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Man with a Plan
By Melissa Miller

As a general rule, men donít understand cosmetics. When I drag my beau through stores and force him to smell or sample anything, he usually proclaims that it "smells just like something you already have," then adds, "Iím hungry. Letís go to the food court." Not helpful.

But I had the pleasure recently of chatting with two men who do get the whole beauty thing, and have created their own brilliant bath and body lines.

Life after Kiehl's

Stephen Musumeci is the founder of an intriguing line called Stephen est. 1985 (, which I stumbled across at Henry Bendel and felt compelled to investigate further.

Musumeci is perhaps best known as the man who created most of the Kiehlís products. Before that, he worked as a chemist, as well as in product research and development, for Estee Lauder and Avon, and he also helped create the original Bobbi Brown Perfect 10 Lipsticks.

When Kiehlís was sold to LíOreal, Musumeci left the company, intent on using his knowledge and expertise to create his own line of unique products.

Musumeciís formulations are gentle, soothing and moisturizing; his shampoos and body washes donít contain harsh sudsing agents and donít strip the skin of oils. Hisstephen 1985 body wash Foaming Body Wash with Glycerin ($21 for 8oz) is a sudsy body cleanser that will leave your skin super-clean and silky.

It is available in Lavender, Grapefruit, Cucumber, Ylang Ylang, Eucalyptus and Mango. My favorite scent is the crisp and clean Cucumber, ideal for those I-canít-haul-myself-outta-bed mornings.

Stephen est. 1985ís Grapefruit Body Wash with Glycerin, which smells just like a freshly-cut, sweet and tart yellow grapefruit, is flying off the shelves at Henri Bendel.

One of Musumeciís most inspired creations is Oil Based Body Wash ($16 for 4oz, $24.50 for 8oz), which contains nourishing safflower oil. This soothing body cleanser helps the skin maintain its natural moisture balanceówhat a wonder to emerge from the shower feeling soft, smooth and not the least bit dry!

This body wash is a must for those with eczema, psoriasis or irritated skin. Oil Based Body Wash is available in the same scents as the Body Wash with Glycerin scents; I favor the soothing, soft Lavender and invigorating Eucalyptus aromas.

Stephen est. 1985 makes only one body cream, and what a body cream it is! Musmeciís rich Moisturizing Body Cream ($30 for 8oz) contains a high percentage of hydrating and reparative squalane. It absorbs immediately, leaving the skin satiny and smooth.

This is one of the most moisturizing and least greasy body treatments Iíve ever used; the moisture and softness lasts until my next shower. It is unscented and works beautifully on even the most sensitive skin.

The Stephen est. 1985 line also contains natural shampoos, conditioners, facial skin care, lipsticks, lip glosses and ComplimenToners that change the color of your lipstick to better suit your coloring.

These are available through the companyís web site

"I am the Owner"

When I attended the opening of the stunning new Tipton Charles boutique in New Yorkís West Village, I looked forward to meeting the companyís owner and creator, Christopher Stanley, who has created over 300 natural-based products.

I approached a very young, good-looking guy, who I assumed was an assistant, and asked, "Is the owner here?" He replied very politely, "I am the owner" (I'd assumed that the creator of such an extensive line would be much older; so much for assumptions).

Stanleyís background, he told me, is in finance and the beauty industry. He began the Tipton Charles lineówhich is named after Stanleyís great-grandfatheróby importing Dead Sea salts, because he wasnít pleased with the quality available in the US market. But the company quickly expanded to encompass a wide range of facial, bath, body and hair care products and home fragrances.

tipton charles shower gelOf the Tipton Charles bath and body products that I have sampled, my favorite is the gentle, sodium laurel sulfate-free Apothecary Shower Gel ($8.25 for 4oz, $16 for 8oz), in the irresistibly creamy Orange-Vanilla scent.

Iím also smitten with the beguiling Basil-Nectarine scent, which won me over with its perfect fusion of spicy herb and juicy fruit.

It is a fabulous option for Tipton Charlesís Apothecary Body Lotion ($11 for 4oz, $19 for 8oz), an emollient but light emulsion packaged in an aluminum pump bottle.

Ocean fragrance is one of the best marine scents Iíve foundó brisk, clean and exotic. I sampled it in the Body Butter ($13.20 for 2oz), a blend of mango and shea butters that works wonders on my hands, elbows, and feet.

Apothecary Hand Wash
($9 for 6oz) in Grapefruit is a top-selling item. Brightly colored with natural vegetable dye, this is cleansing and softening with a fragrant burst of sparkling citrus.

And the all-natural Moroccan Hammam Olive Soap ($20 for 8oz) is a unique find, a cream soap rich in olive oil. It looks like thick green mud, but who cares? It leaves the skin feeling like silk, without the need for a moisturizer.

Authentic Spa Moisturizing Mists
($8 for 4oz) can be used on the body or as a home fragrance spray. Try it in energizing Lemon Verbena.

Tipton Charles products are available online at, in boutiques, spas and resorts throughout the world. Top-selling scents include Grapefruit, Basil-Nectarine, Orange-Vanilla and their uniquely floral Sandalwood. New scents include Mandarin-Guava, Ocean, Fairway, Cucumber, and Tomato-Watercress.

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