Soft, silky legs are a must-have for short skirts and shorts, not to mention bathing suit season. But what if you find your legs looking dull, cracked, or patchy? Don’t worry: it’s easy to bring tired-looking skin back from the brink with some TLC. Just spend a few extra minutes in the bath or shower giving those gams some pampering, and you’ll be strutting your silky stuff in no time!
Part One of Three:
Preparing Your Skin
Soak your legs. Whether in the bathtub or the shower, you should allow your skin and hair to soften before shaving; this will improve the closeness of your shave. Some people suggest soaking in the tub for 15–20 minutes, but according to others just three minutes in the shower is enough to do the trick.
- Try doing the rest of your bathing routine first—body cleansing, shampoo, and conditioner—then following with your shave at the end. This will allow maximum time for your skin to soften, regardless of whether you’re in the bath or shower.
Use lukewarm water. Hot water, though it might feel pleasant, dries out the skin and should be avoided. When showering or bathing, keep the water at a pleasant, moderate temperature.
- Ice cold water should also be avoided, as this is very shocking to the skin.
Exfoliate your skin. This is a crucial step that will keep dead skin cells from clogging your razor. It’s sometimes tempting to pass on exfoliating, but you really should put in the effort before every shave.
- Use a salt or sugar scrub from the store or online—you can find a great one at a variety of price points and in a variety of scents. Some good ones to try include Arbonne Awaken Sea Salt Scrub, Soap and Glory Flake Away Body Scrub, and St. Ives Smoothing Apricot Body Wash.
- You can easily make your own scrub at home. Try mixing together 1 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 1/2 cup of oil (olive, coconut, or baby oil work fine), and 3 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice.
- Exfoliation is also great for helping with in-grown hairs, which can be unsightly and ruin your best efforts at getting great skin on your legs.
Part Two of Three:
Removing Your Leg Hair
Shave your legs gently. Use several soft upward strokes with a sharp razor instead of only a few firm ones. This way you’re less likely to cut yourself and you’ll be sure to get all of the little hairs.
- While it may seem easy to use body wash or soap since you’re using it on the rest of your body, these items will dry your skin. It’s best to use a product such as shaving cream or gel that is specifically formulated for the purpose of shaving your legs.
- This will help you get the smooth, glowing skin you’re after.
- Pay careful attention to how your hair grows. You should be shaving against the grain, and may need to shave up or down in certain areas depending on the direction of the follicles, in order to best remove the hair.
Choose the right blade. Cheap blades won’t get you a close shave. If your hair is fine and thin, you should do fine with a 3- or 4-blade razor, but coarse, thicker hair demands one with 5 blades. It’s also a good idea to use a razor with a built-in lubricant strip if your skin is sensitive
- Replace your razor frequently, anytime you notice a dull or corroded blade or that you’re not getting a good shave anymore. This will also help you to avoid cuts and unsanitary conditions. Every three shaves is a good rule of thumb for replacing your razor.
Wax your hair. Waxing removes the root of the hair at the shaft, ensuring super smooth soft skin that lasts a lot longer than a shave does. You can wax at home with a kit from the drug store or you can get your legs waxed by a professional.
- Waxing does hurt when it’s being done (though the pain is brief), so it’s not necessarily the best choice for those with very sensitive skin or who are averse to unnecessary pain.
Use depilatory products. Depilatory creams, lotions, and sprays are chemical products that dissolve the hair on the surface of your skin. You can use these pain-free items in the shower or the bathtub, and they are formulated to remain in place on your skin until you wipe them away with a washcloth.
- Depilatory creams have traditionally been known for their strong odor, but newer versions aren’t nearly as offensive as their old-school counterparts. Some even have a tropical smell!
- Because you’re not pulling the hair out at the root, you’ll need to use depilatory creams, etc., more frequently than you would if you were waxing.
Get laser treatments. A more permanent solution for removing your leg hair is to get several (usually 3–5) laser treatments. These remove the hair from your legs by directing highly concentrated beams of light into the hair follicles.
- Laser hair removal is an expensive option, costing an average o 3.5million per session. Since it will take several sessions to see permanent results, it’s important to consider the overall cost when deciding on this route.
Part Three of Three:
Moisturizing Your Skin
Lotion right after you shave. As soon as you get out of the shower or bathtub, rub a thick lotion all over your legs. Try to do this while your legs are still a little bit wet (but not soaked), as the water will help lock in the moisture from the lotion.
- Only moisturize after you shave, never before. Moisturizing before you shave will clog the pores and keep you from reaching all of the hair with your razor.
- Avoid lotions that contain ahydroxy or alcohol, as these products can irritate skin that has just been shaven.
- If your skin is particularly dry or prone to eczema, you may want to try a thicker cream as opposed to a lotion. Good options include CeraVe Moisturizing Cream and Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, both of which are easy to find in stores and online.
Apply lotion frequently. Although post-shave is the most important time to apply lotion, you will want to moisturize daily, especially if you go several days in between shaves. Try to get into a habit of doing it at the same time every day (at night or while getting dressed in the morning, for example) so that you don’t forget.
- Although you want to moisturize frequently, don’t overdo it; too much lotion can lead to clogged pores. Once or twice a day is sufficient.
Try olive oil. Before going to bed at night, massage olive oil into your legs, wait for the skin to absorb it, then rinse in the shower. This will leave your legs feeling silky soft!
During the winter and other periods of cold weather, it’s a good idea to wear warm clothing (like pants and thick stockings) that will keep your legs from getting chapped.
Instead of rubbing yourself dry after the shower or bath, which can strip the moisture from your skin, pat your skin gently with your towel.
It’s important that you drink water throughout the day so that you can stay hydrated, which will keep your skin looking and feeling smooth.
Taking a fish oil supplement may help to increase the moisture content of your skin.