There's a whole lot of hype surrounding French pharmacy brands. Of course, the French beauty aesthetic is a lot more diverse than that typical stereotype, but there's something about French skincare brands that you just automatically trust. Quite often, like in the cases of Avène and Nuxe, the brands are steeped in history and heritage and offer simple (but good-quality) skincare that does exactly what you need it to—no fluff.
And that's exactly the case when it comes to L'Occitane, the Provence-born skincare and body range. I've always had a bit of an affinity for the brand, quite possibly because my aunt keeps her bathrooms stocked with its Verbena hand wash and cream, but its skincare formulas are definitely worth shining a light on too.
Founded: Olivier Baussan, 1976
Based In: Manosque, France
Best Known For: Luxurious French skin and body care
Most Popular Product: Immortelle Divine Youth Oil, Almond Milk Concentrate
Fun Fact: L'Occitane was the first major skincare brand to include Braille on its packaging.
Other Brands You'll Love: Origins, Kiehl's, Nuxe, and La Roche-Posay
Just like its peers, L'Occitane has hunted out some of the most effective ingredients this earth has to offer skin (immortelle flower, I'm referring to you) and funneled them into sumptuous formulas you'll actually enjoy using. Ashley Arbuckle Nadon, vice president of Sales, Wholesale & B2B at L'Occitane, tells us, "We take pride in our ingredients. Our immortelle is 100% organically grown and sourced exclusively from our local producers in Corsica. We have also worked with the women in Burkina Faso who produce our beloved shea butter for 30-plus years. In 2016, we set a goal to protect 1,000 plant varieties and species by 2025. Since then, we have already exceeded our goal in protecting and promoting 1.1K varieties and 513 different species of plants, thanks to our long-term partnerships with our producers. With nature at the center of it all, committing to protecting biodiversity and the people around it is an obvious choice."
"Respecting biodiversity is just one of L'Occitane's six commitments. We are devoted to developing sustainable supply chains to help maintain our unique biodiversity of where our ingredients grow, both cultivated and in the wild. We partner with our dedicated producers to ensure we not only protect the future of our plants, but also the biodiversity that surrounds them," she adds.
L'Occitane is also the first beauty brand to create inclusive packaging featuring Braille. Arbuckle Nadon says, "Caring for Sight is another integral commitment at L'Occitane. We partner with international and local partners around the world in order to fight against avoidable blindness. We began adding Braille labels on 80% of our products since 1997 in support of accessibility for the visually impaired. Our founder, Olivier Baussan, was in the store one day and noticed a customer was feeling the bottles in an attempt to familiarize themselves with the product. Olivier was moved by this and decided that accessibility and inclusion for all was a key priority. Since then, we began the effort of putting Braille on our packaging when possible, as seen on our Almond Shower Oil, the outer packaging of our Shea Butter Hand Cream, and more."
Basically, L'Occitane offers so much more than hand soap—although its hand soap is pretty brilliant. Keep reading to learn more about my favorite L'Occitane products.
This is the perfect partner for a jade roller. L'Occitane's oil contains immortelle (an antioxidant powerhouse flower from Corsica) to battle environmental damage and give skin that healthy sheen we're all after. Use it at the end of your skincare routine to lock in all the moisture and hydration from your previous skincare steps, or add in a few drops to your foundation for a super glowy look.
This body lotion is like smothering your body in an almond latte—that's how good it smells. It isn't too buttery or rich, either, meaning it sinks in without much fuss at all. It's perfect to use after a long, relaxing bath or when you've just shaved your legs—it leaves your skin feeling silky smooth.
On hot, sunny days, all you want to do is splash cold water on your face. Well, this is the skincare equivalent—without the mess. Keep the pot in the fridge so that when you apply the gel to your face, its hyaluronic acid and calcium-rich water practically soak the face in moisture. It's so refreshing.
Instead of being suspended in a gel or cream, these chunky salt flakes simply come in a blend of nourishing oils, so their scrubbing power isn't compromised. The grains buff away dead skin cells, but the oils cling onto the skin long after you get out of the shower, meaning you could skip the body lotion if you wanted. Or layer it up with the Almond Milk Concentrate if your skin needs some extra attention.
A hand cream that actually works—not one of those whose moisture lasts no more than 10 minutes. It absorbs quickly and leaves your hands feeling soft and nourished, something I think we can all appreciate. Since it contains shea butter, it melts tougher patches of skin and smells heavenly (think jasmine and ylang-ylang).
Yes, the brand does perfume too! Terre de Lumière has all the sweetness of honey and almond, the creaminess of tonka bean, the weight of amber, and the spice of pink pepper. It smells absolutely delicious and is a great choice for daytime or the office.
This shower oil is a bath time necessity. It starts off as a lightweight oil and turns into a rich, luscious foam when you lather it with water. A blend of sweet almond oil and grapeseed oils, both rich in omega-6s and omega-9s, help nourish dry skin, while its signature almond scent smells divine. You can even use it to shave with.
This ultra-rich cream is designed to treat fine lines and wrinkles, and give your skin an extra dose of moisture. It's made with L'Occitane's organic immortelle essential oil, which helps firm your skin and is rich in antioxidants that help fight free radical damage. And the texture is a lush, velvety dream that's a treat to apply.
Tadić VM, Žugić A, Martinović M, Stanković M, Maksimović S, Frank A, Nešić I. Enhanced Skin Performance of Emulgel vs. Cream as Systems for Topical Delivery of Herbal Actives (Immortelle Extract and Hemp Oil). Pharmaceutics. 2021 Nov 12;13(11):1919. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics13111919