Beyond the Pale
Given how obsessed our culture is with achieving the perfect tan, it may surprise you to learn that as we head into summer, some of us actually want to look paler. Cosmetics makers are suddenly taking their cues from the East, where Japanese companies have long been marketing skin bleachers. Now their American counterparts are churning out lighteners and whiteners to help erase age spots and signs of sun damage. "A generation of people are seeing skin mottling and dark spots from the sun as telltale signs of aging, and they want to get rid of them," explains dermatologist Howard Sobel. Peter Thomas Roth's Potent Skin Lightening Lotion Complex ($50 at Saks Fifth Avenue) and Dr. Brandt's Skincare Lightening Gel ($65 at Sephora) are among the strongest, with 2 percent hydroquinone, a bleaching agent. Christian Dior has launched a DiorSnow line, with products like an intensive whitening mask that blocks melanin and stops yellowing ($55 at Bloomingdale's); and Estée Lauder's new WhiteLight products include a brightening serum with lavender opal powder and tourmaline to lighten the skin ($65 at Bergdorf Goodman). Naturally, Japanese companies also have a slew of offerings: Try Shiseido's UV White Intensive Whitening Treatment ($55 at Saks Fifth Avenue starting in August), and Shu Uemura Whitening Essence ($50 at Barneys New York). Once you've achieved the perfect peaches-and-cream skin, make sure you use SPF 45 to keep it that way.
Given the amount of time we're spending on pedicures, tummy-flattening treatments, thigh vacuuming, and back facials, we thought there wasn't a body part we'd neglected to maintain. Josephine Beauty Retreat (200 East 62nd Street; 212-223-7157) is here to tell us otherwise. The salon has introduced a half-hour elbow treatment ($35), with steps similar to a facial -- cleansing, exfoliation of dead skin, moisturizing, and a mask with minerals and oils. There's also a lightening treatment and, to finish, an arm massage. Just in time for sleeveless season.
The Smells of Summer
We all know the drill: You're in the subway on a steamy day when a fellow traveler's rich, woodsy perfume begins to overpower the car. Scents that are lovely in winter just don't work quite as well when the temperature climbs. Fortunately, several limited-edition perfumes, created just for this time of year, are now on the market. DKNY Energy summer fragrance comes in different versions for men and women (Bloomingdale's; $38 for the women's, $35 for the men's); First Summer Eau de Toilette from Van Cleef & Arpels Parfums has arrived at Bergdorf Goodman ($55); YSL Opium Eau d'Été is $44 at Bloomingdale's; and Issey Miyake's L'Eau d'Issey Pour Homme summer eau de toilette is now at Sephora ($45).
Trish McEvoy Mini-Palettes
On those weekend excursions or balmy nights out, toting a full case of war paint can be a little cumbersome. Trish McEvoy's new credit-card-size palette, the Touch-Up Kit, includes a powder-foundation combo, bronzer, lip gloss, and concealer. A second kit, called simply the Card, contains four eye shadows and four lip glosses ($24 each at Henri Bendel). Not only do they fit in your evening bag, they'll even squeeze into your wallet.