Caution: this post contains photos of my feet with skin violently peeling off of them!
The Problem: I love flip flops, but I don’t love rough, cracked feet
I’m a flip flop fan to the point that I break them out the first possible day of the year and continue wearing them long after people bring out their fall jackets. I wore them even when I would teach and I wear them to the office now. My feet want freedom.
The only thing that can possibly throw my sandal lovefest for a loop is cracked heels. Between zero foot pampering, constant exposure to the elements (with none of the restorative softening socks and shoes provide), and the fact that my feet are the base on which I hop around NYC, my heels get painfully cracked.
I first saw Korean foot peeling masks while shopping for other cosmetics and I was like…what is this. I wondered if they were peeling in the way face products are peeling: mostly gumming up on themselves to slough away surface dead skin or if they could actually melt layers of my foot skin off with ease and no pain. I had to find out for the sake of the coming summer of sandal bliss.
Warnings: Prepare sore feet, consult a doctor if you’re diabetic
These peeling masks work by soaking your feet in a gentle alcohol and acid solution for a long time, so I made sure to pamper the cracks in my feet before using the masks. My strategy was to apply a waxy healing formula called O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet to my cracked heels and mostly wear socks and shoes outside from the time I placed my order for the masks so any open wounds would have time to heal. My order arrived about two weeks after I placed it, and by then my feet were ready.
I received a question on the main fanblog about whether foot peeling masks would be ok for peeps with diabetes. I looked a bit at diabetic foot care and I’d strongly caution diabetics to talk to a doctor before using these masks because they do contain acids and work by literally peeling layers of your foot skin off. My concern is both the possibility of a wound caused by the gel and also the possibility of newly exposed skin being more prone to injury. I’m not a doctor–well, I am actually, but not the kind that helps people–and I think it would totally make sense to get the ok from a trusted health professional before proceeding if you’ve got diabetes.
As always, I’m just writing about my own experiences here, and this review doesn’t constitute medical advice (other than recommending that anyone with foot concerns ask an actual professional).
A battle between EXO/Nature Republic and SHINee/Etude House
With prime sandal season approaching and sore heels I did the only sane thing possible: I ordered two different brands of foot peeling mask and decided to have a Foot Peeling Mask Battle!
Fanserviced was born as a kpop blog (fan-b is the beauty-focused baby blog). I’m a super fangirl of two kpop boybands: SHINee and EXO. I sometimes get questions about where my ultimate loyalties lie. I decided to let the foot peeling mask battle decide which band I love best. I always claim that SHINee is my favorite group. They endorse Etude House, and the SHINee-Etude House team were assigned my right foot. SHINee’s Etude House ads usually co-star Sulli and Krystal from f(x) and are incredibly colorful and zany by the way:
EXO is a newer addition to my fangirl life, but they’re now dominating my kpop blog’s posts. They endorse Nature Republic, so they’re taking the left foot and fighting to dethrone the kings of my fangirl heart. EXO’s Nature Republic photoshoots are all gauzy and fluffy:
Let’s take this battle to the feet…
Round 1: Price
I bought both of these masks on Beautynetkorea. I’m not actually affiliated with Beautynetkorea or sponsored by them or anything, I just shop there a lot right now because of a sale they’re having (10% off everything), free shipping, and ridiculously fast handling times. These masks took 13 days to arrive, which is remarkably fast for shipments from Korea to NYC.
EXO/Nature Republic Foot & Nature Peeling Foot Mask: $4.95
SHINee/Etude House BeBe Foot Mask: $7.20
In terms of price, EXO and Nature Republic take this one. This price is so low I want to Overdose on this peeling mask (groan–I’m trying here, bear with me):
Round 2: The Booties
The Nature Republic booties were a cooler design: two big bootie-shaped pieces of thick plastic fused together with a seam down the middle with pre-soaked sheets of papertowel-ish cloth inside. I just had to slice off the top and jam my foot inside. The only problem is that wearing sandals religiously means that my giant feet are giant…er, so I ripped the tops of the plastic both times. I patched it up with packing tape and I was fine, but the experience made me nervous about other possible rips while I shuffled around the house in them. If your feet are small to large, these will be fine and super convenient.
The Etude House booties were less sophisticated and resembled the thin bags one receives from an NYC corner stores when buying a soda plus a little tie that holds them on your ankles. That said, they were the right size for my feet and held up to some minor walking around without a problem. The bags come pre-stuffed with dry cloth and one just needs to pour the liquid from one of those little green feet into the bag to soak the bootie. It wasn’t difficult or messy–just an extra step. har har
Winner: SHINee/Etude House. These booties were so right for my feet that they make me want to Get It with SHINee:
Round 3: Mask Sensation
The instructions said to leave the masks on for about 90 minutes, but I was concerned about whether the alcohol and acids in the foot peeling masks would make my skin irritated or whether the masks would be painful. I ended up leaving them on the full time and didn’t have a problem with pain. The Nature Republic mask was slightly more noticeable; it wasn’t painful, just a bit irritating. I wouldn’t recommend that mask for people with sensitive skin. Then again, I don’t know that I’d recommend a foot peeling mask to anyone with sensitive skin since the whole point it to cause a bunch of peeling by dousing your feet in alcohol and acid for a long time. The Etude House mask was really not noticeable at all, so I’m going to give this round to SHINee and Etude House because they didn’t give me any bad Symptoms:
Round 4: Peeling Effectiveness (GRAPHIC PEELING PHOTOS COMING NOW)
Although one cycle with the foot mask is supposed to be enough to cause total peeling chaos, it took two cycles (spaced one week apart for the sake of seeing if my skin would start peeling and also to give them time to recover) before the peeling began.
Some advice for the peeling process: moisture makes it happen, so if you spend some time soaking your feet each day and wear fuzzy warm socks you will peel fantastically. Both of the masks worked incredibly well—to the point that they resulted in my carpet being covered in dead skin just from walking.
I still needed to break out the exfoliation stone to grind away at my cracked heels; the masks alone aren’t strong enough to undo cracks the size of the Grand Canyon. But the mask got the process started and took of layers and layers of dead stuff and softened many more.
In terms of better peeling power I’m going to give the title to EXO and the Nature Republic foot peeling mask. My feet now feel pretty much the same, but the Nature Republic mask started to peel earlier and stayed peeling longer than did the Etude House mask. My left foot is so soft that my feet are protesting and want to form a little protective callous where one has been lost. That said, not everyone wants such an extended peeling time where it won’t be possible to wear sandals without littering everything in sight with peeling dead skin, so Etude House might be the right choice if you’re hoping for a quicker recovery with pretty much the same results. Let’s call this one a tie and enjoy some SHINeEXO (at 5:07):
Overall Winner of the Peeling Foot Mask Battle: Etude House BeBe Foot Mask and SHINee
The price might be a little higher, but the size, sensation, and peeling duration are right for my feet. The Nature Republic mask was also good–I just preferred the Etude House version. Despite questions about my fangirl loyalties, SHINee is still #1 in my heart and the Etude House mask will get a Replay in the future.
Has anyone else tried peeling foot masks before? Did it take only one round of liquid to make yours peel? Suggestions for other brands I should try (I have TonyMoly’s Shiny Super Foot Peeling Mask coming now)? Any questions about this admittedly gross process? Talk to me in the comments.
Where to Buy
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