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This week finds me exploring the wonderful world of French skincare, courtesy of L`Occitane.

Now for most of you, including me, going into a L’Occitane shop always makes you feel like you know you are looking at luxury skin care goods, but if you are like me, you never really knew why, other than the clean, well-lit shelves lined with products packaged in stately European boxes. Well that’s what I am here for, folks!

This company originated in breathtaking southern France, by Olivier Baussan in 1976. Baussan was

 inspired by the landscape around him; and so desired to create a skin care line that reflected the beauty and natural goodness of the air and soil.

According to Baussan himself, “the sun, the products of the soil and a love of nature are the essence of my Provence. It is this essence I want to share with the world. It is what inspired me to create L’Occitane.”

The company strives to use plant oils (rather than petroleum-based mineral oils), natural active ingredients, and limits its use of chemical preservatives and sunscreens in all its products. Packaging is used sparingly, and comes from sustainable forests and is usually recycled material to begin with. The company has never tested on animals, and has also spearheaded the creation of an institution called “Provence dans tous les Sens” which translates to “All the Senses of Provence”, that is dedicated to introducing blind people to the world of perfumes and further developing their olfactory senses, as well as inspiring future careers. As a result, all of L’Occitane’s bottles and boxes have Braille on the labels.

The Almond Harvest line is particularly decadent and wonderful. Almond Shower Oil is a divine alternative to shaving gel. It foams in contact with water, smells delicious, and leaves your skin soft, as oils are easily absorbed by the skin. That being considered, it was a relief to discover that this product does not contain any chemical preservatives.

The Almond Delicious Paste is an exfoliating paste with almond shells and kaolin clay to remove dead skin cells and extract skin impurities. I don’t usually use exfoliators due to the sensitive, eczema-prone condition of my skin, but I found this one to be totally useable and so full of almond butter that I suffered no irritations at all. Score!

To top it all off, the Almond Milk Concentrate, a light, heavenly skin lotion, pretty much sealed the deal with its light, yummy scent and feathery texture. This isn’t the heaviest of moisturizing lotions, but when used in conjunction with the other products, it worked brilliantly. The milk concentrate is the only one of these three products with chemical preservatives; however, they are listed at the end of the ingredient list, which means that they are lowest in concentration compared to the other ingredients.

L’Occitane’s products are definitely on the spendy side, but if you are looking for products with a great fragrance made from almost all natural ingredients, then this company is right up your alley.

Visit store locations at Cherry Creek in Denver, Flatirons Crossing in Broomfield, or on Pearl Street in Boulder, also online at The website will send you free samples with any order placed online; retail locations will also usually hook you up with some free stuff. Very nice-a!


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