Natural Living

By Irene Fogarty

When I found the store for SCO, I walked in wondering if I was in the right place. It looked more like a cool, sleek minimalist bar than a skincare store.

Perhaps that’s the idea. The counter has a couple of steel stools and behind the walls instead of bottles of liquors were long glass tubes of no, not whisky, but infusions.

Hmmm. Luscious liquids chockfull of goodies for your skin. So when the barmaid, I mean consultant, approached me, I was thirsty to knock back a few samples.

Welcome to SCO – Skincare Options
Every time I say SCO, I think of “Skoll,” the Swedish word for “cheers” or “to your health.” SCO is a flexible skincare line that can be tailor-made to suit the specific needs of your skin. It’s a really cool concept that’s all about healthy concoctions of herbal and natural ingredients that you can put into your moisturizer, eye cream or anything else you want to buy. As they call it, skincare solutions designed for you, instantly, at the counter.

How to create your own skincare regimen in the store
The cool thing about SCO is that there are various types of moisturizers to choose from. As Jeanna, the incredibly helpful consultant with the glowing skin explained, if your skin is on the dry side, pick the more nourishing, richer moisturizer. Not sure which one? Answer the questions below, and then they let you sample it on your skin to see how quickly it absorbs.

1. After you wash your face without putting anything on what does it feel like?

2. If it feels very comfortable, then you are not extremely dry and you are not extremely dehydrated.

3. Can you walk out of the house without using a moisturizer?

What skin issues do you want to address? The answers to the above will determine what formulation to use on your skin type. For me, it’s always the richer one, my skin being so dry.

Technology and nature infused together
Once you’ve picked the “right” moisturizer, you can pick the infusion you’d like best. There are twenty-four, pharmaceutical-grade infusions of natural extracts that are displayed in vials behind the counter. The list includes algae, aloe vera, almond, bergamot, caffeine, calendula, chamomile, cucumber, ginkgo biloba, green tea, juniper berry, lavender, lemon, milk protein, mushroom, papaya, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, soy, vitamins A, C and E, vitamin K and willow bark.

After assessing my particular skincare needs, Jeanna uses a pippetter to add vitamin K (for irritations), soy (for hydrating) and three anti-oxidant vitamins A, C and E to the SCO oil-free face lotion. Minutes later she hands me my custom blend in an amber colored jar with a label that has my name on it, the infusions and an expiration date. How efficient!

To help you decide which infusion you’d like to try, their knowledgeable skincare consultants can tell you the benefits of each one.

Ma, mother of SCO
Theresa Ma, founder of SCO, was born in Hong Kong and came to the United States at the age of six. She has always believed there’s a lot to be learned from the Eastern mentality and perception of beauty. “They seem to simplify the process by looking at the purest ingredients and knowing how each one works with another to give the best results.”

It is that very philosophy that makes SCO so unique. As a child, Ma herself suffered from severely dry skin, so she started developing her own formulations to achieve the “perfect complexion.”

With her in-depth knowledge of herbs and natural ingredients used in skincare, she began collaborating with three cosmetic chemists to develop her own line of products that she could customize with special botanical infusions.

Here’s just a selection of the ones I tried and love.

Keep on eye on caffeine
Eye creams are vital – especially when you hit your thirties. So try SCO’s Hydrating Eye Cream. Then choose the infusion that you need. If you want to get rid of puffiness, ask for some caffeine. Caffeine is a great diuretic when applied topically. It depuffs and firms up the skin. Or how about dark circles? Try vitamin K.

Whatever you want to address, they have something that’ll do the job, naturally of course!

Here’s another favorite, the SCO “Refining Face Scrub,” one of the most popular items in her line that not only removes all the dirt but makes your skin soft because the beads are made of jojoba oil.

Don’t forget your SCO SPF!
Here’s a clever alternative to those greasy SPF creams that protect yet clog your pores: SCO’s SPF 30, oil-free face shield. Smooth and transparent, this non-greasy formula blocks the face against UVA and UVB rays yet dries to a matte finish. What I love about it is the fact that it’s light enough to be worn under makeup. And for people with fair skin like me, this is a must.

Polish up on your body!
I use this every few days. It’s SCO’s Body Polish. I keep in the shower and I love the invigorating feeling I get from the beads. It removes dead skin while it moisturizes. Your skin feels rejuvenated and much smoother.

SCO makes Scents too.

SCO Eau de Parfume
Finally, a scent that makes sense. It’s really fresh, natural and a tad musky with its subtle blend of bergamot, white blossoms, amber, musk and citrus. Understated yet interesting.

SCO Scent Candle is probably one of the best candles I have. Not only do I love the design of the clear glass container, but the scent itself seems to embody everything that the line is about. Like the perfume, the aroma is subtle yet calming and fresh. Plus, its approximate burn time is 45 hours.

Go to SCO
Drop into the SCO store on 230 Mulberry St., in Nolita, (212) 966-3011
(They’re closed on Mondays!)
You can also call them toll-free at 866-966-SCO-8.

Or check out the SCO counter in Barney’s on Madison Avenue. You can order all SCO products online at http://www.scocare.com or http://www.sephora.com as well.

P.S. Samples of SCO products are available at the store, and you can assess your skincare needs from simply talking to them over the phone.

Originally published October 2004
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