Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Holiday travel is around the corner, and now is the time to start preparing for that tropical getaway. My secret weapon for looking bikini-ready upon arrival is a 4-week regimen of body-firming lotions and serums to complement daily toning workouts. I'm not completely delusional to tout the products as magic potions that instantly take you from flab to fit. But I do see noticeable firming around my trouble areas if I incorporate the skincare into a healthy and active lifestyle. If we can firm the skin around our eyes, why not the rest of our bodies? But refrain from overdoing it—a little product (and a heavier dose of exercise) will go a long way.
The L'Occitane Almond Firming And Softening Supple Skin Oil, $40 is the best for all-around coverage. I like to apply the product after a quick towel dry from a shower then take a moment to allow the oil to fully absorb and dry. Finding the perfect amount to use is a challenge. I err on the side of minimal, but everyone seems to have a different preference. Stock up now — a high demand means that it's often sold out on L'Occitane's official site.
For a more targeted approach, I use Mama Mio's Get Waisted Body Shaper, $56. Per the website, one pump is plenty. Directions also state to massage it in for at least 30 seconds, using large clockwise strokes (which also aids more efficient digestion). This can also be used on underarm flab and for firming upper thighs. Bonus: it is Kourtney Kardashian approved.
A more luxe choice is the Murad Firm and Tone Serum, $78. In my experience, the serum works better than the cream so be sure to check the label. For the price tag, I avoid applying the product all over but I expect less of a targeted outcome than I do with the Mama Mio. If price is no concern, use this as your full-body primer ahead of your daily body moisturizer.
My favorite drugstore find is the Aveeno Positively Ageless Firming Body Lotion, $8. It moisturizes and firms in one step. The results aren't as noticeable as the other three products, but it is an everyday option that easily layers with any of aforementioned treatments. This is my favorite year-round lotion from which I only expect minimal firming side benefits.