Newest Review: ... (if you have the 30ml version) like all the L'Occitane hand creams and you rub it on your hands, just like a hand cream. So far I would... more
Cool but not creamy
L'Occitane Verbena Cooling Hand Cream Gel
Member Name: koshkha
L'Occitane Verbena Cooling Hand Cream Gel
Advantages: Smells great
Disadvantages: Doesn't moisturise
My love of almost all things from the French company l'Occitane means I occasionally pick up something utterly ridiculous, lured by the promise of deliciously smelling products and forgetting to ask myself what the point of the product is actually supposed to be. I expect to love everything they make but I should probably be a bit more selective. I had tested the 'Cooling Hand Cream Gel with Organic Verbena Extract' in an airport duty free so I knew that it smelled absolutely fabulous. I'd somehow forgotten to check if it was actually any good as a hand cream. A few months later, a particularly generous friend who decided to send me a present 'just because' ordered a L'Occitane verbena gift box from John Lewis, stuffed with lots of lovely goodies and a tube of Cooling Hand Cream Gel. Everything else was superb but the gel is a dud.
The first question we should ask is undoubtedly "What is it supposed to be?" and I'm not entirely sure. It looks like a hand cream, it smells like a hand cream, it comes out of a little silver tube (if you have the 30ml version) like all the L'Occitane hand creams and you rub it on your hands, just like a hand cream. So far I would expect you're thinking "It looks like a duck, it paddles like a duck and it quacks like a duck". You're not expecting me to tell you it's a chicken. But quite possibly it is.
The product is not supposed to be a moisturising hand cream at all. It's supposed to lift the spirits of your hot sweaty paws, cool them down, reduce swelling and leave them feeling dry and unsweaty. I can partly believe all those things but this product is designed to solve a problem that I don't have. I can't think of a time when I've ever found myself yearning for something to make my hands cool and unpuffy. I could kind of understand such claims in a foot product - think Princess Diana's old favourite, the Body Shop Peppermint Foot Lotion - but never my hands.
Whilst I enjoy the brief blast of cooling sensation I get from a small blob of this product and I adore the intensely juicy fragrance of it, I absolutely hate the way it leaves my hands feeling dry and almost powdery. My mind starts telling me that my hands need moisture, that the skin is about to crack up and has me reaching frantically for whatever moisturising goop I can find nearby. The blurb on the tube tells me that it's supposed to 'moisturise and refresh' (actually it says 'moisturize' so it must be intended for Americans). Yes it refreshes but I can't honestly endorse the claim that it moisturises. Cools and dries would be my three word summing up of this product.
The fabulous scent is mostly given by the organic verbena extract. Verbena is an astonishing plant which manages to smell more like a lemon than a lemon does. Isn't nature amazing? The smell is not all verbena though; the clever folks at L'Occitane have squeezed in some orange, geranium and lemon tree extracts as well to create a scent so juicy that it's like a frozen lemon sorbet. The dry powdery feel which I dislike so much is almost certainly down to the tapioca powder which is added to the gel. I can imagine that if you suffer from sweaty hands, a tube of this could help but obviously I can't prove that either way.
~A Potentially Expensive Mistake~
A 75 ml tube of this will set you back £14 or slightly less if you can find it duty free or as part of a collection of products. My 30 ml tube was part of a gift set so wouldn't be as expensive but I don't think the small format is available on its own. I think £14 is a ridiculous price because it's not something I need but I can imagine for those who do have sweaty, puffy hands, it might feel like a bit of a bargain. I find the name 'cooling hand cream gel' misleading since I'm sure I am not the only person mislead into expecting a hand cream rather than a cooling product.
I won't bore you with the ingredients list and I'm sure that if you're allergic or avoiding any particular ingredients you'll already be used to checking things out online or on pack before you buy. A good proportion of the ingredients are of natural origin and like all L'Occitane products, the extracts that are used are of excellent quality. Once opened the contents of the tube should be fine for up to 12 months, though I would admit I often keep products much longer than that and haven't come across any problems. I very much doubt that this tube will get finished but I may have to go looking for a friend with hot, sweaty hands who likes the smell of lemons.
Summary: If it's what you need, it's perfect, but don't mistake it for a hand cream
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