It's taken more than a week, but it's finally happened: The skin on my feet has flaked away like the ash from which a phoenix is newly reborn, or, as Charlotte so poetically puts it, my feet were like, "snakes shedding their skin." Snakes are gross, so I'll stick with the phoenix simile.
Behind my skin's rebirth is the KOCOSTAR Foot Therapy mask, made with exfoliating AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) such as lactic acid and glycolic acid that slough off the old and reveal the new.
While birth is a beautiful thing, the visuals can be slightly surprising, or, as my friend Preston said of the post-foot therapy picture I shared with him, "grotesque." Those in this post are no different. You've been warned. Still with me? Let's forge ahead!
Let's begin with the condition of my feet. Many moons ago, I danced. Actually, I danced as recently as last week, but now it mostly takes place in my living room in slippers -- but there was a time when I squeezed my feet into painful pointe shoes for ballet and toe-pinching character shoes. These labors of love resulted in blood, sweat, and tears.
And calluses. Calluses like you would not believe, like no tonnage of pumice will ever remove them. The sides of my big toes, front ends of my "pointer" toes, the entire balls of my feet, and heels are completely encased in them.
Needless to say, the lil' KOCOSTAR Foot Therapy masks have their work cut out for them. G'luck, is all I can say.
To be honest, I have minimal expectations for them. No exfoliant, no remover, no nuttin' has managed to put a dent in my calluses previously. Why should something that looks like a giant, goofy sock designed for Frosty the Snowman work?
I give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, the packaging tells me they will give me "lovable, touchable" feet, and who doesn't want that? I certainly don't not want that!
I carefully open the masks with scissors, not wanting to nick them, and carefully cut them apart, as per the directions. When I slip my feet in, they feel like sandwich bags filled with juice. I'm surprised at how wet they are. There's no "sploosh" effect but it's definitely more than a little damp.
Now I'm prepared to anchor them in place, but how?
"Secure with adhesive tape," the directions say. Well, okay.
My level of intelligence rates somewhere on the scale from wholly average to dangerously genius, but my interaction with this product does not initially reflect that, because I then procure this:
I'm prepared to wrap the tape around and around my ankles to keep the plastic baggies in place. It isn't until I thoroughly investigate that I realize there is a tiny glue patch on each mask, like the back of a sticker. The little logos at the tops of the ankles peel off to reveal them. I can the Scotch tape, and opt for the included adhesive instead.
It's a one-size-fits-all situation, so I fold the masks before sticking them in place.
At first, I fear the stickies will rip apart or stray splinters will puncture the masks, but they do not.
The masks are much stronger than they appear, but I am not: When I try to hobble to my kitchen to grab a snack, I feel like I'm wearing a Slip n' Slide on each foot and nearly slip and slide my way to my doom.
Not really, I'm being dramatic.
But the act of walking is mildly hazardous. I retreat to lounging on my bed. Mask time is often synonymous with Netflix time for me.
I try to immerse myself in the world of Leslie Knope in "Parks and Rec," but concentration is difficult. The sensations from the masks are distracting.
The masks smell a little bit like eucalyptus and something slightly acidic, maybe like a smoothie for koalas if koalas drank smoothies. And they feel cold -- really cold. I think it's because of the menthol, an ingredient that gives the whole experience a cooling sensation. If my feet had breath, it would be fresh. Is that weird?
After the suggested hour and a half of use, I remove the masks and rinse well with warm water. In terms of effect my feet feel refreshed and look very, very pink, but otherwise very, very normal.
Are my feet invincible? Are they totally immune to all treatments to which I subject them? They exemplify no change.
They are still not "loveable" and they are definitely NOT "touchable." Well, I guess they are technically touchable -- even the calluses. You can try for yourself, but they will feel disappointingly like rocks.
When I see my feet I think I've contracted an unfortunate fungus from doing yoga barefoot, or maybe my snow boots have rubbed my feet raw. Not so.
I remember: The KOCOSTAR Foot Therapy. Slowly but surely, its magic is beginning to work.
Full on flaking! As I said before, it's a beautiful thing.
Actually, it's really not. Charlotte was right. Definitely more snake-like than phoenix-like.
And that's where we're at. Will my feet ever be silky smooth? Will they ever be lovable and touchable? If you're not thoroughly repulsed, tune in next week to find out -- assuming I've had time to excavate them with a brush and pumice stone.
Hear ye, hear ye! All gather 'round to bear witness to the results of ye olde Kocostar Foot Therapy.
Red my feet are not, yet smooth (generally speaking) they are. Observe them post-peel and post-pumice:
Since the dead and ashen topmost layers of my skin have successfully peeled away, the tops of my feet and around my toes are lovelier and more luminous than before.
The calluses on the pads of my feet are still present, so it wasn't exactly a cure-all miracle worker, but that's just fine. They're my calluses and I worked hard for them. To borrow a lyric from one of my favorite movies, storm clouds may gather and stars may collide, but my calluses may very well be with me until the end of time. Fine.
(Waving goodbye for now .)
However, I did get some encouraging results. Remember how I mentioned the tips of two of my toes are completely callused? Well, one of them no longer is. The callus started to peel at the edges and then with a little manual help after soaking it in hot water lifted completely away.
As for the second, perhaps that will be the target of my next Kocostar Foot Therapy session. Curious? See for yourself. They're $9 on Soko Glam here. May your feet fly freely as phoenixes.