Haven’t you always wanted a body scrub that would wash away your belly button filth and make a serviceable dip for your pretzel sticks? Because that’s the direction the odiferous beauty industry is sloshing in right now — edible lotions, salves, oils, and scrubs that you can use to get into a guilt-free 9 ½ Weeks Situation, or smell so you can get that full feeling without the inconvenient ingestion of actual calories.
The New York Times makes note of the beauty industry’s scratch-and-sniff-sticker marketing trend over the last few years, during which time we’ve all witnessed the proliferation of cloying body butters and lotions that smell just like food. “But,” asked some sharp-witted young star at Bed, Bath & Beyond during one of the corporate weed-smoking retreats, “why smell like food when you can be food?” Now, not only are lotions reminiscent of food — they are food.
Explains a dismayed Times article:
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.
Okay, so just because you can eat shampoo doesn’t mean you should eat it, right? Wrong, you hopelessly delineated drone! We have entered the era of multi-purpose foodstuffs. In just a few years, you’ll be using the same spackle to repair holes in your drywall and frost a cake for your fifth-favorite cousin. As for the present moment, this is how people are repurposing their formerly single-use beauty products:
“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.
Ms. 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.
It sounds gross, doesn’t it? Although, it really shouldn’t, if you consider the fact that such scrubs are now being made strictly out of truly edible plant matter. It just seems like there ought to be some sort of line between meal-time and bathing-time, otherwise, we’ll all end up jamming garbage disposals into our showers like Kramer so we can prepare food while we wash ourselves. Maybe that won’t happen, since these scrubs, though technically edible, don’t exactly receive a rousing endorsement from Kimberly Cornwell, the founder and chief executive of eco-friendly beauty product peddler Celadon Road: “Our sugar and salt scrubs are literally edible. We don’t recommend it, but they are.”
Sounds good, I guess? The other bonus with such products is, according to psychologist and certified nutritionist Amanda Baten, that their delicious odor may satisfy one’s craving for snack foods all by itself:
Substituting scents for actual food can be a good alternative to bingeing on those foods that we are most tempted by. Chocolate-flavored scents can induce some of the same responses in the brain which can result in feeling pleasure, in a similar way that eating can.
Somebody really ought to write the Chocolate Bath Diet. It smells like a best-seller.
That’s Not My Lunch, It’s My Body Lotion [NY Times]
Image via AP, Adam Lau