By Gabrielle Johnson
There’s no time like the present – or upcoming beach season – to revamp your below-the-neck beauty regimen. From exfoliation to hair removal to sandal prep, we’ve got you covered so you’ll be ready to uncover it all – or a little. Let’s not go crazy here!
Tips and Toes
Excited for sandal season but can’t bear to bare your feet just yet? Forget the nail polish – for now – and focus on eliminating rough, cracked skin, particularly around the heels.
“To get your feet in shape, use a foot file to get rid of dead skin cells,” says Dr. Lisa Kellett, dermatologist and founder of Toronto dermatology clinic DLK on Avenue. Next: Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. “The epidermis on the hands and feet is usually thicker than on other areas of the body, so use something thicker on those areas,” she advises. Ingredients like shea butter, glycerin and lactic acid will help revive winter-weary skin.
For nails that are weak, peeling or prone to breakage, try a daily keratin treatment that you can stash in your purse and apply on the go. A good cuticle oil is equally vital – look for one that’s infused with nourishing oils and vitamin E to keep both the nail and cuticle area healthy.
Those with dry hands and feet – that’s most of us in Canada – should stock up on hydrating masks, which slip on like gloves or socks and work wonders for parched skin. Or try Dr. Kellett’s DIY trick for ultra-soft feet: “After you get out of the bath, put on a layer of Vaseline and wrap your feet with plastic wrap, then leave it on overnight.” For hands, layer a thick cream under cotton gloves while you sleep.
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
“If you’re looking for permanent hair reduction, laser is the best option,” says Dr. Kellett. “The treatments require multiple sessions, so this is the perfect time to start.” The alternative, for those who don’t want the commitment: “Shaving, waxing and tweezing. Remember to shave in the direction of hair growth, not against it, to avoid ingrown hairs or infections,” she notes. “If you’re prone to infections, use an anti-bacterial wash afterwards.”
Short on time? Treat your gams to a hair remover that doubles as a leg mask, so you can reap extra benefits, including exfoliation and brightening, while getting rid of unwanted hair and stubble.
Once you’re ready to show some skin, don’t forget the number one thing you can do to take care of it: apply sunscreen. “The most common place to get melanoma in women is the calves, probably because people put sunscreen on their face and they forget their lower body,” says Dr. Kellett. Slather on SPF before you leave the house and reapply throughout the day if you’re spending time outside to keep skin healthy and radiant for years to come.
Slough It Off
After months spent cocooned in cozy layers, chances are that you haven’t given the skin on your body much thought, let alone TLC.
“Now’s a good time to start exfoliating,” says Dr. Kellett. “During the winter, the stratum corneum [the skin’s outermost layer] is a little bit thicker, so exfoliating will remove the layer of dead skin cells, which will help brighten skin.”
Consider adding drybrushing to your morning routine: It not only exfoliates the skin but also helps to improve blood circulation, eliminate clogged pores, prevent ingrown hairs and may even reduce the appearance of cellulite.
For an in-shower treatment, try a luxe scrub, which will improve your skin’s texture and leave it baby-soft. Choose a scrub with a scent you love for a spa-like experience at home. Post-shower, apply a hydrating lotion, cream or gel while your skin is still damp to lock in moisture.
“People who are more prone to breakouts should switch to gel moisturizers in the summer because the humidity in the air is higher than it is in the winter – you can use something a bit lighter,” says Dr. Kellett.