Would you take your beauty regimen cues from a man in neon green waders holding a pile of mollusks in rubber shucking gloves? Well, maybe.
Ben Gonzalez, 50, co-owner of Southold Bay Oyster Farm on the North Fork, has formulated a face cream that employs "oyster technology" that claims to hydrate, moisturize and soften skin. His cream is one of many potions and lotions that harness the powers of unexpected ingredients — from bananas to wasabi to snails (yes, snails) — to amp up your beauty game.
For the record, Gonzalez didn’t just toss some oysters in a blender and mix them up. The pandemic shutdown last March, "gave us time to focus on developing our first skin care product," he says. "We wanted to be able to bring the benefits of oysters to everyone including folks who do not eat them." And being that his husband and business partner David Daly, 41, hails from a beauty background at L’Oréal, it made sense. "My short career in the beauty industry has definitely helped shape our expansion into skin care," adds Daly.
So, perhaps it’s oyster cream or maple syrup hair care that beckons, but there are plenty of unusual beauty products to experiment with this year. We’ve put together a potpourri of some interesting ones, formulated for both men and women. It’s 2021, and a more than welcome time to break out of the same-old-same-old and try something new.
Just for the shell of it: Best used as a night cream, Southold Bay Skin Care is a formula derived from a rich ingredient found in oysters called "oyster nacre" that produces a protective moisturizing film. It's said to provide a repairing effect on damaged skin. Oysters themselves are an excellent source of calcium, zinc, vitamins, vitamin D, B12 and iron. Don’t be put off when you look a bit paler after applying — the pearly sheen is part of the treatment; $29 at southoldbay.com.
Go bananas with Nana Shower Gel: This a creamy, dreamy body wash smells like fresh-baked banana bread, with ingredients such as banana (natch), oats, sea salt and wheat germ oil. It may come in handy when trying to erase winter’s chapping effects. It comes in four sizes that go from $10.95 to $36.95 at Lush in the Roosevelt Field and Walt Whitman malls and lushusa.com.
Wasabi wonder: Oily, fine hair gets a lift with this blend of herbs and oils including wasabi, horseradish, sea salt and olive oil that are said to help add volume and serve as an exfoliant. Wasabi Shan Kui comes in four different sizes from $11.95 to $56.95 at Lush in the Roosevelt Field and Walt Whitman malls and lushusa.com.
Creamy Kale Water: This kale-based, ultralightweight moisturizer combines kale extract with skin-replenishing retinoids and a clinical peptide. Its goal is to help erase the appearance of wrinkles. Marianna Cucchi, owner of The Soap Box where it’s sold says, "It’s really a moisturizer for almost all skin types, even oily, and is packed with vitamins A, C and K." It’s $34 by Farmhouse Fresh at The SoapBox in Port Jefferson and soapboxny.com.
Take the plunge: Maybe you haven’t made it out to Montauk lately, but you can still take a dip (sort of) in the ocean there with this soap made of olive oil, castor oil, palm oil, coconut oil, rice bran oil, shea butter, gritty bits of ground-up kelp and water taken from the coast of Montauk. The owner of this Lindenhurst-based business, Warm and Fuzzy Soapery, Margaret Connor calls the soap "The End." She recommends its use for exfoliation, oil balancing and inflammation reduction. For fun, there’s a terrific lather and the lovely scent of spearmint and eucalyptus. "The End" soap is available for $9 at warmandfuzzysoapery.com.
Pizza pucker: Admittedly, this Pizza Party lip balm one might not be for everybody. It contains beeswax, coconut oil and cocoa butter along with pepperoni pizza flavoring. Made by the Warm and Fuzzy Soapery in Lindenhurst, owner Margaret Connor says she developed it for a cousin’s son who "loves all things pizza. It seems like it’s a hit with the kids," she says. The pizza lip balm sells for $2.50 at warmandfuzzysoapery.com.
Don’t worry, be sappy: There’s zero stickiness in this hair mask that boasts ingredients such as sugar maple extract, agave and birch leaf, all of which are said to deeply condition hair; $36 by Crabtree & Evelyn at crabtree-evelyn.com.
A broccoli boost: Mom always said to eat your broccoli and now you can get a serving in two new skin care products using broccoli seed oil to hydrate and brighten. It’s all about the glow with Bio Booster Facial Serum ($25), which is said to combat against breakouts and, besides the broccoli, includes red raspberry seed and turmeric. The Bio Tint Multi Action moisturizer ($30) comes in four different shades and includes, yes, the broccoli along with algae extract and organic coconut oil along with SPF 30; both by W3LL People and available at Target or Ulta stores and w3ll.com.
Chocoholic dreams: Treat skin with this delicious sugar scrub (yes, delicious and it even tastes good because the formula includes edible chocolate flavoring) that you can slather all over. It smells like a candy store and tastes like milk chocolate all the while doing its job to make skin feel soft and silky. Prices for Scrubz Chocolate Dreamz range from $22 to $32 at Scrubz Skin Care Shop in Farmingdale and scrubzbody.com.
A breath of fresh air: Um, yeah, we’ve been stuck inside a little too much these days, so maybe try what’s being dubbed as a "forest in a bottle," a mist for face and body that includes ingredients drawn from pine, spruce, fir and cypress trees along with algae vera, sweet orange and rosemary oils and a healthy dose of vitamin D all said to soothe, calm, balance and shield; $28 at Revive Health Studio in Huntington and revivehealthstudio.com.
Hail the snail: Gold fermented snail mucus (eek) is the primary ingredient in this superrich eye cream. In case it sounds too weird, note that use of snail mucus in Korean beauty products is not obscure, and is said to make skin look extra dewy and hydrated. The "Timeless Ferment Snail Eye Cream" set sells for $59.50 at Macy’s stores and macys.com.