How many months has it been since you gave your legs some attention? Follow these step-by-step instructions to get your legs summer ready.
Time to shake off the last of the hibernation layers and flaunt those legs. How many months has it been since you gave your legs some attention? And it probably shows: ashy knees, flaky legs, uneven skin tone. Follow these step-by-step instructions to get your legs summer ready.
They’re cumulative, so if all you want to do is the first one, that’s great. Or follow just the first three. Each step is dependent on the previous step though, so do follow these guidelines in order.
The first two steps will give you refreshed, nourished legs. The third step will give them a warm, bronzed look. Add the fourth step if you want picture-perfect legs. The fifth step takes
your legs to a new, shimmery level.
Step 1: Exfoliate
The best thing you can do for neglected legs is to give them a thorough exfoliation. Whether you choose to do this with a salux cloth, loofah or manual (grainy) product, start off slowly and work in circular motions to avoid being too rough. Spend extra time around the knees and ankles, where skin can be a little bit thicker and prone to ashiness.
If you’re planning on using self-tanner (step 3), this is particularly important. For a manual exfoliator with added skincare benefits, Estee Lauder’s new Bronze Goddess Body Salt Scrub ($67) contains mineral-rich salt crystals, decadent oils, and an intoxicating fragrance to turn this from chore to a spa treatment.
Step 2: Moisturise
Once you’ve removed all the superficial dead skin from your legs, replenish the hydration with a moisturiser. Not only will a good moisturiser make your legs look instantly revived, but exposed legs need more protection from the elements. It’s very drying to have bare legs out in the sun and wind all day.
If you’re stopping at this step, then go ahead and use your favourite moisturiser. But if you plan on using self-tanner on your summer legs, keep in mind that while it’s good to moisturise your legs beforehand, your legs need to be quite dry before applying the self-tanner. Best to stick to formulations specifically designed for legs that dry down quickly while keeping skin comfortable.
Try to spend a little extra time here, massaging your legs, which will increase circulation and provide some benefits to overall tone and texture. Clarins’ Body Fit ($68) is a refreshing gel-cream texture with a mild fruity scent that absorbs quickly. For extra hydration, Lierac’s Body-Hydra+ ($40) is a delicate but rich cream that envelopes the skin in a protective mesh of long-lasting hydration.
Step 3: Self-tanner
Self-tanner can definitely make a difference for the better, if your legs are properly prepped. If applied to legs that aren’t thoroughly exfoliated and moisturised, you’ll only get patchy results that accentuate everything you’re trying to camouflage. There are generally two types of self-tanners: instant and gradual formulas. For same-day glow, St. Tropez’s Tanning Essentials Self Tan Express Bronzing Mist ($49.50) features the brand’s most advanced, fast-acting formula.
It includes an innovative 360° nozzle that makes reaching behind the thighs much easier. Within three hours, you’ll achieve a deep golden shade (and if you want a lighter shade, jump in the shower to rinse off). Your desired shade will last 10 days.
For a longer developing, but also longer lasting tan, Vita Liberata’s pHenomenal 2-3 Week Tan Mousse ($65) really does last that long. With this product, after choosing the correct shade, the more often you apply, the longer the tan lasts (i.e. repeated applications won’t make you darker, will only extend the life of the tan). So during the initial 24-hour period, reapply as often as three times to achieve a glow that will last up to three weeks.
Step 4: Colour Correction
For absolutely perfect legs, most of us will have to take this extra step to cover up veins, bruises and other discolourations (including tattoos). For large or deeply pigmented areas, use a colour corrector such as Lancome’s Teint Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Color Corrector ($37), which comes in five highly pigmented shades (yellow, orange and peach to minimise darkness; green to neutralise redness; and lilac to lift green).
For overall evening, use makeup like MAC’s Studio Face and Body Foundation ($33). This watery foundation needs to be massaged well into the skin and when it “sets” it’s locked in place with a film-former, so it’ll last until you remove it. Dermablend’s Cover Creme ($44) is much thicker and needs to be warmed on the fingers to make it pliable. Use this product in very thin layers, setting in between with translucent powder.
Step 5: Extra Sparkle
And if after all these steps you still want a little more oomph, for a temporary sparkle try Elizabeth Arden’s Dare to Bare Body Bronzing Oil ($45), which will add a shimmering, golden highlight. For less sparkle and more sheen, try St. Tropez’s One Night Only Gloss ($25), a warm-toned wash of bronze high-shine.