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Every two weeks, for the past 15 years, Oscar-winner, thought leader and billionaire Oprah Winfrey has carved two hours out of her busy schedule to have pedicurist Gloria L. Williams “do her feet.” This is no mere pedicure, mind you. It’s an indulgent foot soak complete with a cream-based massage and callous removal that she says leaves her feeling “calm and relaxed."
And since Oprah sprinkles magic success dust on everyone she encounters, she encouraged Williams to create a product line based on the homemade concoctions she used. The then fledgling entrepreneur jumped at the opportunity and has since created Footnanny, a bestselling brand of pampering footcare products.
Recently, Oprah shared a video of her reunion with Williams after a year of not being able to see her due to the pandemic. In the clip, she raves about how “The @footnanny’s scrubs and creams helped [her] for the last year,” so naturally we were curious about the regimen.
Could this be the cure for cracked heels and ashy toes? Could it provide some stress relief to help us relax and give us the strength to lift whatever immovable objects are placed before us in life? Is this too much to ask of a product?
I had to try the Footnanny Foot Treatment Set for myself. I started by heaping a few tablespoons of the herbal foot salts into a basin of hot water. I sat on the edge of my bathtub taking deep breaths of the parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme scents wafting up from the water. Since Williams recommends you soak for 10 to 20 minutes, I took a meditation break while I was letting my skin soften (or as we call it around Thanksgiving, brine). Next, I toweled off my water-swollen (but noticeably softened) feet before slathering on a handful of eucalyptus foot cream, which is super emollient thanks to soy, shea butter, cocoa butter, vitamin C and E, as well as eucalyptus essential oil in the formula. I dug my thumbs deep into the balls of my feet, my arches and my poor overworked toes. Damn, this feels good! I swooned, as my tingly eucalyptus-laced self-massage got the blood flowing in my feet.
Unlike other foot creams I’ve used, this one wasn’t overly perfumed and it didn’t seem like it was loaded with chemicals. That’s because Williams’ foot treatments were inspired by the recipes she learned from her mom, who mixed natural ingredients for the massage potions she used on sick and elderly neighbors in her Montgomery, Alabama hometown.
I kept rubbing the cream in until most of it was absorbed, then I applied another thin layer of lotion to the callouses on my heels and toes (which are the bane of my summertime-bare feet). Finally, I slipped on the thin socks that come with the Footnanny kit, climbed into bed and fell asleep before I could even remember my usual nighttime relaxation regimen.
When I woke up in the morning, my callous-crusted heels had softened considerably and now looked good enough to display in sandals. And frankly, I felt happy recalling the sense memory of my self-massage.
As the summer wears on, I’ll be supplementing my ritual with a dry buffer to exfoliate before my weekly foot softening sessions. (I’m also excited to try the new exfoliating and soothing collection of ginger-, peppermint- and hemp-infused creams formulated for not just the feet, but the entire body.) After a few weeks of using Footnanny, I have come to the conclusion that Oprah has indeed conquered this game called life thanks to her foot rubs. (At least, that’s how I’m selling my little slice of me time to my family.)
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