J. C. Olivera
Anyone attending a Secret Room event during an award show weekend can count on discovering cutting-edge, kind-to-the-environment beauty products. However, the Secret Room Events honouring 74th Golden Globe Awards nominees and presenters focused almost entirely of skin care and wellness products made with medically or environmentally sound ingredients.
Thanks to the product displays and the æsthetic finesse and artistic skills of platinum sponsor Anne Neilson of Charlotte, NC’s Anne Neilson Home, the SLS Hotel main ballroom in Beverly Hills felt like the ultimate hotel spa reception area. Neilson’s candles, coffee table books and spa beverage dispenser greeted guests after having their red carpet photos taken. However, not many hotel spas admit pets. Here, pets were not only welcomed with open paws, but also Paw Works, the event’s official charity. The non-profit animal rescue organization is dedicated to partnering with county and city businesses to provide abandoned animals through rescues, adoption services and other services.
Like a good spa, there was a world of skin care products at one’s fingertips with tempting displays and open testers. First, the Pacific Ocean side of the world: South Korea was represented with UrbanHeal’s soon-to-launch line of home facial masks, while Japan’s McCoy Ltd. returned with a new post-workout body care marvel called Non F Expert designed to further advance a sleeker appearance with stem cell extracts and rice-based components. Australia-based Auspect Skincare International introduced its all-purpose line with some products made in the US that includes everything from anti-ageing serums for fine lines and wrinkles and eye cream for dark circles to solutions for rosacea and acne-prone skin. Aromababy touted its Australian-made ranges of pure and gentle aroma-free or therapeutic grade (essential oil) aromatic products for babies and young children.
There was much to discover in the world of European beauty. Crossing over the Atlantic, guests encountered Storm Rejuvenate Pro, which proved powerful do indeed come in small packages. A tiny box with 50 little packets contains a few drops of a gel serum that instantly diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and loose skin, creating the perfect canvas for one’s make-up. Russia’s Splat encouraged smiles with its prolific line of ultra-premium dental care as well as Heya balsam shampoos. Bioderma was not only back with its popular Sensibio H2O micelle solution but also representative products from its Sebium (acne remedy) and moisturizing Hydrabio lines. European Skin and Massage Studio introduced Woda European Natural Skin Care products from Poland.
It is no surprise that there were also several made-in-California remedies on hand, from spa equipment supplier Martinni Beauty’s cooling at-home masques to Beverly Hills-based Serumtologie, featured on CNBC’s business programme, showcasing Cserum 22 and Pure Whipped Chiffon moisturizer. The ultra-luxurious CelleCle Skincare, based in Orange County, builds its niche on products tackling skin problems brought on by urbanization, environmental stress, technology and pollution with ‘unique plant flavonoids’ and other ingredients that penetrate several dermal layers. Cote Hair Care, hailing from Las Vegas, rolled out its professional vegan hair care products replacing such nasty stuff as parabens, GMOs and gluten with quinoa oil and plant-based complexes.
Speaking of plant-based, there were some edible and nutritious treats offered by Barlean’s and Julie’s Real. The real Julie (Fox) behind Julie’s Real was handing out samples of her grain-free granola and almond butters while reps from Barlean’s got us excited about their superfoods with omega-3 fish oil, flax oil and vegan greens powders that make everything from salads to smoothies more nutritious and delicious. All one tastes in the key lime fish oil, straight or mixed with a smoothie, is creamy tropical goodness.
Many celebrities were on hand to sample and compare, but the most interesting spotting was comedy legend Elayne Boosler, who spent her day behind the tables promoting her Tails of Joy and supporting the inventor of Mighty No Bitey, Inc. insect repellant. I had the privilege of interviewing Boosler when she performed in Chicago back in my college newspaper days, and was delighted to see that face to face, many years on, she’s as passionate, politically astute, progressive and feisty as ever. Here’s hoping she continues to speak out, whether it’s for animal rescue or human rights in America as a new presidency approaches.
The lone fashion-oriented sponsor was Forever in My Heart Jewelry by Mira, whose founder was also devoted to animal welfare. Her eclectic collection contained mix of special lockets (holding ashes from departed pets), statement pieces and everyday jewellery. The Happiness Box, meanwhile, was something that would be inside a spa reception area. The cylindrical can contains 365 statements of affirmation one can select to ensure every day of the year starts with a positive thought.
There was also a handy gadget of note, the Dripo Japanese-style ice drip coffee maker, which brews potent and flavourful iced coffee without any electricity. If you have access to ice and 25 g of your favorite coffee on hand, follow the directions, go and do something else for 90 minutes, and return for a warm weather pick-me-up. The packaging for the gadget, a large cardboard carton that would normally contain prefabricated stuff, is also genius.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor
J. C. Olivera