Monday, January 19, 2009

International Orange Bath And Body Products


A couple of months ago, before going away for a full week out west, I realized I needed to overhaul and repack my supplies. That was one of those times when what used to be my linen closet and has slowly converted into a beauty product Aladdin's Cave has come in handy, as I found a set of travel size items from International Orange, a San Francisco spa and yoga center (named after the color of the Golden Gate Bridge). The 1-2 oz bottles were the perfect size, and had exactly what I needed: deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion.

The first thing I noticed when started testing was the scent. It was exactly what one would expect from a swanky spa: first grade essential oils, all smelling live, herbal and utterly intoxicating. Looking at the ingredient list on each bottle, the products seem to live to their promise of being all natural (the web site also says "organic", but the bottles don't). There aren't any active ingredients other than plant extracts and oils and no synthetic fillers, stabilizers, SLS, parabens or anything one needs to look up at those scary safety guides online (you know the ones: you type in what's in your lip gloss and the site tells you it's carcinogenic). Almost everything has bergamot and other citrus oils (take that, IFRA), and there's also crisp lavender and dreamy jasmine.

So, everything smelled great. It (almost) transformed a standard Vegas hotel shower into a dreamy spa (if only the water pressure was up to par). The shampoo and hair cream were nice and would satisfy anyone with normal hair, but my thick mane needs a little more TLC, especially when it comes to conditioning, so the 2 oz jasmine-tuberose cream was depleted long before the week was over.

My favorites were the gentle body wash (lavender bergamot) and the body lotion. The latter with its white lotus, bergamot and tuberose scent combination and aloe leaf, safflower, avocado and jojoba oil base (plus shea butter, wheat germ oil and lots of other goodies) is absolutely amazing. It goes on a bit more sticky than I like, but absorbs quickly and leaves the skin nice and soft. I wish the scent lingered longer, but it doesn't and 20 minutes later I can apply perfume. Of course, it makes me crave tuberose...

The one product I dearly suggest you avoid is the deodorant. Sorry, but grape alcohol and rosemary extract do not make a good anti-stinker. Thankfully, I've learned to be suspicious of all-natural underarm products and had backup (and wet wipes in my bag). Otherwise I would have been found frantically scouring the area for the nearest CVS. The liquid in the bottle might make a good pillow spray, but don't expect it to do anything other than smell calming.

IO products are available from the spa's website. The large samples/travel size ones I got were a PR freebie.

Image: bergamot from essentialoils.org

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