It’s the first warm day of the year… you consider flashing an ankle, wonder about baring a calf and glance down at neglected toes. Then you take a deep gulp and remember… said limbs have been enveloped in multiple layers for months… pasty, fuzzy, dryza bone. What’s a girl to do?
Hands up if you’ve been there? This is no time to faff about - we’re talking quick fixes. Welcome to the first of a mini series featuring speedy solutions as we prepare to bare. Take a deep breath - we can do this - first up, exfoliate and defuzz…
I’ve written odes to fancy pants exfoliators on here before, but really - lovely as they are - it’s not essential to spend big bucks and today’s options all come in under a tenner. I’m not a fan of coarse exfoliators as I find them too harsh on my skin, so I’ve lined up three options which I’d class as superfine, fine and medium.
Why do it? If you’re new to exfoliating, it’s all about applying slightly abrasive products to remove dry and dead cells from the surface of the skin. This leaves skin feeling instantly softer and smoother to the touch (so satisfying), enables moisturisers to absorb and function more efficiently, and ensures that self tan applies smoothly and evenly. More tips on the latter to follow in this series…
Superfine - Smoothing Silk Polish, £8.00 is part of the Sanctuary Spa Sleep range and has a lovely relaxing scent thanks to Ylang Ylang, Frankincense and Patchouli. This is literally the finest, silkiest exfoliator I’ve tried. It’s really rich and moisturising with very fine grains set in sweet almond oil and shea butter, making it perfect for sensitive areas such as the décolleté area.
Fine - Argan 5+ Skin Renewal Body Scrub, £7.99 contains finely crushed olive stones and pumice in Moroccan Argan Oil, with four other nourishing oils to ensure that skin is well nourished as you scrub. The grains aren’t at all scratchy and like the other products I’ve tried in this range, its smells divine and feels more expensive than it is.
Medium - my main challenge in using Soap & Glory Breakfast Scrub, £8 is resisting the temptation to eat it. This smells so good! Sweet and caramelly but not sickly sweet (my pet hate). Although I’ve put this in the medium grain category it’s not at all harsh, but made with slightly bigger grains than the others and is my leg exfoliant of choice. This is thick and gloopy, whereas the others are liquid, so requires scooping out and slathering on, making me feel like a small child doing something I shouldn’t. (NB Mine is the old tub - the link leads to the new design, now part of the Smoothie Star range - pssst it’s also on 3 for 2!)
User Tips - I tend to use a finer exfoliant on my upper body, especially my décolleté, and a coarser one on my legs, but that’s just personal preference and I’m not suggesting that anyone needs to go out and buy two. All of these can be used on dry skin before you switch on the shower (If you choose to do this I recommend standing inside the shower, to avoid exfoliating the bathroom floor). I don’t normally dry exfoliate unless I have particularly dry patches on my ankles, knees and shins - as again I’m cautious of being too harsh with my skin. Oh and there’s no need to use extra pressure - gentle circular movements on damp skin work best - let the scrubs do the scrubbing!
Dead skin cells and flaky bits out of the way, it’s time to move onto hair removal, which can now be more easily, er… removed. I am a total and utter wuss with a pain threshold around minus 10, so pain free hair removal works best for me. I *will* get back into epilating once Summer arrives, but not until heat and sunshine make a regular appearance.
Lately I’ve been using Nad’s Sensitive Hair Removal Crème, which is really easy to use and doesn’t irritate the (sensitive) skin on my legs. I just apply an even layer with my hands, leave it for 10 mins and rinse off. It doesn’t smell good, but none of these formulas do. The little pink oval nestled into a groove on the front of the bottle is actually a removable sponge, which I thought was a bit of a gimmick until I tried it. The pink side is quite coarse and brilliant for removing every last stubborn hair that rinsing sometimes doesn’t catch.
This cream can also be used in other sensitive areas, so one bottle does all. I stick to a razor for underarms (sorry husband) as I don’t like standing with my arms in the air and have very little hair there anyway. NB if you’ve already tanned or need to defuzz daily, I wouldn’t use a hair removal cream as it may interfere with the colour. I only need to do this once a week, so it’s easy to combine with topping up self tan.
Let’s get smoothing… next up, moisturising and tanning!
This is the part when you leave a comment to tell me you’ve already done all of the above and I’m the only one still hiding her ankles…