The HONEST guide to summer-proofing your legs
We aren’t one for false promises, so this comes with a brutally honest disclaimer: there are no miracle products that will magically replace your legs with those of Rosie Huntington Whiteley, nor will any amount of product – no matter how expensive or cult-y it is – add inches to your legs or take away your cankles. What we can promise you though, is that with some clever insider tricks and some hard working products, your legs can LOOK more toned, more defined and yes, possibly even slightly longer. And with a little bit of TLC your pins CAN become as smooth, tanned and glossy as a VS model. So before you pull out the hotpants (or worse still, banish all hope of reaching for the hotpants) read on and take note.
We have tried EVERYTHING to banish cellulite and what we can tell you is this: most products don’t work. Sorry, but it’s true. A hefty price tag and some clever-sounding ingredients do not a miracle make, so when it comes to cellulite creams, we suggest saving your money. There are a handful of ingredients that arguably do have an effect on fat cells (namely grapefruit oil), boost the circulation to improve lipolysis of cellulite (caffeine) and there are others that improve the appearance of cellulite by strengthening the surrounding skin cells (Retinol for example) but the ONLY method we are convinced actually works is dry body-brushing. Five minutes of brushing the skin with long strokes, starting with the feet and working our way up (always brush upwards) over the thighs and bum, before our morning shower, seems to smooth the dimples away. Don’t ask us how or why but it really does seem to work. NB Brush the soles of the feet and concentrate on the area behind the knees, as this helps with lymphatic drainage. Try it daily and give it three weeks – we reckon you will be impressed.
Slim your pins
While no amount of creams can remove fat from your legs, we’ve found a couple of products that can drain away excess water – and this can have a very similar visual effect. Before bearing our legs we add three tablespoons of Epsom salts to a bath and soak for twenty minutes. Voila - water retention in the legs (and the rest of our body) is drastically reduced. An Epsom salt bath is particularly useful after a flight, when feet and ankles tend to swell up more. To continue the leg-slimming water-retention busting benefits of the bath, follow by spritzing legs with Bloom & Blossom Revitalising Leg and Foot Spray, £14.
Tackle skin problems
Now’s the time to start a regular leg beautifying regime. Think of it as a facial for your pins. Three times a week set aside twenty minutes and start with a heavy-duty exfoliating product on damp, or (for hardcore buffers) dry skin. We love Bliss Hot Salt Scrub £30.50 for it’s no-nonsense serious skin sloughing. After exfoliating is the best time for hair removal: doing it the other way round can leave skin sensitive and sore. Wilkinson Sword Intuition Razor, £8.99 is our go-to razor as there’s no need to use a shaving cream- its inbuilt moisturizing bar provides all the lather and skin conditioning we need. Once you’re scrubbed up, hair-free and out of the shower, layer on products designed to tackle specific skin issues. If skin tone is uneven and bruises easily, use This Works Perfect Legs Skin Miracle, £37, a serum packed with skin-perfecting Vitamins C and E. If dry skin is the issue (think itchy legs) Kiehl’s Crème de Corps, £18 is a rich and buttery no-brainer. Finally, finish with an oil. Yes, that’s right, oil up AFTER your cream. An oil layered over your moisturizer will create a barrier, sealing the moisturizer in to your skin. We love REN Moroccan Rose Otto Ultra-Moisture Body Oil, £34, for its omega 6 and 7 fatty acids and a scent that’s as yummy as Turkish delight.
Fake that bake
We don’t need to wax lyrical about the visual virtues of a golden glow: we all know how flattering a tan is, hiding imperfections and making us appear slimmer. As faux tan aficionados we have tried pretty much every product out there, so here is our definitive guide to the best products on the market:
Xen Tan Dark Lotion, £29: the longest lasting medium-dark tan, which doesn’t seem to leave that horrid telltale ‘shedding’ effect as it fades.
Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tan Darker £20: the darkest shade with the ruddiest undertone: so a good one for darker skin tones. Not for first-timers.
Vita Liberata Self Tanning Tinted Mousse, £19.50: Great if you already have a base tan. Take on holiday to boost a natural glow.
Tan-Luxe The Body Illuminating Tan Drops Light/Medium, £42: pricey but ideal for lighter skin tones and the fake tan phobic.
Don’t dismiss body make-up
Just like a great foundation, BB or CC crème can blur imperfections and create the appearance of glowing skin, Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body, £45 and Scott Barnes Body Bling Original Moisturizing Shimmering Body Lotion, £27.99 both give legs a shimmering radiance that gives the impression of beaming healthy skin. Finally, in the same way that you would contour the face to create the impression of cheekbones and defined features, use make-up to create the appearance of longer leaner limbs. Blend the darker shade of NARS Sculpting Multiple Duo, £29 into the inner thighs and around the outer thighs (or dust with a dark matte bronzer) and then paint down the centre of shins and front of thighs with the lighter shade, to really trick the eye into seeing definition, length and leanness.