Sunday, June 20, 2010



Words, Event Images Judith Ecochard

Hillary Rodham Clinton, (and later, Julia Roberts) famously cribbed “…it takes a village…” from an old African proverb…about two very disparate topics (childcare and cleavage).

We’re channeling this wisdom as we embrace the ‘Tri’ life.

Suffice to say, it’s challenging—the skills sets required ---swimming, biking, running…and finesse at transitions (like the humans who zip their feet out of their bike shoes…leaving the ped coverings still clicked into the pedals)…

That insures the speedy finish.

But definitely--- it’s the other stuff…the sunscreens that protect, the pain relief topical creams that sooth, the treatments that heal our sensitive skin…that eliminate what could be major impediments to our hoped for, better than last place, finish.


We remember exactly our first encounter with The Body Shop...  helmed by the late Anita Roddick--- an innovative activist of mindful corporate concepts like tying company promotions to social causes, responsibly sourcing ingredients…and giving back to the indigenous populations who live where the ingredients are sustainably harvested from--- via paying a ‘fair price,’ supportive cooperatives etc. (see Community Trade programs).

It was an older cousin who seemingly majored in travel at college- that gave us a 'hauled from London,' Body Shop shampoo…that got us noticing the then, small company.

Now a humongous entity (owned by cosmetic giant L’Oreal, in fact)…The Body Shop has recently introduced new products (and packaging) for its growing line of Eco Cert –ed NUTRIGANICS™ skincare ---that’s aimed at 30 somethings (plus)---who desire to keep their youthful glow--- or get it back.

At a press event recently, we saw the entire anti-aging collection that contains various percentages of organic ingredients.

AND --- was also being hourly demo-ed on an employee---who must have walked out of there with the nicest skin…

What We Tried---

Lightly scented with hints of damask rose, geranium, thyme, carrot and fennel--- the non-drying Refresher Toner ($14) got off the gunk after a run in NYC along the scenic Hudson River ---that's also parallel to the automobile populated West Side Highway. Without stripping off our skin like paint remover… we felt revived now it's a staple in our gym bag.

Added Plus: The toner has moisturizing Community Trade organic babassu oil from Brazil, and healing Community Trade organic aloe vera from Guatemala in the mix…

We also recently tried the Soothing Mask ($22 -pleasantly scented with fennel, geranium, lemongrass, orange…and with Community Trade organic babassu oil (Brazil), Community Trade organic sugar (Paraguay) and Community Trade organic olive oil from (Italy)---

---on our face (applied for 10 minutes on cleansed skin)--- after a day spent at high altitude hiking in the Andes Mountains.

We felt our skin ‘calmed’ down---and have gotten in the weekly habit ever since.

ALL TERRAIN®---the company that serves up “Natural Personal Care Products For Active Lifestyles” ---makes the Deet–Free, Herbal Armor™ Insect Repellent lotion that is always in our backpacks--- when we hit the trails. 


At a recent TrendCast event in midtown Manhattan, we got the 411 on ALL TERRAIN®’s top-rated sunscreens (by the Environmental Working Group latest report)--- that rely upon the minerals zinc or titanium to provide broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection.


Having heard the negative buzz about chemical sunscreens considered to be potential hormone disruptors…we tried the ALL TERRAIN®'s TerraSport Performance Sunscreen SPF30--- also PABA and Paraben free…that came in the Outdoor Travel Kit™ we got (along with 5 other travel sized performance products MSRP $24.99).

Non-greasy (a major requirement for us), we slapped on the easily absorbed lotion on our exposed skin (face, arms) prior to a bike ride…

And happily discovered that, 25 sunny miles/90 minutes later, our skin was thoroughly protected, AND YES---our eyes were entirely sting free the whole jaunt, even though we sweated plenty.

ALL TERRAIN® has a huge environmentally friendly product line…all packaged in recycled, recyclable and/or biodegradable materials too.


Oddly enough, our cramping feet found relief at a Holiday Fair for press---on a summery Spring day.

Topricin® Pain Relief and Healing Cream is an FDA regulated patented, homeopathic greaseless cream (in lotion form too)…that has been on the market for a few years…but was completely new to us.

We didn’t need to be convinced of the healing powers of homeopathy…and neither do most medical pros we have ever encountered anywhere in the world. Even in the States, plastic and orthopedic surgeons and dermatologists routinely urge the bruise buster- Arnica Montana or Belladonna ---in some format or another---on patients. And FYI the basic premise of homeopathy is to stimulate the body to naturally heal the problem/pain while relieving the sufferer of symptoms, not to temporarily mask them over.

We had a fairly lengthy chat with the Topical Biomedics, Inc company president- Lou Paradise, (Topricin's mothership)  a two tour Vietnam war vet who sought a way to naturally heal a lot of the painful conditions he saw others suffering from…and himself, mainly Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

But only in a holistic manner, WITHOUT potentially red flag chemicals or preservatives (paraben)--- inflammatory/volatile ingredients (like petroleum, menthol, camphor, capsaicin), or side effect worries (drug interactions or contraindications)--- of what was already on the market—including oral remedies like ibuprofen.

Torpricin®…now in a kid’s (Junior) and Foot Therapy Cream too (with slightly different combos and additions to the original---we checked the labels)---is simply applied…we massaged the white cream into the cramping parts---calves, feet--- (actually probably just could have dunked our whole body in a vat). The formula was absorbed in seconds and we didn't worry about staining our clothes, or what we coin, eau de Ben Gay smell.

We followed this regimen (2x a day) and mercifully, our next training session in a pool had our feet cramp free. And yes, the massaging action probably helps (though we always have used a foot roller)…but we have no doubt, that Topricin® made the difference. 

Practically odorless too, it’s impossible to overdose on Topricin®, an added plus for parents, the absent minded…or the people who mistakenly think that that double the amount of anything will double the effectiveness of the relief sought.

Trans-dermal relief too…is particularly quick acting (hence nicotine patches, for example)…so we weren’t surprised to learn that Topricin® synergistically works to relieve aches and pains (including arthritis, bruising, sciatica, fibromyalgia)---and can also sooth conditions associated with eczema, insect bits, and minor burns.

Talk about a Baby Boomer must have. Perhaps the quote that stood out the most---from the press literature we read:

I have seen a number of topical pain relief products and it is in my opinion that Topricin® represents the very best natural approach to reducing pain and inflammation for golfers or anyone who wants to stay active.” David Leadbetter, Founder, David Leadbetter Golf Academy.

FYI: No psychic relief for all those missed putts though.


Funny about Holiday Fairs…at another one we got the scoop on a niche skin care line…that was free of more irritating, potentially toxic ingredients of any lone skincare collection we have ever encountered.

Like…dye, fragrance, alcohol, and paraben free (and similarly structured grapefruit seed extract free!), potential hormonal disrupters Triclosan and Resorcinol free, …Laureth Sulfate and Polysorbate free etc (it’s a HUGE LIST)…and whodda’ thunk---even Lanolin free because it’s derived from sheep because potential carcinogens like Dioxan and DDT might be in the grass they eat.  

The organic skincare line HYLUNIA® for sensitive types--- is based on scientific research and the principles of Ayurvedism…an Eastern tradition that regards the body, mind and spirit as one--- with the seven Chakras of human body that are “useful transmission points for emotions and physical manifestations."

Regardless of what little we knew about the aforementioned, we don’t even like to think about that chemical brew that’s must be dumped into the public pool we swim in…- cause we are now brunets turned redheads…

So what we can control re what goes on our largest organ (skin), we are getting mighty picky about.

Amongst the many products offered for the face/body…we are already out of the Beyond Complex C sample we tried.

Stabilized, concentrated Vitamin C, as L-Ascorbic Acid in its non-oxidized form---has been proven to stimulate collagen---

Or…can visibly reduce the visible signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines…and redness.

Beyond Complex C ---well goes beyond…with added goodies like a rare form of seaweed extract those amps up the moisturizing (not oily) production of Hyaluronic Acid, and a wheat complex- Beta Glucan for cell rejuvenation.

We used our sample 2x/day ---and really only needed two drops to gently rub into our entire face (including the overly sensitive under eye area)-- right after we cleansed our skin.

Right off, we noticed there was no stinging irritation (we’ve gotten that from other Vitamin-C based skin serums)---

---and so far, we like how our skin doesn’t show any worse for wear, despite the added hours in the sun (60 mile bike rides, 8 mile runs etc)… And trust us, we definitely see way more wrinkles and age spots in female athletes who don’t protect their skin the right way---and they are at least, a decade younger.