Mary Greenwell – a makeup artist who is experienced in prepping A-listers for the red carpet – recently explained to me that when we show more flesh (wearing a cocktail dress or strappy sun dress), the real difference between the skin on our face and that on our body is not in the tone, but the texture. While some people try to marry up the two with an illuminator or bronzer, what we should really be doing is echoing what we do on our face by focusing on peeling, plumping and hydrating the skin below the chin.
As aesthetician Joanna Czech points out, while we take so much care of our face, we do very little for our body, “even though the skin on our face is such a small area compared to the bare skin we might show on our arms, legs, backs and shoulders.” Not that I’m suggesting some time-consuming 10-step Korean skincare routine for your entire body, because the key to getting a velvety complexion from forehead to feet is not in using more products, but using the right ones.
Use acids to peel and polish skin
During Hollywood’s awards season, LA-based Dr Harold Lancer tells his clientele to use his Lancer The Method: Body Nourish twice daily for two weeks to achieve a real skin transformation. With glycolic acid to peel and polish, and hyaluronic acid to plump up and hydrate (plus a pleasing instant sheeny blurring effect), it’s an exceptional body cream – and one that I can’t recommend highly enough. The AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum by Ren Clean Skincare is equally good, especially for a dry, flaky skin (particularly on legs), as it has a similar AHA action (including hydrating lactic acid), plus probiotics to build a healthy skin barrier and added hydrators. Alternatively, for ongoing skin issues (dry knees, elbows and shins, bumpy backs of arms, sun-damaged shoulders), RéVive’s Body Supérieur Renewal Firming Cream uses the sorts of ingredients found in any top-flight face cream to retexture skin.
Hydrate with oils and creams
A nourishing treatment cream should be a daily essential, and Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Anti-Aging Body Cream has many of the same active ingredients used in her famous skincare, including powerful purslane, found in parsley, to reduce aging inflammation and irritation. Unlike many body creams, however, it manages to be both deeply hydrating and moisturizing while having a light texture that sinks straight in, making it perfect for warmer weather. The skin on the body can be notoriously dry – especially shins, aptly described by a dermatologist I know as “the desert of the body”. If you find nothing seems to have a lasting effect, this is where La Mer’s super-luxe The Renewal Body Oil Balm comes in to play. It may have La Mer’s Miracle Broth in it but, for me, the real clincher is the incredible texture – it’s a rich balm that melts when massaged in, and is exactly what ultra-dry skin needs. Another great way of treating dry skin is to layer products in the same way we do with our face care, using a moisturizing cream followed by an oil – Costa Brazil’s Kaya Jungle Firming Oil is a favorite of mine as it leaves skin gleaming, not greasy. Layering the two textures together makes a great combination for drier skin if you want to achieve a plump, dewy-looking finish. However, using an oil alone (on the face or body) is not enough to treat dry skin, because oils don’t hydrate – but layering them over a cream, or even a hydrating serum, helps ‘seal’ that hydration in.
Fight fluid retention in your limbs
If you have an issue with fluid retention, Legology’s Air-Lite Daily Lift for Legs makes an equally brilliant full-body cream with its light, non-sticky texture and Capri-inspired citrus scent. Also, for those already committed to regularly using a gua sha facial tool in their skincare regimen, they can work just as effectively for the body. The Insta-famous Hayo’u Body Restorer (a little bigger and in stainless steel rather than a crystal gua sha) is designed to be used with water (in the shower or bath) or oil so that it can slide over limbs to release tension and fluid retention and rejuvenate skin. Lastly, dedicated fans of the globally popular face rollers can now do the same for their body: Esker Beauty’s clever All Over Roller, for instance, is a textured jade roller that can be used to release tension, boost cell regeneration and de-puff as and where needed.
The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown.