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Since becoming familiar with the French brand L'Occitane I have tried and tested quite a few of their products and don't really have any complaints about their products at all. L'Occitane isn't the cheapest brand you will find on the high street but it does offer some really wonderful products which I do believe are worth every penny. My problem is I find myself addicted and tend to buy quite a few of their products at any one time! However, one product I cannot live without and one I will spend a decent amount of money on is hand cream. I suffer with dry skin on my hands and I hate it when they don't feel as soft as they should do. Also in my opinion hands show ageing which is why I want to keep mine looking as healthy as possible. When working in an office environment as well as working with horses my hands can suffer so the hand cream that I buy has to be able to look after my hands effectively.
I have found L'Occitane's hand creams very effective so I don't mind paying the price tag when I know that they actually work as I have used cheaper hand creams which prove ineffective and actually a complete waste of money. L'Occitane don't carry a huge range of anything they have a few collections which each have their own products which is actually quite nice as you don't have to spend hours choosing and deliberating. They also have limited edition (or edition limitee if wanting to be French!) products which can sometimes be just website exclusive or available in stores. One such limited edition product I bought was the L'Occitane Shea Hibiscus Flower Hand Cream. There are other limited edition Hibiscus Flower products available but I was immediately drawn to the hand cream.
As with all the L'Occitane hand creams it comes in a squeezeable silver metallic tube which comes complete with a navy screw on cap. I do like their style of packaging as it certainly differs from other brands and it does give more of an expensive feel to it rather than just a clear plastic tube or pot. On the back of the tube there is the whole list of ingredients, contact information for L'Occitane (should you want to write to them in France) and a brief description of the hand cream itself. On the front you are met with bright colours such as orange and lime green in quite an Aztec sort of style which is certainly colourful and quite interesting. The product name is label in the very typical L'Occitane font as well as having the usual font logo. The tube I have is the 30ml tube and is classed as the travel size which I find a very useful size to have.
The hand cream itself has been designed for those of us who need an effective hand cream to offer comfort and to soften the skin. However, I am sure this would suit all skin types but if like me you need a little help getting your hands back to their former glory then this is ideal. The hand cream is made up of two key ingredients shea butter and honey. Both ingredients are widely used throughout the cosmetics industry as they are both known for their healing and soothing properties. Honey is one of the oldest products to be used for skincare and is known for its humectant and antimicrobial qualities whilst shea butter another ingredient used for thousands of years as it has moisturising properties due to it being full of vitamins A and E as well as helping to fight wrinkles, stretch marks and help with eczema and psoriasis - there must be a reason why these ingredients have been used all this time!
Of course not forgetting the title ingredient, Hibiscus Flowers. I think we are all well aware of these flowers if not by name but by image. Brightly coloured Hawaiian shorts/shirts with large flower prints on are generally Hibiscus flowers. Coming from the mallow family it is generally found in the warm climates of subtropical countries throughout the world coming in varying forms and varieties. It is a flower which in certain places around the world used for drinking, eating as well as for hair treatments such as shampoos and conditioners. I think L'Occitane used the hibiscus flower for its gentle floral perfume as once refined shea butter doesn't have much of a fragrance and really neither does honey.
As soon as I used this hand cream for the first time I was smitten. The fragrance it has is absolutely gorgeous. Although subtle enough for it not to mess with any perfume you may be wearing it is a fragrance which lasts for some considerable time after applying it. L'Occitane describe it as an "exotic and sensual fragrance" and I can completely agree. Clearly the hibiscus flowers have a good part to play in it but it is a light fragrance which isn't synthetic at all, it has a very natural smell simply because L'Occitane like to use more natural ingredients and it really does show. I'm sure I look a little odd sat at my desk at work as I am constantly smelling my hands simply because the scent it gives is so divine.
The hand cream itself has a very thick consistency compared to other hand creams I have used but despite this it is very easy to squeeze out of the tube. As long as it is kept at room temperature it keeps an ideal consistency as shea butter can liquefy in hot temperatures. However, despite its thick consistency as soon as it touches your skin it becomes incredibly soft and is very quickly absorbed. The cream itself is white in colour and did remind me when I first used it of something that resembled poly filler! I wasn't expecting a white hand cream but the colour really makes no odds whatsoever! I have quickly learnt that despite its consistency you don't need to use a lot for each application.
I find that a large pea size amount of cream does the job sufficiently anymore and I think you'd find that it wouldn't absorb as quickly or as easily. The cream doesn't have a silky texture as it is a bit more firm and paste like which for me is absolutely fine as I find hand creams which are silky can sometimes leave a residue and this doesn't at all. Even once dry you don't feel like you've got a horrible layer of grease on your hands as it absorbs so quickly but you do feel like you have just applied hand cream as your hands instantly feel a lot softer and smoother and of course you have that divine fragrance! I only need to apply this cream every few hours throughout the day as I find it keeps my hands well moisturised meaning that my one tube will go quite a long way and therefore making my money last longer!
Since using this cream there has been quite a considerable difference in my skin, it isn't as dry as it once was and it definitely feels a lot smoother and apart from anything else it looks a lot healthier. The combination has also helped the cuticles around my nails as they were becoming slightly brittle so that is a definite plus. It is such a shame that this is a limited edition hand cream as it works so brilliantly. It has a gorgeous aroma, it does what it says it will do and it doesn't irritate my sometimes sensitive skin. No complaints from me whatsoever. I would highly recommend this hand cream to those that do suffer with dry hands as it does work wonders. Definitely buy it before it is taken off the shelves completely as it shouldn't be a hand cream to miss. 5 big green stars from me!
~ Useful Information ~
Availability: L'Occitane retailers
This handcream is limited edition and was given away with a magazine before Christmas, but retailed in store for £7.
It is 30mls and like other L'Occitane handcreams contains 20% shea butter to nourish the skin.
It is hibiscus flower handcream - a fragrance I was not familiar with, but it smells wonderful, a fresh, fruity fragrance, it almost smells edible. This cream is rich and very thick in consistency, like the standard shea butter handcreams in the range. Therefore only a small amount is needed.
The cream rubs in easily and is quickly absorbed by the hands. Although it is a rich cream, once on the hands it doesn't leave the them greasy or feeling as they are coated in a heavy cream. The fragrance lingers on the hands until they are washed.
After using this cream on a daily basis I have noticed an improvement in the condition of the skin on my hands.
£7 for a small tube of handcream is a little expensive, but handcreams from the shea butter range are the most nourishing creams I have used. Also, as with this tube, some magazine tend to have promotions on these handcreams, and therefore can be picked up for around half price.
Overall, it is a lovely rich and wonderful smelling handcream. I'm not certain that I would pay full price for it in store, but I am definately going to stock up if there is another magazine promotion.
I tend to suffer from dry hands all year around. Up until a couple of years ago I had practically tried very hand cream on the market but had never found one that I liked. I found most to be quite thin and the skin on my hands would literally drink the stuff so that I would need to reapply the cream less than 15 minutes later. Others were quite rich but would leave my hands really quite greasy, which would make it difficult to grip things for some time after application. So what I was looking for was a rich hand cream that would last more than 15 minutes and that would still enable me to get on with everyday life. Not an easy task! That was until I tried a sample of L'Occitane shea butter hand cream which was given away with a magazine. I was so impressed by how this cream revitalised my skin without making it overly greasy and to be honest I haven't looked back since!
I had recently ran out of my latest tube of L'Occitane hand cream and popped into my local branch just after Boxing day, hoping the hand creams had been reduced and that I may pick up a bargain. Unfortunately that was not the case. The smaller 30ml tubes retail at £7.60 each, which is a fair bit more expensive than many of the hand creams on the market. I do baulk at the price each time, but then remind myself how good this cream is by applying a bit to my hands and then parting with my cash is not so difficult! I usually opt for the hand cream which is for 'dry skin' but spotted a range of limited edition hand creams by the counter. I am quite fussy when it comes to scent of a cosmetic product and so I tried some of the hand creams, smelling them as I went along, and finally settled on the hand cream with hibiscus flower.
Like many of the L'Occitane hand creams this comes in a silver foil like tube with a small black screw on lid at the top. This hand cream is part of the 'African happy hands' range and the the front of the tube really reflects this. The label has a vibrant design with orange and yellow polka dots, which really make it stand out from the crowd. The label states that this cream contains 20% shea butter. Shea butter is known to be intensely moisturising and soothing, offering protection when applied to the skin, which is ideal for my dry hands. The lid is quite unusual as most hand creams have a flip lid or one that screws on and forms the base of the tube. I like this from a design point of view as it stands out from the crowd, but there are times where I have found it a little fiddly to screw back on.
Although the tube does not state this, looking on the L'Occitane website I also learnt that the cream contains honey and almond extracts which are also ingredients with excellent moisturising properties. This limited edition cream also contains extracts from the hibiscus flower. I'd only heard of this flower in the context of hibiscus tea but after a little research learnt that it is particularly rich in vitamin C, but doesn't appear to have any significant benefits for dry skin so it appears to have been added to this cream for its scent.
So what was this cream like to use? Squeezing the tube releases a fairly thick white coloured cream. Don't be fooled by it's thickness though - it blends into the skin effortlessly and doesn't leave the skin at all greasy. Once applied it makes my skin feel exceptionally soft and all traces of dry skin disappear and do not return for a couple of hours. In my opinion it works just as well as the hand cream in this range that has especially been formulated for dry skin. The cream also smells lovely - it has a light, warm, almost spicy fragrance with a hint of citrus tang. It's quite difficult to describe but as someone who is quite fussy about scents this was one that I really liked.
I always like to know a little about the company that I purchase cosmetics from in terms of their ethics and 'naturalness' of their products. L'Occitane was founded in 1976 by Olivier Baussan, at the age of 23, who wanted to create products that captured the tradition and values of his childhood in Provence. They pledge to use natural, active ingredients that are organic where possible and are sourced largely from Provence or the Mediterranean.
The products are not, nor have they ever been tested on animals and nor are the ingredients used and the company is a member of PETA. All the products are suitable for vegetarians and vegans, with the exception of the beehive products containing honey or Royal jelly. Further information is available on their website. This deserves a special mention as I found the site extremely interesting. There is a section which contains details of each of the ingredients used in L'Occitane products, what their role is and which products contain them.
Impressively the company also set up an initiative for the women in Burkino Faso, in West Africa where L'Occitane purchase the shea butter directly from them, ensuring they get a fair price. They have also created a foundation which supports projects that support the development of these women in terms of literacy and gaining access to microcredit so that they can enhance their businesses. So thumbs up also from an ethical point of view!
Overall I am really pleased that I tried this hand cream and the effect it had on my hands. It is a shame that it is a limited edition product as I really like the scent. If I can afford to I will be purchasing a couple of extra tubes or adding this to my list of birthday presents!