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Photo Credit: Urban Decay

Posted by 08.18.14

Urban Decay’s popular Naked eye palette, which launched a few years ago, contains far from the usual boring nude eye shadows. Since then, the brand’s Naked foundation has grown into my personal favorite, and every item under the Naked umbrella (including the Naked 2 palette) is worth collecting.

Urban Decay co-founder Wende Zomnir next focused on creating a bit of magic for her body to help her feel more confident about the skin she was born in. Hence the Urban Decay Naked Skin Body Balm ($32), a hefty, bronze-colored tube filled with a deliciously light, non-greasy, and illuminating formula that works on all skin tones, from pale white to dark.

Zomnir wanted not only a quick fix (she disliked her “sagging knees”) but also skin luminosity. Ingredients include Vitasource™ and dGlyage®, which firm skin, improve elasticity, and fight wrinkles, while watermelon extract protects against daily stress. There are hydration components to this body balm too: antioxidant-rich green tea extract and soothing vitamin E as well as Matrixyl 3000 (a powerful anti-wrinkle peptide) help improve skin elasticity.

I loved everything about this: the concept, the look and feel, and the result on my skin. Stretch marks temporarily disappear and the body glows like a pearl. Plus, the more you use it, the better your skin becomes, and it also has a tightening effect and blurs flaws. The light diffusing spheres make your skin look as though it’s been professionally retouched. And just a little bit goes a long way too.

The brand also introduced two new BB creams for the face: Naked Skin Bronzing Beauty Balm ($34) and Naked Skin Illuminating Beauty Balm ($34), which are formulated to blur flaws and hide imperfections. With so many beauty balms in the market today, it’s getting a bit crowded, but the body balm still stands out.


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Photo Credit: AHAVA

Posted by 06.23.14

As part of its existing Mineral Botanic range (which includes Hibiscus & Fig, Lotus & Chestnut, and Honeysuckle & Lavender), AHAVA has just launched its Tropical Pineapple & White Peach collection.

The most summery of all the Mineral Botanic scents, Tropical Pineapple & White Peach is as juicy as a ripened, fleshy piece of fruit but without hitting you hard on the nose. It’s subtle, wearable, washable—and it’s about as summery as a beach ball. Like the other scent ranges, this collection has a triumvirate of products: Velvet Cream Wash, Velvet Body Lotion, and Rich Body Butter.

I tried the Velvet Cream Wash and loved the mother-of-pearl color and lush suds when washing my body: it lathered up well without harsh detergent ingredients, and the smell was more white peach than tropical pineapple (a good thing because it shows that the scent balance was just right; too much pineapple would have made the wash to acidic). Dead sea minerals, of course, have a starring role in all AHAVA products, and this new line bows to the tradition.

The Tropical Pineapple & White Peach Velvet Cream Wash ($23) is infused with macadamia and sunflower oils, and is skin thirst quencher (compared to many other body washes in the market, this is gentle and even the fragrance is not overpowering). The Body Lotion ($26) contains shea butter, aloe vera, and palm oil in a light textured formulation. The Rich Body Butter ($28) contains a concentration of soothing shea and peach butters.

If you compare many of the other body washes in the market, the AHAVA version is pricier (Herbal Essences’, for example, is around $4; Dove body washes retail for around $8). But the ingredients are a great quality and we know the healing properties of the Dead Sea (these minerals also calm irritated skin and are good for eczema sufferers as well). If you’re in the market for a slightly pricey but more luxurious alternative to your daily body wash, I highly recommend this.





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Posted by 05.29.14

If you’ve wanted to schlep your body lotion across the world but hesitated because of its physical semi-solid state, COOLA now offers an innovative option.

Its Body and Hand Lotion Bars come in circular tins and are solid; an easy fix for when you’re traveling. The bars are solid at room temperature and come in a variety of scents including cucumber melon, grapefruit peppermint, lavender chamomile, orange patchouli, and unscented. At $22 for the Body Lotion Bars, which are bigger, and $12 for the Hand Lotion Bars, you might think they are a bit pricey but because they’re in solid form, a little bit goes a long way.

A little bit of the lotion bars, when rubbed into the skin, absorbs quickly and leaves no oily residue. All bars are formulated with shea butter, organic beeswax, and other natural oils including almond and avocado oils as well as vitamin E.

COOLA, the brand, is known for its organic sun care, and it features everything from mineral sunscreens to sport sprays that go beautifully on the skin. I have been a long-time fan, which is why I wanted to see how the lotion bars measured up. On a recent trip to Greece, I stocked up on tins of the hand and body lotion bars and they lasted me well over several weeks (I used up a very tiny amount of each). My only pet peeve was that the solid format meant that I had to really rub it considerably to dispense a bit of product but you could also cut the bars into small bits and then use that on your skin.

The scents too are beautiful and never cloying. There are a few other beauty brands that offer body lotions in solid form (LUSH Cosmetics is one of them) but I love the fact that COOLA’s version comes in retro-style tins that also double as mint or pill boxes.

I would definitely recommend this product for all skin types, especially the dry-skinned jetsetter who doesn’t want to schlep traditional moisturizers around.

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