Though we’re all for innovation in the beauty category, there’s something to be said for leaving all the bells and whistles to the wayside and honing in on making the basics really, really good. (Plus, there’s the whole paradox-of-choice thing, where more choices can actually make us less happy.) This minimalist mindset is the ethos behind new body care brand Nécessaire. Founded by Into the Gloss co-founder Nick Axelrod and Estée Lauder veteran Randi Christiansen, Nécessaire whittles your body care essentials down to just three chicly packaged products: a body wash, body lotion, and something called Sex Gel. According to the two founders, Nécessaire wants to make your body care experience more than just about cleansing; it wants to make it self-care, which means all the products are pH-balanced, full of skincare-quality ingredients, and free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and more.
“I wanted to create a brand that would provide the innovation and the inspiration for people to care for their body,” Christiansen explains. “I think the critical question became, ‘What might it look like if we were to treat our body like our face? How would we develop a product?’” The current launch assortment includes a body wash that comes in three versions—one with a sandalwood essential oil scent, one with eucalyptus essential oil, and one unscented for customers who have sensitive skin. “The texture feels very sensual, and it won’t strip your skin or give you that dry, itchy feeling when you get out of the shower,” Axelrod promises. “We swapped harsh sulfates for gentle plant-based surfactants. It makes your daily shower more of a ‘me’ time moment.”
There’s just one body lotion, also unscented, that Christiansen describes as a “multivitamin for skin health” made with three oils—marula, cacao, and meadowfoam—as well as powerhouse ingredients like niacinamide for brightening and peptides for firming the skin over time. “Peptides are predominately used in facial skincare, but we felt it was worth it [to include them],” Christiansen says. “We say, ‘Treat your body like your face.’ We wanted to walk the walk.”
And then, of course, the buzzy Sex Gel—a product meant to shake up the long-stale personal lubricant category. “Sex is just one thing you do with your body. There’s no reason why sex products should be sold on the bottom shelf in the drugstore, while other body products are in a different aisle altogether,” Axelrod says. “All of these products are going on the same body. There should be a community and a platform for thinking and talking about your body holistically.” The Sex Gel is a nice-looking lubricant you wouldn’t mind displaying on your nightstand among your Byredo candles and La Mer. Beyond the aesthetics, it’s clean—as in, it’s made without parabens, glycols, or silicones, but Christiansen promises it still has the “cushiony texture and glide” you’d want from a lubricant. Unlike its more traditional counterparts, it uses aloe vera and hyaluronic acid to give the “slip” instead of sketchy ingredients you can't pronounce, and both Christiansen and Axelrod made it a priority to ensure it was FDA-approved. Another bonus: “It won’t stain your sheets!” says Axelrod. “I’ve had too many fancy sheets stained by silicone- and oil-based lubes.”
The body wash comes in at $22 and the lotion at $25, which certainly isn't anywhere near drugstore prices. But both co-founders are adamant about the fact that their products contain face-grade ingredients and are meant to transform your body care ritual into a self-care experience. As someone who got a sneak peek a few weeks ago, I can attest: The sandalwood and eucalyptus scents rival your favorite high-end perfume, and the textures will give your pricey skincare a run for its money. Compared to its much-pricier face cream counterparts, the cost is still low enough to consider it an everyday luxury, especially for anyone who has struggled with sensitive skin in the past—or just anyone who wants to put the "care" back into their body care routine.