Thursday, August 7, 2014

Summer Legs and Keeping Up Appearances

I bet you were thinking that this was a post about leg lifts, squats, and lunges. 


It's about skin. Leg skin and feet skin, to be exact. Let me let you in on a secret: highly groomed women discomfit me. Or maybe it's more accurate to say that I discomfit me in the presence of such women. I mean, I'm sure that the objective for said women's attention to personal grooming has nothing to do with me and my comfort. But I digress. 

I'm not particularly scruffy, it's just that being well groomed is a never ending battle. My feet look awesome today - smooth, nails painted. And next week.... Ugh, chipped polish. A little rough around the heels. And let's not even talk about shaving (at least not yet). In my mind, having a good hair / outfit / makeup / smooth legs / attractive feet type of presentation is the equivalent of the man at the circus who spins all the plates at the same time. And damn, parenting toddlers and infants is already like herding cats. The complexity of these mixed metaphors is itself an accurate portrayal of the reality, I think. 

And despite the pink background on this blog, I am not a "girly girl."  I would rather drink a cocktail and read a book in the bathtub than exfoliate, depilate, or any other -ate. Unless it is just plain eating, and if that's the case, then I'll take my calories in liquid form, as per above.

I know what you're thinking, "Mary, this is not a gender issue. You are just lazy." Yes, yes, I am that, too, and I admit it. 

So I ask:

What's a busy, slightly lazy girl to do?!

Well, I've discovered a few inexpensive and relatively quick, easy ways to keep up appearances.

Skip the lotion and go straight for the body cream. Lotion and body cream are both composed of water and oil; their difference lies in the proportion of each. Body cream has a higher content of oil, and therefore is a more concentrated (read: effective and longer lasting) moisturizer.  Smooth some on your legs, arms, and feet after every shower when pores are still dilated from the warm water.

Use petroleum jelly (also known by the most common brand name Vaseline) on the roughest, driest spots. While body cream is an emollient (meaning it moisturizes and smoothes), petroleum jelly also effectively traps moisture within the skin and prevents it from evaporating.  Smooth it on elbows and knees. Spread liberally on rough feet, put on pair of socks, go to bed and awake the next day with significantly softer feet. A small tub of the stuff is around a dollar at the grocery store, so go wild.

Use a pumice stone every day for a few seconds in the shower, concentrating especially on the heels. It may take more time at first, especially if your feet are very dry and cracked, but once things are under control this is all it really takes for maintenance.  And don't spend much on a pumice stone; find them at the dollar store for a dollar (surprise!). Replace as necessary, when you start to notice decreased efficacy.

Use a scrub before shaving your legs (just rub, rinse, and then go ahead with your regular shaving cream). The salt or sugar grains exfoliate the skin and the oil in the scrub moisturizes it. The result is a closer shave and smoother, softer skin. You can easily make scrubs from in the kitchen ingredients (check out these recipes) or buy it pre-made. I recently won a scrub from this company in a giveaway (which it turns out, is owned and operated by a former college mate, small world!), and it is the best scrub I've ever tried. For real.

Keep a cocoa lotion bar handy for quick fixes. A lotion bar is a solid, concentrated, quick way to deliver moisture and protection to irritated skin. Rub the bar over the effected area and the warmth of your skin melts just the right amount of emollients onto the spot.  I think we have all had the experience of realizing at the last minute that our hands or knees or elbows or heels are super dry and/or ashy. I keep this lotion bar in my bag for just such moments.


  1. These are great tips, Mary! I couldnt believe it when I saw you posted on leg care becuase within the last month I recalled you telling me long ago something about massaging your thighs in small circles while applying lotion to prevent cellulite and I started doing that. Do I have that right? I guess now I have all your leg beauty tips!

  2. I literally L'dOL at your second paragraph. Literally, not figuratively. Great tips!


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