It’s almost the season for bare arms and legs, and our pale limbs aren’t only looking a little worse for the wear—they’re still feeling the winter chill, too. Dry knees and rough patches are no match for our summer shorts and sundresses, which is why we’re bringing out the big guns of the moisturizing game to get us in tip-top smooth-skin shape from head to toe. Here’s how to get soft skin, ready for baring come Memorial Day.
Use a hydrating body wash.
A “squeaky clean” feeling upon exiting the shower or bath is never a good sign, especially if your skin tends toward dryness or flakiness. Opt instead for a cleanser that has a creamy formulation—a good general rule is that pearly opaque formulas are more moisturizing than their clear, more gel-like counterparts. LAVANILA The Healthy Body Wash 2-in-1 Shower & Shave ($15, sephora.com) blends coconut and rose hip oils with aloe for a skin-nourishing, subtly scented lather that also doubles as a shaving cream.
It’s so easy to treat our faces right and neglect the rest of our bodies, but exfoliating from head-to-toe is an important step for smooth, clear skin. A foaming body wash with exfoliating beads, like Teadora Rainforest at Dawn Nourishing Body Polish ($40, teadorabeauty.com) means there’s no excuse for forgetting to scrub down. For a more intensive exfoliating treatment, try using a body scrub with fruit seeds—we love Decleor Relax Intense Fruits Seeds Scrub ($42, decleorusa.com)—on dry skin before rinsing in the shower.
Get soft, smooth skin and test out the benefits of dry brushing with a loofah, ideally one on a wooden stick like the Earth Therapeutics Back Massager ($5.99, ulta.com). You can use it on dry skin or with soap in the shower, and the long handle means struggling to reach that weird corner on your back is a thing of the past. The natural vegetable fibers that loofah is composed of help to remove dead skin cells, leaving behind super-smooth skin that’s less susceptible to clogged pores and ingrown hairs. Remember to always brush toward the heart!
Use the right moisturizer.
Not just any body lotion will do. You want to invest in something with ingredients that are formulated for true long-lasting nourishment, like L’Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Cream ($44, loccitane.com), which is made with 25% shea butter, as well as apricot oil and extracts of linseed, marshmallow, sweet almond, and honey and somehow still manages to just sink in without the worry of a greasy residue. Apply cream just after toweling off from the shower, when your skin is still slightly damp but not wet, and be sure to target easily dried areas like the elbows and knees.
Try an oil.
Knowing what we know about oil—that it’s slick and slippery, and that it stains—you’d assume that it has no place on the body, but Caudalie Divine Oil ($49, caudalie.com) is a revelation. It’s a dry oil, which means that it absorbs as soon as it hits skin, and it leaves behind a soft, glowy veil of deep moisture that smells glorious. The spray bottle makes it easy to apply: Just spritz it on and rub it in after showering, then give the oil a few moments to dry before getting dressed.
Read more: How to Exfoliate for Smoother, Softer Skin