Get the circulation going
Finish your shower or bath with a five-second shot of cold then warm water, moving the shower head from your ankles to hips, and repeat three times. This has a toning effect and gets your circulation working, and it makes the skin more porous, so any products you use afterwards will sink in further.
It’s boring, but it works – dry body brushing polishes the skin and stimulates the lymphatic system. Speed up the process by using a brush in each hand and work briskly, brushing upwards only, from feet to knees, knees to hips and so on. Doing it daily is great, but three times a week is good enough.
Know your products
If your legs are puffy and spongy one day, then better the next, your problem is fluid retention. Look for products containing ingredients with a draining effect, such as fennel, juniper, eucalyptus and citrus. To treat cellulite, choose creams with caffeine to boost your metabolism and burn fat locally. Creams, gels and oils can be mixed or layered as and where needed.
Make time to massage
Try doing this daily for two minutes to stretch out tight connective tissue and muscles so lymph fluid doesn’t get trapped, working your thumbs up from the ankles, to the backs of the calves and knees. For heavy, puffy legs, work your hands upwards – again, from the ankle – gently squeezing the leg like a tube of toothpaste, to drain the excess fluid.
Use a roller
Using a Pilates roller twice a week can make a real change in the tone of your legs, especially the thighs. Try one with nodules as these work on tight connective tissue, which will help to combat cellulite.
Nourish the skin
The skin on legs can get very dry, causing them to look flat, dull and crepey, so improving just this makes a huge a difference to the overall appearance. Oils are great as they are easily absorbed and give arid skin a healthy suppleness – try moisturizing almond, wheat germ or vitamin E types. Using an oil and a salt or sugar body scrub twice weekly transforms dry legs and flaky shins – when rinsed off, the oil leaves skin nourished and gleaming.
Use a tennis ball
Tight feet cause bulky calves and bad circulation, so try rolling a tennis ball under your bare foot to relax the tension. Keep one in your office drawer to use between meetings.
DO THE LEG WORK
The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown.