty of socks on hand.