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A person rubbing the bottom of their feet.


How To Treat and Soothe Dry, Cracked Heels For Softer Feet

You don’t have to visit the nail salon to pamper your dry feet. Ahead, learn how to get soft feet and address dry cracked heels at home for smooth soles.

Whether your love of designer shoes or passion for running is causing dry skin on your feet, it’s a common (solvable) problem to have. Aside from the aforementioned factors, cold weather, exposure to the elements, medications, or certain illnesses can cause skin to get dehydrated.I As noted, it can easily be treated by spending extra time pampering your soles with luxe skincare and body care treatments.

Let’s get into it: The skin on the bottoms of your feet—specifically, the heels and balls of your feet—is pretty thick. It has to be, because those are the areas that support your body weight when you walk. Calluses are especially common on the heels and balls of the feet because of the amount of friction that your feet constantly experience. Unfortunately, this means they can dry out quickly and lead to painful symptoms like cracked heels and dry skin on feet.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep your feet soft and smooth, no matter how active you are. And it all starts with a dedicated foot care routine. Ahead, discover our ideal routine to get softer, more hydrated skin. You’ll also learn about the different treatments you can use to make dry feet and heels feel soft and smooth.

How To Get Soft Feet: The Kiehl’s Routine

Step 1:


The first step in your foot care routine is to soak your feet to soften dry, cracked heels, and make it easier to exfoliate later. Hop in the tub (or, if you don’t have a bathtub, fill up a large container with warm water), and add a skin-softening bath treatment to the water. Soak your body (or just your feet), and relax as it moisturizes and softens dry skin.

Kiehl's Expert Tip: Avoid getting pruney skin by limiting your time in the tub to 20 minutes or less. If you’re just soaking your feet, aim for 10 minutes.

Step 2:


Creme de Corps Smoothing Oil-to-Foam Body Cleanser

Next, thoroughly wash the tops and soles of your feet with a gentle body wash, like Creme de Corps Smoothing Oil-to-Foam Body Cleanser. This mild nourishing cleanser features grapeseed oil and rich castor oil, and it helps moisturize the skin as it lathers into a light, rich foam.

To use, we recommend putting a nickel-sized amount of this almond and vanilla-scented cleanser on a washcloth or loofah. Massage the rich formula over your feet and lower legs to remove dirt and sweat. Rinse thoroughly with warm water when you’ve finished to remove all soap residue.

Kiehl's Expert Tip: Avoid walking around barefoot at home to limit exposure to the elements. Whenever possible, keep your socks or slippers on to help keep feet soft and hydrated.

Step 3:


If you have dry, cracked feet, exfoliating can help remove dead skin and minimize calluses for smoother, softer-feeling skin—that’s why your pedicurist always breaks out the pumice stone when you get your toenails done. You actually don’t have to get a professional pedicure to keep your feet soft and smooth. Replicate the effects of a pumice stone at home with a smoothing scrub, such as Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub.

This softening treatment contains crushed apricot seeds and volcanic rock-derived perlite, and it gently yet effectively removes dead skin on the feet, lower legs, and dry heels. The mild formula, which also contains aloe vera and chamomile, helps with dry, cracked skin and leaves it feeling soft and velvety-smooth as well.

Kiehl's Expert Tip: Sit down, and apply a small amount of our exfoliating body scrub to damp feet. Using a washcloth or your hands, massage the scrub onto your skin in circular motions. Pay extra attention to callused, rough skin, as these areas need exfoliation the most. Thoroughly rinse once you’re done.

Step 4:


After soaking, washing, and exfoliating your feet (basically, a foot “facial”), you’ll want to apply a hydrating body lotion to lock in moisture. We recommend reaching for a lightweight moisturizer, such the cult-classic Creme de Corps. This rich, non-greasy formula (a Kiehl’s staple for nearly 40 years) contains velvety cocoa butter and olive-derived squalane and helps moisturize and smooth dry skin.

To use it, smooth the antioxidant-rich formula over damp skin from your neck down (because the rest of your body deserves some TLC, too). Take care to focus on ultra-dry areas, such as the heels and balls of the feet. Allow the formula to soak in while completing the rest of your body care routine for soft skin.

Kiehl's Expert Tip: Use your body lotion every day after showering, and as an extra treatment whenever your skin feels dry, rough, or tight. You can also layer it under a thicker, heavier moisturizer (or body oil) for extra hydration if needed.

Step 5:


Ultra dry skin requires heavy-duty treatment. Soften extra dry heels or callused feet with a rich formula designed to repair the skin, such as Intensive Treatment & Moisturizer For Dry or Callused Areas. This thick, ointment-like treatment features shea butter, cocoa butter, and avocado oil for luxurious hydration. Smooth it over your soles to soften severe dryness.

Kiehl's Expert Tip: For extra pampering, you can DIY an overnight foot mask. Smooth a thick layer of this rich emollient cream over your feet. Then, pull on a pair of breathable cotton socks and go to sleep. The socks will help lock in the moisture and keep the cream from rubbing off while you sleep, so you’ll wake up with soft, nourished skin.

Next: For soft hands, check out our article How To Prevent and Treat Dry, Cracked Hands.

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