The Skinny On New Skinnygirl Bath Collection Kits
Eventually, something good had to emerge from the runaway success of Bravo’s Real Housewives series — and I’m not just talking about VH1 and TLC producing their own copycat versions (VH1 with its Basketball Wives, Mob Wives, and Love & Hip-Hop shows; and TLC with its controversial Sister Wives series and upcoming Preacher Wives). Though some DVR-worthy fight scenes (cue Teresa Giudice’s table-flipping outburst), trashy memoirs (such as Nene Leakes’ Never Make The Same Mistake Twice), and flash-of-the-pan clothing lines (from the Alexis by Tal Sheyn line launched by Real Housewives of Orange County star Alexis Bellino to the Sheree Witfield’s She by Sheree line) have kept these reality TV personalities in the headlines, none has quite gained as much of a reputation for being a legitimate entrepreneur as Real Housewives of New York‘s Bethenny Frankel.
Sure, she’s been a fixture in the reality TV circuit thanks to 2010′s Bethenny Getting Married?, which chronicled her engagement, marriage, and the birth of her daughter, and 2011′s Bethenny Ever After, which followed her first year as a mother and wife. But Frankel wasn’t content in simply rejoicing about having attained today’s famous-for-being-famous status. Instead, she leveraged her growing visibility to launch a series of projects: penning four self-help books centered on cultivating healthy eating habits an attaining professional goals; launching and starring in a series of exercise DVDs; developing Skinnygirl cocktails, a line of low-calorie but tasty spirits; unveiling her new line of Skinnygirl skin and body care products; and reinventing herself as a chatty and warm host for her eponymous FOX talk show Bethenny.
As Frankel’s empire continues to expand so do its various divisions — and the Skinnygirl Face and Body range is no exception. Playing off the Skinnygirl name’s association with low-calorie cocktails, Frankel recently unveiled a series of adorably packaged bath sets, each incorporating a shower gel, lotion, and body scrub scented after a popular alcoholic treat. Both the Skinnygirl Sangria Bath Collection ($15 at SkinnygirlFaceAndBodyStore.com) and the Margarita Bath Collection ($15 at SkinnygirlFaceAndBody.com), then, come in white boxes with red trim and see-through central window panes displaying the Shower Gel, Exfoliating Body Scrub, and Body Lotion bottles and jars in their interiors. In keeping with the theme, the Skinnygirl Sangria Bath Collection features products bearing a reddish tint (particularly the shower gel which is itself a red shade reminiscent of ruby red grapefruit juice), packaged in bottles bearing illustrations of blood orange halves (particularly the Body Exfoliator, which features one such illustration along its twist-off cap). Similarly, the Margarita Bath Collection features products in a lively green shade, with illustrations of lime slices adorning the bottles and jars.
In terms of the aromas developed to both celebrate these refreshing cocktails and create an indulgent spa-like experience through skin care, neither one could really be described as having perfectly honed in on the desired notes. The Margarita Shower Gel, for instance, boasts a lively and exuberant lime note but it doesn’t have the bitterness of tequila — or, for that matter, the earthy and oaken notes associated with its cultivation and the process by which the spirit is aged. Similarly, the Sangria Shower Gel doesn’t smell even remotely like red wine but, rather, it has a scent that can be likened to a diluted blood orange and fruit punch mix. Though their scents are pleasant — particularly in the summertime, when the hot weather practically calls for refreshing, invigorating, zesty, fruit-based aromas — they’re not as on-the-nose as the fragrances developed for products by companies like, say, Philosophy, which has managed to replicate the aroma of everything from vanilla birthday cake to gingerbread cookies, pumpkin chai lattes, raspberry sorbets, and strawberry milkshakes. If you compare the Skinnygirl Margarita Shower Gel to the Philosophy Senorita Margarita Shampoo, Shower Gel & Body Bath, the latter will clearly emerge as the victor in terms of aromatic charm, consistency, and final skin benefits. But, at the same time, the Skinnygirl Margarita Bath Collection offers three products for less than the price of a single Philosophy shower gel bottle, making the former a great buy in terms of value.
Though the Skinnygirl Sangria and Margarita Bath Collections fell a bit short of expectations on the fragrance front, I was still pretty pleased with the products. Here’s the best way to put it: while I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy these products, I also wouldn’t shun them from my bathroom.
Both shower gels will effectively cleanse skin, for instance, but they have an oddly thick, blubbery, almost gelatinous consistency that makes them a bit tricky to maneuver. And, unlike other body washes, they contain few moisturizing and rejuvenating botanicals (save for honeysuckle extract). Similarly, the body polishes contain grainy particles to slough off dead skin but the formula is so watered-down that it loses some of its potency. As for the body lotions, they do moisturize skin but not as effectively as other lotions and creams (including drugstore offerings). Perhaps most disturbing of all, the Skinnygirl products contain way more chemical ingredients than they do botanical extracts — among them notorious artificial dyes like Blue 1, Yellow 5, and Red 33, which can trigger allergic reactions in women with sensitive skin.
Overall, I’d advise buying one of these kits if you’re looking for an affordable gift for a casual friend or co-worker, but I wouldn’t suggest scouring the Earth to replenish on these items. While they smell pleasant and come in stylish packaging, you’re likely to find equally affordable products that deliver much better results for your skin.