Laura Mercier has body washes in “flavors” like crème de pistache and fresh fig. Philosophy sells a vanilla birthday-cake gift set including bubble baths. Fresh’s Sugar line of lip balms, inspired by the mother of a founder, Lev Glazman, who used sugar to keep his childhood scrapes from becoming infected, now has seven shades.
These days, one might be forgiven for confusing the candy store and cosmetics counter. What started with sweet-scented lotions at Bath & Body Works has become enough pumpkin-spice exfoliators, licorice serums and crème brûlée body washes to stock a French patisserie.
And now the beauty industry is going even further, marketing what it calls “food based” products like coconut shampoo, grapefruit body scrub, mushroom anti-aging cream, pomegranate-pigmented lipstick and cucumber eye-makeup remover.
The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the term “food based,” but companies claim that these products are organic, natural and, in many cases, safe to chew on. It’s an understandable strategy in an era of juice detoxes, hand-wringing over added chemicals and fears about unseen contaminants.
“Just as you eat food to nourish your body on the inside, we use the same food to nourish the skin on the outside,” said Susie Wang, the founder of 100% Pure, a beauty brand in California that offers a Cocoa Kona Coffee Body Scrub made of organic Kona coffee beans and chocolate extract.
Wang said her co-workers have been known to dip pretzels in the scrub and eat it, with one employee sprinkling the exfoliator on ice cream.
Kimberly Cornwell is the founder of Celadon Road in North Attleboro, Mass., a kind of Avon for eco-friendly products sold only by Celadon representatives. “Our sugar and salt scrubs are literally edible,” she said. Regardless of whether you decide to take a snack break mid-beauty routine, some psychologists say smearing sweet substances on body might make us less likely to eat them.