L’Occitane is perhaps most emblematic of the French joie de vivre, and least emblematic of the French aphorism, il faut souffrir pour être belle - because using L’Occitane’s sweet-smelling products, made with all natural ingredients sourced from Provence is anything but beauty torture. I grew up on their world-renowned Shea butter hand cream, but upon visiting the newly redesigned Bloor St. boutique in Toronto this past weekend, I realized there was much more to L’Occitane than soft hand. Incidentally, the hands have only gotten softer, as my one minute hand scrub treatment evinced. (L’Occitane, 102 Bloor St West).
The boutique includes services such as mini facials, hand scrubs and a men’s grooming corner that offers an in-house barber, by appointment only. I loved the One Minute Hand Scrub ($24 CAD), as I mentioned above, it uses shea, sweet almond and grapeseed oils in combination with grainy organic sugar for extra scrubbing action. A quick rinse with warm water and my hands were super soft – this is definitely a beauty routine I recommend for the winter months when cuticles get all weird.
I also got to try some goodies at home, which I’ve been using for the past few days. The Almond Oil Shower Gel ($24 CAD) is a cult favourite and I can totally see why. Unlike normal shower gel, the oil gets milky once mixed with water and lathers up so softly. It smells delicious and leaves your skin feeling like satin – not dry and squeaky like regular soap that at once screams, “body lotion, please!” This stuff is like a cream and soap all-in-one.
And lastly, for my ladies with a bit of crow’s feet dusting around the eyes and sad lines in between our eyeballs and foreheads. The name alone says it all: Immortelle Cream Mask ($76) with Vitamins A and E. Immortal? Yes. I am an advocate for aging a la Goldie Hawn in Death Becomes Her. You’re supposed to use this cream mask once or twice a week. It promises the same anti-aging properties of its source ingredient, the Immortelle flower that never fades, wilts or ages. Time-release microcapsules release the essential oils from the flower leaving your skin feeling really, really, plump and hydrated – I love this. Last year my skin went through an arid phase where nothing worked, I’m really excited to put this cream mask to the test this winter in the face of artificial heating and dry conditions.
This girl is an official Provence convert.