Israel is about the size of New Jersey, so when I went for a visit last December, I was fortunate enough to see most of the entire country in my limited time there. One of my favorite regions was the Dead Sea, just a 30 minute drive from Jerusalem. It's the lowest place on earth at 400 meters below sea level, so the Dead Sea is so concentrated with salt that it's a hotspot for spa enthusiasts, and has worked miracles for those with skin problems and arthritis. It's also one of the most endangered places in the world (the sea is shrinking every day and has the probability of being gone forever). Right next to the Dead Sea is the AHAVA outlet store. AHAVA is Israel's leading grooming line. It's indigenous to the Dead Sea region and all the products are formulated with mineral-rich ingredients including their own Mineral Skin Osmoter, a concentrated extract of Dead Sea Water (containing magnesium, calcium and potassium elements). The men's line also incorporates gingko and ginseng extracts.

While several of the products were sublime on my skin (most specifically the body lotion), I was a little ambivalent on the AHAVA Protective Moisturizing Fluid ($32) for men. It was a rich substance that had a very clean, fresh scent, SPF 15 and anti-aging elements. But taking a look at the ingredients, the product scored pretty high with chemicals (rule of thumb for novice ingredient readers: the more you can't pronounce an ingredient on the label, the less "friendly" it may be for your skin, as I learned years ago), and scored pretty low on the goodies (like the gingko and gingseng).

If there's anything to redeem the wealth of long-winded ingredient names is the Dead Sea water. Hopefully it's not as gimmicky as one would take it to be. So I didn't discount it altogether. There are sunscreen agents, which are preventative of premature aging (like zinc oxide).

Ingredients in AHAVA Protective Moisturizing Fluid SPF 15:
Water (Aqua), Ethylhexylmethoxycinamate(Octinoxate), Isohexadecane, Ethyhexyl Palmitate, Propylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Zinc oxide, Aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, PEG-100 Stearate, Glycerin, PEG-40 Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Sorbitan tristearate , Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Phenoxyethanol & Methylparaben & Butylparaben & Ethylparaben & Propylparaben, Sea Sal & Aqua (Dead Sea Water), Panthenol (Provitamin B5), Fragrance (Parfum), Menthyl lactate, Xanthan Gum, Chlorphenesin , Methylparaben , Triclosan , Butylparaben , Panax Ginseng Root extract, Zingiber Officinale(Ginger) Root extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf extract, Allantoin, Gellan gum, Bisabolol, BHA, Tocopherol(Vitamin E), Coumarin, Dipentene, Eugenol, FD&C Blue#1(CI 42090).