One of the more frivolous, non-life threatening, and arguably inconsequential side effects of self-isolation is watching the body return to its feral, pre-groomed state. Gel manicures will grow out, grey roots will emerge like turnips, and eyebrows previously threaded or plucked into submission will threaten to take over the entire face. Consult as many articles as you desire on how to give yourself a bikini wax at home or how to dye your hair so it doesn’t look like shit, but know that being able to manage these grooming tasks will eventually be back in your hands. Use this time wisely! Mop the floor, brush the cat, and for the love of god, do Baby Foot.
The fundamental issue with Baby Foot is that wearing shoes during the molting process is somehow even worse than it already is. The first few days are fine, but once the process really begins, your feet and ankles will look like they’re consumed with a hideous fungal infection that requires medical attention. After the reaping is over, the feet are tender and soft, like the titular baby in question, and cramming those feet back into real shoes threatens to undo the work that you have done in the first place. Though I have yet to succumb to Baby Foot’s siren call, past experience has taught me that newly-exfoliated feet and, say, a fetching pair of Vans that already require an extensive breaking-in process will absolutely rip your feet to shreds. The best move is to forgo shoes of any substance, like sneakers, boots, stilettos, whatever, for a few days after the shit is done. Flip flops are an appropriate post-BF shoe, as are Crocs and other soft rubber items that don’t chafe. The best option, as ever, is no shoes at all. If you’re sitting at home with an awful lot of time on your hands, right now is not only the best time, it is the only time.
For the uninitiated, Baby Foot is an intense glycolic acid peel for the feet, administered via two plastic booties. Slip your tootsies in there, use the affixed tape that comes with it to secure them to your feet and then do not move for at least a half-hour. If you must move, shove your feet into a pair of house shoes and walk slowly to the kitchen and then back to the couch. While you watch the television program of your choice or stare at your phone for the length of an episode of The Wire, the goop within the booties is eating away at the hardened crust of callouses and dead skin that lives on your feet. You rinse the gel off, you throw the booties in the trash and life soldiers on.
Baby Foot’s magic doesn’t make itself apparent until a few days into the process, and when it does, what a thrill it is to behold. Foot skin peels off the body in sheaves, like onion skin paper. What doesn’t peel easily takes a little bit of gruntwork, but if you put your back into it and really tug at any corner of flesh that looks almost ready, the reward vastly outweighs the risk. The shedding process is disgusting. There will be skin flakes around your house and in your sheets and on the sofa—another task to complete when idle hands itch for an activity of any sort. Peeling dead skin off your feet is a nice way to not touch your phone, the computer, a television, or your face. It’s nice to have a compulsion that isn’t reading the news. Feels good.
The results of Baby Foot are, as promised, feet that look like they belong to a big baby. The skin underneath is tender, pink, and smooth. Use caution with shoes and socks, as you will be more prone to blisters, but take solace in the fact that shoes and socks aren’t necessary. Now is absolutely the time to revel in the grotesque nature of the human body, to feel happy and grateful to be alive.