Saturday, October 16, 2010

It’s Like A Cheese Grater For Feet: Dr. Scholl's Smooth My Sole Micro File Works.

The Good: Does a decent job of cleaning callouses off feet.
The Bad: Not nearly as clean as the product promises to be.
The Basics: Somewhere between very gross and very fun, the Smooth My Sole does what it promises to clean up problematic hard skin on feet.

My wife, to be completely candid, seems to have two big issues with me. The first is when I spend time doing things without her. She moved her entire life six hundred miles to be with me and she expects, not unreasonably, that I would want to be around her now that she is here. The second thing she seems to have a real problem with are my feet. The first problem manifested itself in our early relationship by my taking an hour a week to watch Lost. With my excitement growing for the final season, she was not looking forward to having hours where she could not be in the same room as me. Our solution? We began a Lost marathon to catch her up before the final season began, so we would be able to share the final episodes with me and have time with one another as opposed to me having to kick her out of our theater. When we broke out Lost Season Two (click here for my review of that!), my wife broke out the Dr. Scholl’s “Smooth My Sole” Micro File. She figured, if we’re going to be in front of the television for so long, she could do some work on my “Hobbit feet.” She’s sweet, in a “I won’t make you change, but let me change this thing about you” kind of way (actually, she’s all sweet, but where she dug this product up has been a subject of nightmares for me since she started using it!).

The Smooth My Sole Micro File is a handheld device best likened to a cheese grater designed to remove callouses from feet. Coming in a very stylish pink plastic, the Smooth My Sole is made of hard plastic and stainless steel and is comprised of a cover, the actual file and a receptacle. The cover is a simple plastic tray which fits over the metal file and protects those from inadvertently scratching themselves on the metal surface. When the cover, which simply snaps on or pops off, is removed, this exposes the actual file. The micro file is a 2 ½” long surface which is 1 ½” wide at the top and tapers to a ¾” base. This is a flat metal grille with raised bumps which cut through the hard skin of a callous on the foot. How this works is a little mysterious to me as I just dragged it over the back of my forearm and it did not take off the hair there. Below the grille when one is using this properly is the receptacle. This is a clear plastic reservoir for (shudder) shaved off foot skin. This is designed to make this tool a very clean-to-use device and it is generally good at that.

To use the Smooth My Sole micro file, simply remove the cover and place the metal file grille on the sole of the foot you want to exfoliate. Then, applying gentle pressure, press the micro file against the foot and move the device back and forth over the foot. After several repetitions, the foot callouses will be powderized and collected in the receptacle. When one is done, simply detach the file from the receptacle and empty the human foot dust into an appropriate garbage can or sprinkle out in the garden (do NOT sprinkle this over food!). It’s that simple.

Or, at least, that’s the theory. First, using the Smooth My Sole alternates rather perversely between tickling (my wife recommends sedating squirmy “patients” like myself in order to get this done with minimal kicks to the person using it) and hurting. As the Smooth My Sole works its magic and removes thick callouses, it can wear into weaker skin and basically scratch the life out of already softer skin. Second, the receptacle is a good idea, but works less well in execution. The reason for this is simple. To apply the force necessary to make this device work best, users will find that pushing down works best. This means arranging the foot so the sole is facing upward and the hand using the Smooth My Sole is pushing downward. This adequately pulverizes the callous, but the dust that results does not magically flow upward into the receptacle. Instead, it ends up in a smelly, disgusting pile on the floor that your household pet (dogs and cats alike, I’ve discovered) will lick up eagerly (yes, gross!). Used the way it is designed it is virtually impossible for the person using it on themselves to get the adequate force to make the attempt worthwhile and using it on someone else either requires contortions that are uncomfortable for the user or the person this is being used on.

That said, the Smooth My Sole actually does work to remove callouses and make feet softer, more pleasant to the eye and touch. My wife devoted a whole disc of Lost to each foot and now she wants me to wear footwear which will show off her handiwork. It is, honestly, hard to complain about her efforts and I’ve been maintaining the progress she made with using this for about an hour a week since. My callouses have not returned and my feet do look much nicer. Plus, it’s a far better option than cutting and pulling the thick skin off with a pocketknife, which was my old foot health and beauty regimen.

Even so, the product drastically underestimates the mess. In addition to the micro file, the package comes with three “smoothing pads,” which are basically an extra extra fine sandpaper one uses on the foot after they have shaved the callous off in order to soften skin and make for a more unified look and feel to the foot. Between this and the regular foot dust generated by the micro file, the user is likely to end up with a gross pile of human flesh dust and sand on the surface immediately under where one is scraping their feet with the Smooth My Sole. As a result, one might want to do this over a towel or plan on vacuuming after they are done with using this. Fortunately, we just got a new vacuum. My wife says she likes watching me use it now that my feet don’t look like something out of The Lord Of The Rings.

For other products that work on the skin, please check out my reviews of:
Bath & Body Works Temptations Sassy Strawberry Mint 3-in-1
Chapstick Spearmint


For other health and beauty product reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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