Beauty and the Feast, Part I

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*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.*

Welcome to Beauty and the Feast, a series of food-based skincare reviews.

Let me tell you a little secret.

For all my video game playing, comic book reading, and UFC watching, I’m secretly a girl-y girl at heart—and a bona fide beauty product junkie. From my daily diet of drugstore brands to the occasional, obnoxious indulgence from Saks, I love playing with jars and tubes of creams and scrubs almost as much as I love playing in the kitchen.

I blame the cream sauce

So, when I made my Chicken Cooked in Cream a little while ago, I wished (more than once) that I could jump into the pot and swim around in the velvety cream sauce.

Odd? OK, maybe a little.

Maybe I was having a Cleopatra moment. Rumor has it that she regularly bathed in milk to soften her skin.

Beauty school, ancient-civ style

In fact, food and beauty rituals have always shared a deep connection through history.

Japanese women scrubbed their faces with rice bran and ground adzuki beans to keep their skin smooth and supple. In Morocco, they used extra virgin olive oil as a skin and hair moisturizer. Ancient Indonesian women rinsed their hair in coconut milk. The Mayans used mashed avocados to keep their skin dewy.

Call me a hedonist, but there’s something primal, appealing, and downright nourishing about getting down and dirty (wait, I mean clean) with food like this.

Get some food on your face

Food is everywhere these days—not just on the kitchen table.

Think Food Network, Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen. Ten years ago, it was rare for a chef to be as recognizable as a rock star. The internet has morphed into an all-you-can-eat food blog buffet. Slow Food is gaining speed. Food is more than just food. It’s a culture and a way of life for a lot of folks.

It only makes sense that food has made its way—literally into our cars, our newspapers, and our beauty products. Today, more and more cosmetics companies are incorporating food into their products—and promoting them with wild success to our increasingly foodie-centric culture.

Origins has its white tea– and mushroom-infused creams. Creme de la Mer does its magical thing with seaweed. Fresh sells brown-sugar body polish and sake-laced products. Just the other day, I bought a slick tube of Risarium Black Rice Eye Cream. Black rice? How could I resist? (I should know better because I work in advertising, but somehow I’m still a sucker for great packaging.)

Beauty from the inside out

Modern dermatologists are taking the whole food-for-your-face thing one step further. Not only are they putting food-based ingredients in their products, but they’re also developing special diets and lines of vitamins and supplements designed to promote healthy skin from within.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, check out Dr. Perricone, whose routines are supposed to help prevent wrinkles or clear up acne, or Murad, whose Internal Skincare products aim to help you detoxify and de-wrinkle.

Sound like they’re selling snake oil? Maybe. Maybe not.

Bottom line?

At the end of the day, I’m not a dermatologist or a chemist. I do know that there’s something positively primitive, fantastic, and fun about smearing food on your skin. After all, food makes me feel good. If it can make me look good, too…well, that’s just a bonus in my book.

Order up! Get fresh with The Body Deli

The Body Deli is one of these companies I’ve been talking about that definitely believes in the power of feeding your face. Based in Palm Desert, California, The Body Deli is owned by duo David Parker and Margaret Skarin, who bill themselves as “cosmetic chefs.”

They were kind enough to send me some of their products to review. Man, am I glad they did. I think I’m hooked.

(I’m actually kind of boggled by how impressed I am. Let me be clear before I start raving: They didn’t pay me one red cent to be nice.)

The Body Deli’s products are all handmade in small batches with fresh, raw, natural, and organic ingredients. Parker and Skarin believe that your skin benefits most from vitamins and enzymes at the peak of their potency—which means that the “living foods” you get from them are fresh, fresh, fresh.

So fresh, in fact, that my products arrived by courier in a refrigerated lunch bag, complete with ice packs. (Imagine The Angry Chef’s confusion when he saw this sitting in the fridge.)

Inside, there was an exfoliating blueberry scrub, a mud mask, and a sea cucumber gel moisturizer—all three of which needed to be kept cold.

Embarrassingly, I was tempted more than once to take a little nibble of each of them, except maybe the mud mask.

A little background

All these products worked really well for me as a small, gray mouse (a.k.a. a gal in her 30’s with fair, combination skin).

Below, I’ve included product shots from The Body Deli’s website (professionally shot), as well as pics I took myself (shot in my kitchen). That probably accounts for any discrepancies in color you might notice.

Blueberry Fusion Scrub$36

You know that St. Ives Apricot Scrub you might have kicking around in the back of your medicine cabinet? Toss it and buy some Blueberry Fusion Scrub. Trust me.

First off, if you like blueberries, this stuff smells a-ma-zing. I can’t think of a smoothie I’ve had that smells better. This is an exfoliating scrub that smooths your skin with a combination of fruit acids and natural earth particles. You massage a little blob of it onto moist skin in a circular motion. It was slightly gritty without being harsh. It also turns your face a really entertaining shade of pink before you rinse it off.

It left my skin smooth, really soft, and kind of glow-y. Two thumbs up.

Ingredients: Organic Aloe Vera Juice, Colloidal Oatmeal, Guar Gum, Organic Blueberries, Xanthan Gum, Diatomaceous Earth, Vitamin E, Organic Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Carrot Seed Oil, Organic Rose Hip Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Rosemary Oil Extract, Fresh Cells of Pomegranate and Kiwi, Organic Fruit Acid Enzymes, Potassium Sorbate.

Glacial Mineral Mud Masque$24

I used the Glacial Mineral Mud Masque next. It was a really cooling contrast to the blueberry scrub.

Instructions state to use it as a whole face mask or a spot treatment. Not one to skimp at this point, I slathered it all over my face. It had the consistency of almost-melted chocolate ice cream.

This mask is chock full of clay and other ingredients that are supposed to draw out toxins and oil and shrink pores. The smell was a brisk mix of herbal and something bordering on menthol. I left it on for about 20 minutes, until it dried completely and lightened in color.

I rinsed it off, and my skin felt really clean, fresh, and tight (but not at all dry or irritated). Again, two thumbs up.

Ingredients: Glacial Mineral Mud, Bentonite Clay, Organic Aloe Vera Juice, Micro Clustered Ionized Water, Colloidal Silver, Allantoin, Squalane, Evening Primrose, Rose-Hips, Calendula, Carrot Seed, Chamomile, Japanese Honeysuckle, Rosemary oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Benzoin, Lecithin, Honey, Lavender, Ylang-Ylang, Rose, Lime, Geranium.

Sea Cucumber Gelee$45

If this was a three-course meal, then the Sea Cucumber Gelee was definitely the dessert. It was cool, refreshing, and moisturizing—without being the least bit greasy or oily.

I was interested in this in particular, since it includes Hyaluronic acid, an ingredient in some injectable wrinkle fillers and nicer skin creams, that works by attracting water and then holding it in like a sponge.

The gelee went on smoothly and sunk in after just about a minute, leaving my skin remarkably smooth. The Body Deli says that it “imparts a dewy glow.” And honestly? It does.

(I admit to sashaying around and asking The Angry Chef if I was glowing. He agreed that I was, and then threatened to smoosh me if I didn’t stop prancing about.) Two thumbs up.

Ingredients: Organic Aloe Vera Juice, Kombucha Tea, Sunflower Seed Oil, Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Fresh Cells of Cucumber, Pomegrante, & Kiwi, Green Tea Extract, Castor Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Organic Olive Leaf Extract, Chamomile Extract*, Rosehip Seed Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Calendual Extract, Organic Comfery Extract, Organic Golden Flax, Evening Primrose, Guar Gum, Xanthun Gum, Chorella, Blue Green Algae, Spirulina, Chorophyll & Potassium Sorbate.

The Hungry Mouse verdict

I love this stuff. When I woke up the next day, my face looked—and felt—like I just spent a day at the spa.

I’ve used some super swanky products in the past, and The Body Deli blows a lot of them (including Creme de la Mer’s epic moisturizer) out of the water for me.

I know I’ll be a repeat customer. Definitely check them out. I’d be shocked if you were disappointed.

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

10 COMMENTS

  1. This is great! I have been on such a blueberry kick lately, and now that they're out of season I've been wondering how to get my fix. This scrub is perfect! Nothing better to remind you of summer when it's 10 below than a face full of berry freshness! I'm sold :) -emily (MyricaRubra/Chicago Dining
  2. Emily--Thanks! Yeah, I think if I were only going to get one thing, it would definitely be the scrub. Indonesian Woman--Thank you! And thanks for stopping by. :D +Jessie
  3. They sound amazing! Though I have to admit I am a little concerned about the refrigeration issue - that would probably make the shipping charges skyrocket for me on the East Coast :-(
  4. Elisa--Thanks for stopping by! I'm on the East Coast, too, and that thought crossed my mind. I feel like it's a probably just a regular (not cheap) Fed-Ex charge. I'll find out and let you know. +Jessie
  5. Rice moisturizer is one of natural moisturizers it helps protect the skin from being damaged by UVA and UVB which are the cause of melasma, freckle, and skin cancer.Because its has plentiful minerals, unsaturated fatty acid and vitamins especially the natural vitamin E which is in high quantity as Tocols (Tocopherol & Tocotrienol), Gamma-Qryzanol and Ceramide.
  6. Thanks for a lovely post on this company. I have been customer of The Body Deli for years. I absolutely love their products. I could eat them. They smell delicious. They make my skin look years younger than my real age of 41. I am a scientist and none of their ingredients frighten me - the entire ingredient list is understandable. I will not put products on my skin which are artificial, considering the way the body absorbs chemicals through the skin. I love these products and the way the company does business more than I can say. I was at an astrophysics conference in southern California 4 years ago. I left the conference early to drive to their store, about 8 hours there and back from my coastal hotel. It was well worth the trip. I have just now restocked on the Sea Cucumber Gelee - I have had a older male scientist from Wales comment on my skin after applying this stuff - totally out of character for such a person to do this - and on the Creme de la Rose moisturizer. I cannot recommend these products highly enough.

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