The founder of the first-ever dedicated leg care line, Legology, on how to get the toned, shapely legs of Kendall Jenner
If the all-encompassing skincare selections of today are anything to go by, the beauty industry often places extensive thought on the caring and maintaining of one's visage. It is a courtesy that, strangely enough, does not extend to the upkeep of one's body — and most certainly not targeted areas of the body. Often lumped into the singular, loosely defined category of 'body care', the market proves to be a sadly limited one.
It is an inadequacy that Kate Shapland, former beauty editor of Harper's Bazaar, picked up upon during her time in the journalistic field. Fueled by the thought (as well as feedback from her readers), she came up with a brand dedicated to the care of one vital body part: the legs.
"The idea first came to me from a personal place, because I have always suffered with heavy legs and cellulite," she explains. "I was determined to develop a brand that addressed legs in a really proper way." This led to the conception of Legology, one of the fastest growing beauty brands on Net-a-Porter.
But what does leg care really entail? And what does it mean to have happy, healthy legs? We ask all our burning questions in a sit-down with Kate herself, uncovering everything from her personal relationship with her own legs to what makes Legology products work. (Spoiler alert: it might just have everything to do with your bladder.)
Who did you develope Legology for?
I developed Legology for anyone who suffers from heavy legs, but it is also very helpful for women and men who travel a lot. There's also pregnant women, and women who have vascular issues; for instance varicose veins can make your legs feel very heavy. Women who are at the age where their hormones start going crazy and can experience fluid retention in their legs. Legology is for them.
What are your top three favourite products?
First up, the Air-Lite. I worked on it with an independent French chemist for about four years and it cost me two massive tax bills. And when we first started, it kept going green, or falling to bits... but eventually we got there. I'm so glad I went through that pain, because it eventually gave me the basis for the whole brand.
The second is our newest product, the Cellu-Lite. This one is more aromatherapy-focused and it is developed to use during massages. I based it on a recipe with this treatment I used to have with this massage therapist years ago, and it is recommended to be used as a targeted treatment on areas of congestion in your arms and legs.
And the last product is the Exfo-Lite, our exfoliator. When I wanted to do a legs exfoliator, everyone asked me: "Kate, what's the difference between a leg exfoliator and a body exfoliator?". It's the deep drainage benefit. So, what I did was combine Himalayan pink salt — which has diuretic quality — with sea salt in a certain oil base and a little sprinkling of lemon peel.
It is available in a sachet because I wanted people to be able to travel with it, but also to mix around with it. You could add this Cellu-Lite Oil to this sachet if you wanted a really good boost to your legs. I call this my two-salt burn and you apply it dry so when you step into the shower, (you'll notice it is water soluble) it becomes kind of milky, and it leaves your skin baby-soft.
Any tools you recommend to use Legology products with?
Yes, our Lymph-Lite Leg Brush. It is not used for massaging, but rather to get the lymph and circulation going. It is your body's waste disposal, as well, so you want to kick start it into action. I think a lot of people get body brushes thinking, "Oh, it's going to massage away the fat" when it is actually about getting the blood flow going rather than removing fat.
What are some key ingredients you use in Legology products? How do they work?
We combined two French complexes not normally used together. One assists with fluid retention while the other, Leg Active, helps lighten any heaviness from legs. Other ingredients include caffeine, goldenrod, witch hazel and the lemon, all of which contain diuretic properties that really get the lymph going. You see, my understanding with cellulite is that it occurs due to fluid retention. The way the fluid gets stuck around the fat cells actually compromises the way the skin looks. Hence, it is all about releasing that fluid retention, thus the choice of ingredients.
Does that mean we don't need to go to the gym ever again?
I'm afraid not. The most important thing about legs is you need to be moving. Because legs, more than any other part of your body, relies on the lymphs to feel good, and the lymphs only move if you move. So, if you're sitting there all day, and at the end of the day when you get up, you feel sluggish and heavy, that's why. You need to move, you need to exercise. I also recommend massage. Regular, good massage.
How do you massage yourself when you're applying Legology products?
I always recommend applying products from feet to the ankles, then make your way up. Begin by using your thumbs and kneading your ankles in upward motions. Don't forget to get the space behind your knee, too! Just keep pushing. It is almost like squeezing toothpaste out of a tube. For areas where it is difficult to use your thumbs, you can even use slight pinching motions. You will see the skin go a little pink, but rest assured that it won't hurt.
Which Legology products would you recommend for someone just beginning to care for their legs in their mid-20s?
Probably the Sun-Lite, because it is so easy to use, and it has the almost the same benefits without the need to massage it on. You can simply apply it on and you're good to go. Plus, it comes with a subtle, glowing tint that adds instant radiance to the skin.
Can we use Sun-Lite for the face too?
Funny that you should mention that because I do know a lot of people who have been using it on their face. I would never personally recommend it because the skin on your face can be highly sensitive but I have a great girlfriend — the beauty director of Vogue UK actually — who uses Sun-Lite to set her foundation.
Are there misconceptions where leg care is concerned?
Cellulite — there's a huge misconception on how to treat it. The most important thing to know about cellulite is that it is a whole-body issue. It is not just about where you got it, it is a manifestation of what is going on: how you eat, how active you are, what you drink and so on. You cannot get rid of cellulite with just product. You have to do everything; you have to change your lifestyle.
What is your relationship like with your own legs right now?
Right at this moment? Total car crash. Partly also because I've been on a 14-hour flight and it's just the weather, too. [Laughs] I don't think I will ever love my legs, but I now know I can feel better about them. It's always about that balanced approach, right?
Who has the best legs in the world?
Kendall Jenner. But also, Jennifer Lopez, because look at those ankles.
If you had to wear a single pair of shoes for the rest of your life, what would they be.
Sneakers. All the time, every time. I love my Adidas, and always in white.
Do you have a new product in the pipeline?
Yes! The list is as long as my arm. Two products I'm really excited about at the moment are products you would use before and after a workout; you would use it before you put your leggings on to enhance leg circulation, and another after a workout for muscle recovery. Oh, and I've also developed our signature fragrance into a body splash.
What is the biggest lesson you learned as a beauty editor?
To be able to sniff out a whole story that is really interesting to the readers. When I was writing for the Telegraph, I had a weekly column for about 14 years, and it was challenging because it was weekly. So, to make it more engaging, you really needed that instinct.
How has it been like working with Net-A-Porter?
Oh, I love it. They're brilliant, they get the brand completely, and their demographic is perfect for Legology. It is a perfect partnership, in many ways.