How to Soften Dry, Cracked Feet

Break out the sandals

Strappy pink flame stiletto sandals on a woman's feet
  Eduardo Parra/Getty Images

Dry, cracked feet aren't just the enemies of cute sandals—they're also really uncomfortable. No pedicure appointment in sight? No problem. You can easily get your feet soft, smooth, and moisturized once again with a homemade scrub and a very approachable spa routine.

How to Soften Feet

This simple foot treatment rivals what you'd experience at a spa. First, you'll want to soak your feet in a milk solution to soften up the dry, flaky skin. The lactic acid in the milk stimulates the exfoliation process. After that, you'll use a two-ingredient scrub and a pumice stone to perform double duty on the rough patches. To take exfoliation to another level, a trick from Paula Begoun (of Paula's Choice Skincare fame) involves the gentle, yet effective chemical exfoliator salicylic acid; it's not just for fighting acne on your face after all. An intensive foot cream and moisturizing socks are the keys to making your own foot mask to help seal in the moisture.

Don't have time for the whole process? You can skip steps if you'd like. The scrub and the salicylic acid aren't mandatory. But your best bet is to at least do the soak, the pumice, and the foot mask. If you're serious about wanting to get your feet looking their best, go all in. It'll be worth it.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar or salt
  • 1/2 cup sweet almond oil or coconut oil
  • Pumice or lava stone
  • Salicylic acid
  • Intensive foot cream
  • Moisturizing socks


  1. Combine the milk and the water and warm it to a temperature no hotter than 100 F. (Any hotter, and you risk burning your skin. Be sure to check it with a thermometer.) Transfer the liquid into a large bowl and soak your feet in the mixture for at least 15 minutes. After soaking, pat your feet dry with a towel.
  2. Combine the sugar and the oil to make a moisturizing, polishing scrub. Massage the scrub in circular motions onto your damp or dry feet.
  3. Use a pumice stone or a lava stone to scrub your cracked heels and any stubborn calluses in a circular motion. Once smooth, rinse and dry your feet.
  4. Infuse a cotton pad with salicylic acid and apply to the areas of your feet prone to dryness and flakiness (the heels and the tops of your toes, for example).
  5. Finish by massaging a generous amount of deep moisturizing cream onto your feet. Slip on the moisturizing socks. Then go to sleep.

Trust: When you wake up, your feet will already be super soft. Wear the foot mask every night for a whole week, and your sandal game will be unstoppable.

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