New York Times | Samurai Shopper: Feet First

Article by: S.S. Fair
Published: July 9, 2012
Topics: Shobha Products
Photo Credit: New York Times

People, please, do something with your feet. Wrap those piggies in a blanket. Stash them in Isabel Marant’s high-top sneakers … they’re on sale! I can’t focus on Samurai shopping with all these naked feet flip-flopping around. Too many grimy, pudgy, prehistoric toes are crying out for basic hygiene and major aesthetic upgrades. The foot may be the basic unit of measurement in a line of poetry, but there’s absolutely no poetry afoot in my neck of the woods.

Feet need love. Don’t just swish some screaming neon polish on your toes and shuffle off. Much as I love Butter London metallic lacquers, I love its Pedicure Collection more, and I urge you to invest in Kitten Heels Powder Finish Foot Cream, Rock Off Glycolic Callus Peel and Mucky Pups wipes. Read the directions, follow religiously, and you’ve taken the first steps toward prettier, healthier feet.

Many products out there will heal your heels, dissolve hardened crusts with lactic and glycolic acids, and soothe rough patches. Deborah Lippmann, best known for her nail polishes, created Soul Mission, a grapefruit-scented foot scrub; massage in for a minute, rinse and admire. Kiss My Face Peppermint Foot Scrub and Foot Creme contain organic peppermint, ginger and other tingly goodness for under $10 each. I could kiss them. Neal’s Yard Pumice Foot Scrub is rigorously organic and boot camp for feet, cleaning and exfoliating like nothing else. Ahava’s Dermud Intensive Foot Cream works well at night; slip on breathable cotton socks and let Ahava’s Dead Sea minerals burrow in. By day, keep your powder dry with Shobha Talc-Free Powder with white tea extracts. I adore Decleor’s Relax Intense Fruit Seeds Scrub to shine my feet but be warned: it’ll shine your bathtub/shower floor too; essential oils create oil slicks.

Given time, money and wanderlust, the Samurai suggests handing over your feet to the world’s first rock star podiatrist/pedicurist, Bastien Gonzalez. He’s the French founder of Révérence de Bastien, an upscale line of foot and nail care products, a few of which are at New London Pharmacy in Chelsea. Bastien also helms several Pedi:Mani:Cure Studios at spas in Dubai, Istanbul, Mauritius, Hong Kong’s Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel and other far-flung destinations.

When it comes to the health and welfare of nails and feet, Bastien does not recommend reflexology (“I found 13 reflexology maps, all different!”) or nail color (he considers even his own gorgeous lacquers “toxic!”). He does champion chamois leather buffers (they increase blood circulation and oxygen to living tissues under dead nails), glass nail files (the grains last forever), old electric toothbrushes to whizz out debris from the sides of your toenails, straight nail clippers from Solingen Germany (try the Malteser brand), apricot/arnica cuticle oil (his own version is superb) and his black diamond scrub made from volcanic sand. (“In a lifetime, we carry around five tons of callused skin around that we don’t need.”) If Gonzalez’s own nails are proof of his medical savvy, I’ll vouch for their peerless perfection.

Bastien favors the raspy Diamencel foot buffers, sold at Sweet Lily Natural Nail Spa & Boutique, 222 West Broadway. Don’t even think of using a metal pedi-egg device, he says: it’s like grating your feet on a microplane meant for Parmigiano-Reggiano. Instead, I suggest you relax at Sweet Lily’s in a comfy upholstered chair and take the plunge into a lemon and vodka pedicure. Or for another foot-quenching experience, try the Pediterranean at Haven Spa, 150 Mercer Street. For a summer special, Haven is offering a blood orange/lemon/tomato scented soak, plus its usual pedi proficiency and congenial setting.

Wherever you go, the Samurai must remind you that your feet are your main mode of transport. They’re the body’s workhorses; without them, time stands still and so do you. It’s not an idle luxury to treat your tootsies well. It’s common sense.