It’s finally warm out and that means it’s time to swap out our jeans for dresses, shorts, rompers, and bathing suits at long last. But if your legs haven’t seen sun in months, you probably haven’t given them the TLC they deserve. Maybe they’re a little dry and flaky and need a good exfoliation; perhaps a shimmery bronzing oil is just the thing to make them glow.
Ahead, the simple steps that will ensure your legs are in their best shape for the season.
You might want a lighter exfoliator, though, particularly if your skin is very sensitive or you’ve already done the big scrub-down pre-summer (you don’t need to use salt scrubs every single day). Try Exuviance’s Retexturing Treatment for everyday use or Dennis Gross’ Alpha Beta Glow Body Pads every week or so — they contain DHA to bronze as they exfoliate.
“I am a huge body brush fan because it is so easy and you get so much out of it,” says Shapland. From softening up skin to helping tone and brighten while enhancing the lymphatic system and blood circulation, it’s a no-brainer to spend as little as three minutes every day dedicated to body-brushing.
It’s important to note again that it needs to be done gently. Another common misconception is that you need to body brush only on dry skin: “I don’t think it matters, but I personally do find it works best on dry skin before the shower. Essentially, it’s whatever works best for you,” says Shapland. And for a really intensive session? Try adding a few drops of a detox oil, like ESPA’s Detoxifying Body Oil, to the brush bristles and use on damp skin.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
You’ve heard it all before, but moisturizing is key to healthy, plump, even skin. Many of us avoid body moisturizer because it feels sticky underneath clothes, but there are plenty of lightweight ones on the market. Sisley’s Restorative Body Cream is one of them. It’s a super hydrator and feels wonderfully silky on skin, but it doesn’t come cheap. Another favorite is Aesop’s Protective Body Lotion, which contains SPF 50 to protect legs from the sun and is packed with nutritious botanical extracts. Susanne Kaufmann’s Body Lotion has a light scent that’s perfect for summer and chamomile in the formula to calm hot, red skin.
At nighttime, up the ante. Sarah Chapman’s Skinesis Overnight Body Treatment is a vitamin-packed (A, C, and E to brighten, retexture, and defend) hero for skin. Another is Aromatherapy Associates’ Rose Nourishing Body Oil — you’ll struggle to find anything that smells better. And if an oil’s not for you, try Lancer’s supreme The Method: Body Nourish, which comes in a big silver tub — a tiny bit goes a long way — and contains glycolic acid to help firm and boost cell turnover (so skin gets smoother, quicker).
The most obvious and easy way to get rid of leg hair if you so choose is to shave. (You can’t go wrong with a Gillette Venus). Then of course, there’s waxing, which gets rid of hair for longer but can leave you vulnerable to ingrowns.
The catch is, if you haven’t started yet, you might want to wait until next winter. It’s strongly advised to avoid the sun within four weeks of each treatment due to the fact that it could irritate skin.
And if you want to do laser yourself at home, try the Philips Lumea Prestige IPL Hair Removal Device. The intense pulsed light used is not quite as strong as what you’ll get in a pro’s office, so hair removal will take longer. The plus side is you can do it yourself at home, you’ll see a marked difference after three uses (you can use it every two weeks), and it’s much more affordable.
Preparation is essential if you’re attempting an at-home tan: “To avoid the patchy look, depilate, exfoliate, and moisturize before you apply anything even vaguely tanning,” advises Shapland, who swears by a tinted cream which allows you to control depth of color and achieve a more realistic glow (then washes off at the end of the day). We like Legology’s Sun-Lite Tinted Leg Cream, Nars’ Laguna Body Tint, and Fake Bake’s Tinted Body Glo, all of which leave the perfect amount of bronze with just a sprinkle of shimmer to make limbs look lustrous.
For longer lasting faux tans, St Tropez’s Luxe Dry Oil is foolproof to use and leaves a lovely light, golden glow. Vita Liberata’s Ten Minute Tan develops into the ultimate summer glow in around four hours and smells like nothing — win-win.
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