Spa

By Patricia Wersinger

I don’t know about you but I spend a lot of time organizing my small bathroom, moving bottles and tubes around in my Lilliput-size cabinet, trying A, to find more room and B, to make the place look more inspiring. Surrounding yourself with beauty, I am convinced, helps you feel more harmonious inside, revealing a more radiant self on the outside. I like to select care products with Vintage packaging that evoke bygone, pre-industrial times and far away places and not the prosaic supermarket shelf or the drugstore aisle where I shop for them. Sometimes I transfer good product out of an ugly bottle into a prettier one (though the results may not be worth the trouble). It is easier to keep your eyes peeled for products that have the “whole package”, beauty on the outside and goodness on the inside. Here are the products you will find lingering on my shelf to create ambiance and mystery, a little bit of old world charm, some “Je ne sais quoi” to escape the modern world and stimulate the senses.

Bigelow Pharmacy is a place to go to hunt for nostalgic-looking care products. For instance it has a stylish deodorant Acqua Di Parma from Italy, Deodorante Alla Colonia. The ochre yellow stick has sparse elegant graphics. Its delicate fragrance is inspired by noble Italian gardens and includes Bergamot, Lemon, Ylang-ylang, Bulgarian Rose and is suitable even for the most sensitive skins. This is the best looking deodorant stick on the market. It conjures pure luxury and bliss.

Available at http://www.bigelowchemists.com or Bigelow Chemists 414 6th Ave, New London Pharmacy 246 8th Ave

If you are tired of looking at main street toothpaste brands with their loud colors and cartoon like graphics, look at this Pate Dentifrice Botot that seems to have just landed from some French Belle‘s bathroom in the 18th century. It has anti-bacterial Anise and Ginger to protect the gums, cavity and anti-plaque protection. Eau de Botot was the world’s first mouthwash invented in 1755 by Dr Julien Botot for Louis XV of France. It contains Anise, Benzion, natural essences of Cinnamon, Ginger and Gillyflower. Available at http://www.bigelowchemists.com and 414 6th Ave.

You would think that India Hicks, the daughter of famed interior designer David Hicks would have a beautifully designed collection…well naturellement! The clear lettering, sparse design and creamy surfaces of India Hick’s Island Living line evoke the upper crust elegance of old cruise ships circa 1930s. Think Great Gatsby going to the Bahamas. This line is for the aspiring aristocrat and free-spirited island girl in you. The Spider Lily Body Cream contains avocado, beeswax and shea butter that melts into the skin. The Spider Lily Shower Gel with Hibiscus, Seaweed and soothing Aloe has a Spider Lily and Tropical Green Citrus fragrance that lifts the senses. Available at http://www.crabtree-evelyn.com, Rockefeller Center or Time Warner Mall at Columbus Circle

The design of the Barr-Co line evokes simple rural barn living, Depression era engraved dairy bottles and apothecary glasses used and recycled indefinitely. The no fuss authenticity has a humble chic that inspires. Crafted with natural plant extracts, botanicals and oatmeal the bath Bubble Elixir delivers an unaffected clean scent. The Pure Vegetable Hand Soap is made out of pure vegetable extracts. Oatmeal contains saponins that help remove dirt and oils from pores but also relieve dryness. Your hands are moisturized and keep a fresh scent of milk, oatmeal, vanilla and vetiver like in the old pre-synthetic days. Available at http://www.khalldesigns.com

The colors and scents of the Kat Burki line evoke the sensuality of a women’s parlour. It is here that courtesans go to comfort their broken hearts and find in the depth of the solid soaps and luscious body creams a place to refurbish their senses. The aromas of the organic Tahitian Vanilla and Orange Blossom Body Cream are subtly intoxicating. The elegant packaging of the white and gold foil box evokes the alluring escape of luxurious whimsy. I love the packaging so much that I collect the empty boxes once I have used the soap. http://www.katburki.com

The colors and the graphics of the Pacifica line are reminiscent of the spiritual traditions of the Middle and Far East. From rich vermillion reds, salmon pinks to serene azur blues the palette reminds you of the luscious dyes used in India. The Lotus Garden Body Butter tube combines a striking purple and a deep pink background with decorative Moroccan patterns in contrasting white and turquoise colors. The meditative blend of Lotus Blossom, Green Violet Leaf, Olibanuma and many others with radiant Citrus create a fresh and subtle vegan moisturizer. The packaging of the Tibetan Mountain Temple natural soap represents the spiritual release from negative thoughts while the fragrance helps to relax your mind. http://www.pacificaperfume.com

In my little bath temple, these are the brands that I use as much for their decorative as for their uncompromising quality. All products listed contain no parabens or sulfates. For the holidays, why not pick one of these unusually beautiful Spa or personal care products for a friend? It can make a very appreciated, useful yet luxurious gift. Offering a psychological lift of beauty, in and out, these products are worth your consideration as they work on the olfactory senses while stimulating the dreamer and artist in you.

Originally published December 2011
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