This Underrated Product Makes My Legs Look Low-Key Airbrushed

I love the look of sun-kissed skin, but I don’t love sun damage, which is why I always have at least one self-tanner on hand. The right ones will even out my skin tone and boost my glow, which is why I’m not opposed to using them all year round, whether it’s in the dead of winter when my skin hasn’t seen sunlight in months or in the summer when I may or may not have a natural tan developing (don’t worry—I always wear sunscreen!).  . Sometimes, though, I just want a little something extra on my legs, especially in the summer when I ditch all of my jeans and long dresses for shorts, skirts, or just plain bathing suit bottoms. That’s when I turn to leg makeup. Yes, leg makeup. Did you know that was a thing? It is, and in my opinion, it’s underrated, because it makes my legs look low-key airbrushed. Keep scrolling to see the 15 best leg makeup products to try this summer. 

This product is like BB cream for the body (it does a little bit of everything). Not only does it provide an instant tan that can be washed off at any time, but it also provides an all-over dewy glow to the skin. Meanwhile, good-for-skin ingredients like shea butter, glycerin, and vitamin E smooth and hydrate the skin. Simply use a tanning mitt or your hands and apply pea-sized dots along your legs, blending them out in long, circular motions. If you use your hands, be sure. to wash them after application so as to not transfer any color.  Promising review: “I love this product. I use it to diffuse sunspots and freckles, and it even works well after using a self-tanner to add a little more bronze color and even everything out for a flawless look.” 

This is one of my personal favorite leg-makeup products. I was first introduced to it during an exceptionally warm Coachella weekend. It made my legs look flawless and sun-kissed without any running, smudging, or transferring whatsoever (that’s a big deal, considering it was a 100+ degree day in the California desert). To this day, it remains one of my go-to products.  Promising review: “This product is actually life-changing. Been using it for over a year now. It’s always my go-to for every event. Easy to apply and so easy to get off at the end of the day. Comes off right away with warm soapy water. Not to mention this product is so so convenient for those lazy days when I don’t want to marinate in a foam tanner.” 

A leg makeup so nice it made the list twice (well, sort of). This version is all about a reflective, high-shine finish (I’m obsessed with the glow it imparts). I like the fact that even though it’s super dewy, it doesn’t feel too heavy or sticky on my skin, just nice and moisturized.  Promising review: “The shine of this product just makes you glow! I love the look of it as it makes you so bronzed and beautifully tanned. The colour is amazing and suits all different types of skin colours.”

I assume this is the product Rihanna uses to make her legs look so amazing (and they always look amazing). It’s a blurring body tint that has a subtle shimmer to impart a healthy-looking glow. It has a fairly expansive shade range as far as leg makeup goes (there are seven to choose from), so it’s easy to customize and switch out with the seasons.  Promising review: “I love the glow I get from this. It looks even better with a faux tan. I find it blends better if I moisturize first. It dries fast and doesn’t transfer.” 

This is an iconic drugstore product and one of the best budget buys out there. First off, it’s a spray, so it’s incredibly quick and easy to apply (although, to ensure even coverage, I like to spray it on a mitt before rubbing it over my skin). Secondly, once it dries down, it’s transfer- and water-resistant, so it won’t budge in summertime sweat and humidity. For only $12, you really can’t find anything better.  Promising review: “I love this product! It is makeup, not a self-tanner. I love that it stays on until you wash it off with soap!!! It covers flaws and imperfections without the stench of self-tanners. It is my best friend on the beach and for those evenings out after the day at the beach!”

Hot tip: Some of your favorite foundations can double as leg makeup (as long as you’re willing to use them as such). Take this Dior Backstage Face and Body Foundation, for instance. As the name implies, it’s formulated for both the face and the body, which means it’s water- and sweat-resistant. It’s also buildable, so you can apply a sheer wash of color to blur and perfect the look of your legs, or opt for a flawless, full-coverage look.  Promising review: “This foundation gives a smooth finish and is so buildable (can be worn as a lightweight option). It does a great job of covering up uneven skin and imperfections. I especially love that it doesn’t feel too thick or oily, especially during the summer.”

Here’s another face and body foundation that offers a nice dewy finish to my limbs. Just like the Dior foundation, this one is water-resistant. It’s also extremely lightweight, which I love for summer (when it’s hot outside, the last thing I want is to feel like my legs are caked in makeup). I reach for this one when I want a sheer, natural-looking result. Promising review: “I’m amazed, hooked. I blend it with a little sunscreen or moisturizer and it’s 100% my skin, only better.”

If you’re looking for something with a lot of coverage (like a lot), this one’s for you. People use it to cover tattoos, so it will certainly cover any imperfections on the legs and body. It’s smudge- and transfer-resistant for up to 16 hours when used with the Dermablend Setting Powder ($29). It even has SPF 25 built into the formula for added sun protection.  Promising review: “I used this product to cover some bruises and broken blood vessels and it worked absolutely perfectly. It’s so pigmented. Just a little bit will be enough to cover almost anything, and you can also layer it if you need to. The color match on my skin looked very natural and I’m extremely happy with this product.”

This tan-enhancing product boosts the skin with a wash of natural-looking sun-kissed color. It also highlights the skin with a subtle shimmer effect that I love. All I can say is that it makes my legs look really good, and that’s all that I ask for from a product like this.  Promising review: “This body gloss is my new go-to product!! I love the instant color and dewy look it leaves you with! I know for sure I’ll be buying many tubes of this. Amazing!!”

A combination between a body serum and a body tint, this unique formula uses hydrating ingredients and vitamin C and E to provide long-lasting skin benefits. It promises to quench dry skin and address skin tone discrepancies time. As for the color itself, it’s very sheer and natural-looking, providing a touch of warmth.  Promising review: “I love this product […]The thing I love most about this stuff is it actually dries down quickly and stays put once it’s dry.”

You can apply this product straight from the tube or mix it into a body lotion for better spreadability (reviewers recommend the latter). It’s a shimmery, blurring body tint that comes in four stunning shades: champagne, rose gold, copper, and mocha.  Promising review: “I use this product as a mix-in to my body lotions and it really adds just the right amount of healthy glow to my skin.”

This is called a “Perfector,” but it’s really a foundation-illuminator hybrid. Apply it with your hands on clean, dry skin before gently patting over the area with a tissue or makeup sponge to remove excess product. The brand claims this technique will keep it transfer-resistant for up to 24 hours.  Promising review: “Love this product! The coverage is excellent. I have blue veins all over my ankles. This completely covers so that I can wear Sandals confidently.”

This product blurs imperfections and imparts a shimmery glow to the skin, thanks to a blend of microfine gold and copper pearls. It also contains vitamins A, C, and E, along with caffeine, aloe, and chamomile for moisture and nourishment.  Promising review: “This stuff is absolutely amazing. It gives you a tan shimmery glow like no other product I’ve ever seen. It stays in place once it dries and it washes off in the shower. It’s my favorite!”

This body bronzer is formulated with avocado, chia seed, and coconut oils, so it’s as moisturizing as it is bronzing. It’s also easy to apply and remove (when it comes to the former, reviewers recommend using a mitt. When it comes to the latter, all you need is a little water).  Promising review: “I really love this product for when you need a nice glow. I use it to add an extra boost to my tan without being overwhelming. It goes on smoothly and blends well. It smells great and does not have much of a lingering odor. You have to wash your hands very well after applying or your palms will be bronze. Would def recommend.” 

Okay, so this isn’t technically a leg makeup product, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s the exact product that Bebe Rexha counts on for red carpet events (and if it’s good enough for the red carpet, then it’s good enough for us). She waxed poetic about it in her recent Who What Wear interview.  Promising review (from Bebe Rexha): “Mario Dedivanovic did my makeup, and he used Bobbi Brown’s  Foundation Stick all over my legs, and it was incredible. Now I do it all the time. You take the stick and you kind of melt it in your hands. You can even mix it with a little lotion if you want lighter coverage, but I personally like it heavier, especially for award shows or events when I want more of an airbrushed effect. You literally break a piece of the foundation stick off, you melt it in your hands a bit, and then you just really have to go in there for a second on your legs. It legit makes your skin look airbrushed!” 

Next, grown-up body shimmers are a thing—we’ll be using these 15 all summer.

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