Now that the sun's out this spring, be prepared with Yves Saint Laurent's Body Gommage Action Biologique ($45 at Nordstrom, 500 Pine St., 206-628-1072). This body exfoliant is so gentle, you may not believe that its mild acid from apples is really at work on those stubborn dead skin cells accumulated over the winter. . . . Love the feeling of a body scrub hard at work? Check out Grape Seed Exfoliating Bath from Flora ($16 at Burnt Sugar, 601 N. 35th St., 206-545-0699). You can spend more time polishing the extra-tough areas like knees and elbows—this no-foaming body product is loaded with fine jojoba beads and has a fresh cucumber and rosemary scent. After your bath or shower, Flora's Super Hydrating Moisturizer ($16) with grapeseed oil is your next step. The added sea kelp, cucumber, and avocado oil leave your skin emollient, but not greasy. . . . Now that you are shiny and new, what about a tan in a bottle? A convenient line of self-tanning creams from St. Tropez (Salon Napolitano, 614 W. McGraw St., 206-282-4343) comes in a variety of application choices: a Bronzing Mist ($33) for those who want a fast-drying tan; Whipped Bronze ($36), a mousse that goes on light and easy to spread; and the old standard Self-Tanning Lotion ($35). The special feature of this line is that the products are tinted to avoid streaking—you can see where you've been and where you're going. They actually smell good, too, unlike the funky aromas of most self-tanners. . . . Speaking of safe alternatives to tanning, the Washington State Department of Health recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, so head down to Sephora (2566 N.E. University Village, 206-526-9110) for a broad spectrum of UVA /UVB sunscreen. Doctor's Dermatologic Formula (DDF) ($22), founded by New York–based dermatologist Dr. Howard Sobel, has a range of sunscreens in moisturizing or matte (great for oily skin). It's not
the most enticing name for a product, but it's a beauty must for preventing sun- related skin damage—and there's a Sport Proof Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 that is water-resistant yet does not feel too heavy on the skin. . . . Mario Badescu's Summer Shine Body Lotion ($20 at Olivine, 5344 Ballard Ave. N.W., 206-706-4188) is an unscented moisturizer that has a subtle shimmer without adding color. . . . Cool down and hydrate your skin with the handy and refreshing 2-ounce Body Mist moisturizing body spray from the Herbalist ($12 at the Herbalist, 2106 N.E. 65th St., 206-523-2600). This locally made spray oil with sandalwood, light musk, calendula flower, and French vanilla is great after a bath or shower while your skin is still slightly damp. . . . Does the term "metrosexual" make you shudder? Eucalyptus/Mint Body Cleansing Gel from Anthony ($16 at Barneys New York, 1420 Fifth Avenue, 206-622-6300) makes it good to be a guy with its masculine packaging and bracing scent. This cleansing gel softens the skin (but not too much) while it cleans with natural botanicals. . . . The unisex and reliable Dr. Bronner's Liquid Soap ($6.49 at PCC Natural Market, 600 N. 34th St., 206-632-6811) will keep you clean and give you waterproof reading material in the bath or shower: The bottle includes written directions for using the liquid soap, as well as ideology sprinkled with many exclamation points! Sometimes more than one!! And it's concentrated!!! So dilute!!!! . . . Also affordable and super hydrating for chapped skin is Neutrogena's Light Sesame Oil ($7.29 at Fred Meyer, various locations). This is terrific after-bath oil, and it would also make a cheap massage oil—for that price, you don't have to feel guilty about using it generously. . . . Want to get all you need in one purchase? The Hammam Gift Set ($46 at L'Occitane, 2677 N.E.
University Village, 206-529-0801) includes a sisal cushion for exfoliation, the Olive Leaf Soap, and the juicy and fabulous Olive Oil Mediterranean Bath (that you rub all over your body before stepping into the tub—let it melt off your body while you soak)—all of this in the cutest little wooden bucket. . . . The Guava Body Butter by Koppes ($18 at Pearl, 310 N.E. 65th St., 206-729-1149) gets the award for best packaging—the efficient pump delivers the perfect amount of cream without a drop wasted. The label says it's for knees, elbows, and heels, but with delicious-smelling sunflower, almond, and avocado oil and real guava you'll want to use it all over. . . . Say this three times fast: Olio Di Oliva Olive Oil Body Butter ($15.79 at City People's Garden Store, 2939 E. Madison St., 206-324-0737) is a great deal for a whopping 16.9 ounces. Made in Italy, it's fab for dry skin. The second ingredient listed is shea butter, which gives it the smooth texture and silky feel. . . . Excellent for sun-damaged cleavage: Esthebust Neck and Bust Cream from Pevonia ($58.28 at Paule Attar Salon and Spa, 10223 N.E. 10th St., Bellevue, 425-453-3288), made especially to firm and smooth the décolletage, bust, and neck. It has a cooling sensation when applied, and a refreshing herbal scent. . . . Nickle's Poignees D'Amour ($41 at Barneys New York), or "Love Handles" cream, claims to reduce the chub in that stubborn spare-tire area, with caffeine extract as the active ingredient. . . . Laura Mercier's Crème Brûlée body cream ($46 at Nordstrom) smells so much like the real thing, you'll want to get the blow torch out to see if you can caramelize the top. . . . Keep it low fat with Peter Thomas Roth's Silica Strawberry Scrub ($30 at Salon Lorache, 4901 Rainier Ave. S., 206-722-0371). You'll love the
smell—like the powdered strawberry milk you used to drink as a kid. . . . You might get carded when you try to buy the Rice Sake Bath by Fresh ($75 at Essenza, 615 N. 35th St., 206-547-4895)—it's over 50 percent real sake. The Japanese beverage is said to increase circulation and raise your body temperature, to help purify the system. It also is infused with real peach extract. . . . The unusual Pumpkin Mask by Head2Toe ($10 at Ed Wyse, 1800 Eastlake Ave. E., 206-322-9973) not only smells exactly like fresh-baked pumpkin pie, it's one of the few masks on the market for the face and the body. The 5 percent pumpkin enzyme works like a peel and does the exfoliating job in a jiffy—it's left on the skin no longer than 10 minutes. . . . Here's something for the body that you can really devour: Honey Dust ($20 plus tax and shipping from Goodvibes, 206-525-1171 or e-mail Goodvibesseattle@yahoo.com) is a powder that actually comes with a feather for application and is 100 percent edible—made with pure natural honey, which has been used as a skin conditioner since ancient times. How you remove it is up to you, but it's meant to be licked off. . . .