This article was written by Philip Picardi and repurposed with permission from Refinery29.
Perhaps the cruelest reality of holiday dressing is that you’re constantly finding yourself in a skirt—in the dead of winter. This is less than desirable for many reasons, especially when pesky red bumps and dry skin come into play. But you don’t want to hide behind tights for every party, either.
Nobody understands this conundrum better than makeup artists and self-tanners. We called upon the expertise of James Read (who’s tanned Beyoncé herself), Charlotte Tilbury (who’s worked with almost every supermodel ever), and Rose-Marie Swift (founder of RMS Beauty) to find out the best tricks for getting gorgeous legs in a flash.
Start By Scrubbing
We’re guessing you may not have time for a full shower before every single party. In the event that you do, consider a salt scrub. It may sound counterintuitive to buff away at your legs when they likely feel rather fragile and dry, but sloughing away that dry skin is essential for an even canvas. It provides the ideal, blotch-free base for self-tanning. “Exfoliate two hours before tanning if you can,” says Read.
Know How to Apply It
Wash Off Tan can be incredibly intimidating once it comes out of the tube: It’s a bronze gel with hyaluronic acid that imparts an instant tint to the skin. “You can mix it with your moisturizer for an illuminated look,” says Read. “Otherwise, apply it to a proper tanning mitt, and use long, sweeping strokes to ensure the color is blended evenly. Allow to dry for a few minutes to assess the color payoff, and then apply a second coat if desired.” Save the feet for last—you’ll want the bulk of the color to appear on your legs. If your legs are dry, make sure to moisturize your kneecaps and feet right before application. A big plus: This dries really fast.
Use A Body Gel
Before you start layering products—and especially before you put on any clothing—it’s wise to follow up with a body gel. Read recommends after-sun versions because they reduce inflammation while trapping moisture, which is ideal for quelling skin post-UV exposure. In this case, however, it seals the tint while providing a dewy, cooling base. Think of it as a makeup primer for your body: Use it even if you haven’t self-tanned, and you’ll love the results.
Click HERE to see how you can wear makeup on your legs from Refinery29!
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