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Thanks to natural exfoliants, exfoliating dry, hardened skin has never been easier or more effective! From pumice powder to walnut shell powder, these natural, eco-friendly ingredients are fantastic at getting rid of calluses, often caused by increased friction against the skin, age, or medical condition. In this post, I have rounded up the top 10 natural foot care exfoliants that I’ve found the most effective, where to get it, and three recipes to get you started on your exfoliating journey.
Table of Contents
- What are Natural Exfoliants and What Do They Do
- Top 10 All-Natural Exfoliants For Dry Hardened Skin On Feet
- DIY Exfoliating Recipes
- How to Make the Most of Natural Exfoliants
What are Natural Exfoliants and What Do They Do
Long hours on your feet create friction against the skin, causing it to harden, which is our skin’s natural mechanism to protect itself from repeated stress and damage. However, untreated, hardened, dry skin can crack and become painful to the touch. So what one can do to remove hard skin and prevent it from coming back? Exfoliate!
Natural exfoliants are cosmetic ingredients that help slough away dead skin cells from your feet. Massaging coarse particles on the skin creates sufficient friction to remove hardened skin and calluses while stimulating blood circulation, revealing smoother, healthier-looking skin.
Many natural, eco-friendly ingredients are incredibly easy to find and use. Here are the best natural physical exfoliants for dry, hardened skin on your feet.
Top 10 All-Natural Exfoliants For Dry Hardened Skin On Feet
Ground into a fine powder, pumice is a naturally occurring volcanic rock used in personal care for thousands of years to remove dry skin from the bottom of feet, soften the skin, and reduce pain from friction. As pumice powder comes in various grades of coarseness, and is mildly abrasive, grade F 120mesh strikes a great balance. It is tough enough to remove hardened skin yet gentle on softer, more delicate areas. It makes a great addition to foot scrubs and foot scrub bars.
Walnut shell powder is an excellent alternative to pumice powder and works on the same principle by effectively exfoliating the skin’s dead cells. Moderately abrasive and made from crushed walnut shells, walnut shell powder makes a great addition to foot scrubs, scrub bars and exfoliating creams. You can use it alone to create a moderately abrasive foot scrub or mix it with more abrasive pumice powder for more intense exfoliation.
Sugar crystals are a great all-natural way to remove dead skin cell build-up and excess oil and impurities. They are the secret behind many famous foot scrubs and body scrubs, boasting exfoliating effect that leaves skin feeling soft, smooth and youthful. The rough texture of sugar crystals makes them helpful in removing dry, rough skin on your feet. Mix it with fine grade pumice powder and jojoba beads for a smoother finish.
Himalayan salt contains numerous trace minerals that can benefit our skin, including potassium, calcium and magnesium. Available in various colours, including orange, white, and pink, it makes a beautiful addition to foot scrubs or scrub bars for extra exfoliation. Blending it with essential oils, butter, oil, and other exfoliants can help remove dead skin, increase circulation, and clean the pores while leaving the skin smooth to the touch.
Note: Applying salt to broken skin can cause irritations.
Coffee scrubs became hugely popular in the past few years as ground coffee make an excellent exfoliant for dry feet. Just like other exfoliants, you can use them in foot scrubs, exfoliating creams, and scrub bars to remove dead skin cells and soften the skin. Combine with shea butter for an added moisturising effect.
Ground apricot kernels are another excellent example of a mechanical exfoliant you can use on your feet. Each medium to coarse grain helps slough off dead skin, improve blood circulation, and relieve aches and pains. Combining it with nourishing oils and butter will create a softening foot scrub, perfect for rough, flaky, and callused areas.
7. Orange Peel
Orange peel is one of the most versatile exfoliants. Made from the peels of orange, as the name suggests, it comes in various grades of coarseness, from more abrasive grains to extra fine powder. While coarse orange peel works best in scrubs and scrub bars designed to reduce the build-up of thick calluses. The orange powder is a much gentler exfoliant. When combined with ground walnut shells or coarse orange peal, it helps to reveal soft, healthy, younger-looking skin.
Anti-inflammatory and soothing on the skin, oatmeal can be added to foot scrubs and scrub bars to improve skin’s texture, and hydration and soothe irritations. Combined with pumice powder and Himalayan salt, oatmeal foot scrub will help restore and rejuvenate your tired feet in no time at all.
Safe and gentle to the skin, the bamboo powder is a microdermabrasion-grade exfoliant that you can use alone or in combination with other exfoliants to remove dead skin cells and reveal renewed younger-looking skin. Rich in silica, this natural exfoliant makes an excellent addition to many foot scrubs, scrub bars and foot polishes.
10. Jojoba Beads
The round, smooth jojoba beads offer gentle exfoliation without scratching the skin, a common side effect of more abrasive exfoliants such as salt and sugar. Available in various colours, sizes and shapes, these odourless beads are great for foot scrubs and scrub bars reducing dead skin cell build-up and revealing new, soft, healthy skin. You can use them alone or mix them with other exfoliants for a gentle exfoliation that leaves skin soft, smooth and bright.
DIY Exfoliating Recipes
With a vast amount of exfoliants available to us, you can customise recipes to suit your skin type and needs, whether you’re looking for a gentle exfoliation or something that will give you a deeper clean. I have also included essential oils for their aromatherapeutic and skincare properties. Each exfoliant is unique, so experiment to see which one works for you. Here are four formulae to try at home.
Simple Olive Oil Himalayan Salt Rosemary Foot Scrub
This abrasive foot scrub uses refreshing and cleansing rosemary essential oil, super moisturising olive oil, Himalayan salt, and jojoba beads to create a quick exfoliating foot scrub.
80g Himalayan salt
20g olive oil
0.5g rosemary essential oil
Step 1: In a mixing bowl, combine the salt, olive oil and rosemary essential oil until well blended.
Step 2: Apply scrub over your feet in circular motions until dry skin is removed.
Step 3: Gently rinse with lukewarm water and finish with a moisturiser like orange and peppermint foot cream.
Step 4: Store in a cool, dry area with an airtight lid.
Whipped Cocoa Butter Sugar Scrub
This foot scrub will leave your feet silky soft. The combination of cocoa and shea butter with rapadura sugar and sweet orange and benzoin essential oil creates a fruity, uplifting aroma that will help remove dry, rough skin on your feet and keep your feet fresh.
35g rapadura sugar
20g jojoba beads
25g cocoa butter
10g shea butter
8.3g sunflower oil
1.0g vitamin E
0.5g sweet orange essential oil
0.2g benzoin essential oil
Step 1: Bring about 2-3 cm of water to a simmer over low heat in a small saucepan.
Step 2: Weigh shea and cocoa butter in a glass beaker, and leave it in the hot water bath until melted and set aside.
Step 3: Meantime, weigh the sunflower oil in another glass beaker.
Step 4: Allow the melted butter to cool down and stir in the oil, regularly mixing until the butter/oil mixture temperature drops below 40°C.
Step 5: Add vitamin E and essential oils.
Step 6: Continue stirring until you can see a trace. At this point, you can place the blend into a fridge and let it firm up before adding sugar and jojoba beads.
Step 7: Now, you are ready to start whipping. To achieve a light, fluffy consistency, you’ll need to beat the butter 2-3 times, placing it in the fridge in between for 5-10minutes.
Step 8: Once the butter is nice and fluffy, scoop it into a jar and leave it in the fridge to set.
Orange Peel Coffee Scrub Bars
A dream to use, this scrub bar is a great multipurpose product that combines the exfoliating properties of ground coffee and orange peel with nourishing cocoa butter and beeswax to create a luxurious foot scrub that leaves skin silky soft.
44.20g cocoa butter
3.00g sunflower oil
10.00g ground orange peel
10.00g ground coffee
1.00g vitamin E
0.80g sweet Orange essential oil
0.20g benzoin essential oil
1.00g preservative Eco
Step 1: Prepare a hot water bath by bringing 2-3 cm of water to a simmer over low heat in a saucepan.
Step 2: Weigh out the beeswax and cocoa butter in a heat resistant glass beaker, and place it into a hot water bath to melt the ingredients through.
Step 3: When fully liquified, remove the beaker from the hot water bath and dry it off with a kitchen towel. Add the sunflower oil, ground orange peel and ground coffee. Keep stirring for a few minutes until you notice light trace building up (about 55°C).
Step 4: Add vitamin E, essential oils, and preservative Eco at this point.
Step 5: Pour the mixture into the mould of your choice. The mixture shouldn’t be too thick so that when you pour it into a mould, it won’t fill the mould.
Step 6: Allow the bars set overnight to firm up.
Step 7: Remove them from the mould, label and store them in an airtight jar.
How to Make the Most of Natural Exfoliants
Whether you want a gentle, natural foot scrub or something that will get the job done, you can achieve it with a little bit of experimenting. Whether you wish to create your own recipe or follow a pre-made one, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Treat your feet to a foot soak: It will help to soften the skin in preparation for the foot scrub.
- Choose the right exfoliant: while the uneven texture of sugar crystals and salt makes them helpful in removing dry, rough skin on feet, if your skin is soft, salt and sugar scrubs could be too harsh on your feet. Gentle exfoliants like jojoba beads, oatmeal or bamboo scrub would be a much better option.
- Do not over-exfoliate: over-exfoliating compromises the stratum corneum and can cause redness, irritation, or microtears in your skin. Depending on your needs, once or twice a week should be sufficient.
- Rinse the foot scrub: many foot scrubs contain moisturising oils and butter that may make your skin feel oily afterwards. Rinse with warm water, leaving a thin film behind. It will help to keep your feet moisturised.
- Moisturise: moisturising your feet thoroughly after exfoliating will help lock in moisture and prevent dryness.
Natural exfoliants are simple, easy to use, and inexpensive cosmetic products that help slough off dry, hardened skin on your feet. While some are gentle, like bamboo and oatmeal powder, others are more abrasive. Combining scrub particles of various sizes will help buff the skin’s surface to the desired effect.
How often can I exfoliate my feet?
Suppose your feet don’t get dry or are just mildly dehydrated. In that case, you can exfoliate fortnightly using gentle to mildly abrasive exfoliants like ground oats, bamboo powder, jojoba beads, or fine pumice powder. However, suppose your feet are drier and callused. In that case, exfoliating them more often, once or twice a week, using more abrasive exfoliants like ground apricot kernels, orange peach, or salt will prevent calluses and hard skin from building up, keeping your feet healthy.
Can the foot scrub on the whole body?
The foot scrub is best suited for your feet only as it often includes abrasive particles that could be too harsh for the rest of your body. Granulated sugar, Himalayan salt, ground coffees, or ground apricot kernels have uneven edges that could scrape your skin, causing irritation, redness, or microtears.