Spring is just around the corner (yes, we know, where did the time go?). Before we know it, our limbs will be exposed to the elements and on show for the world to see.
For most, spring is time to reprioritise our health, clean up our diet and book in for a pilates class or two. (If you want to. If you want to sit on the couch and eat pizza, that’s also fine. It’s your life—live it your way!) However, spring can also be a great time to hit reset on our beauty routines. Looking after your body on a skin-deep level can help us look (and more importantly, feel) our best all summer long.
Before you make a beeline for the sunless tanner, we’ve rounded up three not-so-obvious rejuvenating rituals that will have you feeling fresh and firm before you can say ‘September 1’.
An ancient Ayurvedic technique, dry-brushing has been used for a myriad health reasons centuries before being cemented as of the most popular trends of the modern wellness movement, explains Susie McIntosh, founder of popular Byron Bay spa COMMA.
“Dry-brushing is great for a bunch of different reasons, but mostly to stimulate the lymphatic system,” says McIntosh. “It sweeps away dead skin, reduces the appearance of cellulite and makes your skin look luminous.”
So, how does one dry-brush? Grab your weapon of choice (we love this one Dr. Barbara Sturm and this long-handled The Body Shop brush) and start by brushing in short, upwards motions from the feet. “Stroke the dry brush all over your body, always toward the heart to stimulate blood flow and circulation,” says McIntosh. “There’s no need to go too hard.”
Full disclosure: There is no hard-and-fast evidence to support the much-touted ‘miracle’ benefits of dry-brushing, including claims it ‘detoxes’ the body and can banish stubborn cellulite. However, when performed properly, it is a great way to exfoliate (goodbye, ingrown hairs) and relieve both mental and muscular tension.
“Having a repetitive motion performed to oneself slows down the autonomic nervous system which in turn slows the breath, calms the mind and leaves you feeling nurtured and glowing,” says McIntosh. Hey, if Miranda Kerr and Elle Macpherson are fans, I’ll happily try twice.
If you’re anything like me, dear reader, applying body moisturiser on the daily at this time of year is sitting firmly in the ‘too-hard basket’, along with leaving the house after 8pm on a Friday night. But alas, I have persevered for the past two weeks and can attest to the merits of applying a hard-working body cream—not just for the skin benefits but also for the #selfcare.
The perfect time to indulge in your dose of luxe body care is post-dry-brush, as your chosen product is absorbed best after exfoliation. If cellulite or stretch marks are a concern of yours, let the record show there is no lotion that will get rid of these. But really, who cares? We’re wearing ours with pride.
For smooth, healthy limbs (and to minimise the appearance of lumps and bumps) opt for an oil, cream or lotion that nourishes and increases elasticity. Our go-to picks are Clarins Body Fit, Kat Burki Body Butter and Sisley’s White Ginger Contouring Oil For Legs. If you can, take the time to apply these products considerately; spend five minutes firmly massaging into the skin from feet to shoulders. Guaranteed, you’ll have never felt fresher.
Have you considered a targeted cream for your neck and décolletage? These two areas are prone to premature ageing thanks to ongoing sun exposure. StriVectin TL Advanced Tightening Face & Neck Cream and NIOD Neck Elasticity Catalyst both have a cult-following thanks to their efficacious, firming abilities. What ‘tech neck’?
If your energy stores are depleted and you’re in dire need a pick-me-up, consider dropping the tools and booking in for a lymphatic drainage massage. “Lymphatic massage helps to stimulate oxygen distribution throughout the body, and is said to aid in speeding up the body’s natural process of detoxification,” says McIntosh.
“COMMA’s ‘The Vessel’ treatment is intended to do just this; flushing the lymphatic system by stimulating the circulation of the lymph fluids around the body. We achieve this by the use of our dry body brush, slowly stroking the most superficial layer of the lymphatic system towards the heart, and a relatively rhythmic massage focusing on continually stimulating the lymph fluid.”
While research suggests this technique is most beneficial for those who are illness-prone or have a lymph-related disease, McIntosh recommends lymphatic massage for a reinvigorating boost to the body.
“Lymphatic massages are great during winter, as well as before and after long haul flights, or even after a big night,” says McIntosh. “However, I recommend this massage year-round, particularly when you feel that your body needs some R+R to improve its overall vitality and health.”
Tell us, how are you preparing for spring? Which beauty ritual will you be incorporating into your current routine?