Summer legs 101
If you’re anything like us, you’ll have mixed feelings towards baring your legs. On the one hand, ditching tights, warmer weather, alfresco dining and a more relaxed style of dressing. But after a winter of covering up (with thanks to our best friends, denim and nylon), the de-fuzzing/moisturising/tanning ritual is always a shock to the system. In the name of summer body confidence, we’ve chatted to the experts about the most effective (and fuss-free) ways to get your pins looking their best.
Legs need moisturiser, too
First off, it’s time for a warm weather wake-up. While neglecting our legs for one half of the year is completely forgivable (we’re busy tackling our wind-beaten complexions), it does mean some upkeep is required come summer.
‘The skin on our legs is thicker than facial skin, and in winter central heating and the cold collude to create dry skin, resulting in a scaly appearance,’ says Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic. ‘Exfoliate to remove the skin’s dull outer layer. Choose a scrub with a natural exfoliant, such as sea salt, using gentle, circular motions to avoid irritation.’ Try WestLab Detoxing Salt Scrub & Bath Soak.
‘Next, invest in a body oil to lock in moisture. Moisturise regularly, to help avoid dry skin on knees and ankles.’ Try Beauty Kitchen Chill Me Sensitive & Age Defying Body Oil.
To tan or not to tan?
While there’s no shortage of pale-skinned beauty icons around – Emma Stone, we’re talking about you – a majority of us (six in 10) feel more confident baring our legs when they’re tanned, according to a survey by, er, St Tropez. If this sounds like you, follow Fake Bake’s global creative consultant James Harknett’s tips for a flawless finish: ‘Always apply tanning product to legs first,’ he advises. ‘Ensure skin is cool and dry (you don’t want to apply tan after a hot shower), and stand in front of a mirror.’
Begin by smoothing the product downwards, towards the feet. Harknett favours a mitt in order to prevent the fake tan getting all over your palms. ‘Once the tanning lotion or mousse is dry, use a make-up sponge or dry face cloth to buff over the ankle bone and feet to create a blended finish. Lastly, dust talc behind the knees, to prevent mottling while you walk.’
For a long-lasting fake tan with natural, plant-based ingredients, try Dr Organic’s Moroccan Glow Self Tan Mousse range, which comes in light, medium and dark shades.
Which method works best for you? Good news for those with a low pain threshold; we’ve found the holy grail of waxing. Virtually painless, lycon wax is made from aromatherapy oils, resin and beeswax – natural ingredients we can get on board with (buy the Wax-cellence Home Waxing Kit, £35, here). Start with clean, exfoliated skin, says Strip Wax Bar co-founder Maria-Louise Featherstone. ‘Make sure you can reach the area easily with two hands, so you can stretch with one while removing wax with the other. This will avoid bruising and hair breakage, as well as reducing pain.’
For a more permanent hair removal solution, Braun Silk-Expert IPL (uk.braun.com) uses intense pulsed light (IPL) technology to permanently stop your hair’s growth cycle. The downside? You’ll have to shave between treatments (other hair removal techniques will affect the treatment process). Avoid stubble with Gillette’s Venus Swirl, which gives a smooth shave thanks to five blades.
Read more: 5 summer skin resolutions