In recent years, there's been a lot of talk about the subject of hair removal and whether it's feminist. I don't know about you, but how and why I prep my legs is really more of a time issue. I want smooth, tanned-looking legs because that's what I like for me, but I don't have a lot of time to be depilating and smoothing and tanning. So if I go out with hairy legs, it's a timing thing when a sunny day catches me out rather than a cultural statement.
During winter, I don't really take much notice of my legs, so I need a quick, effective action plan for when the sun strikes. Because, as we Brits know, the sun will often catch us off guard, and it's never long before the clouds are back in force and we're dragging our jeans over our fake-tanned limbs whilst sobbing into a rumpled cashmere jumper we didn't hand-wash because it's summer now (or is that whole scenario just me?).
If you're like me and your legs could do with a bit of attention before the next sunny spell then follow my six-step action plan to quickly and effectively prep your legs for summer.
Step One: Body Brushing
As beauty editors, dry-brushing is something we harp on about every summer, and for good reason—it works. Use the brush to sweep upwards to boost your circulation and lymphatic drainage. It'll also gently exfoliate the skin and generally make your skin look a bit healthier.
Step Two: Shave
Unless you're on a waxing schedule, shaving makes sense. And Friction Free Shaving is a subscription service that delivers a razor and blades to your door every month so you'll never be caught short. They also sell separate one-off kits like this one with all the ancillary products you need for smooth legs.
Step Three: Scrub Your Legs
If your legs have been hibernating all winter, chances are they need a good once-over with a grainy scrub. This one by Ren will make light work of dry knees and scaly shins.
Step Four: Massage
When it comes to smooth legs, massage is your friend. Combined with the oil you use squeeze this cup (Circu-Lite Squeeze Therapy for Legs, £12) and place it onto your leg where cellulite resides and it will create a vacuum. draw it upwards to encourage lymph drainage and to give your circulation a boost.
I was recently told by Decleor's training director, Fiona Brackenbury, that when you're applying moisturizer to your legs you should sit on a bed with your legs stretched out. That way your circulation doesn't have to fight gravity and you'll get better results from your massage.
Step Five: Tan
Beyonce's makeup artist described this as body makeup "that won't budge." If it's good enough to last through the singer's epic Coachella performance, it will get us through any given day. Light-reflecting particles blur imperfections, while the pigments adapt to perfectly suit your skin tone.
Want something a little more long-wearing but just as easy to use? This gradual tan hydrates legs and imparts a subtle, flattering tan. You don't need to be too careful with this, it just doesn't streak or go patchy.
Step Six: Add Glow
If your legs are already tanned, simply massage a little shimmering body lotion down your shins—this is a trick J.Lo uses to give the illusion of longer legs.