It’s that time of year when you suddenly remember that you have feet. For the last seven months, the ends of my legs have been tucked away inside socks and boots, almost like they’re not there. They are rough and pale and in need of some TLC, but I don’t have the time (or the inclination) to go for a pedicure. I don’t want small carnivorous fish to eat away the dead bits. And any miracle foot creams I have tried in the past, with their promises of smooth, supple skin in just seven days, have always been a huge disappointment. So what to do?
Inspiration came from my Greek grandmother. On a recent visit, I was holding her hand and remarked at how beautiful her skin still is. It’s paper-thin, of course, but soft and silky, and not at all what you’d expect to be attached to the arm of a 95-year-old woman. Apparently, and true to her Mediterranean roots, it’s all down to her having used olive oil as a moisturiser for most of her life. In the name of budget beauty, and of family tradition, I decided to give it a go, but on my flaky feet.
I’m not going to lie; it’s a messy business. This isn’t the kind of treatment you should attempt if you need to walk anywhere within 15 minutes of application. I recommend pouring yourself a glass of wine while you are raiding the kitchen cupboard for your extra virgin, decanting your oil into an egg cup/shot glass and settling down in front of the TV until you’re not slippery. As you would expect, not much is required (start with a drop the size of a 5p coin per foot, and see how you go) and you’ll need to massage it in thoroughly. Any excess oil can be extended up your legs. Keep some tissues handy as you’ll want to wipe your hands afterwards, or risk not being able to actually turn the doorknob to get out of the room to top up your wine, as happened to me the first time I tried it. Dab the soles of your feet after ten minutes too, to avoid slipping over on your polished floor, or staining the carpet.
After just a few applications though, I can tell you it works wonders. My feet are so smooth they feel as if they are slipping around inside my socks. Stubborn rough areas – particularly my heels – are much improved and my skin has a glossy, healthy sheen. The smell, which I expected to not like, was actually very pleasant. Not to mention the price; a 100ml tube of intensive foot treatment will cost you around £10, whereas 100ml of extra virgin olive oil works out at about 40p. At first I used a brand called Farchioni (£6.99 at Tesco), but that’s because I’m a sucker for fancy packaging and it’s what happened to be in my kitchen. My grandmother just used a good quality olive oil, the same oil that she used for cooking, so a supermarket own brand will do nicely. I can vouch for Sainsbury’s Extra Virgin, which is £4.39 for a litre, and would also recommend venturing into your local Turkish supermarket for huge vats of brilliant quality oil at bargain prices (mine also does 100 per cent pomegranate juice for 50p per litre carton, but that’s by the by). Now I just have to wait for the weather to improve so I can slip my revived feet into my new, and rather appropriately named, ancient Greek sandals.