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Integrating Science and Nature

Nancy Jeffries

Breakthrough ingredients with high-performance properties are hitting the market in earnest. While sloughing and exfoliating set the stage for spa preparation, many new products target orange-peel skin by boosting collagen production and enhance the skin’s own natural defense systems with antioxidant lotions.

A skin-firming formulation from Croda contains a botanical-rich blend of actives designed to keep skin looking firm and fit. Phytotal FM and Phytotal SL are said to provide slimming and firming effects, while Phytessence Wakame and Phytessence Stevia work to preserve the effect. Phytessence Stevia is a glycerin/aqueous extract of stevia leaves made by multi-step classical maceration and used in such applications as after-sun products, smoothing body and face creams, shower and bath products, and moisturizing milks and lotions. According to Croda, Phytessence Stevia is a moisturizer with three times greater skin hydration than glycerin, and is said to improve skin’s smoothness after two weeks of treatment.

Phytessence Wakame, drawn from the thallus plant of Japan, may be used in numerous spa products—including texturing skin care, post-lifting care, and for sun and after-sun care. Its properties are said to prevent the breakdown of hyaluronic acid in the skin, thereby maintaining skin firmness and elasticity. While many know that hyaluronic acid functions as one of the skin’s natural moisturizing agents, it is also a major structural component in the skin.

Sonia Dawson, marketing executive, botanicals, Croda, notes that “The spa is a place where consumers turn to find global beauty rituals, and Croda’s botanicals are derived from plants and fruits sourced from all over the world.”

Emphasizing the roots of water-based treatments in the spa, Croda’s Blue Lotus extract is derived from the blue lotus water lily—found in Africa, Asia and India. The blue lotus is purported to be an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, veinotonic moisturizer that helps improve skin elasticity and maintain collagen for firmness. Its calming and revitalizing properties make it appropriate for use in spa products. Other botanical extracts from Croda suitable for spa products include Balinese sea salt, Polynesian noni, pearl/pear extract and quartz (crodarom rock crystal).

Many of today’s finished products and treatments in the body and spa market continue to be based on a combination of natural sources and hard science. Estée Lauder’s Body Performance Slim Shape Anti-Cellulite/Anti-Fluid Advanced Visible Contouring Serum is designed to minimize the appearance of cellulite while providing a sleeker, more contoured look to skin and optimizing the skin’s natural flow of fluids.

Daniel Maes, vice president, research and development, The Estée Lauder Company, discovered that fluid accumulation is a significant contributing factor in skin’s puffy appearance. The discovery led to the development of FluidMotion™ Technology, which, according to the company, makes the skin appear sleeker and optimizes the flow of fluids. Any energy that is not used by the body causes the adipocytes to swell to two or three times their original size. This energy loss leads to a slowing down of the synthesis of collagen and elastin, which results in decreased levels of collagen and weakening of the dermis, allowing the fat cells to push toward the skin’s surface to create the orange-peel look. When the fat cells clump together, they cause natural drainage to be diminished.

Ingredients include siegesbeckia—known from traditional Chinese medicine to reduce collagen degradation, and vitamin C to boost collagen production and strengthen the skin. Forskolin, a plant extract from India, helps skin optimize its naturally existing energy for a smoother look. Brazilian guarana seeds and Chinese black tea work with the skin’s natural enzymes so skin looks more contoured, and Thermogenic Complex, which contains creatine and carnitine, are said to ignite the skin’s energy to help it work at its peak. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), derived from safflower extract, combined with a bio-peptide help to smooth and firm and to minimize the visible effect of trapped water. Ximenynic Acid and Eyeliss™, a bio-peptide, helps improve the puffy appearance, and sweet almond extract, a lifting polymer, helps tone the skin Profil Minceur Non-Stop Release Contouring Gel is YSL Beauté’s newest addition to its Total Fitness line. The product targets the anti-cellulite body category. Encapsulated Lipo-Fitness II contains Lipo-GHK (an exclusive YSL Beauté-patented ingredient), bio-factors and caffeine. The formulation also features a dermo-firming complex.

Sloughing, Polishing, Moisturizing

Since sloughing, exfoliating and moisturizing are primary steps in the spa experience—essentially paving the way for massage, toning or contouring—these steps are included in every regimen.

Lipo Chemicals, Inc. provides a number of spa and bath ingredients that work to exfoliate the skin and increase moisture. Liposilt® is a bio-active silt, rich in organic components and appropriate for body wraps, skin cleansing, spa products and moisturizing creams and lotions. Derived from two fresh water lakes of Eastern Europe, Liposilt Green and Liposilt Black both contain humic acid, nitrogen and fatty acids, and more than 90% organic matter. Liposilt Black is said to improve the surface characteristics of skin, create a more even skin tone, reduce sebum content and increase moisture levels.

According to the company, Liposilt may be formulated into a variety of skin and hair products. It also can be used straight. In addition, three new ingredients have just been added to the line— Lipo RSP, Lipo GSP and Lipo CHP. Each is said to be an effective, natural mechanical exfoliant that may be utilized in a variety of spa and bath formulations. The new additions complement the already existing line, which includes Lipo RHS and Lipo Lufa.

The Biosenses Collection is a new line of skin moisturizing products from Biotherm, part of the luxury products division of L’Oréal that was designed to meet the skin care needs of individuals with dry skin and revitalizing needs. As spa products are related directly to the bath, the line is used primarily in or after the bath. Biosenses Body Balm is Biotherm’s first intensive, non-greasy moisturizing body care product especially formulated for dry skin. It contains a patented active concentrate mineral complex with essential oils of orange and grapefruit, zinc, copper and magnesium. It also contains palm oil and beeswax to moisturize and soften. Biosenses Softening Exfoliator, which is applied directly to the body while bathing or showering, provides creamy exfoliation while adding moisture. Its orange and grapefruit oils and mineral complex are said to stimulate the skin’s microcirculation. Biosenses Polishing Scrub, designed to be used every other day in the bath or shower, smoothes and revitalizes with gentle exfoliation and a combination of active concentrates.

The LaLicious Sugar Soufflé Body Scrub uses pure cane sugar crystals to exfoliate dead skin cells, while coconut, sweet almond and vitamin E oils condition and moisturize the skin. The oils penetrate the skin easily and retain moisture, and almond oil in particular helps relieve itching, dryness, inflammation and thread veins. The product also contains vitamin E oil and honey.

Skin CPR

Adding an aromatherapy dimension to bath and spa, Breathe, a collection from Bath & Body Works, is designed to resuscitate skin and senses. The line also features Breathe at Night Intense Hydration Body Cream, which contains Niacyl™, a patented complex to rebuild the skin’s moisture barrier and stimulate cell turnover, vitamin E, evening primrose. The cream provides moisture and replenishment while you sleep, when the skin is most receptive.

Fruits & Passion launched its Aromachology collection of science-based aromatherapy products. The 10 plant extracts used in the oils are designed to penetrate the skin through massage or enter the lungs through inhalation or vaporizing. The Nourishing Collection, a line of body butters from Fruits & Passion, features ingredients for cell regeneration, to prevent skin from drying, to improve skin elasticity, for toning and skin regeneration. Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum now is available in a body cream. Moisturizing ingredients and flowers are integral to this line.

Organic and Sustainable

Stella McCartney created the Stella Body and Bath Line, which takes an organic approach to well-being. The aim was to prioritize natural ingredients, to capitalize on organically grown plant extracts, and to replace a maximum of ingredients of mineral or synthetic origin with substances in keeping with the Organic Charter. The charter stipulates maximum use of natural and organic ingredients, no animal-derived ingredients, no animal testing, and the harvesting of raw materials by adults and from plant species that are known to be non-endangered. Both the Stella Bath Line and the Body Care range incorporate the benefits of two key organic ingredients, butterfly lavender aromatic water and French rose essential oil, which stimulate the skin to produce B-endorphins and offer protective/antioxidant properties respectively.

Organic and natural ingredients are beneficial options for the spa. Pangea Organics, recently re-launched its organic skin care products with new packaging and new additions that contain no petrochemicals or parabens. The products are used in spas across the country. White sage, a primary ingredient, is antiseptic; geranium relieves stress; and yarrow is anti-inflammatory. Additionally, the product is purported to cleanse and balance the skin without sulfates, synthetic preservatives or detergents. Pangea offers an assortment of cold-processed natural soaps that includes fennel (an antiseptic and toner), grapefruit and sweet orange.

Sexy and Specific

New additions to Victoria’s Secret Spa Collection feature high-performance, pampering products. A Firming Bust Cream, Daily Firming Lotion, plus a Renewing Hand smoother are the latest indulgences from this lifestyle brand. The gel-cream formula of the Firming Bust Cream contains marine and botanical ingredients found in the product’s Bio Bust Firming Complex, which the company says will prevent loss of elasticity. In addition to moisturizing and nourishing with vitamins A, C and E, the product contains grape seed oil, white tea complex and caffeine.

Also from Victoria’s Secret, Beauty is Bare Fruit™ is the culmination of a partnership between Victoria’s Secret Beauty and Murad Research Laboratories that combines the natural properties of fruit botanicals and scientific technologies. Hilarie Murad, president of Murad Research Laboratories (an affiliate of Murad, Inc.), said, “With the legacy behind the development of Bare Fruit™, we co-developed a high-quality skin care line that takes its inspiration, literally and figuratively, from ancient fruit remedies. Fruit extracts appeal to a woman’s sensual, feminine side and, at the same time, deliver real skin care results.”

The skin care regimen includes cleansers, moisturizers and special treatment items—available in three collections that target different skin types. Pomegranate utilizes antioxidants to revitalize and balance, fig is for oily skin, and olive offers moisturizing and hydrating properties.

Aida Thibiant, who just celebrated the 30th anniversary of her eponymous spa in Beverly Hills, California, launched New Radiance cream, said to be a marriage of scientific know-how and cosmetic aesthetics. It was formulated to combat overt signs of aging caused by UVA and UVB exposure and stress. The formula encapsulates active ingredients, allowing a precise dosage to be delivered to the skin. It contains sandalwood, barley and bark extracts to provide hydration and vitamin F, an essential fatty acid. Amino acids, also vegetable-derived, work to provide firming and strengthening, while licorice root, an anti-inflammatory, helps reduce irritation and allergic reactions. The cream also contains millet and yeast extracts, wheat proteins, algae extract, mugwort, rosemary and lupine protein, a photo-aging preventive. Not to be overlooked are the vitamins A, pro B, two forms of E and a stable form of vitamin C, which work in a synergistic interaction with the balance of the formula to provide repairing and preventive benefits.

Customized Treatments

Nuxe of Paris has long provided customized treatments and products that address the needs of spa-goers seeking muscle relaxation, beauty treatment, and massages and wraps. One of the five best-selling treatment products from Laboratoires Nuxe, Crème Nirvanesque® is designed to address the fine expression lines. Since 1957, Nuxe’s approach to beauty has combined aromatherapy and phyto formulas. The Nirvanesque range targets fine lines and first wrinkles, and goes to the heart of Nuxe’s pharmacopoeia history. Traditional medicine utilized blue lotus seeds, poppy seeds and althea root for their soothing anti-spasmodic properties. These patented active ingredients, said to be exclusive to Nuxe, work at the source of muscular micro-tensions by reducing the release of acetylcholine, a muscular contraction neurotransmitter. The range includes Nirvanesque Eye Serum, Crème Nirvanesque for Normal Skin and Crème Nirvanesque for Dry Skin that contains macadamia nut oil.

Amazonian plants and essential oils play a large part in the formulation of the Nuxe Spa Tonific® line. Nuxe Tonific® Minceur Anti-Cellulite Cream-Gel is designed to refine and reduce the look of orange peel skin with natural caffeine—boosted by jangli seeds that are derived from an Indian plant used in ayurvedic medicine. The product also contains Peruvian liana, bamboo, guggul resin extract, Mourera fluviatilis and essential oils. According to the company, application of the cream-gel for one month, morning and night, will provide a noticeable reduction in the appearance of cellulite.

Clarins entered the arena with the science of cellular renewal and natural exfoliation in its Smoothing Body Scrub for a New Skin. Utilizing the peptide extract of Moringa oleifera, a shrub from Africa (said to remove toxins from the skin and eliminate a dull appearance), bamboo powders to refine and tone, and the addition of polyethylene microbeads to gently polish and soften the skin’s surface, the company says the product will exfoliate without roughness, aided by shea butter and a derivative of Cyamopsis.

Regular exfoliation is recommended, and according to the company, a combination of Mimosa teneiflora and the extract of the Candeia tree, which produces an oil containing 95% a-bisabolol (an anti-irritant), that will allow regular exfoliation without redness.

Spa Solutions

There’s a healing approach to spa treatments that addresses bruising with a combination of healing ingredients. UpKeep Body Builder Deep Moisturizing Body Lotion anti-bruise formula treats “delicate fruit” syndrome with a combination of skin fortifying, medicinal herbs and vitamins. Individuals with the syndrome have vulnerable skin, prone to bruising. The condition may worsen with age, as capillaries grow weaker and cell metabolism slows down. Developed by Optimal-Outcome Rapid Healing skin care, the UpKeep® Body Builder complex is said to improve cell strength and capillary function with a combination of horse chestnut and butcher’s broom to support the vascular system, and vitamin K3 to repair small capillaries and prevent vessel ruptures. Arnica Montana works to repair the bruising and burdock root helps to detoxify the blood and repair tissue.

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