Get Bikini Ready—Stat

Joanna Douglas
Senior Editor
July 2, 2014

Photo: Trunk Archive

In case you missed it—it’s summer. And with 4th of July upon us, you’ve run out of time to cover up. We won’t tell you how to get abs in 24 hours (because you can’t, and no one should tell you otherwise), but we can tell you how to reveal smooth, soft, glowing skin when you do strip down to your new bikini. Below, six steps that will boost your confidence in less than an hour.


The smooth part comes from exfoliating. You can use a brush to (gently) scrub the dead skin off your body before you jump in the shower, or use Weleda’s Birch Body Scrub ($12) under water. Another dry option? Avène’s Akerat Smoothing Exfoliating Cream ($31) gently softens sensitive skin with a low dose of lactic and salicylic acid.

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You want to remove unwanted body hair the day before you’re hitting the beach, pool, or lake to avoid post-wax redness (or post-shave irritation) when it’s time to apply sunscreen. If you’re shaving, take your time. Lather up with a hydrating cream like Whish Shave Crave ($20) to avoid nicks. (Gillette Venus Snap Razor ($9.99) is tiny and portable, but uses the same conditioning blades.) Shave armpits in an X pattern to ensure you trim hairs growing in all directions.

If you opt for a depilatory, follow the instructions carefully and leave it on for the minimum time suggested to guarantee it works, but avoid burns. Try a gentler formula like Nair Moroccan Argan Oil SprayAway No Touch Spray ($8.99). Prevent any ingrown hairs at your bikini line with Bliss’s exfoliating Ingrown Eliminating Pads ($38).

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If you’re using an oil, rub it in while you’re still in the shower, after you turn the water off, but when your skin is still wet. If you prefer a lotion, use it as soon as you (lightly) dry off. You have a couple of minutes to really lock in that moisture.

Neutrogena’s Body Oil ($9) is fragrance free, while Rodin’s Luxury Body Oil ($110) will leave you smelling like jasmine. Nivea’s Smooth Sensation Body Lotion ($2.49) is surprisingly lightweight despite its rich shea butter, and John Masters Organics Bare Unscented Body Lotion ($16.50) lacks any artificial fragrances or skin-irritating parabens.

Fake A Tan

Self-tanner can mask any unevenness, blemishes, or bruises, and give the illusion of toned abs, arms, and legs. Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer ($11.99) is a classic for a reason (and it now comes in a convenient pump bottle). Supergoop! SPF 20 Gradual Self-Tanning Sunscreen Mousse with SPF 20 ($38) is a great multi-tasker that will tan your skin while protecting you from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Because your face should match, try a gentle formula like Tarte Brazilliance Skin Rejuvenating Maracuja Face and Body Self Tanner ($13) with hydrating sunflower seed oil and brightening maracuja oil. For a quick bronzed look without the wait, try Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 20 ($34) which also has skin-firming properties. 

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The Pedicure

You need polished feet to go with your beach-ready body. Soak your feet in warm water, apply cuticle oil, and gently push back your cuticles. Use a pumice stone to shed calluses and dead skin (use some of that exfoliating body scrub, too). Pat dry and apply Freeman Bare Foot Repair for Cracked Heels ($5.99) to get your soles in order. If there’s no time for the base, color, and topcoat trio, try Deborah Lippmann Turn Back Time Base Coat ($20) to reduce any yellowing or stains on nails for a pretty, natural look. 

Drink Water

It may seem like a no-brainer to drink water in the summer, but staying hydrated will keep your metabolism running, and fight off water retention to make you look less bloated. It will also boost your skin’s natural radiance.

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