Like most mothers, I spend much of my day thinking about others. Well, one in particular.
What's Cole up to in Brooklyn? Is he eating enough? Should I send him cookies, clothes or Shiner Bock in his next care package? (Any question how my soon-to-be-26-year-old son voted?)
But bath time is all about me. Whether I have 20 minutes or two hours, I try to take a deep breath, recharge and show my skin some tender, loving care.
That's where Boomer-licious bathing buddies like these come in handy. Made to clean, refresh and pamper skin, they're sure to make you smile.
1. Break for Beauty
I seldom take long baths. But recently, it rained. So instead of getting in the pool like we do most summer weekends, I decided to treat myself to some tub time. Several steamy chapters later, my skin felt delicious thanks to some help from charming little luxuries like these:
Laura Mercier Ambre Vanillé Collection - Talk about a super trio, Laura Mercier's Honey Bath, Scrub and Soufflé Body Crème make bath time skin-sational. They blend good-for-you ingredients like Shea Butter, vanilla extracts, honey and vitamins that leave skin silky smooth. Plus, the Ambre Vanillé scent is highly addictive. So new it just became available in stores this month, this heavenly fragrance combines the sensuality of amber with the warm comfort of vanilla.
At first, I planned to try only the Body Crème; it's like a lotion only much thicker. But I adored the feel and that delicious scent ... Ooh-la-lah! It's infused with fresh florals like Tangerine and Tiger Orchid that immediately got Bob's approval. So, I had to have the rest of the family. (Don't you just love layering?)
The Honey Bath cleans and softens with thick, rich bubbles. Great in the tub or shower, the Scrub gently exfoliates with crushed vanilla seeds to smooth skin and give it a healthy glow. The Body Crème completes the mood-lifting experience by conditioning and protecting skin. ($40 Honey Bath; $46 Scrub; $44 Body Crème at Lauramercier.com, Nordstrom and more)
Laura Mercier Ambre Vanillé Honey Bath, Scrub and Soufflé Body Crème
SpaRitual Organic Soak Tonics - Made with relaxation in mind, SpaRitual's Soak Tonics speak to your senses as well as your body. They contain organically harvested plant extracts and lightweight botanical oils to soothe the most damaged skin. There's evening primrose oil to hydrate and soften, hibiscus extract to tone and firm, ginger root extract to encourage flexibility and fight aging (you gotta love that!) and more.
These skin-softening soaks come in three scents perfect for de-stressing: Infinitely Loving Jasmine, Close Your Eyes Geranium and Harmonizing Mandarin (yum!). Splash one into your bath, then sink back and escape for 10 to 20, lovely minutes.
Besides creating a spa-like atmosphere, these body-beautifying, vegan treatments work wonders on hands and feet so they make great mani and pedi prelims. Plus, they're free of parabens and other harsh chemicals. ($26 at fine salons and spas including Spa Halekulani, Canyon Ranch and the Mandarin Oriental)
SpaRitual's Harmonizing Soak Tonic
with Mandarin Essential Oils
2. Make a Clean Start
Most weekdays, I stumble out of bed, work out with either Wii Fit or Kathy Smith then head for the shower to really wake up. Who has time for a bath? It is 7 a.m., giving me only an hour to try and get gorgeous or as close to it as possible.
Although I have no time to waste, I've been enjoying every minute under the shower thanks to these creamy, skin-pampering cleansers with international appeal. A pump or two works up a rich, sudsy lather that cleans, conditions and cushions enough to make shaving your legs a breeze. As a bonus, both come in fun, vintage-inspired bottles.
Soap & Glory Clean on Me - A five-star, beauty bargain featuring natural mandarin peel extract, built-in body lotion and the beloved, British brand's signature Pink Fragrance. This nice, fresh scent melds bergamot and mandarin, rose, jasmine, peach, strawberry, oakmoss, amber, woody notes and warm vanilla. Ahhhh! ($14 at Sephora and Sephora.com)
Soap & Glory Clean on Me Shower Gel
L'Occitane Bonne Mere Gentle Body Wash - A wonderful, new cleanser from L'Occitane en Provence, the popular brand known for using natural active ingredients from the south of France. Designed for women, men and children, this hypoallergenic shower gel boasts a pH gentle enough for the most sensitive skin. Makes me wish I could share it with some grandkids!
It comes in two subtle scents:
L'Occitane's Bonne Mere collection (available Aug. 22) also includes a Gentle Cream moisturizer that I'm wild about. Rub it on your hands, face, body, anywhere your skin cries for hydration. It's not oily, soaks in quickly and, like other Bonne Mere body soothers, works for everyone in the family. Great when you're on the go, it's sized to fit easily in a purse or pocket. ($34 Gentle Body Wash; $22 Gentle Cream at Loccitane.com and L'Occitane boutiques)
L'Occitane Bonne Mere
L'Occitane Bonne Mere
Honey Body Wash and Milk Gentle Cream
Honey Body Wash and Milk Gentle Cream
3. Polish Your Presentation
Want an all-over glow? Try one of these invigorating body scrubs to smooth, condition and revitalize skin. Made to exfoliate, they have gentle buffing agents that help wash away flakiness so you can bid adieu to dry, rough skin.
When using these twice-a-week therapies, I try to pay special attention to heals, elbows and other areas prone to dryness. Unfortunately, these days, that's just about my entire body! They're also wonderful before self-tanning. Using them about a day before putting on a bronzing lotion can encourage longer-lasting, more even coverage.
Champneys Spa Indulgence Body Glow - A refreshing, dermatologist-tested body polish from the prestigious UK Champneys spas, which brought their elegant products stateside in March. The three, stimulating formulas are designed to exfoliate and soften while delighting your senses:
($11.99 at Target.com)
Lancome Exfoliant Fraîchelle - This luxurious multitasker combines serious suds with tiny buffing beads so you can get clean and wash away dull, dry skin in in one step. It nourishes with magnesium, Pro Vitamin B5, fatty acids and natural botanical extracts. Plus, this top-rated, foaming refresher has a cool, eucalyptus-like scent that makes it a joy to breathe in while caring for your skin. ($33.50 at Lancome-usa.com)
Lancome Exfoliant Fraîchelle
4. Turn to a Specialist
Naturally, I'm picky about what I use to wash my 55-year-old body but that goes double when it comes to cleaning my face. After all, it's on the sensitive side and already prone to dryness. The last thing I need is to add to the problem.
That's why I'm lovin' the do-it-yourself anti-aging facial I discovered recently and these especially kind cleansers. Their creamy formulas remove oil, dirt and makeup without robbing my skin of much-needed moisture.
Miracle Skin Transformer Hydroactive Cleanser - Nourishes skin with M3 Complex, a powerful, botanical antioxidant blend that works hard to fight free radicals. In addition to cleaning, this Manuka Honey-enriched, foaming cleanser gets points for soothing, softening and giving your complexion a nice glow. ($24 at Miracleskintransformer.com and Hsn.com.)
Miracle Skin Transformer
Clark's Botanicals Soothing Herbal Face Wash - Includes vitamin E, aloe and lavender to help hydrate and calm skin. This non-foaming, do-gooder leaves skin ultra-soft as well as clean feeling. ($45 at Clarksbotanicals.com)
Clark's Botanicals Soothing Herbal Face Wash
5. Bring on the Moisture
One thing's certain about aging skin: it can't get enough hydration. That's why I love layering on a healthy moisturizer after bathing or showering. Three to try:
Melvita Orange Blossom Extraordinary Water - Rub this enchanting floral water onto your face and body whenever you need a moisture fix. If you're crazy for all things orange like me, you'll adore this special blend of orange blossom floral water, orange essential water and orange extract.
Made by the experts at Melvita, Frances' top, organic-certified beauty brand, this sophisticated new formula is designed for the driest, most dehydrated skin. Although called a "water," it has a gel-like texture that goes on easily and helps skin retain moisture as well as a lovely, lingering orange blossom scent. ($25 at Melvita.com and leading online beauty retailers)
Melvita Orange Blossom Extraordinary Water
Davine's Authentic Nourishing Oil - Massage this 100% natural, 99% organic formula onto wet skin for a mega-dose of moisture. We're talkin' oil, not lotion, here but it absorbs quickly and doesn't leave you feeling at all greasy. Instead, this lightly scented, multi-talent gives you silky, smooth skin with a date night-worthy hint of shine.
Like what you see? Don't stop there. Apply it to the ends of your hair to hydrate and enhance shine, smooth it onto your face and décolleté for a healthy glow, and apply to hands to soften skin and cuticles. ($46 at select salons; Davines.com for locations)
Davine's Authentic Nourishing Oil
BWC Beauty Without Cruelty Lotion - Prefer a traditional lotion? Use this organic, hand-and-body treatment to moisturize, smooth and protect skin. Made without animal testing, it's loaded with skin-kind botanicals like Shea Butter, jojoba, kukui nut oil and aloe vera. It is fragrance free so you can customize the experience by adding a teaspoon of your favorite essential oil. Think rose, lavender, sandalwood or geranium. ($11.95 at Beautywithoucruelty.com)
BWC Beauty Without Cruelty Lotion
What are your favorite bath- and shower-time rituals? I'd love to see your tips in the comments section below.
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