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Nature Meets Technology: Awake's innovative skin care and makeup line is a marriage of harvesting natural enzymes, extracts and vitamins with state-of-the-art emulsion techniques.

The land of the rising sun delivers the goods

By Diana Rupp

THE LATEST JAPANESE import is Awake, a high-end, comprehensive line of skin care and makeup. With nature/technology synergy as its hook, the company combines natural botanicals with advanced formulas and industry-leading biodegradable plastic packaging.

Highlights from the collection include Vital Express (14 oz., $60), the most stable and potent Vitamin C product on the market, with a unique powder-to-emulsion delivery method. Another weapon in the never- ending war against wrinkles is Nano Essence .8oz, $60). Cucumber S.O.D. (Super Oxide Dismutase), an enzyme that helps skin retain oxygen, and emulsifiers work to prevent free-radical damage and environmental pollution. Most effective in the first 90 days, the moisturizer is date-stamped and shipped via express delivery in temperature-consistent, air-tight packaging. No wonder it costs so much. Bargain-priced Cleansing Sheets ($5) remove makeup and grime without drying skin in a resealable pack of 10. Great for travel or nights when you're too tired to drag yourself to a sink.

The makeup collection is equally notable. A 100-percent water-soluble, seaweed-derived polymer Hydro-Touch Foundation ($40) retains precious H20 and comes in a convenient compact. Acting more like a skin treatment than a cover-up, nourishing ingredients include antioxidant Vitamin E, as well as meadowsweet (a mild astringent), ginkgo biloba to improve circulation and horsetail to condition and maintain moisture. But if I had to pick one Awake favorite, it would be the Lip Gloss (.20 oz, $16). Its practical, lightweight matte consistency wears more like a sheer stain than a wet and yucky retro-'70s lacquer. Out of eight colors, I liked hyper-natural Violet Opal (fuchsia-berry) and Baby Blush (pink-nude) best. They make lips look like they're sans product, only prettier.

Awake cosmetics available at Neiman Marcus. All products are hypoallergenic and fragrance- and oil-free.

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From the November 2-15, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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