Last-minute beach invite this weekend? Sounds like fun! Then you realize your legs haven't seen the light of day (or the glint of a razor) in months. No worries: You can get your gams in show-off shape almost as fast as you can grab your towel and sunnies. Here's how to:
Sleek-ify your skin
The quickest way to make your legs look good in a hurry? Exfoliate 'em. Gently scrubbing the outermost layer of skin uncovers the fresh, radiant layer beneath it. Translation: brighter, softer skin. But grainy scrubs can often be irritating. Instead, look for a chemical peel for the body that combines glycolic, salicylic, or lactic acid and fruit enzymes, like Kerstin Florian Correcting Brightening Body Peel ($40, nordstrom.com). Simply sweep a pad over your legs, wait a few minutes, then rinse off in the shower and pat dry. (And then, of course, cover that freshly-revealed skin with SPF so it's protected from the sun's damaging rays.)
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Shed the stubble
If you've got time to do a proper shave in the shower, wait until the end before whipping out your blade. That way, the water's heat and steam has time to open up your pores, making the shave that much closer. It's also a good idea to let shaving cream sit on your skin for at least 30 seconds pre-shave; it softens tiny hairs and makes them stand up so your razor can get nice and close. Spot a missed zone as you're walking out the door? Instead of dry-shaving a hairy patch, check out the Sphynx shaving razor ($15, sphynxrazor.com), which houses water and soap inside, so you can get a great shave wherever you are (at your desk, at a red light—no judgment!).
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Okay, so there's no insta-cellulite eraser (yet!), but you can make those lumps and bumps appear a whole lot less visible by using a body product with caffeine (which may temporarily shrink fat cells) or peptides (which stimulate collagen and elastin). One to try: Vichy CelluDestock ($40, dermstore.com). Another idea? Try a quickie deep tissue massage—it improves circulation, which helps break up puckering and dimples. At home, reach for a rolling pin (yep, the kind you bake with) or a body brush with rounded nubs, then firmly run it up and down trouble spots 20 times a day. Can't hurt to try, right?
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When there's no time to let self-tanner work its magic overnight, there's a new option: express tanners. Instead of the usual 6 to 8 hours required for DHA (the ingredient that tints skin) to settle in, express formulas like St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse ($44, sephora.com) get you golden in as little as one hour (though you can leave them on for up to three hours for darker results). For an even faster (albeit temporary) fix, reach for a body bronzer, like Becca Luminous Body Perfecting Mousse ($34, sephora.com). It disguises imperfections and evens out your skin tone, leaving behind a subtle sheen. Think of it as a real-life Instagram filter for your legs.
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