The Lightning Awards ⚡️ for Best Body 2018

Your skin is amazing.

Well, other than the fact that it’s incredibly moisturized and velvety-smooth, it’s also insanely smart and resilient. For one, it’s made up of three complete layers: epidermis, dermis and the subcutis. Each has a very important function. The epidermis, or the “horny layer,” defends your body from outside forces with cells being renewed every 5 weeks. That means your body’s constantly growing, shedding, and renewing itself. The dermis, helps regulate your body temperature by increasing blood flow or restricting when it’s cold. Finally, the subcutis is basically a seam of fat there to help insulate you and also as fuel reserve for food storage.

Lightning Awards

Other than skin functioning for your overall health, it’s also important because it’s the first thing that people notice about you. And hydration is the most important for maintaining your skin. After all, the human body is made of 60% water. The skin has even more hydration with 64% of it being made of H20.

And because of that, you want to protect, nourish and hydrate your body just as you would your hair and face. Below, we’ve highlighted THE BEST products of the year that really struck a chord with us. From body oil to sprays to deodorants, we tested mostly ALL products on shelves so that you didn’t have to. Below, our FAVORITE from the year!

SEE ALSO: Best makeup 2018!

(Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

BEST DEODORANT SPRAY – Dove Men+Care 

Fresh, clean, classic. Works ‘round the clock, doubles as fragrance in a pinch and goes on clear. In other words, no-fuss, completely affordable and basically perfect.

BUY HERE, $7.49

BEST HOME FRAGRANCE – Burkelman “Ambassador So-and-So” candle

The perfect candle is like cologne for your home and Burkelman’s singular “Ambassador So-and-So” is unlike anything we’ve ever smelled. We believe that every home should have a signature scent and this combo of sandalwood, bergamot and lemon twist is a complete and total knockout.

BUY HERE, $38

BEST BODY WASH – Love Beauty & Planet

From the lush scent to the skin-loving moisture (come thruuuuu, shea!), this is the champ of all drugstore body washes, which too often are either tragically thin or regretfully residue-y. The cute packaging and sturdy pump bottle are added bonuses.

BUY HERE, $6.99


BEST EXFOLIATING BODY WASH – Grown Alchemist

We like to actually feel our exfoliating body wash over at VGL HQ, so the first time Grown Alchemist’s perfect formulation hit our skin, we knew we had a winner. Not too gritty, not too smooth, with sloughing abilities that hit all the right places. Yes, please.

BEST DEODORANT STICK- Helmm

 Natural deodorants are all the rage, but acclimating your body and pH levels to live that #aluminumfree life often leads to a few weeks of not feeling, um, your freshest. Helmm is here to change all of that with a formulation that goes on dry (goodbye, swamp pits), lasts all day and smells so luxe (pro tip: get fragrance in “Night Market”) you’ll wonder if it’s deodorant or armpit cologne.

BUY HERE, $37

BEST BODY SCRUB – goop

We have to admit that Goddess Gwyneth knows a thing or two about salt. Her TDF (to die for) goop body scrub features five: Himalayan pink salt, Dead Sea salt, Celtic sea salt, New Zealand solar salt and epsom salt. It also swims in 3 bomb (and bougie!) oils: cold-pressed moringa, pure unfiltered rose hip and organic extra virgin olive oils. Add it all together and you’ve got skin-softening perfection – scrub me, queen!

BUY HERE, $40

BEST LOTION – KIEHL’s 

There’s a reason this beloved classic brand has been kicking ass since 1851: it’s just that good. Eczema, winter dryness and the itch factor are no match for this creamy, non-greasy, lightly scented balm from heaven that’s chock full of cocoa butter, beta-carotene and squalane. #triplethreat

BUY HERE, $30


BEST FRAGRANCE – Aesop “Hywl”

Be prepared to get stopped every few hours or so by what-are-you-wearing need-to-knows whenever you spritz on this ethereal, earthy, eccentric fragrance that boasts a mix of cypress, frankincense and vetiver. We love it so much, we’ve even started spraying a little in our hair, on our socks, under our arms, inside our underwear. Yes, it’s an obsession.

BUY HERE, $125


BEST BODY OIL – Herbivore

You see me shining! No, seriously. And you can thank HERBIVORE for the insane glow-up. The sheen is sexy, not tacky, and the scent is 100% luxe: Moroccan rose and jasmine grandiflorum. Now go SHINE for the holidays!

BUY HERE, $48

BEST BAR SOAP – Rudy’s Barbershop

We can’t get enough of this little bar that packs plenty of punch. Oh, and it’s a multitasker too, moisturizing, exfoliating and subtly scenting all at once. Need we say more?

BUY HERE, $8

CREDITS: Photographed by Melissa Chu; Creative directed by David Yi; Styled by Garrett Munce and David Yi; Hair by Patrick Kyle; Makeup by Eric Vosburg; Assisted by Kai Procshan

I’m completely obsessed with this CHIC AF sold-out everywhere, natural deodorant

“This deodorant is so chic!”

Said no one while apply their own under their sweaty, hairy armpits. Applying deodorant isn’t like pampering your skin with say, a moisturizer, or Snapchatting your sheetmask. That’s because from what seems like the beginning of (sweaty) times, deodorants have been the ugly stepchild of beauty. So much so that the very products aren’t even considered as beauty at all. That’s about to change thanks to the dawn of natural deodorants that have been making the rounds.

SEE ALSO: We tested out the most popular deodorants on the Internet

Traditionally, deodorants have been sold by the billions thanks to our society being super phobic over sweat and the odor that comes with it. It’s why most deodorants try to eliminate sweat altogether by adding aluminum salts, which is extremely effective at blocking pores from perspiring. But the problem is that there have been studies that show that aluminum actually has a negative effect on the body. Some studies have linked breast cancer to aluminum, a disease that affects both men and women. This happens when toxins from sweat aren’t able to leave the body, thus clogging lymph nodes around the armpits and the breast area. Aluminum itself is also said to absorb into the bloodstream and affect the blood brain barrier, which has been linked with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

These fears are legitimate. In a world where we have eliminated ingredients such as sulphates and parabens, why is it that we still accept aluminum in our products?

Corpus deodorant

(Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

It’s one reason why I’ve been on a quest to replace my own deodorants with more natural ones. The problem I’ve found is that by the end of the day, my armpits aren’t as fresh as the aluminum salted ones. They feel soggy, old and well, dank AF. So I was really skeptical when I came across Corpus on my Instagram page. The brand comes in the chicest mint container with golden font and is aesthetically as beautiful as a Le Labo fragrance or Byredo. Doing a little more research, I found that Corpus is vegan, all natural, contains organic ingredients, is paraben and talc-free, and most importantly, excludes aluminum.

Corpus deodorant

(Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

Upon reaching out to the brand, I learned that it wasn’t a surprise at all that this product was so elegant and perfectly marketed – so much so that it’s currently sold out everywhere. That’s because the chic product is the brainchild of Jean-Pierre (JP) Mastey, who was once the president of the mega men’s brand, Baxter of California. The man was there at the transition from the brand’s historic sale to mega conglomerate, L’Oreal in 2013.

“Formulating a true natural product always felt just out of reach,” he tells Very Good Light about natural deodorants.  He’d been attempting to concoct natural deodorants on his own for some time but it was only when he became a new dad that it became extremely important to him. “I found myself dissecting and eliminating personal care and household products that had any chance of leaving potential hazardous residuals in the way.” After giving it another go, spending over 2 years collaborating with chemists who used vegan ingredients, he’d created a product that not only smelled really good but was super effective at eliminating odor.

Corpus deodorant

(Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

The end result is three deodorant scent profiles. They come in Santalum, which has sandalwood notes, The Botanist, with petitgrain and vetiver root, and my obsession, No. Green, which has bergamot, pink lemon and orange blossom notes. The entire line is full of essential oils that not only smell fresh, but are effective at lasting a long time.

“We use natural fragrances which are essential oils and isolates derived from flowers, fruits, sap, seeds or skin of the plant, as well as the bark, leaves, roots, resins or wood of certain trees and never as a result of synthetic chemistry,” he explains. “This option of isolates vs. simple essential oils gave a wider library to work with and provided us the opportunity to create unique and elevated scent profiles not normally found in the natural product world.”

He also tells us that by eliminating aluminum an allowing the body to naturally sweat, the body “will adjust the volume of sweat it produces.”

Corpus deodorant

(Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

I was totally skeptical upon testing this out. To me, sweating is not only uncomfortable but I get really, really insecure that I ~may~ have some kind of body odor. This, especially after working out a Crossfit on the daily.

From Day One, I was seriously amazed by just how beautiful No. Green smells. It reminded me of the first time that I spritzed Le Labo’s Santal 33 or Byredo’s Gypsy Water on me, two staples that I spritz on me. Both, obviously, have become one of the most popular fragrances for any beauty connoisseur. I’d add No. Green to this list.

Yes, it was that iconic.

No. Green has a lemon-fresh scent but more so, is so well-rounded with its deeper bergamot and orange blossom notes that you feel like you, yourself, are citrus plant in full-bloom. I thought that a natural deodorant would be sticky, waxy or chalky. But Corpus goes on super smoothly. Every time I apply the deodorant, I feel as if my underarms are smiling with complete joy from being tickled by such delicious fragrances. I feel as if I’m doing the world a service by wafting my arms and spreading this scent far and wide.

http://www.giphy.com/gifs/cOzErbhJTm4HLSwoq8

Does it stop sweat? No, not completely like aluminum does. But it is pretty effective at stopping your pits from over-perspiring. Your pits will be soggy by the end of the day and you’ll probably want to apply this deodorant a couple of times if you’re going to be out and about for a long period of time. Unlike my traditional aluminum deodorants that I apply once in the morning, this one had my applying at least twice to feel fresh.

TLDR;

Final thoughts? If you hadn’t noticed, I’m obsessed with Corpus. I haven’t liked a product so much since coming across Byredo’s line a few years ago. If you’re seeking a chic product that’s natural, effective and rolls on smoothly, this one is for you. Actually being able to nab one for yourself? Good luck. Corpus is $22 for a set of three. You can try getting on the waitlist here. 

The surprising reason why some people don’t produce body odor

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(Giphy)

I once watched a Korean variety show when a Korean pop star admitted to using deodorant. The entire audience proceeded to erupt in laughter. 

“You use deodorant? Poor thing,” a female announcer went on to say. “You must really smell.”

It was a conversation that was completely jarring to me as an American, even though I’m of Korean descent. Are Koreans super unhygienic, I wondered, or do they really just not smell badly? It’s interesting to note that when I went to Seoul, deodorants were nowhere in sight, not sold in drug stores or retailers or anywhere. There’s even countless articles from foreigners who search far and wide for deodorants in Seoul to find that, well, there is none. 

Then, last summer, my crude friend Nich, also a Korean American, dared me to sniff his under arm. It was the middle of a heat wave and we had just wandered around Bushwick, sweating like cats giving birth, if cats sweat. Being the daredevil that I am, I then stuck my nostrils onto his hairless pits, which resembled an ostrich’s eyelashes, sticking out sharply in random places.

The conclusion? To my dismay, they really, truly didn’t smell. At all. 

It’s a sentiment that I found difficult to believe in. All people certainly produce body odor, don’t they? At least, that’s what the cosmetic industry has been selling to us for, well, forever? After Googling “Koreans don’t smell,” I came across several articles explaining how and why. I also realized how much I’d been scammed by the cosmetic industry into reapplying deodorant multiple times throughout the day (not even considering how much I spend on it!)

According to a LiveScience article from 2013, scientists discovered there was actually a gene called ABCC11, which determines if a person is smelly or not. Those who produce a dry version of earwax apparently also lack the same bacteria that festers in underarms and causes odor. Huh. The reasoning, this Guardian article explains, was because those who produce dry earwax also don’t produce the protein that transports sweat out of pores in our armpits, which attracts bacteria that cause body odor.

“While only 2-percent of Europeans lack the genes for smelly armpits, most East Asians and almost all Koreans lack this gene,” an expert named Ian Day, a genetic epidemiologist at the University of Bristol, told the publication.

Still, in the Western world, the study by LiveScience found that more than three-quarters of people who don’t actually smell still use deodorant. Like me, an apparent luddite who’s been continually scammed. But even as I’ve read this information, it’s proven difficult for me to ween off of the sweat stick out of fear that if a crowded subway train ever shuts down ~I’m~ the one that stinks it up.  

So I spoke directly to a third party dermatologist named Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at the Department of Dermatology, Mount Sinai Hospital. I wanted to see if these findings were, in fact, true.

“A high percentage of Korean patients have the mutation called ABCC11 which alters the composition of sweat so that they do not produce body odor,” he confirms with Very Good Light. “Body odor is produced when sweat is broken down by bacteria that live naturally on the skin.  Depending on the composition of the sweat, odor may be different or have no smell at all when broken down by bacteria.  The mutation does not alter the production of sweat at all, so wetness itself is not affected.  Antiperspirants may be still necessary to reduce sweating, even if a deodorant effect is not needed.”

Okay, cool. So I know I still sweat (a lot actually, just see me during Crossfit, lol), but good to know that I can walk into a meeting right after and no one will say a damn thing. This definitely makes up for the fact that I can’t drink (get the Asian glow, aka allergic to alcohol aka totally a party pooper). Case closed.

If you’re wondering if you, too, carry the genes (or absence there of!) that produce B.O., the article simply says to check your earwax. Dry? Chances are, you, too, are Korean! We kid. But maybe – just maybe – you don’t smell like what we’d imagine Hodor smelling like, either. RIP, Hodor. RIP.