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BY DESIGN : Dozens of Doses of Cool

August 10, 1995|DONNA LARCEN | THE HARTFORD COURANT

It's hot.

All together now: How hot is it?

Furnace-blast hot. Sticky-shirt hot. Wavy-horizon-line-above-the-melting-tar hot.

We need cool.

Thankfully, the cosmetics industry has some neat summer tricks that impart a welcome chilly blast to our hot bods. Dozens of new products to soothe our fevered brows, refresh our sagging spirits and pamper our puffy feet.

The industry has come through with moisture mists, after-bath fresheners, apres-sun treatments, restoring gels, foot sprays, liquids that turn into talcs, leg gels and refreezable facial eye masks that look like something Batman would wear if he went to an upscale spa.

No matter what product--whether it be in the form of a lotion, face mist or gel mask--we found some common ingredients:

* Peppermint is one of nature's great ice-downs, giving a sensation of coolness to the skin.

* The soothing yet refreshing qualities of aloe vera can now be found in bath splashes and apres-sun products. Aloe retains moisture, and the plant has anti-inflammatory properties.

* Chamomile, extracted from the flower, helps soothe inflamed skin and stop dehydration. It is often combined with aloe or peppermint.

* Witch hazel is a skin freshener, local anesthetic and astringent that feels cool to the skin.

To pump in more arctic, many stores recommend keeping their products in the refrigerator. Savvy shoppers will also notice that many of these cooling agents are blue, green or a combination of both.

"Nothing is cooler than blue or green," says Leatrice Eiseman, director of the Pantone Institute, which studies color. "Those colors suggest things that make you cool like water, sky, grassy meadows and verdant forests."

On to products. This lineup is intended as a suggestion, not a definitive list of summer chills.

* Mists: Garden Botanika suggests its moisture mist with aloe and witch hazel ($8.50 for eight ounces). It can be used over makeup. H2O Plus offers Hydraspa Moisture mist ($8.85 for six ounces), which includes aloe vera gel and chamomile. This also is sprayed on the face for instant soothing relief.

* Legs and feet: Treat your feet to the Body Shop's Refreshing Foot Spray with rosemary oil ($4.50 for four ounces). The Body Shop's Cooling Leg Gel ($4.95 for 5.9 ounces) uses peppermint and chamomile. Crabtree & Evelyn sells a foot-care line that includes an aloe vera and pumice foot scrub ($10 for 5.3 ounces).

* Masks: In summer, try gel masks that set up but don't turn to clay. Garden Botanika has Soothing Botanical Gel Mask ($8.50 for two ounces) good for all skin types.

* After sun: The best thing you can do for yourself is not get a tan, but this time of year we are out more and can expose ourselves to sun or wind damage. For topical relief, try the Body Shop's Aftersun Spray ($6.95 for 4.2 ounces) with aloe vera gel and watermelon. Garden Botanika's Aloe Vera Soothing Gel ($7.50 for eight ounces is part of its Sun & Sport line). H2O's After Sun Refresher ($12 for 8.4 ounces) has aloe vera gel and seaweed extract.

* After bath: Try Crabtree & Evelyn's Aloe Vera Refresher ($12 for 8.8 ounces) or H2O's Waves ($20 for 3.4 ounces), which goes on as a liquid and turns to a talc for drying effect.

* Cool eyes: Crabtree & Evelyn sells a refreezable eye mask ($7.50). Pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes then strap it over your eyes. It's supposed to reduce puffiness and drop your temperature.

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