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I tend to suffer from very dry skin on my hands. I have, over the years, tried many different hand creams but have found most of them to be too thin and the dry, thirsty skin on my hands would just drink up the cream and within minutes be dry and parched again! A couple of years ago I discovered the L'Occitane range of hand creams and I have not looked back since. These creams are quite expensive but have done wonders for my skin. However the creams are quite expensive, with a 30ml tube costing £8. I was therefore really pleased when I received a selection of handcreams from my sister for my birthday earlier on this year. I have reviewed some of the other varieties previously and the one that I shall focus this review on is the "Vanilla Flower" hand cream.
Like all L'Occitane handcreams the Vanilla Flower hand cream comes packaged in a metal foil tube with the product details printed on. The colour scheme for this particular handcream is brown and cream which I guess represents the colour of the flowers and the vanilla pods. The cream contains 20% shea butter. Shea butter is known to be intensely moisturising and soothing, offering protection when applied to the skin. It is also rich in vitamin E, an anti-oxidant, which helps nourish the skin. The tube is topped by a screw on lid, which although looks quite classy, it can be a bit fiddly to remove and also tends to come undone when placed amongst the other items in my bag, despite being screwed on tightly.
Squeezing the tube releases a thick, white coloured cream. The cream rubs in easily into my skin despite its thickness. It smells very sweet, rather like honeysuckle, and in my opinion it is a little sickly but then I am not a fan of overly sweet scents. Although the cream is easily absorbed into my skin I can feel it as a greasy layer on top of my hands, making them feel heavy and not particularly comfortable. In fact not long after I have put this on I have the urge to go and wash my hands! The smell too is quite strong and as I am not a fan of the scent, after a while it does start to get a bit much for me. I should point out here that many of the other handcreams that I have tried from the L'Occitane range do not make my skin feel this way. In terms of softness the cream does make my skin feel soft, but due to the heaviness of the cream they don't feel as soft as with other handcreams I have tried in this range.
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.
Overall I don't think this hand cream is for me. I find the scent too sickly and the cream leaves my skin feeling heavy and uncomfortable and me wanting to wash my hands as soon as I can. For this reason I now tend to apply it just before bed and let it work on my skin overnight. It's a shame as I am really quite impressed with many of the handcreams in the L'Occitane range but I'm afraid I shall not be buying this particular variety again.