The market for personal care products – especially products for skin care – continues to grow. And it’s easy to see why. The skin is the largest organ on the human body. After a hard day of battling the environment, whether indoors or outdoors, our skin can really take a beating. It needs protection, repair, and rejuvenation. At the same time, consumers are seeking ways to de-stress and nurture themselves. Taking care of one’s skin is an affordable luxury that’s readily accessible and easy to personalize, bringing a sense of balance to our busy lives. It can be done at home in the peace and quiet of one’s own nest, it feels good, and it makes us look better. A vast array of luxury skin care products is available to nourish every need, desire, and whim and to help harmonize the body, mind and spirit.
The big trend in skin care is toward the use of all-natural ingredients derived from vegetable, mineral, or animal sources. In soaps, for example, the move is away from the detergent-based products found on mass-marketers’ shelves, many of which contain petroleum products as well as artificial dyes and perfumes. Most of the commercially manufactured bar soaps on the market actually dry the skin, whereas handcrafted soaps use only natural ingredients that have a happy rapport with the body. Companies like Essencia and Arcadia Aromatics make their soaps and body lotions with essential oils and botanical essences, long known for their healthful benefits. Lavender, for example, has been revered for centuries for its cleansing, soothing, and healing properties. Its name even comes from the Latin root, lavare, which means “to wash”. Other botanical ingredients generate different feelings and effects. Rosemary can be stimulating and energizing. Comfrey and tea tree promote the healing of wounds or irritations of the skin. Geranium is balancing and uplifting.
Riding the wave of interest in aromatherapy, many companies are creating lines of skin care products based on the wisdom of this ancient science. Bath Bloomers, for example, has produced a series of lotions, creams, and bath salts in nine unique fragrance blends, designed to elicit a particular therapeutic response. Fields of Ambrosia offers an aromatherapy line of body care products based on their own special formulations of essential oils, herbs, and spices.
Shea butter is an important component of many handmade soaps, balms and body lotions and it is the basis of several product lines from Kiss Me In The Garden and SandPea Herbal Soaps, as well as other manufacturers/suppliers. Shea butter is extracted from the nuts of the West African Shea Tree (Vitelaria paradoxa). The tree is called ‘Karite’ by the locals, meaning “Tree of Life.”
With so many practical applications, shea butter is really quite the magical stuff! It is extremely high in vitamins and has a molecular structure that allows it to be readily absorbed by skin. In addition, shea butter also has the following healthful benefits:
- protects from ultraviolet exposure
- promotes cell regeneration and capillary circulation
- helps in healing small wounds, skin crack, & ulcers
- has anti-aging effects
- promotes a healthy scalp
- can cure eczema
And besides… shea butter is used in making chocolate, so you know it’s got to be good!
Another essential component commonly used in luxury body care products is jojoba oil (pronounced ‘ho-HO-bah’), a pure liquid ester (not a true oil) extracted from the seeds of the native North American perennial woody shrub (Simmodsia chinensis). Because, jojoba “oil” is a natural mimic of the oil secreted by human skin, it can be used to protect and lubricate skin and hair. It is also soothing, it stops numerous skin problems, and it protects against premature aging and wrinkling of the skin due to exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Jojoba is just one of the choices in the wide range of skin and hair care products offered by Bath and Body by Tracy.
Botanical ingredients aren’t the only beneficial additives used in body care products. Natural mineral salts have their own healing effect on the skin as well. Awakening Mineral Therapies and Botanical Skin Works each have a line of products fortified with mineral deposits from the Dead Sea. Its water is rich in minerals like bromides, calcium, magnesium and potassium that serve to hydrate the skin, remove toxins, improve cell metabolism, and act as anti-allergens. Valuable earth elements like these are found in a wide range of goods from soaps to bath salts to mud packs.
Another organic product, goat’s milk, is the basis of the body care products offered by Meadow Creek Farm and Nature’s Best Soaps, among others. Goat’s milk has the same pH level as the skin, allowing it to be easily absorbed. And it also contains alpha-hydroxyl acids that have rejuvenating and skin softening properties, as well.
More than ever, today’s pet owners feel their furry companions are just like children, caring for and pampering them equally as well as they do themselves. Luxury spending on dogs and cats is at an all time high and fortunately, companies like Junie Moonies Natural Soap Company and Herbal Offerings carry products that have been developed just for them. These soaps, shampoos, flea repellants, and aromatherapy candles are products you won’t find in an ordinary pet store.
If you thought that ‘exfoliating’ was something that happens to elm trees in the fall, guess again! Removing layers of dead skin cells through mild abrasion is what exfoliation is all about, and there are all sorts of body-scrubbing products that will help you do just that. One such product, the Spa Cloth, is specially-constructed to scrub as is cleanses, providing the user with luxurious spa-like results. Gilden Tree offers a terra cotta Body Buffer for a uniquely stimulating skin scrubbing experience.
Many handcrafted soaps are made with inclusions, such as oatmeal or tapioca pearls, that will gently exfoliate the skin. MD Crafters markets a body scrub made with ‘muscovado’ sugar – unrefined cane sugar – that’s just gritty enough to leave the skin feeling tingly all over after a good rubdown. Unrefined sugar still contains all its healthy, natural components – water, minerals and vitamins – that are readily-absorbed by the skin and that get stripped away in the processing of ordinary white crystals that come out of the sugar bowl.
Much of the pleasure of enjoying a handmade soap comes not only from its fragrance or its feel on the skin, but also from its appearance. Luxury soaps such as those offered by Savonerie resemble gourmet desserts, swirled with color or textured with ground espresso beans. With names like ‘CrÃƒÂ¨me Brulee’ and ‘Bourbon Vanilla,’ these soaps and massage bars look almost good enough to eat. Visual appeal is a strong factor in the popularity of boutique soap products like these, generating healthy sales as well as healthy skin.
Attractive packaging can certainly help stimulate gift sales of skin care products too. Roger & Gallet does a very stylish presentation of their scented soaps line. They are wrapped in tissue paper, packaged in trios, and enclosed in artfully embellished boxes. Another company, Encantos (means ‘enchantments’ in English) offers their super creamy, natural soaps packaged in a variety of custom-wrapping styles, including beautiful floral patterns and series of flower photographs.
Most retailers find that upscale body care products are very popular sellers. When given as gifts, specialty handcrafted soaps, at-home spa treatments and other body nurturing items are welcomed by recipients who may not purchase such items regularly for themselves, but enjoy the chance to relax, pamper themselves, and indulge guilt-free in a bit of luxury. Decorative baskets overflowing with combinations of soaps, scrubs, lotions, aromatherapy products, washcloths, etc. are great gifts any time of the year and for any occasion. They can be personalized for a man, woman, baby, college student, gardener, or anyone, and they are great for corporate clients, volunteers and other groups, just to name a few. Attractively-displayed and conveniently-positioned near the cash register, skin and body care products can successfully generate impulse purchases and add-on sales opportunities. Several companies, such as Camille Beckman for example, provide self-contained, customized display units that make it easy to sell their products.
This discussion just barely scratches the surface of what is available in today’s skin care market. From homespun to tres chic, you’ll find a myriad of wonderful choices among the vendors and manufacturers listed on the FGmarket Personal Products pages. Check them out for yourself by taking an interactive tour anytime, 24-hours a day.