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After months confined in platform boots, winter running shoes, and everyday walking shoes, our feet are in dire need of some TLC this time of year. Instead of settling for calluses and coarse heels, grab one the best foot peels and hydrating foot masks to revive that rough skin.
“Foot creams are products designed to be used on a daily basis, while a foot mask is a concentrated formula used to complement what you’re doing on a daily basis,” explains New York City board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. “A mask is typically used intermittently for an added benefit.” So what are the benefits of foot masks? Most fall into two main categories: Hydration and exfoliation. Many foot peels contain chemical exfoliants to detach dead skin cells that build up from walking and running. Those ingredients can remove calluses, smooth rough patches, and soothe blisters. Other foot masks deliver a potent dose of moisture to have your feet feeling post-pedicure fresh.
If cracked heels are your concern, foot masks may be helpful. “In some cases, use of heavy masks can treat cracks and fissures on the feet,” says Dr. Zeichner. “Although in severe cases, professional help may be needed.” Athlete’s foot is another concern that requires a trip to your primary care physician, dermatologist, or podiatrist. “Since athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus, it requires an anti-fungal medication to be applied between the toes and on the bottom of the feet,” Dr. Zeichner adds. “In some cases, prescription anti-fungal medication might be necessary.” As long as you’re not trying to treat those concerns, you’re good to mask away.
Although foot peels and masks are handy to use now (before you trade in your women’s combat boots for cute summer sandals) they’re a foot care staple to keep in your medicine cabinet year round. A-listers love them before special occasions — Jessica Chastain slipped her feet into Dr. Scholl’s hydrating foot masks before this year’s Golden Globes. If you’re heading on a vacation, hydrating foot masks are a quick way to refresh your feet before you hit the beach. And foot masks with anti-inflammatory ingredients like arnica can help calm your feet after a big run.
From slip-on disposable booties to rich creams, we have no doubt you’ll find a new favorite below. Get ready to step into spring with the best foot peels and masks, according to an expert and editor testing.
Whish Exfoliating Foot Mask
- Key ingredients: Willow bark extract, orange and lemon extracts, and bromelain
- Pros: Leaping bunny certified; exfoliates with plant-based ingredients
- Cons: Requires 8 to 12 hours of wear time
Whish’s Exfoliating Foot Mask is an unrivaled choice for those who want to rehab their feet while they sleep. The gel is full of plant-based ingredients that improve the look and feel of your feet: Enzymes derived from papaya, orange, lemon, and grapefruit help soften your skin and remove rough patches. Apply it onto your feet before bed then slip on a pair of socks — by the morning your feet will feel buttery smooth.
What reviewers say: “I went to the beach two months ago, and somehow my feet got horrible from walking on the sand. I found this and I was kind of skeptical, but after a week of applying it, my feet look better than ever. Honestly I’m still very impressed.”
Baby Foot Exfoliation Foot Peel
- Key ingredients: Glycolic acid, lactic acid, and citrus peel oils
- Number of masks: 1 pair
- Pros: Resurfaces the thickest patches of dead skin, even on your heels
- Cons: Visible peeling may be off-putting for some
“Trust the process” is the motto with Baby Foot Exfoliation Foot Peel. The intensely strong peel causes your feet to visibly shed in the weeks after you use it, but after two weeks your skin will look brand new (search it on TikTok and you’ll see what we mean). The booties deliver a strong mix of glycolic and lactic acids, among many other exfoliating ingredients, that encourage dead skin cells to break free. To help speed along the peeling process, soak your feet nightly and moisturize them thoroughly.
What reviewers say: “This literally peels away years of hard skin, leaving me with super smooth heels. I will be using this every summer now — I can wear sandals with confidence again. It’s a very inexpensive way to get beautiful feet without all the hard work.”
Dr. Scholl’s Hydrating Foot Mask
- Key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, urea, shea butter, macadamia oil, and coconut oil
- Number of masks: 3 pairs
- Pros: Lightly exfoliates while hydrating your feet
- Cons: Booties can be tricky to secure around your ankles
This Dr. Scholl’s foot mask is the number one bestseller in its category on Amazon. It also happens to be A-lister approved; Jessica Chastain’s nail artist, Julie Kandalec, used the masks to prep the star’s feet ahead of this year’s Golden Globes. The slip-on sheet mask booties lightly exfoliate with urea and deeply hydrate with proven emollients like shea butter and hyaluronic acid.
What reviewers say: “The Dr. Scholl’s Ultra Hydrating Foot Mask is great for dry and rough feet. They are easy to slip on and have a nice scent — it feels like having a pedicure. The skin really soaked up the oils. A great quality product.”
Aveeno Repairing Cica Foot Mask
- Key ingredients: Shea butter, colloidal oatmeal, cica, and glycerin
- Number of masks: 3 pairs
- Pros: Moisturizes dry rough skin
- Cons: May be too loose for smaller foot sizes
If your feet feel itchy or inflamed, the Aveeno Repairing Cica Foot Masks are a soothing choice. That’s thanks to cica — the medicinal herb has calming benefits. You’ll also get a dose of hydrating shea butter and balancing colloidal oatmeal. Slide them on to give your feet a reset.
What reviewers say: I’ve used these several times throughout the summer and they always leave my feet feeling super soft. During the summer when we often wear sandals are flip flops my feet tend to become really dry. This foot mask is a nice treat at the end of the day to moisturized those really dry cracked areas.”
Earth Therapeutics Soft & Smooth Gentle Peeling Foot Mask
- Key ingredients: Tea tree oil, lactic acid, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid
- Number of masks: 2 pairs
- Pros: Tea tree oil delivers anti-bacterial benefits
- Cons: Full benefits can take up to two weeks
When your feet need a full refresh, look no further than Earth Therapeutics’ Soft & Smooth Gentle Peeling Foot Masks. The slip-on masks have a trio of alpha hydroxy acids that cause your skin to peel over the course of 10 to 14 days, but after the peeling, you’ll uncover your softest feet yet. The tea tree oil in the formula has anti-bacterial properties that can help with those dealing with itchy feet.
What reviewers say: “I’ve tried other foot peeling socks, treatments, and masks and this is the one that worked the best. My heels get very dry and crack and I usually use a thick cream to moisturize them. I wore these socks for 90 minutes with cozy gripper socks on top. After my feet peel my skin looks brand new after.”
Plantifique Foot Peel Mask
- Key ingredients: Aloe vera, papaya, and peach kernel
- Number of masks: 1 pair
- Pros: Dermatologist-tested formula
- Cons: Strongly scented
Plantifique’s Foot Peel Mask is another mask option that removes a full layer of dead skin after you use it. This one gets its exfoliating magic from lactic acid, which also hydrates skin while smoothing it. The booties also deliver aloe vera to soothe your skin and papaya extracts that help mend cracked heels. You’ll notice immediate and long-term benefits when you use it as needed.
What reviewers say: “I got this because I play a lot of sports and it’s left me with a lot of calluses. This product was really easy to use – just put on the plastic slippers, seal them, and leave for an hour. When I first took the plastic off, all the rough spots on my feet were smooth and soft. I have sensitive skin, but didn’t have any problems with this. My feet are now soft, smooth, and look better than they have in years.”
Patchology Rosé Toes Renewing Foot Mask
- Key ingredients: Strawberry oil, resveratrol, and shea butter
- Number of masks: 1 pair
- Pros: Easy to apply
- Cons: Contains artificial fragrance
If you’re planning a self-care Sunday in the near future, you’ll want to order Patchology’s Rosé Toes Renewing Foot Mask. The skin care brand is known for their amazing sheet masks, so it’s no surprise that this foot mask is a knockout. Your feet will get a dose of hydration for a smooth touch, and antioxidants for some extra pampering. Best of all, you’ll notice a difference after wearing them for just 10 minutes.
What reviewers say: “I needed a rescue for my dry, chapped toes. And wow, this is so good. I put them on right before going to sleep and just relaxed reading a book in bed. My feet were baking in all these amazing softening ingredients. When I finally took the mask off my feet, they were so soft and smelled amazing. In the morning I just felt so pampered like I had a spa moment the night before.”
Dermora Foot Peel Mask
- Key ingredients: Aloe vera, lactic acid, and malic acid
- Number of masks: 2 pairs
- Pros: Multiple sizes to suit small and large feet
- Cons: Scent may be unappealing to some
Similar to Baby Feet’s viral foot masks, the Dermora Foot Peel Masks are lined with a concoction of exfoliating acids that encourage dead skin to peel away. These also contain malic acid, an apple derivative that can improve skin texture. Soak your feet nightly after you use them to ensure a clean peel.
What reviewers say: “These little booties work like a charm. They take up to a week for the peeling to start, and I do recommend using a foot pumice after soaking your feet (even just after a bath or a shower) to help get the dead skin off. It’s for sure saved my tough wearing-boots-everyday, rhino-skin feet.”
Sephora Collection Clean Foot Mask
- Key ingredients: Coconut derivatives, glycerin, and seaweed
- Number of masks: 1 pair
- Pros: Vegan formula
- Cons: May require multiple masks to see max benefits
With 92 percent natural ingredients, Sephora Collection’s Clean Foot Masks are a safe choice for anyone looking to treat their toes. The simple foot masks hydrate rough skin with ingredients like glycerin and moisture-boosting seaweed. And at $5 a pair, they’re an affordable option to cycle in when your feet are feeling parched.
What reviewers say: “I am absolutely obsessed with these masks! On my first use, they moisturized my feet so well. And the coconut smell is not too strong and smells amazing. Definitely a must-have in your skincare routine to keep healthy and hydrated feet.”
Farmhouse Fresh Honey Heel Glaze
- Key ingredients: Honey, rice bran oil, vitamins C and E, papaya, pineapple, and aloe vera
- Pros: Instantly improves the look of dry skin and cracked heels
- Cons: Expensive
Farmhouse Fresh’s Honey Heel Glaze is as close as it gets to a miracle in a jar for those dealing with persistent cracked heels. The rich salve has a texture similar to syrup that absorbs quickly into your skin. Paint it onto problem areas with the included fan brush, and watch cracks, calluses, and ashy spots disappear.
What reviewers say: “Loving this delicious Honey Heel Glaze — it’s fun to paint on. It smells amazing and makes my feet feel great & moisturized. No need to rub in or wash off, just paint on with a super soft brush, then put socks on. I will definitely purchase another jar of this fun yummy glaze.”
The Different Kinds of Foot Masks
- Exfoliating foot masks: “Look for ingredients like urea which offer both gentle exfoliating effects along with skin hydration,” Dr. Zeichner recommends. He adds that glycolic and salicylic acid can help exfoliate dead cells to soften rough skin. Cream-based exfoliating foot masks are generally safe to apply overnight, while slip-on disposable booties may be left on an hour or two (reference the product’s packaging to ensure you’re leaving them on for a safe window of time).
- Foot peeling masks: Popularized for their intense peeling power, these options remove a full layer of dead skin to resurface your feet. Most of these peels include a strong dose of chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid and lactic acid. Because of the strong dose of chemical exfoliants, it’s important to follow the instructions on the package to avoid burns or irritation — even though the skin on our feet is thick, you can still risk adverse side effects. With most foot peels, you’ll experience a week or two of flaking skin, so these peels are best applied two to three weeks before a special occasion or beach trip.
- Moisturizing foot masks: “These are loaded with high levels of hydrating and softening ingredients to treat the rough skin on the soles of your feet,” Dr. Zeichner explains. Moisturizing foot masks are great to apply on a weekly basis — massage the formula on then slip on a pair of socks to enhance their hydration power.
How to Use Foot Peels and Masks
For best effect, apply foot masks onto clean, dry feet. If you’re using a cream-style foot mask, smooth the formula evenly onto your feet, focusing on any rough patches on your heels and the sides of your feet. Slide on a pair of socks to seal the formula in place, then rinse it off after the product’s indicated time frame. For sheet mask-style treatments, follow the information on the product’s packaging to secure the material onto your feet. You can massage the mask while it’s soaking to treat your feet and help the ingredients absorb. To maintain the benefits of your foot mask, apply foot cream nightly, or sleep in a pair of gel moisturizing socks.
How We Chose the Best Foot Peels and Masks
For more than 75 years, Footwear News has been the authority on shoes, sneakers and foot-related beauty care. To select the top foot masks and peels, we interviewed a board-certified dermatologist to narrow down the most powerful ingredients for different goals, whether it’s moisturizing or exfoliating your feet. Urea, for example, is able to soften, smooth and hydrate our skin while also helping to manage thickened nails, according to a 2021 review published in Dermatology and Therapy. Many of the foot peels and masks on our list include this ingredient along with proven moisturizers like shea butter, plant-based oils, and seaweed. We tested many of the best foot masks included on this list, noting the texture, ease of application, scent, side effects, and results. For exfoliating foot masks, we included a range of gentle to strong options, some that induce peeling and others that soften skin without flaking.
Meet the Expert
Dr. Joshua Zeichner is the Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology and an Associate Professor of Dermatology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He is considered one of the country’s key opinion leaders in treating acne and rosacea and is an expert in cosmeceuticals, skin care, and cosmetic Dermatology. He is actively engaged in clinical research, and his work has been published in the top peer-reviewed Dermatology journals. As an educator, Dr. Zeichner trains residents and medical students and regularly lectures to international audiences at the major Dermatology meetings. Dr. Zeichner has been voted by his peers to New York Magazine’s Best Doctors lists since 2018 and is consistently ranked as one of the New York Metro Area’s Top Doctors by Castle Connolly and New York City Super Doctors published annually in The New York Times Magazine.
Meet the Author
Claire Sullivan is the Senior Beauty and Lifestyle Commerce Editor for Footwear News and WWD. She’s spent over five years researching, reporting on, and writing about the beauty and wellness industries for publications like Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Weddings, InStyle, and Byrdie. She’s tested hundreds of products during her time as a beauty editor, so she’s well-versed in selecting the foot masks that hydrate, exfoliate, and smooth your feet. Her favorites are Farmhouse Fresh’s Honey Heel Glaze, Plantifique Foot Peel Mask, and Aveeno’s Repairing Cica Foot Mask.