“The world is divided between hosts and guests,” proclaimed Fran Lebowitz to New York Magazine before many readers of this post were even born. Lebowitz, for the uninitiated, often made light of being a perennial houseguest. I can relate, because, like her, I am one of the few in my inner circle who do not own a house, and find myself showing up all over the tristate area as that weekend’s entertainment and/or distraction. When you do this long enough, you become pretty good at figuring out a host gift that’s not the expected bottle of rosé.
After many seasons of trial and error, my summer go-to gift is Malin + Goetz’s Peppermint Body Scrub, which first arose out of necessity, as one of the homes where I was frequently a guest had almost nothing in the guest bathroom. No shampoo, maybe some bar soap that was cracked and gross. One of the owners of said house said he assumed everyone would bring their own (um, no). So I showed up with this scrub, which the host dutifully put in the outdoor shower. I used that shower for the entire weekend.
It’s a huge hit with hosts and guests alike for many reasons (its handsome packaging, its somewhat foreign-sounding name), but primarily because it serves double duty — as a shower gel and a scrub. In the summertime, if you’ve been to the beach and have become sticky and sandy, or are just sweaty from heat and humidity, you know the joy of the cooldown shower. Imagine said shower with the added bonus of fresh, minty aromatherapy that leaves your skin super smooth. The scrub’s peppermint creates a cooling sensation, of course, and the addition of pumice and crushed bamboo help slough away rough skin, whose cells in the summertime turn over faster and should be exfoliated.
Even if your host is more conscientious than mine was, it makes for the perfect gift — they can squirrel it away for private indulgence in the master bath. If they’re not so conscientious, you can passive-aggressively point out that the guest bathroom is missing shower gel, but thank goodness you brought some. The world might be divided between hosts and guests, but cool, soft, post-ocean skin is something that either would appreciate.
Note: If you prefer, it’s also available for $32 at Bloomingdale’s.
Writer Kurt Soller adores this Japanese charcoal towel: “It turns out that small towels are actually a more pleasant, calming vehicle for cleansing oneself; I had forgotten until this one came into my life. All the better if those towels have a gentle side and a coarse side — like this one does — for practical adult exfoliation. At 40 inches long and 9 inches wide, it’s longer and narrower than your typical washcloth, which makes it useful for reaching your back and elegant enough to hang from a hook when not in use.” Read more about the Binchotan Charcoal towel.
Writer Rachel Raczka used this Turkish glove to smooth her rough winter skin: “I didn’t notice clumps of dead skin washing away, but I did find that it created a sleeker-than-usual surface for shaving and soaking up moisturizer. It wasn’t until a few days of regular use that I noticed the bumps on my arms and legs had faded, and the rest of my bod appeared healthier and glowier from consistent use. It’s like those elimination diets that promote better skin from within, but instead of laying off dairy or wheat, you eliminate a layer of your epidermis.” Read more about the best exfoliating glove.
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