Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Little Luxuries

They say it’s the thought that counts. But what if it’s just a thoughtless thought? Gift certificates have their place. If you are truly clueless about what to gift someone, gift certificates can be a welcomed present. But year after year, they turn stale, boring, predictable.

This year use your beauty expertise to indulge your loved ones through creativity and resourcefulness.

seasponges.pngSurprise them with a little luxury that they otherwise may never have gotten for themselves, like a natural sea sponge. They will come to love this gift and use it for years. And when they do, they’ll think of you.

Most women would forfeit their washcloths in a nanosecond if presented with a natural beauty sponge.

“Sea sponges are the original Shower Pouf,” said Marc Washburn of Natural Bath and Body Shop in Tarpon Springs, Florida. “Once you try one with your favorite soap or body wash, your plastic synthetic pouf will likely end up in your recycle bin,” he continued.

You can find “faux” sea sponges at Target and drugstores for $3.99, but don’t be fooled. They may look like the authentic golden wonders, but they are not.

Natural sea sponges are a complete luxury to use in the shower or bath. If you’ve ever sunk your hands into a wet sea sponge, you remember the plush texture that rivals the softness of lamb’s wool, the cushiony resiliency, the porous, absorbent nature which makes them a natural choice for bathing. They soak up and hold tons of sudsy water, making a great lather. Individually unique and now sustainably-harvested conservatively from the ocean floor, these beautiful skeletons speak of the sea and have been used by humans for bathing for thousands of years.

“They are hypoallergenic, biodegradable and due to a natural enzyme, will resist the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria,” Washburn stated.

It’s worth mentioning, also, that the process of turning a live sea sponge into a beauty product produces very little waste and requires no chemicals. Sea sponges are not endangered, and lack a nervous system with which to feel pain.

Which sponge works best for me?
For bath and body: Wool sponges are the best for bathing. They are soft and will last the longest. Yellow sponge is a great alternative. It will not last as long as it is not as durable.
For exfoliation: The grass sponge has a lightly rough texture and is perfect for exfoliating.

A great idea is to order the Sponge Sampler from Natural Bath & Body. Choose the 5-6″-size sampler for $19.97. You get three gorgeous sponges to split between you and your friends. Shipping these lightweight jewels costs next to nothing, and “You can feel good about using a natural sea sponge,” Washburn said.

Where can I find a natural sea sponge?
Try http://www.naturalbathandbodyshop.com/ for an array of reasonably-priced sponges. They also sell loofah products, natural moisturizers, hair conditioners and masks, beautiful natural soaps and products for babies and children.

Or try the Crabtree & Evelyn stores or website by clicking here. http://www.crabtree-evelyn.com/eng/search/advanced/?keywords=sea_sponge

How do I clean my sponge?

Washing natural sponges deters soap build-up. Follow this cleaning guide every few weeks.
1. Rinse the natural sponge under cool running water.
2. Soak the sponge in a small bowl filled with 2 tablespoons of vinegar to each liter of water. Soak for 2 hours.
3. Remove from the bowl and shake gently to remove excess liquid.
4. Set out to dry on a clean surface. Now your sponge will be like new.

Many women would never think to buy one for themselves but are delighted to receive a natural sea sponge. For a mere $10 you can indulge anyone on your list without breaking the bank.

Remember, you can always bundle a sea sponge with a nice shower gel or some beautiful soaps if you’re feeling generous, and shipping the lightweight sponges to out-of-state friends makes it even more economical.

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