Saturday, November 9, 2013

L'Occitane arrives at Oakridge Centre

Since its beginnings in 1976 out of an old soap factory in Marseille, L'Occitane en Provence has grown to have boutiques all over the world and a loyal following of fans that love the south of France-inspired products. Although I've heard great things about their skin care and perfumes, I just never got around to visiting a boutique. Recently, I was invited to check out the newly-opened L'Occitane boutique at Oakridge Centre in Vancouver--how could I not take up a chance to get a guided tour of the new location and the products?

L'Occitane boutique at Oakridge Centre, near the food court
I met manager Rita who showed me around the space and we discussed some of L'Occitane's signature ingredients, such as shea butter from Burkina Faso and lavender from Provence.

One of the very first things that caught my eye about this boutique was this awesome "chandelier" display of L'Occitane shea butter hand creams (all real!) ✧‿✧  If I had something like this hanging around my room, you can bet I'd have gorgeous hands all the time!

After I was done drooling over the chandelier, I met the incredibly sweet Evita, who would be doing my mini-facial and hand massage that day. We discussed my skin issues--dry, recovering from a mean eczema flare-up but otherwise not super sensitive. Although her first instinct was to go with the Shea Butter line for my dry skin, I was worried because rich products can still break me out while my skin adjusts to colder weather. I'm happy that she listened to my concerns and wasn't pushy like some consultants in the beauty industry can be. Instead, we went with the cleansing gel and face toner from the Angelica line, which is a lighter option for hydration and also revitalizes dull skin.

After prepping the skin, Evita applied the Immortelle Divine Extract serum and Immortelle Divine Cream to my face. The Immortelle range is L'Occitane's top-of-the-line anti-aging collection, featuring the essential oils of the Immortelle flower, which does not fade even after picking. After getting such a lovely treatment of L'Occitane goodness, my skin felt happy and plump.

Next was a hand massage, which started with L'Occitane's One Minute Hand Scrub. Although I didn't use this sugar-based scrub for the full minute, my hands were already noticeably softer and glowing. Afterwards, she massaged in the Immortelle Brightening Hand Care lotion with SPF 20, which evens out the skin tone and protects hands from sun damage. I admit that I usually forget about protecting the skin on my hands--more hand creams should come with SPF! I was totally relaxed, with lovely, soft hands to go with my hydrated face.

Where the magic happens
This is the area where guests get their mini-facials and hand massages. It's framed with tons of pretty and real yellow Immortelle flowers. Isn't it amazing?

Display for the Immortelle Divine skin care line, surrounded by real Immortelle flowers
Photo from L'Occitane product page
I didn't get my own photo of it, but since I love jasmine scents I couldn't resist trying the Jasmin & Bergamote eau de toilette--and promptly fell in love with the fresh floral jasmine scent. I'm not very good at describing fragrances, so I'm just going to say it smells awesome and has great lasting power on my skin. I might be back to pick it up for myself once I finish one of my current fragrances. Evita and Rita also included a sample vial of Vanille & Narcisse in my bag, but personally I'm just not a fan of spicy scents like this. Plus after a few hours on my skin, it started smelling like the Chinese herbal oil my mom used to rub on me when I had a stomachache, haha.
L'Occitane Fleur D'Or & Acacia Collector's Set / photo from product page
Although it wasn't in store when I visited, the holiday collection is now available! L'Occitane's perfumer created two scents inspired by Christmas in her hometown of Grasse, France: Fleur D'Or & Acacia (women) is a musky floral scent featuring mimosa and acacia, and C├Ędre & Oranger (men) is a woody citrus with Virginian cedar and Italian orange. Fleur D'Or & Acacia sounds lovely so I'll be visiting a boutique for a sample vial soon.

The mini-facials with cleanser, toner, and cream or lotion and hand massages are all complimentary services, so pop by your closest L'Occitane boutique and try a few products for yourself! They also have lots of samples of their products, so don't be shy about asking. I can't recommend Evita at the Oakridge Centre location enough. She was great at listening to my needs and checked in often throughout the mini-facial to make sure my face felt comfortable and wasn't showing signs of a negative reaction to the products we used. We talked about eczema woes since she has also suffered from eczema on her face as well--but you can't tell now because her skin is so smooth and gorgeous!

I had a great time getting to know L'Occitane's collections and experiencing a few of their products firsthand. I did get some goodies to take home and I'll be sure to share my thoughts soon :>

Thank you to Jenelle for photographing me while I got my mini-facial and hand massage ♥

What are your favourites from L'Occitane?

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