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Love Your Legs, Thighs, and Butt

Here, we unlock the secret to a fabulous lower body. Read on for the shortcut to better thighs and even "tan" tips, and that's just the start!

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Laura Doss
woman adjusting side tie on bikini bottom
Laura Doss
Laura Doss
Laura Doss
Laura Doss
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Love Your Legs

Fake a bake. Sunless tanner, artfully applied, can create the illusion of slimmer stems, says Cindy Barshop, owner of Completely Bare spas. Apply tanner over your entire legs and let it dry thoroughly. Then blend a darker shade (choosing from the same brand is best) on those areas you want to minimize -- the grooves under the butt cheeks and below each calf. Stick to creams and lotions; they're easier to apply with precision. Make a mistake? Rub baking soda over streaks and watch them disappear.

Go darker. Darker-toned legs naturally conceal imperfections like bruises, broken capillaries, and spider veins. Senior makeup artist for MAC Cosmetics Patrick Eichler perfects models' legs backstage with MAC Sundressing ($18 at, a subtly shimmery, tinted mousse that comes in four sunny hues. For best results, go darker than you think you should. As with flesh-toned stockings, a darker shade disappears into the skin, but a lighter hue will create an odd, ghostlike effect.

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Sexy Legs

Take flights. "Running up stairs one step at a time on the balls of your feet works the calves, but take two -- or more, if you're tall -- to really sculpt your inner and outer thighs and your glutes," says personal trainer Dominique Hall of Peak Performance in New York City. She recommends starting out with 10 minutes of climbing (which blasts 85 calories) at least three days a week and adding two or three minutes to your climb every two weeks.

Permanently erase veins. It's quick and virtually painless, says New York City dermatologist Neil Sadick, MD -- that's the truth, say those who've tested the newest, no-surgery spider-vein treatments. In the latest, foam sclerotherapy, a saline solution is injected into the veins, causing them to collapse; it costs about $400 a needle and offers a quick fix for smaller veins. For a temporary solution, a new cream may do the trick: Avon Anew Clinical Spider Vein Therapy SPF 15 ($28 at increases microcirculation to strengthen capillaries, helping to improve the appearance of spider veins.

Tip: Never underestimate the power of an even glow -- post-beach, use a coat of body oil, such as Nars Monoi Body Glow II ($59,, to create the illusion of slim, sculpted calves instantly.

Tip: Banish scaly skin on your knees by exfoliating with a rich scrub like Kiehl's Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish, $27.50,

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Love Your Butt

When it comes to the right bikini bottom, less can be more. "Many women choose a fuller-coverage bottom, thinking it will make their butts look smaller, but the extra fabric actually emphasizes what they're trying to conceal," says Lisa Letarte Cabrinha of Letarte Swimwear. For a trunk with the appearance of less junk, wear a smaller bottom, cut medium-high in the legs and straight across the front, that sits a few inches below your navel.

Do the one move pros swear by. For buns of steel, there are few moves as efficient as the basic forward lunge, which can be done anytime, anywhere. Best of all, lunges not only target the glutes but can also help tighten and tone the hips and thighs, says Hall. Start with two sets of 12 to 15 reps once a week, and work up to three sets two or three times a week. Step forward about a foot and a half, bending both knees 90 degrees. To prevent joint problems, make sure your front knee doesn't go past your toes.

Go undercover. A shaping undergarment can boost your confidence in short shorts or a miniskirt. Cass & Co.'s Wear Repair line (available at is made from a blend of super-stretchy slimming nylon, copper, and spandex. Thanks to cleverly placed stitching, the Invisibellas Shaping Short lifts and separates to create a pair (no unibutt here) of perkier cheeks.

Tip: For foolproof flattery, try a string bikini bottom. Trust us: The adjustable ties make for a customized fit without hip, back, or booty bulge.

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Love Your Thighs

Get a quick fix. A cellulite-busting cream -- used daily -- will help smooth the appearance of dimples, according to dermatologist Howard Murad, MD, founder and CEO of Murad Inc. and author of The Cellulite Solution. To try: Decleor's Perfect Sculpt Firming Gel-Cream Natural Glow ($55 at Nordstrom stores). Plus, its built-in sunless tanner convincingly conceals unsightly lumps and bumps.

Beat cellulite for good. For long-term (at least six months) smoothing of thighs, hips, and butt, try VelaSmooth, a newly FDA-approved cellulite treatment that combines radio-frequency technology with infrared light and vacuum-assisted massage. At $150 to $200 per treatment at the dermatologist's office or medi-spa, it's pricey and time-consuming (especially considering that 10 to 20 treatments are required), but the procedure boasts the most impressive results yet, says Dr. Sadick.

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Sexy Thighs

Trim inner and outer thighs fast. Try this Pilates move at home or even in your office, no gear required: Lie on your side with your legs extended. Engage your core and concentrate on squeezing your inner thighs together. Lift your top leg to hip height, flexing your foot on the way up, then lower it, pointing on the way down. "Work in precise, controlled movements, and before you know it, your thighs will feel like they're on fire," says Carmen Kenig, a Pilates instructor at Power Pilates in New York City. Do 10 reps on each side three times a week.

Tip: With the exception of white on white, a swimsuit that matches your skin tone creates a longer, leaner look and helps boost your "tan." We like ones by Lori Coulter and Delfina.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, September 2007.

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smnssc wrote:

I checked the website and was unable to find the varicose vein cream that you are referring to...any suggestions?

4/12/2012 09:30:16 AM Report Abuse

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