Be prepared to judge me; I am clearly quite disgusting. This is not a new development – I’ve always had a penchant for the revolting things that the body readily offers up if looking for them. As a child, for example, I took to squeezing cuts to marvel at the blood. Boils or scabs delighted me. As an adult I graduated to anything a bit grim. Few things now satisfy me as much as the successful unearthing of an ingrown hair.
As a natural candidate for enjoying the removal of dead skin on my feet and even more so if allowed the unbridled pleasure of peeling it off myself, I was thrilled when a fellow beauty editor told me one day about Footner’s Exfoliating Socks. “Maddie, those things are incredible. Seriously, you won’t recognise your feet after,” she promised. Abuzz with excitement, I got my hands on some and kept a diary of my experience. Scroll down, unsqueamish among you...
Day 1, 2pm: I put the Footners on my feet. This involves cutting the top of the plastic sock off with nail scissors, wrapping them around my feet, popping socks on top and then marvelling at how jolly uncomfortable wearing what are essentially plastic shopping bags filled with fluid under socks is.
Day 1, 2:45pm: Ah, the first hurdle. The doorbell rings and I dash to answer it, feet squelching and rattling inside their acid-filled prisons. I look forward to 3pm when they’ll be freed once more.
Day 1, 3pm: Hurrah! Off come the Footners. I tissue off the excess fluid (they advise you wash, but given my proclivities I thought I’d give them as much of a go at vanquishing dead skin as possible).
Day 1, 6pm: Leave a meeting and notice feet feel tight within my boots. Not a little tight, no. The sort of tight that’s a little preoccupying and makes me want to slather a thick, buttery moisturiser on. I try to ignore it as I head to dinner with friends…
Day 1, 9pm: I’ve imbibed much wine at Soho House and am telling my dear friend Nusch about how excited I am for the peel phase where I can pull sections of skin off my feet. “It’ll be like a scab, but better because it’s bigger and, you know, allowed. I’ll be able to do it in front of people!” Her look of disgust tells me I’ve gone too far with my honesty. I vow to keep the tale of me and my Footners to myself going forwards (I change my mind the minute I leave her, hence the materialisation of this account).
Day 2, morning: Feet feel dry. Dry like the desert. And even tighter than last night. If I rub them together (bad habit I have, grasshopper-ing my feet), they make a sound like rustling paper. I’m resisting the urge to moisturise them. And, yet, no peel. COME ON.
Day 2, 4pm: I have been checking them hourly and niente. This is testing my patience, particularly as I’m so darn aware of something being afoot (forgive the pun) because of the excessive dryness.
Day 2, 11pm: I get into bed like a child on Christmas Eve. Surely tomorrow is the day. It would be too cruel to suffer from the fate of feet immune to these acid socks.
Day 3, 8am: Still nothing, though a network of pale, dead skin has crept across the grooves on the underside of my foot. It calls a satellite image of the lighting network of London to mind. I want more things to happen. I worry that it’s not meant to be for me. The thought casts a shadow over my day.
Day 3, 5pm: IT HAS BEGUN! I am all excited, though the peeling is not of the variety I’d hoped for. I wanted the snake-like shedding of long slivers of skin that the back of the box promised. Instead, the top of my foot has begun to shed tiny balls of skin. It’s quite frankly dissatisfying and lends itself to no joyful pulling at corners to find an entire foot’s worth of skin come away.
Day 4, morning: Different ball game today, people. Small, annoying bits of skin have segued into something infinitely more pleasing – namely, the large patches of skin that are now peeling off like there’s no tomorrow. It is a Sunday and I want to dedicate the afternoon to pulling at them, though am once again hampered by the judgement of others – this time hubs, who has unequivocally told me to stop picking lest he leave me out of repulsion.
Day 4, 8pm: In the bathroom, peeling my feet. ALL the joy.
Day 5, 9am: Nusch is right – clearly I am a depraved woman. Here I am, picking at my feet with glee, disregarding my mounting work load. I have made a pile of dead skin on a piece of paper next to me and feel increasingly pleased with life in general as it mounts.
Day 5, 9:30am: Bugger me, I’ve been at it for forty-five minutes. This is the gift that just keeps on giving.
Day 5: 4pm: My feet are stripped of dead skin. They look nude to me, like they’ve never been burned on boiling sand or calloused in high heels. The result is pleasing, though I doubt you’d be surprised if I told you I sort of miss the peel. Roll on next time…