High-per­for­mance skin­care isn’t just for your face.

The next big thing in skin­care: achiev­ing a brighter, smoother, firmer body by treat­ing it with the kind of high-per­for­mance fixes nor­mally re­served for your face.

Fashion (Canada) - - Contents - By Kari Molvar

Jessica Richards, founder of the beauty and lifestyle bou­tique Shen Beauty in Brook­lyn, has a morn­ing rou­tine that goes some­thing like this: She ex­fo­li­ates to get rid of dead skin cells, washes, ap­plies a serum in­fused with sea buck­thorn oil and then lay­ers on a firm­ing cream con­tain­ing hyaluronic acid and cold-pressed es­sen­tial oils. It sounds like all the right moves to keep her face ra­di­ant and glow­ing—only this rou­tine is ac­tu­ally for her limbs. Wel­come to the new age of body care, where the re­gion be­low your neck can now be toned and re­vi­tal­ized with the same type of re­sults-driven elixirs you’d typ­i­cally pat on your face. It’s about time this over­looked zone be­came part of the beauty con­ver­sa­tion, ar­gues Richards. “In my mind, peo­ple skimp on tak­ing care of their bod­ies and go heavy into fa­cial skin­care be­cause it’s what you see first.” But to­day, she says, “women are re­al­iz­ing how im­por­tant body care truly is.”

In a time when well­ness equals beauty, the idea of treat­ing your body like a tem­ple has never been more rel­e­vant. You can live on Pi­lates, mi­cro-greens and for­est baths for days, but un­til re­cently, all the best plant-based, wild-craft beauty for­mu­las have fo­cused on your vis­age—which is ironic when you con­sider the sur­face area of your body com­pared to that of your face, says Lind­say Knaak-Stu­art, the founder of Meant, a new nat­u­ral body-care line. “If you’re look­ing to clean up your rou­tine with health­ier, non-toxic prod­ucts, you’re go­ing to have the big­gest im­pact if you start with your body.”

Crav­ing some­thing be­yond the usual medic­i­nal Ep­som salts and cloy­ingly scented body creams on the shelves, Knaak-Stu­art quickly re­al­ized a “white space” ex­isted for el­e­vated body care. Richards agrees, call­ing it “an un­tapped cat­e­gory” that’s ripe for dis­rup­tion and poised for growth. Market re­search firm Euromon­i­tor In­ter­na­tional pre­dicts that sales of bath and shower prod­ucts alone are ex­pected to reach $1 bil­lion in Canada by 2021. It brands want in on the ac­tion, too. Glossier has launched Body Hero, a set that in­cludes a daily wash in­spired by fa­cial oils and a cream with glow-en­hanc­ing par­ti­cles, and fine-fra­grance house Le Labo re­cently in­tro­duced a paraben-free

body-care col­lec­tion of creams, scrubs, shower gels and hand soaps scented with un­ex­pected notes like basil leaves and hi­noki trees.

Ex­per­i­ment­ing with po­tent ex­tracts or the lat­est high-tech won­der might even prove eas­ier south of your neck. “The body is not as in­tim­i­dat­ing as the face be­cause it typ­i­cally doesn’t break out as eas­ily and the skin isn’t as thin,” says Richards. Aveeno spiked its lat­est body lo­tion and body wash with the same soy com­plex and lightre­flect­ing min­er­als pumped into its Pos­i­tively Ra­di­ant fa­cial line to fight dark spots and re­duce blotch­i­ness. Fresh, mean­while, re­cently ex­panded its Black Tea col­lec­tion be­yond face masks and essences to in­clude an Age-De­lay Body Cream in­fused with its sig­na­ture blend of kom­bucha to boost elas­tic­ity as well as nopal flower ex­tract to soften the thicker skin on your limbs. “For years, we’ve had cus­tomers tell us that they love the Black Tea Age-De­lay Face Cream so much that they want to put it all over their body,” says Fresh co­founder Lev Glaz­man. “It makes com­plete sense be­cause the aging process im­pacts your en­tire body, not just your face.” And at $88 for a 200-millil­itre tube (ver­sus $116 for a 50-millil­itre jar of the face cream), it’s a slightly more eco­nom­i­cal so­lu­tion.

Achiev­ing a smooth and sup­ple body IRL and on In­sta­gram is the goal for many these days. “We are now a so­cial me­dia-driven culture,” says Jamie O’Ban­ion, a Dal­las­based en­tre­pre­neur and the CEO of Beauty Bio­science. “I think women are see­ing them­selves in pic­tures more than ever [and seek­ing] vis­i­ble im­prove­ments.” That in­spired O’Ban­ion—who de­vel­oped GloPro, the at-home mi­croneedling tool with a cult fol­low­ing—to launch the Power Patch Col­lec­tion, a line of an­ti­ag­ing “patches” for dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the body. “I thought to my­self: ‘Why has no one ever cre­ated a firm­ing mask for our thighs? We have a mil­lion face masks to give us that in­stant “Yes!” but noth­ing for our bod­ies,’” she says.

Engi­neer­ing this in­no­va­tion was not so sim­ple, though. “Ver­sion one be­gan with the lat­est sheet-mask tech­nol­ogy loaded with firm­ing ac­tives,” says O’Ban­ion. “The re­sults were fan­tas­tic, but I had to lie naked flopped on my tummy for 20 min­utes and I thought to my­self, ‘No way.’” Many re­vi­sions later, she found a fab­ric that was “flex­i­ble enough to move with you and, most im­por­tantly, dry on one side so you could even wear it un­der silk jam­mies at night.” The re­sult­ing Power Patch Col­lec­tion will de­but this spring, just in time for the sea­son of sheer cloth­ing. “The thigh patches fo­cus on firm­ing and smooth­ing; our knee patches fill and tighten the loose, crepey skin above the knee; and the hand patches work on stub­born spots and aging, puck­ered skin,” says O’Ban­ion, adding that the knee patches al­ready have a wait-list. (“Elephant skin above the kneecaps—it’s an epi­demic!”)

To ex­tend the ben­e­fits on the go, con­sider Basd, a new line of body lo­tions, scrubs and cleansers out of Waterloo, Ont., that rely on ac­tive botan­i­cals (aloe vera, shea but­ter) to re­duce acne scars, calm puffi­ness and min­i­mize stretch marks from the dé­col­letage down.

If gad­gets are your fix, there are plenty to play with, in­clud­ing NuFace’s NuBody, a firm­ing mi­crocur­rent de­vice that can zap your abs, arms, butt and thighs. Creams that morph and change tex­ture your thing? The Body Shop’s Body Yo­gurts con­tain hy­drat­ing hyaluronic acid, soft­en­ing al­mond milk and fruit ex­tracts. Knaak-Stu­art, for her part, finds that The Won­der Pol­ish, a cof­fee-based ex­fo­lia­tor that’s tac­tile and fun to ap­ply, is es­pe­cially pop­u­lar among mil­len­ni­als, while The Ab­so­lute Balm, a multi-task­ing salve that can be used on your limbs as well as your face and hair, ap­peals to the busy over-30 crowd.

Yet gim­micks do ex­ist in body care, just as they do in face care. Richards cites a brand that shall go un­named that promised to slim the legs but, in the end, didn’t de­liver re­sults. “I think it’s a great con­cept, but af­ter months of use, I no­ticed no dif­fer­ence,” she says. “I stopped sell­ing it.” She also points out that no one has cracked the code on cur­ing the peski­est of all body con­cerns: “No cream, even if it claims to do so, is go­ing to elim­i­nate your cel­lulite; that comes from ex­er­cise, diet and ge­net­ics,” she in­sists.

Still, there is a place for body care that sim­ply makes you feel good; per­haps this ex­plains our cur­rent ob­ses­sion with headto-toe pam­per­ing rit­u­als. “The world is an in­creas­ingly com­plex place,” says Glaz­man of what’s driv­ing the in­ter­est in body care. “Prac­tis­ing self-care by tak­ing care of your­self phys­i­cally, men­tally and emo­tion­ally from the in­side out is a way to man­age those com­plex­i­ties.” And Richards says she finds a cer­tain nir­vana in rub­bing her an­tiox­i­dant-rich body serum on her legs af­ter show­er­ing. As she puts it, “I feel like I’m ready to take on the world.”

CLOCK­WISE (FROM TOP): THE BODY SHOP BRI­TISH ROSE BODY YO­GURT ($16 ); NUFACE NUBODY SKIN TON­ING DE­VICE ($400 ); MEANT THE AB­SO­LUTE BALM ($58)

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