Because they are essential to any summer look
OK, so it’s now warm enough for us to forgo tights and opt for shorter hemlines if we so desire, but there’s a big issue that comes with this new freedom. Legs that have seen better days. You see it isn’t just bears and small rodents that go into hibernation over the winter months, so to do regular tans and strict hair-removal regimes. What’s needed is an easy step-by-step of how to get legs summer-ready. Luckily, that’s exactly what we’ve created here for you.
With the help of leg-expert Kate Shapland, creator of Legology – the beauty brand created as a high performance solution to cellulite and heavy legs – we’ve come up with the simple way to ensure that you won’t get caught out on sunny days this summer.
Sanctuary Spa Salt Scrub, £13 Boots
‘Skin which has been covered for months doesn’t look its best,’ Shapland explains. ‘Legs are usually a bit dry and dull, and even if you’ve religiously exfoliated and moisturised throughout winter, the expanse of bare skin from ankle to knee can demand an extra dollop of confidence to pull off.’ And so the first step is to buff away any dead skin. Not only will this create a clean, smooth surface, it will help boost circulation and get rid of any dullness. Dullness comes because dead skin can’t reflect light, do you want to get rid asap. ‘You need a power buffer – something super-crunchy that will send a rush of nutrient-rich blood to the skin’s surface to give it tone and colour, and plants plenty of suppleness back in there.’ You can beat Sanctuary Spa’s Salt Scrub, but we also love Espa’s Invigorating Salt Scrub, £38. If you don’t think either of these are for you, you could choose the best body scrub for your skin type.
Mio The Body Brush, £14.5o Cult Beauty
This is one of those things that we, as beauty editors, repeatedly tell people to do because the benefits are phenomenal. But this is also one of those things, that in all honesty not many people can be arsed to do. However, we are going to preach about it again in the hope that this time you will take note and segue it into your routine. In a recent BBC documentary, The Truth About…Looking Good, it was revealed that the best way to treat and get rid of cellulite is dry body brushing. Brushing from the ankles upwards in the direction of the heart in quick, swift motions boosts circulation and helps lymphatic drainage. Trapped fluid emphasizes cellulite and makes legs feel heavy, but by brushing twice a day you decrease fluid retention and toxins are drained away. This Mio Body Brush has additional nodules, which help to massage on a deeper level.
Kiehl’s Creme de Corps, £18.50 John Lewis
If you want supple and smooth legs, you have to moisturise and you have to do it on the reg. This is not a step you want to skip. Nothing will leave legs in a better condition that super duper hydrated skin. Shapland recommends steering clear of oils, because not only do they sit on top of skin and don’t sink in as well as a moisturiser, but they’re also unflattering. ‘It’s the shine – the only acceptable area for sheen on your legs is a line down the shins because it helps make this area look longer and narrower. All over shine gives you barrel legs in the same way that gloss volumises a lip.’ Kiehl’s Creme de Corps is a cult classic. It’s been around for years and it just does the job so well. It also sinks in quickly, so you don’t have to wait around for long before putting your clothes on.
Venus Snap Embrace Razor, £9.99 Boots (currently £4.99)
The thing about hair removal is a person typically falls into one of a few camps – laser, epilating, waxing or shaving. Laser can be pricey, epilating could be compared to a Medieval torture technique and waxing is for those with a high pain threshold. Which leaves shaving. Shaving is simple, pain-free and more importantly, purse-friendly. You really can’t go wrong with a Venus razor. They’ve been reliable since we were teenagers and they just keep getting better – this suitcase ready razor comes with a mini handle which is perfect for your holiday beauty bag, plus has a moisture bar either side of the five blades meaning that whilst you get a closer shave, your skin is also treated to a nourishing boost. Sometimes the most simple options are the best.
Step 5: Cellulite Treatment
‘Cellulite is not a life sentence,’ says Martine de Richeville, creator of the body treatment Remodelage, which helps to detox, refine and tone. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a relaxing-you-might-fall-asleep-during massage. It’s not. It’s a deep-tissue technique that incorporates the specially created 8 shaped motion and it pinches. Like a lot. But don’t be put off, because the therapist needs to get down into the lower levels to reach the older fat deposits. By doing this, it allows for better circulation to the area, which in turn reduces excess fat in the tissue. Not only does it tone the silhouette (which is excellent if you suffer from saddlebags at the top of your thighs), but it rather cleverly helps to filter the metabolic waste and flushes out toxins, so your digestion improves too. Shapland completely agrees that massage is vital to getting killer legs, ‘If it’s good, it won’t be comfortable, but your legs will look less puffy & feel lighter; so book a course of sessions.’
Nothing will prep your legs for summer better than exercise. We know, snooze. But Shapland suggests we embrace exercise: ‘Get up and cross the office to speak to someone instead of
emailing them, take the stairs at a run, do a handstand – anything that promotes circulation and maintains flow.’ Whilst a HIIT session or a spin class is a brilliant full body workout, there are now more and more classes that are specifically aimed at toning. From your classic Legs, Bums and Tums class to Barre-style workouts that combine traditional ballet positions with repetitive movements from Pilates, you’ll find something similar in most gyms. Virgin Active just launched a new Barre class that’s said to strengthen, lengthen, tone and tighten. If that isn’t incentive, we don’t know what is. GymBox has a hilarious class called Thunder, which don’t worry, does the opposite to giving you thunder thighs. It’s a class that uses the old 90s Thigh Masters (remember them?!) to work on toning quads and glutes. There’s plenty out there, so there’s really no excuse.
Legology Sun-Lite Sheer Lingerie for Legs, £38 Space NK
‘One of the biggest mistakes women make with their legs through the summer is with self-tan, because inevitably it’s too dark,’ explains Shapland. ‘Too many of us make this mistake at the start of the summer when we’re desperate to improve the look of skin too quickly.’ Even if you have the best fake tan or follow our fake tan tips, it should still be incredibly subtle. Still unsure? ‘You’re aiming for the kind of sun kissed shade skin develops after a long hot weekend, when skin has just ‘turned’, not full on tropical tan.’ For those with pale skin, something like the Legology’s Sheer Lingerie For Legs will work perfectly. Think of it as like the best cc cream – it makes your legs look better, rather than completely changing their colour. If you can’t give up the darker shade, then we recommend leg make-up products like Becca Luminous Body Perfecting Mousse and Vita Liberata Body Blur Sunless Glow.
So there you have it. Your complete guide to getting your legs ready for the summer.
What are you waiting for? Begin with step 1.