How To Look Better Naked or In Costume Without Exercising By Meleah
That's right, no exercise required. We have all been told that we have to work out to tone up. Well, that is true of toning muscle. However, you can achieve toning effects for the skin from the outside.

Your skin is the most visible part of your body. It should be pampered and maintained as part of your grooming routine. Try some of these techniques and you will see a great improvement. Some of these tricks yield instant results, and others will show improvement in 2-4 weeks. Your skin will be soft and silky to the touch. It will also appear firmer.

Moisturize before you dance

This is the best way to polish and smooth the skin. Old skin builds up and looks dull and scaly, especially on arms and legs. Exfoliation removes the old skin and exposes new skin, which is smoother and softer. Use a body buff glove, wash cloth, body loofah, or cleansing grains every other day. While still wet, apply a light body oil, such as Neutrogena Light Sesame Oil, or body lotion to seal in the moisture. Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion is affordable and effective.

Add a glow: Skin looks great on stage with a bit of shimmer. There are sparkling lotions and gels that give an iridescent shine. Glitter sticks apply glitter directly and add a bit of camouflage as well. Glistening powders dust on with subtle highlights. Try some different ones on the shoulders, tummy, and back. Applying to the arms and thighs will enhance muscle contour as well. There are many free samples of these available.

Dry Brushing: This treatment will increase blood flow to the surface of the skin, thereby cleansing away toxins and cellulite. The brushing acts as an astringent to tone and tighten. Your skin will firm up and the appearance of cellulite will diminish.

Use a natural bristle body brush, available in drug stores. Begin at the feet and brush up toward the heart. Brush in from the hands to shoulders. You will enjoy the refreshing tingle and your skin will flush. It is great before a shower or as a wake up in the morning. Twice a day for 3-5 minutes will produce results in 2-4 weeks.

Tan Before You Dance

It is a fact; a tan body looks thinner. Did you ever notice how body builders are very tan when they compete? The deeper color enhances muscle contour and camouflages flaws. Your skin will look smoother and you will appear shapelier. The appearance of cellulite, and other little annoyances like spider veins, freckles, and sunspots will be much less noticeable.

Self-tanners are greatly improved, and come in a variety of shades and formulas. They do not streak anymore and do not turn you orange. Some bronze instantly so you can see exactly where they are going. Most will tan in 3-6 hours and last 3-5 days. They simply stain the outer layer of skin and slough off naturally as you skin sheds. Exfoliating ahead of time will help the tan last longer. Moisturizing in between applications will also extend the tan.

Layering is the best technique to build a tan gradually to the desired shade. Begin in the evening and apply the first layer. Let it dry about 10 minutes before retiring. Apply a second layer the next morning and you should be perfect by noon. Shower and moisturize as usual, and you may reapply tanner every two or three days to keep a nice even glow. Be sure to wash hands three times and apply lotion to dryer areas first, as the tanner darkens on dryer skin. I ended up with brown elbows and knees the first time. Go lightly on the tops of feet and hands.

I do not recommend self-tanners for the face. They tan everything, including flaws. A tan make up is best to go with the body.

Use body make up: You can create all kinds of illusions with body make up. Contouring is one of the best tricks. Use a bronze or tan powder two shades darker than your skin to enhance muscle definition. Shade just under the jaw line to erase a double chin and slim the neck. Shade just under the collarbone to create a flattering neckline. Shade in between the breasts to enhance cleavage. Vertical shaded areas on either side of the navel will create a waistline. Shadowing just above your costume at the belt line will minimize any bulge.

Body make up is also good for blending freckles, scars, spider veins and bruises. The more distractions to the eye you can remove, the better. Distractions are caused by color differences. The eye is naturally drawn to them. The smoother you look, the more people will pay attention to your belly dancing. Check for any major color differences. If you stock a few shades, from dark to light, you can handle almost anything.

Lighter areas, such as scars, need to be darkened to match the body tone. Color in with a brush or Q-Tip. Bruises and other darker areas need first to be neutralized with a very light, yellow-based concealer. You then match the skin tone by layering a foundation over with a sponge, and set with powder. The new mineral powder foundations blend and cover freckles or sunspots on the arms and chest quite well.

Use a firming lotion: There are several on the market. The best I have found so far are by Neutrogena. They have a body lotion with active copper, which firms the skin. They also have a cellulite formula that reduces the appearance of cellulite and smoothes the texture of the skin. Apply twice a day and you will feel a difference in about 2 weeks.

Moisturize from the inside: Drinking plenty of water will do amazing things for the skin. Water is how the body processes and flushes away toxins. One half your body weight in ounces is the correct amount daily. Or drink 6-8 ounces every hour or two throughout the day. More is required if you are exercising vigorously. Most people experience weight loss just by increasing water intake. Be sure to take mineral supplements to help the body absorb the water. If your skin is dry, try taking flax seed oil. It comes as an oil, which can be made into salad dressing with olive oil, or in capsules. It is best to keep it in the fridge to prevent spoilage. Take 2 or 3 capsules a day with meals and notice a difference in about 3 days.

Get A Massage Before You Belly Dance

This tones the skin and helps the body cleanse impurities from the skin. Combine deep tissue work with invigorating sports massage or circulatory techniques. Skin will glow and become firmer. Drinking extra water after a massage helps the body flush out the toxins released.

Written by Meleah