Bath & Body
Now that the weather in New York is straight up cold and we’re pretty much sprinting towards winter, I’m revolting. No Starbucks holiday cups for me thanks–but please do bring on anything and everything tropical! It’s probably no coincidence that as the weather gets cooler, my shower rack is getting fruitier. Here are my favorite new tropical themed bath and body products that’s helping me get through this transition period, one cold day at a time.
1. Alba Botanica Natural Hawaiian Shampoo in Mango and Coconut Milk Conditioner. Ahhhh..first can we please talk about the scent? The shampoo smells like the juiciest mango and the conditioner like sweet milky coconut that makes morning showers feel like a little mini vacation. Honestly, I can’t stop drinking in the scent of these two products! If that wasn’t vacation enough, the products also welcome you to to take a “permanent vacation from flattening sulfates and heavy minerals in conventional shampoos” with an ingredients list that’s missing parabens, artificial coloring, phthalates, and sodium lauryl sulfate. The formula does include nourishing fruits such as mango and papaya and gentle botanical cleansers to lift away grime and dirt. The product suds up wonderfully and rinses away easily leaving soft hair that’s never weighed down. The conditioner is high in fatty acids and protein to help rebuild damaged strands and infused with coconut milk and tropical oils to lock in moisture, strengthen hair cuticles and protect from heat styling leaving my hair the longest and softest its ever been.
2.St. Ives Naturally Indulgent Coconut Milk & Orchid Extract Fresh Hydration Lotion. While I may be in total denial about the weather, the cold front unfortunately is already starting to wreck havoc on my skin. These days my skin is so dry and itchy that not moisturizing is simply not an option. Thanks to the new continuous spray body lotion from St. Ives, the morning and evening moisturizing process is now easier and faster. I love that it’s mess free and can be applied with just one hand! The spray dispenses a light layer of lotion that absorbs into skin easily, providing deep hydration that lasts, and leaving just a subtle hint of tropical coconuts and orchids.
3. Skintimate Signature Scents Moisturizing Shave Gel in Luscious Kiwi Splash. One perk of cooler weather is that you don’t have to shave anymore, you may think. But Skintimate’s enticingly fragranced gels actually make shaving a nice sensory experience. Plus the formula is infused with 11 moisturizers including Olive Butter and Vitamin E which leaves skin feeling softer and more hydrated after each use. Kiwi Splash, infused with juicy fruit and sweet melons, is my favorite fragrance for bringing back summer memories–and getting my gams ready for warmer days ahead. (Can you tell this girl is ready?!?!)
Who knew an entire spa treatment experience could come in such a cute little package? No, I’m not talking about a mini manicure kit or foot soak. What I am referring to of course, is the new Spa Sonic is an all-inclusive polisher system consisting of a facial cleansing brush, a large brush for the body, a pumice pad for rough areas, and a facial sponge for microdermabrasion and reduction of fine lines. In other words, it is a full-body and facial treatment in a budget-friendly package, ready to give immediate results! (more…)
Being a new mom means that my days are now full of discovery…of the latest and greatest kid gear! Below are my three favorites of the moment.
Lollacup. I can’t gush enough about this simple but well-made weighted-straw travel cup. The idea is that toddlers haven’t figured out (along with not throwing food on the floor) that gravity will prevent straws from being as effective as they want. So the smart people who look out for all of us parents came up with Lollacup, which allows sipping even at horizontal angles. I love that the cups are free of BPAs and made exclusively in the USA, and feature a cute chick-face on the cover (we just have to say “cock-a-doodle-doo” and our lil girl knows to come have a sip of water). As for the parent aspect, the straw disassembles easily for quick cleanup and even includes a nifty brush for the inside of the straw. Lollacup is built for battle, as it’s taken quite a few tumbles from the high chair and still looks new. For travel, the top flips forward to prevent spills in the go-bag. What’s not to love? (more…)
Shaving is the one thing that I inevitably forget while showering, and if I do remember, it is my least favorite part! Stubbly legs are not cute, but unless I shave frequently, those pesky hairs won’t leave me alone. The best appliance I’ve tried all summer not only saves time, it results in smoother legs for up to weeks (just imagine the freedom!). Philips Satin Perfect Epilator is an innovative at-home hair removal device that works just like you’re plucking your eyebrows, but much quicker. Satin Perfect pulls out hair at the root, without irritating or pulling the skin, and actively lifts hairs to ensure that even shorter hairs are removed. A built-in light illuminates the area you’re working on, so you can make sure everything is gone. Two options for speed control make it ideal for comfort and sensitive areas. The result is priceless, in my book: smooth and silky skin for much longer than a razor will afford. The epilator is perfect for those impromptu trips to the pool or beach since it’s so quick, and should be used on clean dry skin. I’ll be honest- I wanted it to work on my armpits as well, but it was just too sensitive for me.
The design is pretty and ergonomic–no scary looking metal springs or anything of the sort. Cleaning is a cinch–just click off the roller and put it under water, spinning the white ceramic discs with your fingers for a minute. It’s ready for use after just an hour, and provides 40 minutes of action. It took a few tries for my legs to get acclimated to the Epilator, and I found it most effective after a warm shower and exfoliation. At first, it pulled out some hairs at the skin’s surface (much like shaving), but after a few uses, my hair actually became a bit finer and seemed easier to pull out by the root. Since hair growth happens in stages, I use the Epilator weekly just for touch-ups. Results will vary depending on hair thickness, but I found that the slower speed works more effectively for taking out hair. My legs are ready to take on the beach–and I haven’t shaved for a month!
I have to admit a bit of a clean freak, which may have something to do with being a mom, so I end up washing my hands (and everything I touch) a million times a day! Since I spend a lot of time with soap, I love exploring different scents and ingredients, and even packaging. I was thrilled to discover that one of my favorite brands, Kiss My Face, has come out with an all-purpose Peace Soap, which follows the same philosophy as their skincare line of using the finest and gentlest 100% natural ingredients. It’s made with organic olive, coconut, and jojoba oils, so it takes care of your hands while eliminating germs. The simple formulation is biodegradable, environmentally friendly and good for cleaning just about anything! Grassy Mint is my favorite scent, which is simultaneously refreshing and a touch earthy and in the mornings, and it’s the first thing that wakes me up (besides a crying baby!). The other soaps are delightful too, and remind me of scents you’d find at a wellness spa- Lemongrass Clary Sage, Lavender Mandarin, and Pomegranate Acai. I know the soap is good when hubby voluntarily pipes up about how much he likes that it cleans well and is concentrated and efficient! (more…)
I’ve been really into citrus lately — and not just because it’s still in season here. When the weather heats up, anything with hints of lemon, orange, grapefruit or lime makes me feel cooler, more refreshed and happy to be alive. This is why I’ve been spritzing Lavanila Laboratories Vanilla Grapefruit fragrance all over the house — and on myself. It’s a very smooth yet perky scent, with an initial blast of grapefruit and lime that dries down to spicy vanilla and sandalwood.
Lavanila, an L.A.-based company, prides itself on using organic sugar cane alcohol, essential oils and botanicals. The result is a scent that isn’t as likely to irritate your skin or your senses. If you love citrus and vanilla — and are attempting to avoid products that contain any or all of the following: parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, silicones, propylene glycol, mineral oils, synthetic dyes, sulfates, chemical sunscreens, or aluminum (whew!) — I recommend keeping a bottle of this in your bathroom.
Salted Caramel is my all time favorite gelato flavor. Done well, it’s amazing–sweet and salty and so, so refreshing (and addictive). So whenever I come across bath products scented like salted caramel, I get very excited. Uptown Soap Co. has a line of products in the Salted Caramel scent that they recently sent over and they now have a place of honor in my shower (also the packaging! Just look at it).
The line has four products: an Eau de Parfum, an organic body cream, a luxury bubble bath and a micro body scrub. I tried everything but the bubble bath and am totally in love with them. The body cream has a great consistency to it–thick, but spreads easily, and it absorbs instantly without leaving any greasiness behind. And the salted caramel fragrance is strong and delicious. I’ve been using it as a hand cream because even hours later, I can still smell it when my hands are near my nose. Luckily for me, the fragrance is an instant pick me up. The body scrub is made with sea salt and helps keep my dry summer skin flake-free, but it isn’t harsh like some other sea salt scrubs I’ve tried. (And again, the fragrance is strong, so a little goes a long way). After I’ve used these two, I layer on the Eau de Parfum. I love that it’s a sweet smelling spray that doesn’t leave a chemical-y scent behind– rather, it just leaves me smelling like I rolled around in my favorite ice cream. (And how fun would that be on a hot day?) Uptown Soap Co. also has some other scents that I’m dying to try. How yummy does Black Honey sound? You can check out their entire line at www.uptownsoap.com.
The last time I had success with a self-tanner was well …never (though I do see evidence that they do work–for other lucky gals). Combine that with the fact that I can practically *feel* cancer cells and wrinkles forming if I don’t slather on an inch of sunscreen, and you’ve got one very pasty beauty blogger in the summer. Luckily for me, there seems to be a new breed of tinted body lotions hitting the market for gals like me who a) don’t want to self-tan or sun-tan and b) don’t want to blind strangers on the street with glow-in-the-dark skin. Unlike similar products of years past, the 2013 crop of these tinted body lotions have finally achieved perfection: they are richly pigmented, deeply conditioning, give realistic bronze color, and actually don’t rub off on clothes. Below are my top 3 faves:
LORAC TANtalizer Body Bronzing Luminizer – This bronzy/brown body makeup contains a good dose of shimmer to cover any imperfections instantly and give a better-than-natural radiant finish. The color is a bit more on the dark side but still sheer enough to let natural skin shine through, giving your limbs a beautiful wash of streak-free color. Once the lotion sets, it gives long wear coverage that doesn’t stain clothes as it wears through the day. Even though the TANtalizer is meant for all-over body use, the shimmer factor prompted me just to keep it to the legs.
Caudalie Divine Legs Tinted Body Lotion – This product wins, hands down, for best packaging and scent. The heavy glass container and divine fragrance make applying this product a little luxury in itself. The lotion isn’t as pigmented as LORAC but is build-able in coverage and gives skin more of a light, natural tan. The product also has a touch of shimmer to conceal any skin imperfections, is quick-dry, and works with all skin tones. Once dry, the lotion does not budge and I would trust using it even when wearing white. Since I tend to follow product labels, I use this primarily on legs though it would also work well on arms.
AERIN Beach Cream for Hair and Body – Of all three products, this one offers the lightest coverage. In fact, the cream that comes out is more of peach than a deep bronze or tan. Once applied, however, the product gives skin a beautiful wash of color that is subtle, yet definitely makes a huge difference. This is also my go-to cream for applying to arms and décolletage as it never runs the risk of looking unnatural or “caked-on.” A very slight shimmer helps to diffuse any imperfections and make skin-tone look healthy and radiant, never fake or orange. Plus the packaging reminds me of the beach, and never fails to put me in a lighthearted, happy mood.
Got any new fave discoveries of your own? Let me know!
It’s that time of year again where I am frantically doing cleanses, working out, and scrubbing up, trying to get in decent shape for baring a little more skin as spring becomes bolder. My favorite part of all this (not surprisingly) is the most luxurious and indulgent–full body exfoliation with Elle Beauty Award Winner Elemis Tranquil Touch Body Polish. Working out releases endorphins which put you on a mental and physical high, and also sheds toxins which depend on your routine following to rid your body of them. Drinking plenty of water boosts this process and a great scrub in the shower afterwards sheds dead skin to leave you with the ultimate glow!
The body polish is one of the best scrubs I’ve tried–the texture is finer than most, and the product uses a natural rice exfoliator to sweep away impurities gently and soften the skin. Moisturizing Cupuacu butter smoothes and conditions while combating the effects of harsh soaps we put our skin through on a daily basis. The scent is refreshing and soothing with essential oils of patchouli, mandarin and ginger, and I must say it really smells like a spa. Elemis uses only carefully sourced ingredients, and is free from parabens, SLS, SLES, DEA, mineral oils, artificial colors and silicones. Using circular motions, I apply and rub in the scrub without too much pressure, letting the body polish do the heavy lifting. My skin feels luxuriously soft, glowing and radiant after my steam shower, and I’m so relaxed afterwards. It’s a great incentive for relaxing after the workout!
With bikinis, sundresses, and backless tops on the horizon, a summer back scrub is pretty much mandatory. Now, I love those in-shower exfoliators and all, except for one little problem: I can’t actually *reach* my back. Finally, this year, with a backless wedding dress on the horizon, I decided to seek professional help, in the form of a lovely morning spent at the new Cornelia Spa at The Surrey Hotel. I checked my embarrassment at the door, and checked in for their divine Purifying Back Treatment.
I’m the kind of spa-goer who likes to see instant results and will almost always opt for a results driven treatment over a relaxing massage. That must be why I was positively obsessed with the Purifying Back Treatment at Cornelia Spa–the results were obvious and plentiful! The service starts with a thorough cleaning using the spa’s own line of luxurious botanical bath and body products. Following the wash, my aesthetician thoroughly inspected my skin and delivered the news I knew I would hear: my back was looking a little congested. Not to worry, she assured me, as the remainder of the treatment would be focused on unclogging pores, sloughing off dead skin, and removing all the impurities off my back. (more…)