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Freshen Up With These Invigorating And Summery Body Washes

Summer is in full swing and, with humidity levels and temperatures both rising, it’s all too common to feel sweaty, sticky, and balmy before the day is even half way through. To enjoy a reprieve from the heat and make each shower feel all the more refreshing and energizing, try these new body washes — all of which feature aromas inspired by the summer season, by tropical locales, or by seaside destinations.

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Molton Brown Caju & Lime Body Wash, $30. Available at MoltonBrown.com

All things related to Brazil are hot, hot, hot right now given that the South American country has been hosting the 2014 FIF World Cup, which will come to its climactic conclusion on July 13th. Perhaps because of its role as the host country for this global athletic competition, Brazil has been captivating the imaginations of fashion designers and beauty brands alike. PUMA, for instance, released a series of Tropicalia sneakers featuring screen-printed graphics of flowers spotted in Brazil’s lush rainforests. Similarly,Versace unveiled a limited-edition “Versace Loves Brazil” T-shirt featuring a baroque print incorporating soccer balls, tropical blossoms, and the golden chain links, medallions, leopard print details and Arabesque flourishes. In the realm of beauty, meanwhile, brands like Molton Brown have nodded to the land that birthed bossa nova via aromatic delights like the new Caju & Lime Body Wash.

Every time you apply the Molton Brown Caju & Lime Body Wash to your skin, you’ll feel like you’re enjoying a capirinha during Sao Paulo’s Carnival. Like Brazil’s national cocktail, this lightweight body wash features a zesty lime aroma with just a hint of spearmint. Though it doesn’t contain cachaça, the sugarcane-derived liquor essential to making a strong capirinha, the body wash does include caju (cashew fruit) extract and a hint of honeysuckle flower extract, both of which give the aroma its hint of sweetness. Overall, though, the predominant aromatic note is that of invigorating lime, a welcome change from classic lemon scented formulas since limes prove to be a bit sweeter, their fragrance less overpowering, and they don’t bring to mind lemon-scented household detergents (like Pledge).

Rich in vitamin C, the caju fruit extract in the formula nourishes the skin while honeysuckle extract and hydrogenated castor oil works as anti-inflammatories and anti-bacterials, soothing the skin and gently removing any dirt and impurities. The formula does contain sodium laureth sulfate, a milder version of the controversial SLS that helps give the body wash its lather, and artificial dyes, so it might not be an ideal choice for those with known skin allergies or irritation-prone skin but, otherwise, it’s absolutely lovely.

Added bonus: the yellow-tinted body wash features moisturizing beads in yellow and green hues that nod to the Brazilian flag and float in the liquid like bits of confetti. Even in its packaging, then, the body wash feels like a celebration!

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C. Booth Mimosa Honeysuckle Vitamin-Rich Body Wash, $6.99. Available at Rite Aid and select stores nationwide, as well as FreemanBeauty.com

This paraben-, suflate-, and petrolatum-free body wash smells like sweet honeysuckle blossoms and will bring to mind childhood days spent clutching the end of  each trumpet-shaped flower and  squeezing it gently between your thumb and middle finger until it was sliced open, then freeing the bottom of the spidery pistil and pulling it until the stigma squeezed through the opening at the bottom, releasing a drop of sweet nectar. Because honeysuckle extract acts as an anti-inflammatory and soothing agent, it also works to calm any topical irritations and give the skin some TLC.

Though honeysuckle extract lends the body wash its playful and sweet scent, this floral aroma is blended with the fruity, citric scents of mimosa extract and champagne grapes, recalling summer brunches spent pairing eggs, pancakes, and frittatas with champagne mimosas. Again here, these ingredients are designed to do more than provide an aromatic experience. Mimosa bark, for one, boasts a high content of hyaluronic acid, which draws moisture to the skin and seals it in, helping to keep the skin hydrated and making it look plumper and more supple. Its flavonoids, meanwhile, work to absorb UVB rays and thus work as a sunscreen of sorts, inhibiting the activity of the enzymes responsible for the inflammatory response that often follows sun exposure. Similarly, champagne grapes contain resveratrol — albeit in smaller concentrations than red wine grapes — which is known to fortify the skin’s natural defense mechanism, protecting the skin from environmental aggressors by preventing lipid peroxidation and safeguarding the dermal matrix against the harmful enzymes that lead to the breakdown of collagen. Vitamin E-rich sunflower seed oil, moisturizing Vitamin B5, and antioxidant-rich rose hips extract round out the list of ingredients.

The yellow-tinged shower gel feels delicate and gentle on the skin and it can, with some vigorous rubbing, be worked into a bit of a lather (though not necessarily a sudsy sensation). That said, it’s a bit too watery, making it difficult to handle without the help of a damp sponge or loofah.

loccitane-mer-and-mistral-fresh-shower-gel

L’Occitane Mer & Mistral Fresh Shower Gel, $18. Available at USA.LOccitane.com

If you adore aquatic fragrances like Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue, you’ll likely be drawn to the new L’Occitane Mer & Mistral Fresh Shower Gel, which is designed to appeal to both men and woman via a refreshing scent that purportedly combines watery notes with green rosemary, cypress, and pine notes. That said, the scent does prove a bit more masculine than you might originally imagine since the ethereal aqueous notes are secondary players vis-a-vis the evergreen notes — especially the cypress aroma which is rather heady. Still, it’s an incredibly fresh and green scent that will bring to mind the trees planted next to houses in Provence.

The shower gel contains glycerin to lubricate the skin and seal in moisture; rosemary leaf oil, which boasts anti-bacterial properties and helps to heal wounds and topical inflammations like dermatitis; sunflower seed oil, which is rich in vitamin E and therefore protects the skin from UV exposure; and hydrogenated castor oil, which works as an anti-bacterial and antimicrobial, even fighting acne via its riciloneic acid content, and which moisturizes the skin thanks to its oleic and linoleic acid content and also stimulates collagen and elastin production to keep skin looking youthful and supple. When rinsed off, your skin will have a light, crisp, fresh scent and will feel soothed thanks to the skin-loving ingredients in the formula and the aromatherapy benefits of the rosemary and cypress oil extracts.

softsoap-Coconut-Island-Quench-body-wash

Softsoap Coconut Island Quench Moisturizing Body Wash, $3.50. Available at mass retail, drug, and grocery stores nationwide.

Every season, Softsoap unveils a new limited-edition body wash with an aroma designed to capture the spirit of that specific time of the year. So, when Colgate-Palmolive representatives offered to send me a bottle of the Softsoap Coconut Island Quench body wash for review, I jumped at the chance to enjoy what promised to be a hydrating, tropical-scented cleanser. Indeed, the creamy body wash smells like the pulp inside a freshly cracked coconut but this aroma is married with another scent, a zesty citric note along with a hint of vanilla and maybe even magnolia, that creates the fantasy of being in an island locale.

In terms of ingredients, the body wash contains coconut oil, a popular moisturizer and conditioner thanks to its high concentration of fatty acids — particularly lauric acid. That said, the body wash does contain the controversial ingredient sodium lauryl sulfate, a surfactant that helps to give body washes and shampoos their rich lather but which can irritate skin and lead to dermatitis. If you have sensitive skin or are firmly against using any products containing SLS, this might not be the best choice for you. Still, remember that anti-SLS crusaders have staged a large-scale campaign against the substance and propagated a lot of myths (including that it’s a carcinogen), so don’t necessarily discount a body wash simply because of these claims — just do keep in mind that, rumors and urban legends aside, it is a known irritant.

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