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California a cornucopia of natural beauty products

The state offers a bumper crop of produce and natural resources that are good for the body and mind.

November 21, 2010|By Alene Dawson | Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Grapeseed Co. Custom Vinotherapy Mask To-Go Box is $24.
Grapeseed Co. Custom Vinotherapy Mask To-Go Box is $24. (Grapeseed Co. )

As families sit down at the table Thursday to give thanks for a bountiful feast, we can also give thanks for the bounty of California, where the harvest is diverse and year-round.

And — more thanks — many of California's abundant crops and natural resources provide more than just good nutrition: They can help in the pursuit of beauty too.

Grapes — anti-aging

"Grapes are naturally rich in antioxidants, so they offer incredible health-protective benefits whether eaten or applied topically," says Dr. Howard Murad, a dermatologist and associate clinical professor of medicine at UCLA. "The skins of the grapes contain flavonoids, a type of antioxidants that protect cells against free-radical damage, reduce inflammation and help prevent skin damage." Resveratrol, found in grape skins, is also touted as an anti-aging ingredient, and grape seeds and grape seed extracts are rich in flavonoids and vitamin E and can be the base of a terrific body scrub.

To try:

Warm Grapeseed oil massage at Auberge du Soleil Spa in Napa Valley, $180.

Wine and Honey Wrap at Spa Hotel Healdsburg in Sonoma County, using local organic honey and Sonoma County wine, $110.

The Grapeseed Co. Custom Vinotherapy Mask To-Go Box, $24. Red & White Organic Wine Bar gift set featuring full-sized harvest crush Syrah and summer crisp Chardonnay organic wine bar soap, $20, or try the Spa'vignon Blanc Wine Bar organic soap for $7.95.

Citrus — uplifting, detoxifying and clarifying

Citrus is known for its uplifting, happy scents. Products with lemons can also be clarifying, brightening and sanitizing. Lemon was heralded as a freckle-fader in the 1970s, but cosmetic chemist Rebecca James Gadberry says citrus applied topically can irritate the skin. So, celebrate your inner lemon-lover, but just make sure the product is right for your skin type.

To try:

The Nirvana massage at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills — ingredients include the hotel's Pacific Grove oil bursting with Southern California citrus such as lemon, grapefruit and clementine, $175.

Pixie Tangerine & Pomegranate scrub at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, made with local pixie tangerines, $150.

100% Pure Fresh Squeezed Blood Orange Juicy shower gel, $15.

Malibu Lemon Blossom spray perfume. $22.

Limoneira Simply Lemons gift pack including a Lemon Sugar candle and Lemon Balm hand cleanser, $26.

Olives — moisturizing

Olives are good for your skin — especially if you're undergoing or have undergone chemotherapy, says Dr. Ava T. Shamban, a Southern California dermatologist who has many chemotherapy patients. "Olive oil is a terrific moisturizer — it has omega-9 and antioxidants including vitamin E and phenols," Shamban says. "People going through chemotherapy treatments want to avoid unnatural products because of concerns about toxicity from ingredients formulated in a lab."

To try:

Ojai Olive Oil Body Soufflé moisturizing body treatment at the Oaks at Ojai for $130.

Olivina Classic olive body butter, signature gift box, $38, or Olivina Classic olive body and leg oil, $32.

Avocados — moisturizing

"Avocados are wonderful! They have vitamins E, K, B and C, folate, niacin, riboflavin and more," Shamban says "The question is how much of those nutrients gets into the skin. Avocados are high in lipids and penetrate skin better than water-based products. I do know that my chemotherapy patients feel better after the use of an avocado face mask and olive oil on their body."

To try:

For a home treatment, mix one-half cup avocado with one-fourth cup honey to moisturize dry skin or mix half an avocado with an egg white and a teaspoon of lemon juice and wear for 20 minutes if your skin is on the oily side.

Avocado Beauty Delight from Orchard Fresh Gift Baskets contains six Hass avocados, Limoneira Lifestyles avocado mask and Lavender Avocado facial cleanser, $44.

Lavender — relaxing

Lucky for us, lavender fields thrive in California. An aromatherapy staple, lavender is said to relax and calm mind and body.

To try:

Napa Valley Bath Co. Sacred Bath gift set including Organic bath tea, Pink Himalayan and Lavender bath salts and Organic Lavender bath milk, $37. A Napa Valley Farm Gift Set including Organic Lavender Hydrosol, Napa Valley Organic essential oil, Napa Valley Organic Lavender Bundle and local olive oil, $72.

Strawberry — antioxidant

Get sweet. Besides tasting good, the berries are full of Vitamin C, have antioxidant properties and can provide a rich color in natural cosmetics.

To try:

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