Of course she goes to a leg spa.
When I was a graduate student at the University of Oregon (a.k.a. the school for the running obsessed), I often noticed the track and cross country athletes dipping into the cold pool and then the hot tub at our apartment complex. I speculated that it must help relax sore muscles or aid the recovery process. As it turns out, those athletes were unwittingly taking a page from Gwyneth Paltrow’s book of leg care.
The actress-turned-wellness mogul is a client of The Capri Leg School, a spa frequented by the likes of Madeleine Bernadotte, Kobe Bryant, Tory Burch, Roger Federer, Elizabeth Hurley, Donatella Versace, and Julia Roberts. Clients spend up to a week under the care of leg guru Professor Francesco Canonaco whose program focuses on stimulating the circulatory system. Treatments include chilled, medicated volcanic mud masks wrapped in cool bandages (a process designed to draw out toxins and excess water) and—you guessed it!—switching between cold and hot water. Canonaco explains that “it stimulates circulation, tones the skin and makes it more porous, thereby greatly increasing the absorption of any products applied.”
The promised result? Tighter, smoother, more even-toned skin and legs that feel gloriously refreshed.
My first reaction to learning about the Leg School was major *eye roll*—I mean, how lavish does it get?! But then I thought, hey, we all deserve such lovely treatment! We spend so much time fretting about the fine lines around our eyes that we often neglect to give our body skin (and muscles) enough TLC. Our bodies work so hard for us, after all. In my case, I’ll squeeze in an intense workout only to be indefinitely glued to the rocking chair nursing my baby afterward. My legs are probably like, where’s our adequate cool down and stretch? when’s our spa day? where’s the gratitude?
Whether you’re an overworked athlete, someone stuck at her desk for most of the day, or just someone who’s really feeling Gwyneth Paltrow’s serious leg sheen, it’s time to book a visit to the leg spa—the one that you can create in the comfort of your own home, of course!
The following leg spa ritual will help your legs feel and look their best. Consider it an ode to the limbs that carry you every where, every day. This is a self-care activity that’s intended to be enjoyable, healing, and self-loving.
DIY Leg Spa—For VIPs Only (That includes you!)
This DIY leg spa purposefully skips the whole clay business because the mere thought of cleaning up that mess makes my blood run cold (which is probably not good for circulation…or maybe it is? Either way, do a leg mask at your own risk!).
- Give yourself a deep tissue massage. Using a smooth foam roller or one with bumps (for a little more intensity if you prefer), slowly roll your legs (here is a nice routine). A myofascial massage can help ease tightness, tension, and muscle stiffness. (Note: please do not do a massage beyond a little mild discomfort—the point is to feel good and relax!).
- Dry brush. Using a natural-fiber body brush, brush your legs (and entire body if you choose) in sweeping motions toward your heart. Then repeat with small circulate motions. This helps stimulate circulation and provides manual exfoliation (we’re on our way to leg sheen!). Do anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on your comfort—just don’t make yourself raw!
- Time to hop in the shower! When you’re finished with your regular shower routine, turn the water to cold for five seconds, then hot for five seconds. Repeat three times. “This boosts circulation and has an incredible toning effect [on skin],” according to massage therapist Tetyana Probyy-Holova.
- Massage skin and moisturize. First, whip up a batch of toning body oil. A blend of carrier oil (like almond or jojoba) mixed with citrus essential oils like grapefruit plus juniper, fennel, and eucalyptus will have a diuretic effect, thereby helping with fluid retention (follow proper dilution guidelines, s’il vous plait). “Use your thumbs to work your oil or moisturizer firmly around ankles, knees and backs of needs,” recommends Legology founder Kate Shapland. Then, rub your hands up the leg with gentle squeezes along the way.
- Still not shiny enough? Get that sheen! Vegan and cruelty-free Prtty Peaushun leaves skin lightly shimmery, so now you’re ready to dazzle! Alternatively, mix a bit of powder highlight with your fave body lotion.
- Go have fun!
What are your favorite ways to care for your body skin?
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Photos: Gwyneth Paltrow via Instagram, The Capri Leg School, Pexels, Respective Brands