+ Skincare

How I Deal With Cellulite, A Love Story

Cellulite, the bumpy, dimply, citrus-peel looking flesh on the back of our thighs that we battle every spring and summer.  Very simply, cellulite occurs when fat cells push “against connective tissue causing the skin to pucker.”  And since 9-out-of-10 women have cellulite, it’s a summertime struggle that many of us share.

Cellulite is genetic, and it is not going away.  While there are things you can do to lessen the appearance of cellulite, you cannot banish it completely (and any fashion magazine that tells you otherwise is lying).  Just blame it on your Mama.

Remember, having cellulite is not a big deal.  Cellulite does not change the fact that you are awesome.  But just because my cellulite and I are awesome, doesn’t mean I don’t want to minimize its appearance.  You can have a body-positive image and want to look you best.  The key is to remember that gussying up your exterior is optional, and while it may make you feel more confident, it doesn’t change who you are.

Minimizing your cellulite starts with working out.  Toning your legs is an effective way to decrease the appearance of cellulite.  “Cellulite occurs when connective fibers underneath the skin become weak or lose their elasticity, but stretching and strengthening those areas (in addition to burning away excess fat overall) can help.”  If you struggle to get to the gym, Pinterest is loaded with easy exercises you can do at home to target cellulite-prone areas.

Develop a cellulite-treatment routine.  There are plenty of expensive lotions and potions that promise to deliver you from cellulite, and I have used them all.  (Don’t believe me, ask Amazon why its stock price keeps going up.  It’s not because people love Prime, it’s because my bathroom cabinets are a beauty product graveyard.)  Most of the products, regardless of price, have similar effectiveness.  The key to getting the most out of your cellulite-fighting product is to use it regularly and correctly.  Here’s how.

Step One: Exfoliate with a caffeine scrub.  Exfoliating removes dead skin cells, which can build up in lumps and bumps making them more noticeable.  Caffeine tightens skin, improves circulation, and temporarily shrinks fat cells.  This SkinYoga Coffee Scrub ($48) is a great product, but for something more affordable, Ground Coffee Scrub ($14).

Step Two: Massage, massage, massage.  No matter what type of cream you buy, merely rubbing it on the skin’s surface, will not get the job done.  Massaging the area improves circulation, eases fluid retention, and aids in lymphatic drainage.  There are fancy machines on the market to treat cellulite, but I think this nubby massager from Amazon ($8) works just as well.  I’ve also had good luck with dry-brushing, though it was hard on my skin.

Step Three: Deploy a skin-firming serum or cream.  Don’t be seduced by the uber-expensive, must-have cellulite cream of the moment.  I’ve discovered that most contain the same or similar ingredients and that their effectiveness is more about diligence of routine than their price.  Here are three under-$25 products that I’ve used and recommend.

Soap and Glory Sit Tight 4-D Serum ($24)

Nivea Skin Firming/Smoothing Serum ($11)

Nip + Fab Viper Venom Body Serum ($16)

Step Four: Keep to a routine.  Dealing with cellulite is about making it part of your routine.  Diligence is the key.  Don’t expect results if you’re just going to slather on cream for a few days before your beach vacation.

In the summer, I shave my legs on even days.  On odd days, I treat my cellulite.  This way, my routine is about the same length every morning.

Dealing with cellulite is a year-round commitment.  Did you rush out to the store last April to stock up on skin-firming lotion only to banish that bottle to the back of the drawer come October?  Don’t worry, I did too.  But that was our first mistake.  Keep up your routine year-round for the best results.

So do you struggle with cellulite?  If so, how do you treat it?  Any product reviews and tips/tricks can be left in the comments.



  1. Allison says:

    Yes to this, “You can have a body-positive image and want to look you best.” Also, you said that everything has had similar results, there’s no miracle, but maybe you could speak to how much you’ve seen any change? That’s really hard to explain, but I’m curious. I have some of weirdest cellulite ever, I have a cellulite blob in the center of the left quad (like front of the thigh, not the back) and on the top of my knees. I don’t have much at all in the normal below the booty spot. I’m self-conscious about it because the placement is just so darn strange, but you’re right, I got it from my momma. She’s got the same weird cellulite. I’ve never treated it with anything but exercise, just assumed any beauty product wouldn’t work.

    May 11, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I found caffeine/guarana products work the best for me. You can sort of super charge the process if you wrap the area in Saran Wrap and then put an ace bandage over the top and sleep in that. I’ll do that if, like you, I find a trouble spot that won’t be alleviated. That and just massaging it out is what makes it actually work for me.

      May 11, 2017/Reply
  2. KM says:

    Super heavy lifting (squats, deadlifts, barbell lunges, etc.) is the only thing that has ever helped mine.

    May 11, 2017/Reply
  3. Sara says:

    Love this advice! I recently picked up Trader Joe’s new coffee scrub and it’s great (though it can leave a ring around your tub). It’s only $5.

    May 12, 2017/Reply
  4. Abbie says:

    Have any of you tried the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream? Reviews?

    May 14, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I tried a sample I got from Sephora. I liked it, it really seemed to penetrate the skin well. My only issue was the price.

      May 15, 2017/Reply
  5. Victoria M. says:

    I totally agree with you, I have a real positive image about my body but I still want to look good, I don’t think that’s a mistake, I think that means I care about my body and I do want a healthy life. I agree with you again on “having cellulite is not a big deal” and I believe this is something we should teach to our kids, boys and girls, I think they should know that this can happen, that this is normal, that this…is human, and we can teach them and help them to protect their bodies. I tried some products you recommended and I must say they really worked on me! so thanks a lot for that! (remember, is not everything about the products, you need to eat healthy and you need to work out properly )

    May 17, 2017/Reply