Let’s face it—winter means dry skin, and dry skin necessitates a little more TLC this time of year.

One part of our body that we often neglect however is our feet, and this is the time of year that they need to be cared for the most! So how should we care for our dry, achy feet? Who better to ask than those who rely on their feet for work? Check out this Glamour article to find out the best foot creams available—according to ballerinas—because if anyone knows the importance of taking care of one’s feet, it’s these women! Read on!

By Tanisha Pina for Glamour

 

Asking a beauty professional—whether it’s a celebrity hairstylist, makeup artist, or Instagram influencer (hi, 2018)—for advice is always a safe bet. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find there are plenty of other women out there who are legitimate authorities in their own right. In our new column, Unlikely Experts, they’ll give real reviews and recommendations. Whether it’s surfers on the best conditioners, bikers on the best cleansers, or ballerinas on the best foot creams, it’s fair to say these women know best.

At a glance, ballet is one of the most delicate, romantic, and graceful professions to ever exist. From the intricate costumes and fantastical sets to the fluid movements and emotional music, the style of dance creates a seemingly different world. But like most things, the reality for the dancers isn’t always quite as pretty offstage. Ballerinas face long hours, constant travel, and a lot of mental and physical pressure put on their body—especially when it comes to their feet. “As a dancer, your feet are the most important thing. You stand on them for seven hours every day,” says Ingrid Silva, a ballerina for the Dance Theater of Harlem.

Of course, it’s not just standing they’re doing on the feet: Ballerinas spend their days twirling, jumping, and balancing in pointe shoes that, despite their dainty appearance, can be incredibly painful. This can lead to broken toenails, blisters, and the expected aches and pains—all of which make having a foot care routine so important for ballet dancers.

To get an glimpse at how they soothe achy soles, we picked the brains of a dozen ballerinas to share the foot creams and oils they swear by. Because while the average person might not be working their feet as hard, it’s safe to say we all deserve some routine TLC. Read on as they share their favorites, ranging from drugstore gems to niche splurges.

Bliss Aloe Leaf & Peppermint Foot Cream

As she mentioned above, Ingrid Silva practices roughly seven hours a day. The Brazilian-born dancer says a friend once recommended Bliss’s foot cream to her, and her world was changed. “I love it because it refreshes my feet and gives me comfort and relief,” she adds. “After a bath I’ll rub the cream on while massaging my feet. It’s the best.”


Photo: courtesy of subject; Design by Alexa De Paulis

Mr. Pumice Callus Terminator

With over a decade of ballet and a bronze medal at the USA National Youth Ballet Competition under her belt, Arizona-based ballerina Sasha Vincett has landed on the perfect routine for when her feet start feeling too rough after long day in pointe shoes. Step one: Mr. Pumice Callus Terminator. “This softens the hard skin, and I’m able to exfoliate my feet with a large nail file—it works the best for me compared to a pumice stone,” she says. “After all of the dead skin is gone, I then lather my feet with Heel to Toe foot lotion from Sally Beauty Supply.” It’s by far the best combination she’s found to date.


L'Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream

As with many beloved products, Jasmine Perry, ballerina with the Los Angeles Ballet, was introduced to L’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream years ago as a kid. “It’s super thick but absorbs well, and it aides any dry skin in need of replenishing,” she says. It’s formulated with arnica oil, which Perry notes can help with inflammation and is perfect after a long day of rehearsals—along with lavender oil to keep the smell nice and lasting. “As a ballerina in pointe shoes, we have to keep some of the calluses on our feet, so I apply the cream everywhere else. A little goes a long way, so lather wisely!”


Photo: courtesy of subject; Design by Alexa De Paulis

Epoch Sole Solution Foot Cream

Leah McCall discovered this lifesaver thanks to some fellow dancers at the Los Angeles Ballet. “Once I smelled it, I knew I had to have it,” she says. “Sole Solution contains Allspice Berry, which is what makes it naturally smell great but also super effective at eradicating dryness.” McCall notes that she usually uses it before bed by massaging into her arches and calves. “This means that I wake up with feet and calves that are ready to tackle our six-hour rehearsal days.”


DoTerra Essential Oils and Tiger Balm

“I couldn’t live without my essential oils and Tiger Balm,” says Scout Forsythe, a San Diego–trained dancer who joined New York City’s iconic American Ballet Theater in 2014. She says she uses the balm in the morning for warm-ups and in the evening for healing, and because of the way her pointe shoes tend to smell after a long day of rehearsal, she relies on doTerra essential oils morning, noon, and night. “Melaleuca for corns, peppermint for freshness, and a little energy boost, vetiver, for grounding before a show, and lavender at night to help relax.”


Photo: courtesy of subject; Design by Alexa De Paulis

Joe's Cup of Scrub

Bianca Bulle, who’s in her eighth season with Los Angeles Ballet, takes a more natural approach to her foot care. “My favorite foot rejuvenating product is Joe’s Cup of Scrub—it’s all-natural, made with organic coffee grounds and coconut oil,” she says. “It’s the perfect balance to energize and rejuvenate my feet after a day of ballet.” She came across it as so many of us do with our beauty products these days: on Instagram. “I fell in love with it as soon as I tried it,” says Bulle. “The best part is that it also doubles up as a body scrub. I usually use it during a bath so the ingredients can work their magic. But it’s great as a quick scrub in the shower too.”


L'Occitane Lavender Relaxing Foot Cream

Internationally known dancer and owner of Wild Heart Performing Arts Studio in Queens, New York, Suzana Stankovic, leans on a classic as her go-to. “My favorite is L’Occitane’s Lavender Relaxing Foot Cream because it smells and feels amazing,” she says. “It’s light and silky and consists of real lavender from the South of France, one of my favorite places in the world. Every time I use this cream I’m transported there.” She calls it the “best aromatherapy ever,” so much so that she tends to breathe it in before applying—just to enjoy the aromatherapy aspect. Then she applies it to her feet slowly and mindfully. “It’s like a little meditation that helps me trust my feet will lead me toward my dreams.”


Photo: courtesy of subject; Design by Alexa De Paulis

Lush Pink Peppermint Foot Cream

A native of Georgia, Cassandra Trenary joined the Southern Ballet Theatre in 2006, and New York’s American Ballet Theater in 2011. Over the years she’s come to love the Lush Pink Peppermint Foot Cream to remedy her sore feet. “It was given to me first by my mother a few years back, and it’s still one of my favorite things,” she says. “This cream is so soothing for the aches and pains because it also includes arnica. I like to massage it into my feet, and then put a dab on each calf to give them love too.”


Brevena Intensive Foot and Heel Repair

“I don’t use many products since I get frequent pedicures and use coconut oil daily on my feet,” says Daphne Lee, former Miss Black USA 2017 and dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem. The one thing she does make time for, though, is Brevena’s gel-like balm, which she received in swag bag during her pageant days. “After walking around all day in six-inch stilettos, rehearsals, and practicing dance routines, your feet require a little extra TLC,” she says. “The balm was the perfect love antidote for my tired and aching feet—just the soothing relief needed to rejuvenate them so I could strut across the stage the next day.”


Photo: courtesy of subject; Design by Alexa De Paulis

Udderly Smooth Shea Butter Foot Cream

Don’t let the packaging fool you. According to Betsy McBride, former principal dancer with Texas Ballet Theater and current artist with American Ballet, this shea butter formula is where it’s at. “I got a free sample once and loved it and have used it ever since,” she says. “I really enjoy massaging it into my feet after a long day of rehearsals.” Its biggest draw? “It doesn’t feel sticky or slimy when you rub it in.”


L’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream

“As a ballet dancer, taking care of your body is your first priority,” says Isabella Walsh, a dancer with the San Francisco Ballet. “Ballet dancers tend to differ in routine or products that best work for them depending on their workload,” she shares. For her, though, after a performance or long day of rehearsals, ice water with epsom salt is the move. “Then I follow with my L’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream. Depending on soreness or pain, I’ll mix in Tiger Balm for added relief. I try to end my day with this routine every night so that I feel fresh and ready for the next day of dancing.”


Dear Klairs Supple Preparation All-Over Lotion

“This Korean lotion is a favorite of mine because it absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a greasy feeling,” says Nia Parker, a dancer with the Chicago Multicultural Dance Center, the only contemporary ballet school in the world that teaches Hiplet—a fusion of hip hop and ballet. “A lot of lotions leave a film behind, which makes tights and costumes feel gummy.” She adds that while traveling, this lotion works on everything from her hair to her toes for a weightless, moisturized feel. “I prefer multitasking products, so I don’t have to carry so many bottles around.”


Photo: courtesy of subject; Design by Alexa De Paulis