The Fastest Way to Get Skirt-Ready This Season
Exchanging long pants for bare legs is one of summer's great pleasures — but only if you feel good about how your legs look. While few of us have flawless gams (especially after a kid or two), you don't need a perfection permit to wear shorts. But your legs can look a lot better fast. With these simple strategies (plus some easy fake-its), you'll be a shameless showoff in no time.
"Dry skin is unhealthy skin," says Sandy Johnson, M.D., of the Johnson Dermatology Clinic in Fort Smith, AR. "Well-hydrated skin provides a better barrier to the environment." And it makes legs look smoother and prettier too.
Do a Serious Scrub
Unless you exfoliate first, even the best moisturizer can't do its job. "As we age, our skin becomes drier because the bottom layer doesn't regenerate as frequently," says Dr. Johnson. Exfoliation strips away flakes on top, allowing fresh cells to come to the surface. To try: St. Ives Healthy Brilliance Brighten & Glow InShower Exfoliating Body Polish ($7, drugstores).
Soften in the Shower
Get a head start on hydration with the latest generation of body washes: cream oils. These products — usually a mix of glycerin, oils, and petrolatum — cleanse and soften all at once. "Cleansing can strip moisture from the skin, but cream oils have been shown to improve skin's moisture content after washing," says Ellen Shepard, senior research and development scientist at Unilever. To try: Caress Moroccan Exotic Oil Infusions Body Wash ($4, drugstores).
Fake Fabulous Legs
Miracles may not come in jars, but a tube of selftanner comes pretty close. Besides banishing a winterweary pallor, tanner evens out tone, hides imperfections, and just makes everything look a whole lot better. The color should last at least three to five days (or longer, depending on which product you use; tanners containing high amounts of dihydroxyacetone — DHA — are usually the slowest to fade). If you fear that selftanner is too tricky to apply, relax. Thanks to new formulas, getting a glow is easier than ever.
Prep for Perfection
Yes, exfoliate (it's the key to even, longlasting color). But also be sure to shave or wax before you tan. "Removing hair soon afterward will remove the tan as well," says Pam Oullet, spa director at Willow Stream Spa at Banff Springs in Alberta, Canada. And since selftanner affects only the top layer of skin (the DHA causes a chemical reaction that darkens the cells of the epidermis), exfoliation will strip away color too. So skip the scrubbing for at least three days posttan.
Try a Tinted Version
Formulas that are slightly bronzed make it easy to see where you've already applied tanner — and which spots you've missed. To try: Lancôme Soleil Flash Bronzer Instant Colour SelfTanning Leg Gel ($28.50, department stores).