foot week

What Celebrity Podiatrist Margaret Dabbs Can’t Live Without

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist. Photo: Courtesy of Margaret Dabbs

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the stain-remover pen and the tongue cleaner. We asked Margaret Dabbs, foot-care specialist and founder of Margaret Dabbs London, about the notebook, champagne flutes, and perfume she can’t live without.

When Cult Beauty first started, it launched in my first clinic. We had a capsule collection, and Molecule 01 was one of the products that the company launched with. And I loved it so much that I still use it to this day. I don’t like anything too overpowering or too sweet, and the thing about Molecule is it works with your own pheromones, so it smells different on everyone. I get so many compliments on it.

The label says small, but if I loosen it, I can get my computer in it; I can get my notebook in it; I can get everything in it. I think it’s a really nice brand, but it’s one of the first handbags that dare I say I’ve ever really bought (and certainly the most expensive handbag that I’ve ever bought for myself). I thought I deserved it; it was a treat. It’s really easy to wear, and you can make it smaller by pulling in the cord, which means it doesn’t have to be a big bag all the time. I’m quite small, and even medium bags can often look massive on me. So it’s a bag that’s big enough but doesn’t look too big on me.

I first got one of these a few years ago. My staff gave it to me for Christmas, and it had my initials — M.D. — on it. And since then, whenever I’m running low on a Liberty notebook, I order another one. It’s my everyday notes; I can go back years on them, and I date every page. It’s for anything from staff interviews to ideas that I’m having to costing on things: It’s purely for business. I have a to-do list that I have to write at the back, so I then use it from the front in order that I can use the back to remind me of the urgent things that I still have to do. All my new ideas go in there, and it’s really great going back over them and seeing things I’ve had an idea about, or how long something has taken to fruition. Also, for some reason, writing them down makes me remember things so much better. Everyone is always mortified by how much I can remember — nobody can ever believe it.

They’re really, really light; that’s why they’re called On Cloud. I love wearing them casually and for exercising, because they are quite trendy. So they look great even with dresses and stuff like that. They’re so comfortable, and obviously, being a foot-care specialist, that’s very important to me (although I do have to tell you, I love wearing heels as well!). I have them in white. I use them inside the gym, and actually they’re good enough to run in, if you were running externally. And also, I stick them in the washing machine, so they’re brilliant.

I know Sarah; we’ve been friends for quite a few years — we started our brands around the same time. This is one of those products that I always go back to; it really repairs the skin overnight while you’re sleeping, so that’s why it’s my favourite. It’s quite a typical oil, actually, but it’s not at all a dry oil. I use it a few times a week. I just find that my skin is smoother in the morning and I look more awake.

I love champagne — I have to tell you. I love long stems, and I love a really thin glass, which is why the LSA ones are lovely. They’re a contemporary design. I think that champagne tastes way better in a proper glass — a bit like having a cup of tea out of a proper china teacup that’s got a thin edge. Speaking of champagne, we’re having our 13th annual fish, chip, and champagne evening at work. I started it when I first had a clinic and there were only four on staff, and now we have about 40 going; it’s a really well-attended event. As for champagne, I really like Bollinger.

It’s traditional, with the green colour. I love to warm the pot up and make tea properly. And I do it regularly: I make tea and I use the tea strainer (from Fortnum & Mason as well). I think tea tastes so good when it’s made from tea leaves. Obviously, for convenience, we all use tea bags. But if there’s time, I love to use leaves. With the tea, warming it in a pot, in the old way — again, I love doing that. I’m quite English in that sense.

This is the first product I ever created and still my favourite from the range. When I was seeing patients as a podiatrist, they kept asking me what they could use for their feet for dry, cracked skin. But there really wasn’t anything I could recommend. Beauty products didn’t work on a treatment level, and treatment remedies were pretty unpleasant to use. Traditionally, if you buy a treatment type of product — like Dr. Scholl’s — you certainly wouldn’t want anyone to know that you are using it. So I set about sourcing ingredients and I mixed formulations. I wanted it to smell different; it smells of lemon myrtle, so it’s very, very different from anything in the marketplace. It is silky, has a silky-smooth texture, and not only hydrates but stops hard-skin buildup. One thing that people say is that ‘It feels too good to use on my feet,’ but obviously that’s the idea of it.

Funny enough, we use the word light on the packaging, and when I first wrote it, I asked someone to read it, and they said, “Yeah, it’s fine — but take out the word light.” I said, “You’ve got to be kidding,” because every single time this is applied to someone’s feet, the first thing they say is: “My feet feel so light!” It’s completely, completely mine: I formulated it, wrote every word, and designed the packaging. I went to a party a few years ago at Christmas, and when I got there and the host introduced me, she took me up to her bedroom and said, “Look! You’re next to my bed.” And she showed me my bottle on her bedside table. So it’s really interesting that it’s something that people like to use, and are proud to use, unlike any other foot product.

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What Celebrity Podiatrist Margaret Dabbs Can’t Live Without