'Tis finally the season for shorts and sandals and spritzes, which means the parts of your body that you kept hidden under layers in winter will be on display again. I'm not sure about you, but I've skipped my regular pedicure appointments and slacked on my dry brushing routine through the colder seasons, so I'm feeling less than ready for bare limbs and open-toed shoes. If you're heading to a beach vacation or are just anticipating a lot of sunny brunches down the pike, you might want to prep with this body edition skincare routine. Soap and water will work, but these extra steps won't hurt.
Don't forget your feet
If I'm getting ready for something important, I'll make it a point to use the Baby Foot Peel Mask on my feet a week before. It is the most satisfying self-care mask you'll ever use. For absolutely soft feet with no cracks, dead skins or calluses, slip on the plastic socks with a clear gel and leave them on for an hour. I like to do indulge in a face mask at the same time for efficiency purposes. The fruit acids in the gel work to dissolve the dead skin, which starts to shed over the period of a week. (No really, your socks will be filled with sheets of skin for the entire time.) But once it's done, the skin stays soft all season long.
For general maintenance, or if the process of shedding skin like a snake is too squeamish for you, rub in a cream like the CeraVe Renewing SA Foot Cream, featuring lactic acid and urea to loosen up all the dead skin cells over time. Hydrate nightly with an occlusive foot cream, especially if you've painted your nails, to maintain colour and soften cuticles.
While you might be relying on physical scrubs and chemical acids to take the grime, dust, sweat and age off of your face, the body can fall by the wayside sometimes. Keratosis Pilaris—also known as chicken skin–can feel uncomfortable and look irritated. Mostly seen on the forearms and thighs, excess keratin protein manifests as small, white or flesh coloured bumps on the skin. These cannot be sloughed off with traditional exfoliating, which is where acid-based lotions or exfoliators come to play. A lactic acid-based lotion like the AmLactin Ultra Hydrating Cream is ideal, as it unclogs pores and hair follicles, leaving even-textured skin in its wake.
For normal skin that could enjoy a good pick-me-up, indulge in a daily dry brushing ritual, (but bump it up to the top of the priority list during the summertime). Using a long handled brush with stiff bristles, make upward motions from the ankles up to the heart to promote lymphatic drainage and remove any dry, dead skin cells. Most people that practice it suggest you do it pre-shower, so you can wash off all the gunk once you brush it to the surface.
Have the best shower of your life
I highly suggest showering with the mindset that you'll never get to shower again. Cleanse every nook and cranny, and you're sure to feel lighter and brighter by the time you get out. If your skin is sensitive to start with, choose a milky cleanser like Kama Ayurveda's Lavender Patchouli Body Cleanser to thoroughly cleanse pores without stripping the skin of its natural oils. If you prefer a lathered-up, spa-like experience, indulge in a scented body wash like the Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Foaming Shower Gel. It's a splurge, but the bergamot and jasmine scent lingers in your bathroom and on your body all day. If you're a fan of simplicity or just nostalgia, choose a bar soap like Aesop's Body Cleansing Slab. Most dermatologists suggest washing your face with cool water over the sink rather than in the shower, so save that for when you get out. The shower temperature is up to preference, but tepid, lukewarm water is best as it won't dry out the skin.
Even if you dry brush, there's nothing as indulgent as sloughing off all your dead skin with a shower scrub. Begin with wet skin in the shower and allow the shower to run for five to seven minutes to soften the skin. Then, apply a crystal-based scrub in a circular motion, starting from the feet up towards the arms and neck. If you're looking to go the DIY route, an olive oil and brown sugar scrub will always do right by you. The Bath and Body Works Eucalyptus Spearmint Body Scrub has small crystals that can render flaky skin non-existent, while leaving the skin coated in a barely-there oil that keeps it hydrated through the day. Rinse it all off with lukewarm water. If you're shaving, exfoliate before you do, since the lack of dead skin cells gives the razor the cleanest possible slate to remove hair.
After all that exfoliating, bring back the moisture with a body butter or oil to soften and coddle the skin. I like to use a body oil like Forest Essential's Rose and Vanilla Oil for a great olfactory experience. If my skin feels sensitive, over-dry or irritated, I slather on the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream all over on damp, towel-dried skin—it has hyaluronic acid to act as a humectant and preserve moisture through the day. For those who are fans of a creamier body butter, the Moroccanoil Body Soufflé is fragrant and satisfying. If I'm going out for a party, I like to enhance my limbs with Fenty Beauty's Body Lava, a gel-like moisturiser with light-diffusing micro-pearls and a sheer tint that'll leave you looking like you just flew in from Tulum.
While you can't actually get rid of cellulite or stretch marks without laser therapy, firming and re-texturising creams can help to keep the area looking firmer and smoother. People swear by the Palmer Cocoa Butter Formula Moisturizing Lotion that hydrates while promoting skin elasticity. Since I'm extremely committed, I have taken to slathering a retinol-enhanced body lotion (Paula's Choice Anti-Aging Retinol Body Lotion) to increase cell turnover and reduce the looks of my rather chalky, dry knees. If you're into it, Nanette De Gaspe has dry sheet masks for your butt, breasts and décolletage that help plump and lift the specified body parts. (You'll still need to continue with your squats, though. There's no escape from those.)