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05 Feb

Why Leg Self-Care Should Totally Be A Thing


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Slowing down has never been easy for me. A busy city life — now even busier with a family — means that I'm endlessly on my feet, walking, climbing stairs (living on the third floor means less gym time, I tell myself), and chasing little ones. At the end of the day, there's nothing I love more than a few pampering moments in the bathroom or my bedroom. Until recently, all that pampering was exclusive for my face, and occasionally for my hands and nails, especially during the dry winter months when, no matter what I do, the zippers on my purse never fail to rip my cuticles. 

Then in early winter I had a tender spot on the bottom of my foot, which I chalked up to perhaps a splinter that needed to work its way out or a callous (it was a callous). To help recover, I took to using some pure grapeseed oil (after interviewing Vintner's Daughter alchemist April Gargiulo, it's my balm for everything) to slather on my tired, sore feet at the end of the day. It felt really, really nice, and in the dawn of the new year, my vow to take self-care seriously prompted me to consider extending my post-shower and pre-bedtime indulgences to also include my legs — they were, after all, carrying me through my life. Since they're covered with jeans nearly 100 percent of the time, it's been easy to ignore my gams, especially in the winter time, but I knew they deserved some love.

Enter the almost-medicinal-but-technically-skincare wonder that is Firmante Leg Tonic. This potent, silky elixir from In Fiore, an emerging brand in the natural essential oil-powered beauty market, is a total luxury but insanely, surprisingly effective (Hannah Bronfman is reportedly a fan, and well, I trust her). With instructions to apply it from the feet up, in upward massing motions all the way up to the hips, it's powered with oils that encourage lymphatic flow, reduce water retention, and promise to diminish the appearance of veins and cellulite. Any cynicism I felt about those big-time claims was dissolved upon twisting open the bottle, which contains an oil so fragrant and heavenly that you're kind of instantly de-stressed before it touches your skin. The holistic origins of the formula, which is the brainchild of In Fiore founder Julie Elliott, also hooked me. In Fiore's product descriptions describe the formulas and their "psycho-spiritual" attributes, and Firmantes reads, "Facilitates a conscious urge to find new direction when inhibited by the inability to let go. It ignites the internal radar that guides one toward self-discovery, stabilizes the body while propelling it forward, enables us to stand tall while remaining grounded and moves us forward with purpose." In a year designated to self-care, and removing obstacles in my way, this was an intriguing new tool. 


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The uplifting, almost tingly sense of lightness that applying the oil to my legs and thighs was worth noting. I literally felt energized after massing my legs with it, which I was finding time to do before dressing in the morning. Oddly, it also felt soothing and recharging, but not disruptive, as part of my end-of-day wind-down routine. What was remarkable was the state of my feet and ankles after applying it — especially the day before my period was due to come, a notoriously puffy body moment. After taking a few minutes to rub it in, I noticed a marked decrease in my feet's sad, swollen, "you've been walking around on me all day" appearance about a half hour later. Clearly, this oil had something different going on, not a huge surprise given Elliott's background in Old-World apothecary blending. 

Now I know this could be a chicken-or-the-egg conversation — am I feeling better (and did my ankles look slimmer) because I'd simply shown them a bit of much-needed attention? Perhaps. But I'm also convinced that the smart formula, which contains a cocktail of horse chestnut seed extract (proven in studies to work on improving circulation as well as compression socks) and anti-inflammatory essential oils like dandelion, rosemary and cypress, was also kind of magic. While I didn't see as immediate results in the dimple department, my thighs definitely looked firmer and smoother — I couldn't help think that the next time I was winging off to some far-flung beach I'd be damn sure packing this bottle of magic with me. Can you imagine instantly (OK, almost instantly) slimming down your thighs and toning down the I've-been-sitting-on-a-plane-for-seven-hours dimpling on your butt and shooting straight into your bikini, without a second thought?  That's basically the treatment your face gets kind of all of the time. And I'm here to say that your legs deserve to be beautiful, too. Even if they're covered in pants.