If you're in the process of shaping up your legs for Summer, Health shares a few helpful tips to help you feel confident in your shorts, skirts, and of course, bikinis.
By Lesley Rotchford
You've gotta love legs. No matter how scaly, fuzzy or flabby they become in the off-season, with a little effort you can whip them back into summer shape. The reason? "Legs get less sun damage because, unless you're in Florida, they're covered most of the year, unlike your chest and face," says Jeannette Graf, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. "Plus, leg skin is thicker, making it less prone to wrinkles." And, adds celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, they have a lot of muscle, making them receptive to quick toning. Bring yours back to fab with these pro-tested tricks.
Any degree of bronze makes legs look fitter. Since a real tan is off the table (melanoma is often found on the lower leg), go faux.
For an instant fix . . . Try a tinted lotion or spray; color shows up immediately and washes off in the shower. "You can rub it on fast to give legs some warmth," says celebrity makeup artist Troy Surratt. We like Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs lotion ($14; at mass retailers), which is water- and transfer-resistant, and Victoria's Secret Instant Bronzing Tinted body spray ($15; victoriassecret.com).
If you have a little more time . . . Opt for a self-tanner that gets you a full shade darker in a single session. Apply early — it takes 8 to 12 hours for the color to develop. Creams and lotions require more attentive application to avoid streaks, while sprays give an even glow. Hold the can 6 inches away and apply in a circular motion. "When you get to the knees and ankles, let up a bit on the nozzle for a lighter finish," advises Tamar Vezirian, owner of Gotham Glow in New York City. We like Brownberry Clear Sunless Tanning spray ($45; brownberrynyc.com), which — bonus — moisturizes skin and smells really fresh.
If you have days to plan . . . Use a gradual-glow lotion that builds over a few days with multiple applications. Wearing surgical gloves (to keep palms clean), apply four quarter-size dollops to each leg (one for the front, one for the back, one for each side); blend in a circular motion. Try St. Tropez Gradual Tan Plus Firming 4 in 1 ($40; sephora.com). "For dry spots, like knees and ankles, mix tanner with a squirt of moisturizer to prevent the formula from collecting and creating dark patches," says Vezirian.
Stretch out that salon spray tan
A pro glow can run you up to $80, so you want to make it last. Show up to your appointment with clean, lotion-free skin, advises Vezirian, and change into loose clothes post-treatment. To get the color to hold the full five to seven days, moisturize diligently and avoid long, hot showers, as well as sweaty workouts, for the first two days. The results will be so worth it.
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