In the Northern Hemisphere, meteorological spring began March 1, but for the rest of us, spring won’t arrive until the spring equinox March 20th. Although winter may seem like a whimper at that time, it can still spew its last gasp of inclement weather and prolong the agony for many that long for warmer and balmier longer days of sunshine. But, fear not…as I finish writing this article today, the weather is glorious…it’s sunny and seventy-seven degrees Fahrenheit…serenading birds voice their approval with the sweet songs of the season in gratitude for the gift of nature.
I’m one of those individuals who delights in seasonal transitions, especially going from the cold of winter to the promised warmth of spring. I love transitioning from winter to spring because it signals a time for new growth, renewal, rebirth and recommitment.
In this edition are my takes on products that I feel transition nicely from winter into spring and even spring into summer. The product mix combines some well-established brands and newcomers to the retail market, including product launches of iconic spa, apothecary and luxury brands that are expanding their market outreach both online and in traditional brick and mortar stores.
Many of these products can be adapted for an at-home spa experience. Even if you’ve not had a chance to experience a spa, regardless of the reasons, enough is available online where you can do research and try to adapt what goes on at a spa and then transition the information into an at-home spa experience. And while not wanting to splurge on a spa experience may have been one of the reasons for not being able to go to a spa, the products I’ve reviewed in this article transition nicely to an at-home spa experience. Many of the products reviewed are also available at discount retailers like Target and Walgreens, making them affordable necessities that are at-home spa indulgences.
AT-HOME SPA TIPS ~
· Focus on how different sensory experiences affect your stress levels.
· Take measures to reduce these, or even eliminate them wherever possible; these can include artificial lighting, extraneous noise, offensive odors, etc.
· Find some time for yourself when you’re not stressed, rushed or interrupted, even if that means scheduling appointment times for these set asides.
· Indulge in some me-time that is yours and yours alone, while utilizing products that are functional and luxurious.
· Investing in self is not an extravagance, but rather a necessity, and can optimize how you go about your daily regimen and accomplish your goals and defined responsibilities.
SEASONAL CHANGE TIPS ~
· Adapt fragrance to conform to seasonal change.
o Spring to summer ~ wear airier, cooler and more subtler scents when temperatures begin to warm up. Notes that are white floral, citrus, herbal, or green work best.
o Fall to winter ~ wear scents that are more intense and warming when temperatures begin to cool down. Notes that are peppery, musky, amber, sandalwood, or spicy work best.
· Adapt the weight of fabric, color of fabric, even the types of food and drink consumed to conform to seasonal change.
The excitement in using many of these products is that luxury is now affordable, making your at-home spa experience more of a reality, and given the protracted economic difficulties, frugality doesn’t have to mean deprivation. Enjoy my spring bouquet as you spa at home!
~ PRODUCT REVIEWS ~
Boots ~ In 1849, Boots began as an herbal medicine shop in Nottingham, England. The Boots brand will be launching March 15, 2012 at select Target stores throughout the U.S., and will also be available at Target.com and ShopbootsUSA.com; Target stores will also have trained beauty advisors to assist patrons on which products will work best for specific skincare related needs. The range of products will include beauty, skincare, bath and body. I tried a few of the products in the Botanics range; this range was created in conjunction with the Royal Botanical Garden (Kew, London). The products included Organic Face Rosewater Toner, Organic Bathing Cleansing Body Wash and Organic Body Nourishing Body Oil. One of my favorite aromas is Damask Rose and the Toner is formulated with this certified organic oil; I find its aroma to be calming and aromatherapeutic; the Toner was gentle and didn’t strip away any of my natural oils, leaving my skin hydrated and refreshed. The Body Wash cleansed without drying; although the product is formulated with certified organic oils of rose, rose geranium and bergamot oils, I would’ve preferred a more pronounced aroma of these exceptional oils; they were a bit weak for my preferences and the less appealing aromas of the cleansing ingredients were predominant. Lastly, the Body Oil was very hydrating and had a lovely aroma to it. The base of certified organic jojoba oil, plus certified organic oils of rose, rose geranium and bergamot made this an enjoyable product that was quickly absorbed without leaving any tacky or greasy residue.
Champneys ~ The name Champneys dates back to 1307 when Ralph de Champneys owned the Tring Mansion, which would later be opened as a health farm in 1925 by renowned naturopath and holistic pioneer Stanley Lief. In 1970, founder Dorothy Purdew opened her first “slimming” club and continued refining the vision of health and well-being, and opened the first destination health spa in 1981 at Henlow; there are four such destination health spas. Bridging therapeutic spa treatments with its products, the Champneys Spa Collection was launched in 2004. Today, the collection represents a full array of skincare, bath and body products that are also used in the day-to-day spa treatments. Champneys products will be launching March 15, 2012 in Target stores; they’re also available at Target.com or ShopBootsUSA.com; Target stores will also have trained beauty advisers to guide customers in selecting the right mix of products to benefit their specific personal care needs. All of these products make bringing the spa experience into one’s home more of a reality than every before. Products tried included the Spa Indulgence Mediterranean Bliss Shower Cream, Bubble Heaven, Body Glow, Body Hydrator, and Shimmering Body Oil. All of these products worked exceptionally well with key performance properties that included gentle exfoliation from the Body Glow without stripping or irritating skin, while subtly hydrating; key ingredients include pulverized olive stone particles, salt, sugar, olive oil, shea butter and coconut oil; gentle cleansing and hydration from the Shower Cream and Bubble Heaven (which I used as a cleansing gel since I don’t have a tub); key ingredients include olive leaf, fig milk, green tomato and mango butter (Shower Cream), and olive leaf, fig milk and green tomato (Bubble Heaven); and deep penetrating hydration from the Hydrator and Body Oil, which quickly absorbed without leaving any tacky or greasy residue; key ingredients include olive leaf and fig milk (Hydrator) and rice bran oil, sesame seed oil and jojoba oil (Body Oil). The aromas were lovely, light, fresh and green. I also tried the Spa Indulgence Oriental Opulence Body Glow and Exotic Retreat Body Glow. Performance properties for both products, as previously stated; Oriental Opulence aroma properties included ylang, ylang, sandalwood and patchouli; Exotic Retreat aroma properties included mango and coconut. Ingredient properties included olive leaf, which stimulates health of the connective tissue and is rich in antioxidants; fig milk restores skin health; and, green tomato supports the skin and blood circulation and also contains the antioxidant lycopene.
Crabtree & Evelyn ~ Leave it to this iconic brand of skincare, bath and body that marries nature, science, luxury, and tradition introduced yet another line of must-have products just in time to transition from winter into spring. Their new Avocado, Olive & Basil Body and Hand Care Collection is gentle, healing and hydrating with the fresh, bright aromas of spring and revered performance ingredients that cultures have used for hundreds of years. The products I tried included the new Revitalising Bath & Shower Gel, Skin Nourishing Body Butter and Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy. The main performance ingredients in this new line include avocado oil and olive oil, which have long been prized for their healing and hydrating properties, while basil has been prized for its aromatic, antiseptic and healing properties. Ironically, all three ingredients also play a major global role in culinary preparations. These three ingredients are the stunning properties for each of the products I tried, while shea butter was also a primary ingredient in the Hand Therapy. The hydration of each product was excellent; products quickly absorbed without leaving any tacky or greasy residue; hydration levels were maintained for hours. The Shower Gel thoroughly cleansed while leaving skin hydrated. These new products are a wonderful addition to this brand.
Kate Somerville ~ One of the leading edge cosmeceutical brands has expanded their impressive line to include an array of new and highly effective therapeutic skincare. The new products I tried included KATECEUTICALS Moisture Milk Cleanser, Daily Deflector Moisturizer (available April 2012), and DermalQuench Liquid Lift. In my November 7, 2011 article, I reviewed my first-ever Kate Somerville products; although skeptical, after trying them, I was impressed with the effectiveness and gentleness of them. My skepticism had to do with my I tend not “liking” cosmeceuticals because of their harsh formulations, given my sensitive skin and based on my trials of other “cosmeceuticals”. Those initial Kate Somerville changed my skepticism and made a believer out of me. The newest products I tried were also impressive. I loved the thorough and gentle cleansing properties in the Milk Cleanser; it was very gentle and left my skin feeling hydrated; its subtle aroma was lovely. I also enjoyed trying the Deflector Moisturizer; its creamy, whipped texture was quickly absorbed and didn’t leave any tacky or greasy residue; hydration levels were maintained throughout the day; has an SPF 20. I also enjoyed the subtle aroma of each product. For me, the real star of these new products was the DermalQuench Liquid Lift. Late last year, I experienced the in-demand therapeutic Kate Somerville DermalQuench Oxygen Facial; this therapeutic treatment is offered only at Kate Somerville Clinics and Trump Spas (I had my treatment at the Chicago Trump Spa). The ninety-minute treatment plumped and renewed the appearance of my skin; fine lines and wrinkles were diminished and my skin tone was refined and luminous. The new DermalQuench Liquid Lift product replicates many of the same properties of the in-spa treatment, including infusing oxygen into the skin from the products delivery system; the product is very convenient for home-use and a definite must-have for in-between visits to the spa. After using the product once, I noticed visible results to my skin; my skin appeared refreshed and healthy-looking; skin appeared lifted and plumped; fine lines and wrinkles were diminished and the overall texture, refined; hydration levels maintained throughout the day. High tech properties include the combination of an oxygen delivery system, hyaluronic acid and botanical extract (nasturtium/trapaeolum majus) and vitamins A, C and E. It was truly amazing! Another new addition to the line is the Somerville 360° Face Self-Tanning Pads, a companion product to their popular array of Body & Sun products. Products are exclusively available at Neiman-Marcus stores, online or at Kate Somerville online.
Salvatore Ferragamo Tuscan Soul Lifestyle Guest Collection ~ Waldorf Astoria Hotels, the definitive luxury hotel brand, and Salvatore Ferragamo, the definitive luxury fashion icon, have paired together to offer the definitive luxury brand guest room amenities. The range of products in this luxury line was impressive and exceeded what typically is stocked in guest rooms by the majority of most hotels and resorts stock in their guests rooms. I tried the Face and Body Soaps, Body Lotion, Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash, Hand Cream, Lip Balm, and Eye Cream; also included in this impressive line, but not tried, were the Face Cream and Toner. The aromatic notes of each product included Tuscan lemon, tomato leaf, lavender, green Tuscan olives, Florentine orris and fig; the aromas were calming, fresh and uplifting. I wasn’t able to identify through my research the ingredients used for the moisturizing properties, but whatever they are, they’re wonderfully hydrating. None of the cleansing products were drying; the moisturizing products absorbed quickly and left no tacky or greasy residue; levels of hydration remained throughout the day; the Eye Cream was very gentle, non-irritating and left the delicate tissue under the eye hydrated, while diminishing fine lines. If you want to try these Salvatore Ferragamo Tuscan-inspired products, you’ll need to stay at one of the fabulous Waldorf Astoria Hotels to experience them; Gift Stores at the properties may also carry the full-sized versions for purchase. Neiman-Marcus specialty stores also offer this line.
Shea Moisture ~ This is a favorite brand among ethnics and has a formidable history dating back to 1912. The foundation of this popular line is that it uses Fair Trade shea butter, renowned for its beneficial hydrating properties. I tried the Hibiscus Body Wash; after rinsing it off, my skin was noticeably smooth and hydrated; the hydration remained throughout the day; ingredients included shea butter, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, vitamin B-5, Songyni mushroom, hibiscus, honeysuckle and papaya. The Black Soap is recommended for those experiencing skin conditions that may include acneic, eczema, psoriasis, oily skin, etc.; this therapeutic soap includes calming ingredients like shea butter, tar, plantain peel, palm ash and tamarind. Both products had sweet aromas, which for me were over-powering.
Known for its gentle and effective organic skincare products, I enjoyed trying the Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser, Concentrated Nourishing Toner and Eye Lift Cellular Renewal Cream. The Foaming Cleanser was very concentrated, requiring very little product to work up a lather before applying to the skin; sugar an rice powder were the primary exfoliating agents, leaving the skin feeling polished and thoroughly cleansed; other ingredients included lime, lemongrass, calendula, lavender, orange and seaweed; I loved the product’s overall aroma; it was fresh and uplifting. The Toner was slightly strong for my sensitive skin and had a medicinal aroma, although the first ingredient was Damask rose, which I love; other ingredients included denatured alcohol (lavender and cane alcohol), green tea, aloe, shitake mushroom, calendula, lime, and chamomile. The Eye Cream was hydrating and levels remained throughout the day; it was quickly absorbed and non-irritating; ingredients included jojoba, shea butter, rose, hibiscus, and lavender; the aroma was subtle and lovely.
I hope you’ll try some of these wonderful products and adapt them to your own at-home spa concept. My next edition will continue this edition’s overall themes. In Part II, I’ll be sharing with you some additional takes on spring transitional products ideally suited for your at-home spa experience.
That’s it for this edition…until the next one…enjoy the transitions of the seasons and remember to take care of yourself and those around you.
By Terry Herman
Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. She also serves on EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT Journeys In Retreat To Wellness Advisory Board, which is comprised of ten international experts in various fields of wellness and spa. She also serves as a Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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(Photo credit, “Spring Colors" near the Thornhill Education Center, Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL by natureofthingsphotography.com.)