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New York — While oatmeal, almonds and soy yogurt may sound more like a shopping list for Whole Foods Market than a beauty regimen, the makers of Essencia have selected these foods as the base for the newest additions to its skin care collection.

The aromatherapy-focused skin care company, Essencia, a Middle English word meaning “essential oils,” has partnered with Sea Change Healing Center, a wellness center here, to promote its kitchen cupboard-inspired line. Some treatments and products include an Oatmeal & Honey Facial Bar comprising natural ingredients such as cocoa butter and peppermint essential oils to clean and exfoliate skin. There’s also a Rhassoul Facial Masque, made of mineral clay and finely ground almonds and cashews to detoxify skin. A Rose Facial Toner is infused with jojoba and rose geranium essential oil to tone; Rosewater Body Milk, formulated with sweet almond oil and rose hydrosol, is formulated to smooth the face and body.

Beginning this month, Sea Change will add Essencia’s Fridge Fresh Facial to its menu of spa services. Aestheticians at Sea Change worked with Juliana Lipe, co-founder of Essencia, to create the facial. In addition to using the products mentioned above, aestheticians mix in raw ingredients such as almonds, cashews, honey, lavender flower buds and oatmeal to intensify the treatment.

While the Fridge Fresh Facial will likely remain exclusive to Sea Change, the four Essencia products used during the treatment will expand distribution to other spas and boutiques across the country, explained Alison Lipe McCloskey, who created Essencia with her mother.

Consumers can concoct a milder version of the spa treatment by adding plain soy yogurt, or water, to the facial masque.

While the Fridge Fresh Facial costs between $80 to $100, Essencia products range from $3 for a 1-oz. facial bar to $32 for a 7.8-oz. bottle of Rosewater Body Milk.

“Essencia is one of the few companies to offer products specifically formulated to be enhanced to professional quality [for] at-home with the addition of freshly mixed raw ingredients,” said Dr. Deborah Musso, founder and wellness director of Sea Change.

She added Sea Change will begin promoting the Fresh Fridge Facials in its September brochure and on its Web site.

This story first appeared in the September 10, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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Musso said that numerous spas are using food items for skin care treatments, adding that, while treatments featuring everything from berries to chocolate may be great for pampering, they often lack skin benefits.

Essencia, said Musso, puts skin benefit goals before gratuitous pampering.

Consumers’ growing interest in at-home treatments, which are often more fiscally feasible than day-spa visits, guides Essencia’s brand positioning.

Essencia, which started in 2000 as a small collection sold regionally in gift shops and boutiques, made its national debut last fall at the Extracts trade show in New York.

It now sells 102 stockkeeping units across nine collections, ranging from home products to baby care, in 60 retail doors.

Additionally, Essencia’s products are sold on the company’s Web site, which also launched last fall.

The company is still in the early stages of growth. Industry sources project 2004 revenue will reach $500,000, and anticipate the four new products in the line will generate $100,000 in first-year sales. Despite its modest size, Essencia’s marketing efforts rely on gaining endorsements from beauty editors, and getting into the hands of Hollywood celebrities through gift bag programs at this year’s Grammy Awards and Academy Awards.

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