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We’ve Found the Best Body Skincare on the Market
For decades, we’ve been devoting our skincare practices to the small surface area of our face. But now, products and treatments for the rest of our body are vying to shift our focus.
by : Caitlin Kenny- Jun 28th, 2022
PHOTOGRAPHY, UPCLOSE, IVAN ANDRIANOV/STOCKSY (MODEL)
Between double-cleasning, multi-masking and serum-cocktailing, it’s easy to justify using a boatload of Sephora’s skincare products to pamper our face. Our lengthy routines focus only on 3.5 percent of our total skin surface, but what about the rest of it? For many of us, it gets treated with little more than the basics: a shower gel and maybe some lotion if we’re feeling fancy.
However, a new crop of body-care products is pushing us to rethink our face-first approach. Take Nécessaire, a bod-focused brand created by Into the Gloss and Estée Lauder veterans. “We believe that the products you use from the neck down should be developed with the same care and philosophy as those we use on our face,” says co-founder and CEO Randi Christiansen. “Three years ago, that was a novel idea. Body care was about scent. Today, it’s more nuanced.” All of Nécessaire’s body washes, exfoliators and lotions are available in fragrance-free versions, much like Weleda’s unscented body line, which recently grew to include a hand cream. But what sets these next-gen body-care products apart is much more about what is in them than what’s left out.
“Our body wants what our face does—products that are loaded with the types of ingredients that help skin thrive and function as it should,” says Tiffany Masterson, founder and chief creative officer of Drunk Elephant, which kicked off its body-care line in 2020 and just expanded it to include more options last month. For Drunk Elephant, that means loading plant-based antioxidants and buzzy skincare ingredient cica (a.k.a. Centella asiatica) into its new Sili Whipped Body Lotion, which promises to defend against free radical damage and reduce redness—both claims you’d be more likely to see made by a face cream. Nécessaire’s lineup boasts a new body serum (yes, a serum!) that’s packed with skincare go-tos hyaluronic acid and ceramides and a body exfoliator that contains a combo of acids (lactic, glycolic, salicylic and gluconolactone) that we most often associate with facial peels.
Meanwhile, California-based brand Ole Henriksen has just launched its Touch collection, including BeamCream Smoothing Body Moisturizer (with AHAs, fruit enzymes and caffeine) and Firmly Yours Dry Body Oil (with peptides, vitamin E, blackcurrant and elderberry oil), formulated to boost moisture levels, brighten dull skin and improve texture. And the campaign’s face is none other than actor Kim Cattrall, who played a very body-empowered Samantha Jones in Sex and the City.
While the emphasis with these products is on results, they still offer the pampering aspect of body care. Moroccanoil’s new lotions and shower gels help soothe skin thanks to the brand’s signature argan oil, and they come in six spa-worthy scents.
This interest in a more complete care regimen started taking hold, unsurprisingly, in the early days of the pandemic. In the first quarter of 2020, body-serum sales were up 32 percent, and in the second quarter, body exfoliators saw a 15 percent increase in sales. “I believe the trend of overall wellness is here to stay,” says Christiansen. “Caring for one’s body has become a holistic approach, and body-care products fall into this category.” Now, with lockdowns (hopefully) behind us, the trend has made its way to spa settings too. At Toronto chain Pure+Simple, there’s been a rise in the popularity of its back facial, a 60-minute results-oriented service that targets back acne. “Before the pandemic, we’d do a handful a year,” says co-founder Kristen Ma. “Now, it’s several per week.” She attributes the demand to the way lockdowns pushed us to embrace physical comforts and halted our regular exercise routines. “People are making commitments to their body in a different way now,” adds Ma. “It’s a response to such an upending of how we move.
A scroll through Instagram will leave you in no doubt that there’s been a fusion of general well-being and skin-specific rituals. Trending videos include those featuring Gwyneth Paltrow-approved dry-brushing, which purports to exfoliate skin and increase blood circulation, and gua-sha facial techniques adapted for the body by using a large paddle to support lymphatic drainage.
In Toronto, the recently opened Othership spa is drawing wellness seekers with its inside-out take on caring for the body. Self-dubbed as a “house of transformation,” it is part social club and part wellness centre and offers group classes that combine saunas and cold baths for both internal benefits (improved mood, energy and focus) and external benefits (better circulation and reduced inflammation).
In tandem with more contemporary approaches, there’s also increased demand for traditional body treatments. At FORM Face + Body, a Toronto clinic offering cosmetic surgery and aesthetic services, co-founder Dr. Ron Somogyi has noticed that patients are paying more attention to their body and seeking more aggressive procedures too. “[Treatments] that need a bit more downtime aren’t such a big deal anymore because we’ve all learned how to work from home,” he says. Somogyi also points to improved technology and surgery techniques. For example, surgeons can now combine liposuction and ultrasound to target areas with a greater degree of precision. “We used to make three tiny holes and put a cannula in to remove fat,” he explains. “Now we’re drawing and sculpting muscles.”
While trends in body-care products and procedures race forward, another body movement is taking hold at the same time: positivity and acceptance. Whether this is coincidence or causal is up for debate, but there’s no disputing the movement’s central tenet: that every body is already worthy of adoration and approval. And if body care is your own love language with yourself, then you’ve got more options than ever before.
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