WTF are 'foot masks'—and are they worth it?
They're the new face masks, but for your feet.
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Foot masks sound gimmicky, we know. But if there’s one thing we love, it’s a peculiar product we can put to the test. You may be familiar with foot peels, which are a breed of foot mask that results in all of the dead skin peeling off of your feet over a few hours or days. And you may know about sheet masks, which come in a variety of types suited for your skin woes. And a pedicurist may have also tried to upsell you on a clay- or mud-based foot mask, which are basically the same thing (or same concept) as the face version beloved at middle-school slumber parties. The foot masks I looked at, however, are a different thing entirely, and are intended specifically to moisturize the skin of the feet.
What are foot masks?
If you were to marry a sock and a sheet mask, you’d get a foot mask. These single-use products consist of a serum-covered fabric (like a regular sheet mask), with a plastic exterior to keep your foot and the serum contained while you treat your skin. Some have an adhesive tab at the ankle that cinches the material to stay on the foot better. The adhesive doesn’t work very well, but, in my experience, it’s unnecessary anyway.
You leave the mask on for a minimum of 10 minutes, or as instructed. In my mind, there is no such thing as over-moisturizing, so I left each mask on for close to an hour while doing other tasks. Yes, you can walk around! None of the masks I used were particularly slippery, but be cautious as you’re not wearing normal footwear and won’t have the grip of bare feet.
What do they do?
The masks I tested claim to hydrate dry skin and soften calluses for smoother feet. They don’t claim to exfoliate or peel dead skin off the way that foot peels or clay masks do. If your feet are calloused when you put them into the mask, they’ll come out calloused (although moisturized). To prep your feet, you should wash them with soap, or an exfoliant to slough off any flaky skin.
These masks are meant to be a one-time product, so it’s best not to reuse them despite the excess serum you’ll see when you pull your feet out. In my experience, the masks worked exactly as intended, leaving my skin feeling softer, especially after I took my feet out of the “socks” and massaged leftover product in. It’s not often that I take time to specifically moisturize my feet, so this was a welcome change of pace. Who doesn’t want smooth, soft feet?
Which did I like best?
For my mini-comparison, I tested four popular foot masks with great online reviews, ranging from $3 to $12 each:
1. Sephora Collection Foot Mask, which contains lavender extract and menthol to refresh the feet.
2. Aveeno Repairing CICA Moisturizing Foot Mask with Oat, which claims to repair extra dry skin with oatmeal and shea butter.
3. Earth Therapeutics Tea Tree Oil Moisturizing Foot Mask, which uses tea tree oil and shea butter to soften calluses.
4. Dr. Jart+ Dermask Foot Smoothing Mask, the priciest mask on the list, which has a foil exterior instead of plastic to hold in body heat while moisturizing the feet with serum.
The outcome, however, was the same for me from using each mask: My feet felt a lot more moisturized and smoother to the touch, but that ultra-smooth feeling was lost after my next shower. I worried my feet would feel slippery in my shoes the next day if the moisturizer didn’t fully absorb into the skin, but was pleasantly surprised that my feet didn’t feel oily or slick in my sandals. I also pondered whether my feet would smell odd after being soaked in lavender extract or tea tree essential oil. But any scents from the masks faded relatively quickly and weren’t noticeable.
I equally recommend any of the masks I used, and for that reason, I’d say, the cheaper the better. If a particular scent appeals to you, that may be a standout choice. For example, I loved smelling lavender while using the Sephora mask because I was relaxing before bed when I tested it.
For best use, put on a face mask and foot mask right after the shower and plop down for a bit. Self-care night? Check.
Get the Aveeno Repairing CICA Moisturizing Foot Mask with Oat at Target for $2.99
Get the Sephora Collection Foot Mask at Sephora for $5
Get the Earth Therapeutics Tea Tree Oil Moisturizing Foot Mask at ULTA for $5
Get the Dr. Jart+ Dermask Foot Smoothing Mask at Sephora for $12