I Stole My Pedicurist’s Secret to Smooth, Supple Feet

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No more pricey trips to the nail salon. Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

I’ve spent years trying to get a grip on my dry, calloused feet. I’ve cycled through all the usual methods — and the truth is that none of them are actually all that great. I paid my local nail salon anywhere from $5 to $15 every two weeks to have a go at my feet, with only so-so results. I spent $20 on the Japanese foot peel known as Baby Foot, which is trendy, but takes five-plus days to work — and I’m all about getting things done right the hell now. I’ve even tried attacking my calluses at home with an old-school pumice stone, but it takes forever and involves way too much elbow grease for my taste.

Then I had the bright idea to take a peek at what my pedicurist was using while she attacked my calluses a few weeks ago — and hustled myself over to Amazon to order exactly what she used. It was one of the smartest things I’ve done in forever, because I’m now the owner of two soft, smooth, very uncalloused feet. (And it took very little effort on my part.)

ProLinc Callus Eliminator
$8, Amazon

The product she used is ProLinc’s Callus Eliminator, which promises to break down calluses and dry skin buildup in three to five minutes for under nine bucks. A four-ounce bottle lasts for at least 15 uses, and I’m here to tell you that it does exactly what it says it will (as evidenced by close to 500 five-star reviews). Here’s how it works: Soak your feet in a tub of warm water for five minutes. (I use this inflatable tub because it’s so easy to break down and store in between uses.) Apply a thin coating of ProLinc Callus Eliminator to your rough, calloused foot parts, using a paper towel (you can also just use your hands, but make sure to wash them immediately afterward). Wait three to five minutes (no longer, as it could start to burn), then wipe any excess product off your foot with a tissue. Finally, it’s scraping time. I like using a pedicure-specific microplane rasp (though an old-school Mr. Pumice stone works well, too) and go to town. You’ll be shocked at how easily your calluses are turned to dust. Give them a good rinse, apply your favorite foot cream, and you’re done.

Oh, and here’s a bit of free advice from someone who knows: Stop scraping once you’ve made a little bit of progress, and then have another go at it a few days later. Don’t get too overzealous the very first time — as your feet are meant to have a certain amount of calluses on them for a reason. I found this out the hard way and wound up walking around a bit gingerly for days on end.

More Strategist-recommended foot products

CeraVe Renewing SA Cream
$20, Amazon

Writer Hannah Morrill introduced us to this foot cream that moisturizes while exfoliating during Feet Week: “The best contender I’ve found for this job? CeraVe Renewing SA Cream, which itself was developed with dermatologists and contains both exfoliant salicylic acid (that’s what the SA stands for) and ammonium lactate in the first ten ingredients, meaning the concentrations are significant, not an afterthought.”

Tweezerman Safety Slide Callus Shaver
$12, Amazon

Kase Wickman uses this Tweezerman rasp to shave off her unsightly calluses: “Think of the Tweezerman as a combination potato peeler and cheese grater, but for your feet. You use the peeler side to cut away layers of dead skin (one at a time) on your toughest calluses and the rasp side to file them down finely. The peeling process is very high risk/high reward: It uses actual razor blades to do its work, so you have to be careful not to get too enthusiastic about peeling off your dead skin in strips.”

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I Stole My Pedicurist’s Secret to Smooth, Supple Feet