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Escape the Bitter Cold with Carol’s Daughter Island-Inspired Coconut Bath and Body Collection

Now that the holidays are over, you’ve likely had your fill of such seasonal scents as eggnog, pumpkin pie, cinnamon, gingerbread cookies, sugar plum, and cranberry. And, while these scents can often boast a comforting quality, reminding us of the warmth we associate with home, with tender family moments and nights spent snuggling by the fireplace, by the end of January, most of us are ready to leave the frosty winter weather and trade in the sheepskin-lined boots, quilted puffer jackets, and knit wool hats for a bikini, a sarong, a pair of flip-flops and a piece of sandy beach. The new Carol’s Daughter Coconut Bath & Body Collection is designed to provide a sensory escape via scent , to mentally transport users to sun-soaked beaches and warm tropical destinations via a sensual but cheerful fragrance with a coconut heart. To that end, then, the collection incorporates four products designed to cleanse, moisturize, soothe, and soften the skin, while leaving behind a delectable, playful, slightly sensual coconut-inspired scent. The four products in the collection are: the Coconut Body Cleansing Cream ($17 at CarolsDaughter.com), a non-foaming cleanser with moisturizing properties; Coconut Dry Oil Mist ($21 at CarolsDaughter.com), a hydrating body oil that can be applied to damp skin after a shower for a moisture boost; Coconut  Frappe Body Lotion ($18 at CarolsDaughter.com), a lightweight and almost milky lotion for everyday use; and the Coconut Shea Soufflé ($20 at CarolsDaughter.com), a thicker, more luxurious, heavier body cream for parched skin.

Now, as soon as I saw the word “coconut” on the label of these products, I went a bit coco-nutty. After all, few scents remind me of home as much as coconut. I lived in Puerto Rico until the age of 15, when I ventured off to prep school in New Hampshire, and much of my family remains in La Isla del Encanto so the scent of coconut instantly reminds me of weekends spent at the beach, of excursions into Old San Juan in which we’d beg for helados de coco, of Christmas Eve and New Year’s family parties in which the adults sipped on coquito (coconut eggnog), of my older brother and I bickering over who would eat the cherries used as garnish in our virgin Piña Coladas at restaurants, of the cans of Coco Rico soda in my grandma’s fridge, and the macaroon-like dulce de coco confections we so treasured and the chewy crema de coco candies my grandmother made from scratch (a tedious process that involved working the sugar, milk, and coconut into a taffy-like sough, then pulling and manipulating the rope-like strands, cutting them into bar-shaped pieces and setting them over a marble surface).

Of course, the way we experience scents is extremely personal, as are the associations we make with these fragrances (most of which are likely rooted in memory). Whereas I expected a decadently rich, creamy, milky coconut scent, the products’ aroma was nowhere near as pulpy and succulent. Carol’s Daughter founder Lisa Price, it seems, was more fascinated with the coconut water lurking inside the round fruits clustered at the center of  palm tree tops than in the fleshy, milky parts at their cores. To me, then, most of the products in the collection smelled more like the pre-packaged Vita Coco or Zico coconut waters that are currently in vogue as opposed to the pulpy inside of a freshly halved coconut. In other words, I found the fragrance a bit artificial and extremely diluted — which is not to say it was in any way unpleasant but, rather, that it diverged from my expectations. Then again, though the collection is dubbed “Coconut,” these products’ fragrance relies on a much more complicated mixture of notes, with magnolia, coconut water and bergamot top notes; coconut orchid, water lily, and frangipani middle notes; and a vanilla, musk, and sheer amber base.  For me, the coconut water, coconut orchid (a plant that smells a bit like Coco Lopez), water lily, and vanilla notes really predominated and, while the fragrance strayed from my expectations, it still proved lovely and it did manage to mentally transport me to a gorgeous beach with pristine sand and perfectly azure water.

But how do the products perform?

Well, my least favorite product in the collection is the Carol’s Daughter Coconut Body Cleansing Cream ($17 at CarolsDaughter.com), most likely because I found this product to have the most pungent iteration of the coconut scent (and yes, it does differ slightly from product to product). In terms of ingredients , this creamy, milky, non-foaming shower cream relies on aloe vera leaf juice and oat protein to soothe topical irritations and refresh the skin, antioxidant-rich açai extract to nourish and protect the skin; and glycerin, to lock moisture into the skin and leave it feeling smooth and soft. Still, as a cleanser, it didn’t leave my skin feeling squeaky clean but, rather, left it feeling as if there were still some invisible film coating my body. Admittedly, I prefer cleansers with a gel-like texture than a creamy one so this could explain why I wasn’t sold on this body wash, but I must confess I wasn’t entirely sold on it.

The Carol’s Daughter Coconut Dry Oil Mist ($21 at CarolsDaughter.com), meanwhile, felt delightful and yet I found that I’m only pleased when I use it immediately after showering, when my pores are open and my skin is ready to absorb all the nutrients in the formula — among them açai extract, aloe leaf juice, shea butter, and sweet almond oil. If you attempt to apply it to dry skin, you’ll need to use it rather sparingly, as it can be harder for the skin to fully absorb the body oil and, hence, it can leave a greasy residue.

Now on to the superstars of the collection: the Carol’s Daughter Coconut  Frappe Body Lotion ($18 at CarolsDaughter.com) and the Carol’s Daughter Coconut Shea Souffle ($20 at CarolsDaughter.com). I’ve used both of these body moisturizers to the point of scraping their bottles or jars (always a good sign!) and have been enamored with how velvety my skin felt after application. The body lotion works wonders when you need a lighter moisturizer (as when the temperatures or the humidity level remain high), but the shea souffle is masterful for the winter season, when skin becomes dehydrated, itchy, scaly, flaky, and downright painful.

With its whipped consistency and buttery feel, the Coconut Shea Soufflé feels absolutely decadent and sinful on the skin. This miracle skin whip is formulated with antioxidant-rich conditioning agents like vitamin E and panthenol;  fatty acid-rich cocoa butter and shea butter, both venerated for their emollient abilities; soothing aloe vera leaf juice; fatty acid-rich coconut oil, which helps to restore the skin’s lipid barrier and protect it from moisture less;  and a  nourishing, skin softening blend of jojoba, rice bran, grapeseed, soy and sweet almond oils. Like all of Carol’s Daughter’s Shea Soufflés, this one restores skin to its most touchable, kissable, lustrous, beautiful state, while also protecting it from harsh environmental factors that can lead to premature skin aging. And, perhaps because of the shea and cocoa butter in the formula, along with the coconut oil therein, its scent is much closer to that robust, lavish, lush coconut cream smell I so desired to savor.

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