If you like to spend your spare time scrolling through the latest and greatest beauty posts on Instagram, chances are you’ve come across Baby Foot. The fan-favorite, forever-trending foot mask is about as good as it gets for at-home foot care. But, what is Baby Foot? And how does it work? And, most importantly, is it safe? Keep reading for what a couple of skin and foot experts have to say on the buzzy beauty buy, below.
STAR RATING: 8/10
BEST FOR: All skin types
USES: Sloughs away dead, callused skin to reveal smooth, more even-toned feet.
BYRDIE CLEAN? Yes
ABOUT THE BRAND: Baby Foot was created in 1997 in Tokyo, Japan. It then spread to Korea and Singapore, and finally landed in the United States in 2012. It has won several international awards.
What Is Baby Foot?
Baby Foot is a one-of-a-kind at-home foot peel that makes feet feel fresh out of the salon—or even better. According to dermatologist Dr. Nava Greenfield, Baby Foot is the original foot peel and works by gently sloughing away dead skin with a blend of exfoliating and hydrating natural extracts. A simple one-hour treatment is all it takes to bring about stellar soft and smooth results.
How Does Baby Foot Work?
Back to the extracts—AKA the magic of this foot peel. When you open the Baby Foot package, you’ll find two boot-shaped socks that are noticeably oversized. Within the boots, a blend of 17 natural chemical exfoliants awaits your dry, rough soles. “These natural ingredients loosen the bonds between the layers of dead skin on your feet, which is gentle on the skin,” Greenfield says.
While you might expect immediate results, Medi Pedi licensed medical pedicurist Marcela Correa reminds us that patience is a virtue—especially with Baby Foot.
“This peel is meant to slowly remove dead skin over the course of three to 14 days,” she explains. And beware: It’s not the prettiest process. After wearing Baby Foot booties for an hour, you can expect your feet to start peeling within a few days and they’ll stay that way for at least a week—hanging skin and all. So, if you’re worried that you’ve somehow contracted athlete’s foot when you notice your feet peeling at a rather ungodly rate, just know that’s all part of the super-soft foot process.
What Are the Active Ingredients in Baby Foot?
Remember: Baby Foot is made with a blend of natural ingredients—camel grass, watercress, chamomile, lemon, and more—but just because they’re natural doesn’t mean you won't notice a few common acids on the ingredients list.
“The key active ingredients are glycolic acid and lactic acid which are natural chemical exfoliants,” Correa says. While Correa advises using caution for at-home facial and foot peels, the fact that Baby Foot is made with two of the gentlest exfoliating acids makes it less of a concern.
Is Baby Foot Safe?
TL;DR: For the most part, it’s safe, but there are some groups who will want to take caution.
“It is not safe for those who are pregnant or nursing, diabetic, have allergies to any above ingredients, or those with open sores on their feet,” Greenfield says. This is because the skin becomes more sensitive due to hormonal shifts during pregnancy, lactation, and menstruation. “Using a foot peel during this time could lead to irritation,” Greenfield explains.
When it comes to diabetics, Greenfield points out that anyone with diabetes is known to be at risk for sores and ulcers on their feet, which can be further agitated by over-exfoliation. “When you remove the outer layer of skin, it takes away a layer of protection that could lead to damage,” Greenfield points out.
That said, Correa advises caution, as skin types—even on your feet—vary. “I don't recommend the Baby Foot Peel simply because when it comes to skin and calluses there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach,” she says. “Not all dead skin is meant to be removed. By using a peel that targets all areas, you're risking hyper-sensitivity to the already healthy areas of your foot.”
What’s more, she says that she’s personally against foot peels because self-diagnosing your feet at home could cause you to accidentally confuse skin abnormalities like psoriasis, eczema, and warts with normal calluses. In which case, it would be much more effective to visit a podiatrist or certified pedicurist before getting hands-on with your foot-softening approach.
Are There More Effective Measures?
If softer, smoother soles are your goal, Correa says your best, safest bet is to get a medical pedicure. Oftentimes, these pedicures are waterless, which allows the pedicurist to really hone in on whatever issues your feet may be dealing with. “The best thing about a waterless pedicure is that it allows you to properly see what areas of the foot need more attention; most importantly, what skin does not need to be removed,” she says. “This unique pedicure is performed by medical nail technicians that are highly skilled and trained in various techniques of callus removal using medical-grade tools and products.”
What Happened When I Tried Baby Foot
*Caution: Graphic peeling foot image below.*
After talking with the experts and reading through a number of Baby Foot reviews, I decided I might as well try it out for myself. While my feet aren’t typically insanely calloused or rough, they certainly weren’t smooth. With that and the experts’ advice in mind, I called in a sample and set some time on my calendar to give it a whirl.
When I opened the package of Baby Foot, I was met with two large booties that looked almost comical in their flat silhouette. Nevertheless, I cleaned my feet as advised and slipped them onto my feet. Given their size—and despite being a size 10 myself—I was thankful they came with little strips of tape to fold and adjust the fit to your feet. What I wasn’t so thankful for, however, was my lack of forethought when putting them on. You see, I applied them while sitting on the edge of my tub in the upstairs bathroom at my parent’s house. Being an antsy person who hadn’t anticipated sitting in that exact location for an entire hour while the peels worked their magic, I had to get creative with finding a way to make it downstairs to interact with my family. While you might not think that walking around in plastic booties would be very difficult, I assure you, it’s a certain type of terror. Remember: With the boots is a plethora of slippery ingredients that, while wonderful for exfoliating, are anything but in terms of traction while walking. Needless to say, my attempts at going from one floor to the next and then outside was certainly a sight to behold. All this is to say, if you plan to try Baby Foot yourself, be sure to read the fine print or let this serve as your siren to apply them where you want to spend an hour of your time, or at the very least, to remind you to bring something entertaining into the bathroom with you.
The actual process of wearing the booties—once seated—was a breeze. It didn’t feel any type of tingly way—just as though I was wearing lotion-filled plastic socks.
After an hour, I cautiously (and hilariously) trekked back upstairs to peel the booties off. I rinsed and, to be honest, questioned whether or not they’d work given my feet looked no different immediately post-peel. And as the hours turned into days, that feeling only grew.
By day five, I was questioning the viral peel altogether, but then I took a shower and the first signs of peeling began. As I’d read in other reviews, it looked much like a minor case of athlete’s foot. Then, as the days rolled on, the peeling grew more severe. Now, the packaging says not to physically peel the hanging skin, but being the rebel that I am, I simply couldn’t resist. I never tugged or tore, though, I just separated the hanging skin from my feet right at the edge of the peel so that I wasn’t walking around with flopping dead skin. (My nephews were terrified of this new development in my beauty routine.)
The peeling was persistent. By the 10-day mark, it had made its way from the soles of my feet to the tops of them. I’ll admit, I can understand why pedicurists say these peels should be used with caution—after all, the tops of my feet have never been dry or calloused. Fortunately, I didn’t have an allergic reaction (surprising given my sensitive skin), but it’s something to be considered if your upper foot skin is particularly soft and delicate.
By the 14-day mark, my feet had finally stopped peeling. And, I’ve got to give it to Baby Foot—my soles felt soft as can be (or, rather, as soft as adult feet can feel, because, admittedly, they didn’t feel like a baby’s). Even still, I was intrigued by the results because, in addition to the texture of my feet, they had a new slightly-pink vitality that made them look like an infant's.
Before and After
At the end of the day (or, more accurately, at the end of two weeks), I’d give Baby Foot a solid eight rating. The results last (I’m writing this three and a half weeks after trying the peel), the process is simple, and the price is affordable. Nevertheless, it’s not quite a 10 for me because I do think it should only be targeted toward your soles and I think that it could be better in a different type of sock that’s less dangerous to walk around in (but that’s just me).
Falcone D, Richters RJH, Uzunbajakava NE, Van Erp PEJ, Van De Kerkhof PCM. Sensitive skin and the influence of female hormone fluctuations: results from a cross-sectional digital survey in the Dutch population. Eur J Dermatol. 2017;27(1):42-48.