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October Grooming Guide: Unmasking Beautiful Skin

by Mark Thompson
EDGE Style & Travel Editor
Monday Oct 10, 2011

It's October - and the rhythms of autumn have taken over: the days are shorter and the nights are meant for howling at the moon. It's time to eat your kale and carve a jack-o'-lantern - and slather your face with a pumpkin mask.

For autumn skin care, think about exfoliation and rehydration. Remove the tolls of summer; cleanse your skin of toxins - with exercise and exfoliation. And while the chill in the air makes the leaves crunch underfoot, you don't want your face cracking - so use a moisturizer that's slightly heavier than the one you used all summer.

Because when you remove your Taylor Lautner mask on Halloween, you still want everyone to think that you ought to be in pictures.


Primavera: Neroli / Cassis Protective Lotion

You’ve got to give it to the Germans. For centuries, they’ve celebrated the therapeutic benefits of "taking the waters" at spa towns such as Baden-Baden and Wiesbaden. Located in the foothills and meadows of southwestern Germany, these bucolic retreats became notable and popular for their focus on holistic health.

The German skincare line, Primavera, captures a similar sense of well-being in their collection of all-natural aromatherapy products. As soon as we opened the beautiful bottle of Neroli / Cassis Protective Lotion, we felt as if we’d sunk into an Alpine meadow during the flush of spring.

Formulated with pure plant oils and 70% organic ingredients, this lightweight lotion absorbs immediately into the skin - and almost as quickly, we felt a kind of calm descend around us. Perhaps it was the organic Egyptian neroli essential oil, which soothes the skin and balances the senses. Or maybe it was the organic cassis seed oil from France that smooths and softens - our mood as well as our skin. There’s also organic cranberry extract to protect against free radicals, as well as organic fig extract for deep moisturizing.

Founded twenty-five years ago in southern Germany, Primavera uses the highest percentage of certified organic ingredients available, utilizing fair-trade partnerships with 18 growers from around the world who supply the company with their 125 organic ingredients. Favored by Europeans for its holistic approach to beauty and wellness, Primavera is now available for the first time in the States.

As rehabilitative for your skin as an afternoon nap in a blooming meadow, Primavera Neroli / Cassis Protective Lotion is the best of a German spa in a bottle.

PRICE: $40.00 / 1 fl oz / 30 ml
LINK: Primavera Neroli / Cassis Protective Lotion


Ursa Major: Stellar Shave Cream

This is the shave cream that you use on your wedding day - because this is the shave cream that will make you smile for the rest of your life.

We went to a wedding once where a groom showed up with clots of tissue on his jawline. That wouldn’t happen with Ursa Major Stellar Shave Cream. Fortified with aloe vera leaf juice, sunflower seed oil, willow bark, and birch sap, this luxurious shave cream softens whiskers while nourishing your skin. And all the while, there’s this most intoxicating smell, almost an amalgam of a tropical island and a Vermont ski lodge, a consequence of essential oils such as vetiver, ginger, pink grapefruit, rosemary, and grand fir. The fragrance is a reminder of all your best vacations and you almost can’t help smiling as your razor glides over your face - and you might even start singing.

Founded in Vermont by two diehard New Yorkers, Ursa Major (which you might recall is Latin for "Great Big Burly Bear" - or close enough, anyway) was created to offer men a natural and effective product line from a sustainable company. Apart from Stellar Shave Cream, the four-product line includes Robust Face Cleanser, Revitalizing Skin Toner, and Hydrating Face Lotion - and all Ursa Major products utilize more than 98% natural ingredients from sustainable growers.

Very few things make a man happy to shave each morning, but Ursa Major Stellar Shave Cream is definitely one of them.

PRICE: $21 / 5.1 fl. oz
LINK: Ursa Major Stellar Shave Cream


Cosme Proud: Gold Revitarich Emulsion

If, in the midst of this dreadful economy, your stack of bullion is rapidly diminishing, why not stare down adversity and smear gold all over your face?

Using the latest skin rejuvenating technology from Japan, Cosme Proud Gold Revitarich Emulsion is formulated with nano gold. Apparently, the ultrafine particles of the purest 24-carat gold penetrate the skin to release negative ions into the deepest layer of your skin. This hydrating emulsion revitalizes your skin’s cells while restoring and repairing rough and slack skin.

Basically, what we’re saying here is that your skin is going to look as smooth as that golden mask of King Tut.

Launched in 2005, Cosme Proud utilizes gold and platinum for advanced anti-aging skincare. Available at New York’s Jumeirah Essex House as well as Cosme Proud’s first retail store at Limelight Markeplace, the five-step skin regimen includes Gold Revitalizer, as well as Gold Amber Rich Lotion and a Platinum Deep Treatment.

Your stocks might be plummeting but your face has never looked so golden.

PRICE: $135 / 1.02 oz
LINK: Cosme Proud Gold Revitarich Emulsion


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Lush: It’s Raining Men Shower Gel

First of all, it’s not our favorite disco song. In fact, far from it. And maybe if you’d been hearing this disco chestnut for as long as we have, you’d feel the same way too. All of which might explain our initial hesitation about this product.

Here’s another thing: we can admit when we’re wrong. And here’s a true confession: we recently took a travel-size bottle of It’s Raining Men Shower Gel with us to West Hollywood - and all through that trip, people we air-kissed kept saying, "Your skin smells delicious." Music to our ears.

Originally sold as one of LUSH’s special limited edition Valentine’s Day products, It’s Raining Men Shower Gel created such a public frenzy that LUSH was all but forced to re-release it as a permanent member of their shower gel collection. And here’s why: this is one of the most seductive shower gels currently available. We almost feel some sort of Pavlovian reaction every time we see the bottle; we just want to squeeze - and rub it all over.

Like toffee-fudge and honey, this stuff smells incredible. There’s a hint of sweet orange and bergamot - and every time you bring your facecloth close to your nose, you’re almost intoxicated. As with all of LUSH’s shower gels, It’s Raining Men Shower Gel is excellent as a shampoo, which means that your hair smells as yummy as honey. Fortified with lotus flowers, which help soothe your skin, It’s Raining Men Shower Gel lathers thick and leaves your skin as soft as it is lickable.

Hell, you’ll feel so good that you might even put on the Weather Girls and shout "Hallelujah."

PRICE: $27.95 / 16.9 oz.
LINK: It’s Raining Men Shower Gel

Blissoma: Juniper Natural Deodorant Spray

If you’re kind of addicted to underarms, if you find them kind of sexy, then you know what we mean about becoming completely turned off by a glob of white cakey deodorant clinging to someone’s pits. It’s just not right. It’s like seeing food in someone’s teeth. Buzz kill.

Of course, on the other hand, you don’t want your smell to overwhelm your smile, which is one reason why so many people use natural deodorant sprays these days. Blissoma makes an extremely effective underarm deodorant spray that blends baking soda and cucumber juice with licorice extract and essential oils for a fresh, clean scent. Packaged in an unbreakable container, each travel-size bottle contains over 400 sprays. Best of all, Blissoma Juniper Natural Deodorant Spray is formulated with no aluminum.

If you have yet to try Blissoma’s line of skincare, then you’ll be happy to learn that the company is 100% natural and vegetarian, using only natural essential oils and a majority of certified organic ingredients. Founded in 2005, Blissoma is sold at Whole Foods, Abe’s, and Amazon (as well as more than 200 international retailers) - a marketing success that is all the more remarkable when you consider that Blissoma eschews advertising, choosing to rely instead on positive word of mouth. Many products are also vegan, which is one reason why Blissoma is an approved Whole Foods Premium Bodycare line.

"Health is beautiful" is Blissoma’s mantra - and now that you’re no longer sweating through summer, Blissoma Juniper Natural Deodorant Spray is exactly what you need for hot autumn nights.

PRICE: $10.99 / 2.5 oz.
LINK: Blissoma Juniper Natural Deodorant Spray


Kiehl’s: Midnight Recovery Eye

If you’ve ever wondered why your eyes show the wear and tear of the night before, it’s because studies have shown that the skin beneath our eyes is only one-third as thick as the skin on our body. Which is why there are no dark circles under your ass.

Wait, it gets worse. The skin under the eyes is the first place to show signs of aging. And we all know that the eyes are the key to the soul - which means that unless you take preventative action now, your soul is going to look very old.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye is a restorative concentrate infused with essential oils such as lavender and evening primrose. The cream-to-oil texture is readily absorbed under the eyes, thanks to a formulation that includes squalane, as well as Butcher’s Broom, a plant indigenous to Europe and Africa. Used for centuries by old world pharmacists, Butcher’s Broom improves circulation and reduces inflammation and puffiness.

Two drops at night - and no one at the office will be any wiser about your night before.

PRICE: $36.00 / .5 fl. oz. tube
LINK: Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye


A long-term New Yorker and a member of New York Travel Writers Association, Mark Thompson has also lived in San Francisco, Boston, Provincetown, D.C., Miami Beach and the south of France. The author of the novels WOLFCHILD and MY HAWAIIAN PENTHOUSE, he has a PhD in American Studies and is the recipient of fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and Blue Mountain Center. His work has appeared in numerous publications.


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