At home pedicure: how to remove hard skin & get silky soft feet

How to effectively remove hard skin & get amazingly soft feet

There's so many reasons to try an at home pedicure - a quick glance around during sandal season should tell you all you need to know.

Overgrown toe nails and chipped polish are just the start of it. Dead skin corns and cracked heels, can leave us with truly ugly looking - no wonder so many of us are embarrassed to get them out.

Although we often feel judged for the condition of our feet, solace can be found in the fact it has little to do with personal hygiene. If you want to know how to remove dead skin and get soft feet once and for all, you've come to the right place!

Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in August 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in January 2018.

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Ugly feet? Here are the causes...

Silky soft!

We don't expect to wear shoes every day and them show no sign of wear, so why do we expect our feet to stay in perfect condition? It's easy to forget just how we rely on our feet to do, well, pretty much everything. From walking to the sofa to running a half marathon - everywhere we go, our feet come with us.

All that movement takes its toll on our soles, and that's without factoring in other elements.

Hard skin on feet? Here are the causes...

The main cause of hard skin on feet (correctly known as a foot callus) on the soles of our feet is intermittent pressure. This means that anyone who moves is more likely than not to experience foot calluses at some point during their life.

For people that move more, including runners and those that engage in other sports, foot calluses become even more likely.

There are certain factors which increase the chances and severity of foot calluses. These include being overweight and also having naturally flat feet or high arches as these result in uneven pressure on the soles of our feet.

Corns on feet? Here are the causes...

Corns are caused by friction, and are often a result of ill fitting shoes that repeatedly rub against skin.

Corns are much smaller than foot calluses. They are small bumps of hard, dead skin with a central core, and usually found on top of or between toes (particularly the 4th and 5th toes). They can be rather painful, especially if left untreated.

Cracked heels? Here are the causes

Cracked heels are perhaps the most unsightly of all. They occur when skin on the heels becomes very dry, hard and rigid. When pressure is put on the feet, the skin can't give or expand, which causes it to crack.

Causes of dry skin, leading to cracked heels can include not moisturising, staying in the bath for too long, scrubbing feet dry and more.

How to do an at home pedicure

use empsom salts to get soft feet
Epsom salts are a great natural remedy for many things.

Whilst the removal of corns is best left to a doctor, cracked heels and calluses can be treated at home.

Follow our foolproof method to get silky soft feet in just five steps.

1. Try a foot soak

All foot treatments should start with a foot soak. This helps to soften the skin, and make it easier to remove and treat.

Your foot soak should be carried out in a basin or bath of warm water. Additional ingredients can be added to the water to make it even more effective at softening feet. Why not try:

  • The juice of a lemon - citric acid aid in the removal or dead skin cells.
  • A cup of white vinegar - rich in acetic acid which helps with skin removal and healing cracked feet.
  • A generous sprinkling of Epsom salts which have great skin healing properties.
  • A cup of honey - known for its natural moisturizing benefits.

2. Remove dead skin on feet

Time to tackle that unsightly rough skin. Post foot soak, it should be softer and much easier to remove. Grab a pumice stone, and rub it over the soles of your feet in circular motions. Be gentle on the arch of your feet, as there should be little no foot calluses here, and instead, direct your attention to the soles and balls of the feet. Scrub away until skin feels soft and smooth.

If at any time your feet become sore or sensitive, stop.

3. Treat cracked heels

If your feet are looking really worse for wear, they may need additional treatment. DIY foot 'masks' will be able to penetrate deep into cracks and fissures and give them the nourishment they need. There are various, natural, at home treatments you can try. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Vaseline - slather the substance onto feet, being sure to massage it well into cracked heels. Tie a bag around each foot and leave to soak for an hour.
  • Oatmeal - mix 1 tbsp of oatmeal with a few drops of jojoba oil and massage onto feet. Leave for 20 minutes before rinsing and drying with a towel.
  • Rice flour - mix 3 tbsp of rice flour with 3 tbsp honey and 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar. Mix ingredients and apply to feet. Leave to work its magic fo 15 minutes before rinsing.
  • Coconut oil - massage into feet, pop on a pair of clean, cotton socks and leave to soak overnight.

4. How to soften feet using a moisturiser

Now all that nasty dry skin has been removed and cracked heels have been treated, it's time to apply a layer of moisture to soothe and soften cells further. Make sure feet are clean, then massage a thick layer of foot cream into the skin. It's best to use a specialised cream, as these are much richer than body moisturisers and will penetrate the skin more deeply.

5. Repeat your at home pedicure regularly

coconut oil for soft feet
Keep up your foot care routine if you want them to stay soft.

By now, your feet should be both feeling and looking a whole lot better. The care doesn't end there, though. Often, one treatment enough isn't sufficient, and the above steps should be repeated until your feet have completely recovered.

How to prevent dry cracked feet

As with most things, the prevention of calluses, cracked heels and corns is much easier - and less unpleasant - than trying to treat them.

1. How to correct your gait

If you've been unfortunate enough to have been born with flat feet, it may be worth going to see a specialist, such as a physio or a podiatrist. They will be able to provide you with insoles to put into your existing shoes which will even out the pressure put on the soles of your feet, preventing the build up of hard skin in the future.

2. Foot moisturizer 

As they're often hidden in shoes, we tend to neglect our feet much more than other body parts. This is a big mistake, and will only encourage feet to become cracked and dry skin to develop.

Not only should feet be moisturised every day, but a specialist foot cream should be used. These are much thicker and contain ingredients that will nourish and soothe your tired feet, preventing foot calluses and cracked heels.

3. Wear shoes that fit

russell and bromley & adidas shoes
Invest in quality shoes that fit.

Ill-fitting shoes are one of the main causes of corns. As a general rule, if a shoe feels too snug, it's probably a bad idea.

If you really must have that pair of red patent brogues, be sure to stretch them out sufficiently before wearing them, or visit a shoe smith who will be able to do this for you.

Comfortable feet are happy feet. Treat them well, and they'll look and feel much better for it.

Here's to silky soft feet, all year round. I might even treat myself to a spot of nail varnish! How do you keep your feet soft?


Stephanie C


Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

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  1. Author Tracey Morgans on September 26, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Thank you so much, since being In a wheelchair for some reason my feet are dreadful, very hard skin on the heel and also toe nails like concrete, I am going to try of these, thanks so much

    1. Author Stephanie C on September 26, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      Hi Tracey :) Oh it's our pleasure. Sorry to hear you've been having problems with your feet - we hope they improve soon!

  2. Author Mastuh OSCG Ayteayteforefive (8845) on December 7, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    hello. I'm mastuh OSCG 8845 and I have a question. what can you use to get rid of calluses if you do NOT have a pumice stone nor a filer?

    1. Author Steph on December 8, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Hi Mastuh. Calluses must be treated as stated in the article. Hard skin, however, can be removed by using a rough flannel in circular motion after soaking. I hope this helps.

  3. Author Jonathan Cartwright on December 15, 2017 at 9:32 am

    I have dry feet and i do my feet as much as possible can cos i am always on the go can you help

    1. Author Stephanie C on December 19, 2017 at 10:01 am

      Hi Jonathan. If you're struggling for time to care for your feet, why not try the old method of rubbing cream on them then wearing socks overnight? It will give them a deep, nourishing treatment and you will wake up with silky soft feet.

  4. Author Miss Shirley Croy on December 15, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Hello Stephanie I have problem feet I have a corn on my right foot just below me big toe, & on me left foot well I don't know what it is, it's on the bottom of me foot on the part that you stand on when yer heels are off the floor, it's sore & the size of a 10p piece, I dig it out it's like layers of skin once i'v done that it eases a little bit. What do you think it is Stephanie ? I'v had it for about 3-4yrs now I think ! i'm 53 & wanna start taking more care of meself more please could you let me know what it possibly is & how I can treat it. Hope you can help me Regards Shirley.

    1. Author Stephanie C on December 19, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Hi there Shirley. Thanks a lot for your comment :) It's great news that you're wanting to start looking after yourself more - we hope to help you with that! I would personally recommend going to see your GP about this. Corns can be extremely painful if left. A cream/cushion from the pharmacy along with filing should help remove it. However, the sore on your foot sounds much more serious and I'd definitely book and appointment to get it looked at properly. I hope that helps! Thanks, Steph

  5. Author Jonathan Cartwright on December 16, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    I have dry feet cos on them all day and i try to do them when i have time

    1. Author Stephanie C on December 19, 2017 at 9:55 am

      Hi Jonathan. All that standing can quickly get on top of your feet! If you try and give them a quick bit of TLC every few weeks or so, they'ree look and feel much better for it.

  6. Author Mastuh OSCG Ayteayteforefive on January 8, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Ma'am, can foot cream also work when it comes to making feet soft? I ASK because I want very soft feet & I am male with somewhat rough feet but I want my feet SO soft that it feels like velvet.

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 9, 2018 at 9:26 am

      Hi Mastuh. If you want soft feet, a foot cream is definitely the thing to go for. Apply it once a day before going to bed and it a week or so you should have much softer skin :)

  7. Author Dry feet on January 22, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Is there anything else besides a flannel and pumice stone for cracked heels?

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 23, 2018 at 9:20 am

      Hi there. Have you tried using nourishing foot cream?


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