L’Occitane Frisson de Verveine review, photos: Ice Gel & Shower Gel

Saturday, August 9, 2014

L'Occitane Frisson de Verveine review

The products: L’Occitane Frisson de Verveine Shower Gel & Cooling Foot Gel

It’s hard to find a good summer scent. Trust me; I know. The ones that are good never last, and the ones that last are always so heavy. And, ugh, don’t even get me started on how sticky-sweet and floral the summer heat can make feminine fragrances.

This summer, though, L’Occitane has solved the summer scent problem — in part. No one can make citrus and aquatic-family molecules linger for any longer, but this bright, genderless summer collection might be just what you need to get you through August. (I think it makes an especially appealing androgynous scent for women.)

L'Occitane shower gel review Frisson de Verveine

The scent: This stuff smells good. Like, so good that when my shower is over, I have a tendency to wander back into the bathroom (hot and humid as it is), just to stand by the shower and inhale for a moment. It smells like bright summer days, and like verbena, but it doesn’t have any of the hard edges that the original L’Occitane Verveine scent has — instead, it has soft edges with just the right amount of zest.

Frisson de Verveine reminds me of D&G Light Blue and Fresh Citron de Vigne, in feeling if not in its notes. An aptly-categorized unisex “aqueous citrus,” it’s light and very fresh, almost masculine and not at all “perfumey”. But, unlike Light Blue, it’s very unique — no one is going to sniff this on you and go, “oh yeah, I used to wear that in high school.”

L'Occitane Frisson de Verveine review Fresh Shower Gel

L'Occitane Frisson de Verveine Ice Gel review

The Ice Gel: I found the collection’s Fresh Shower Gel ($32 CAD) to be a little drying, despite its gorgeous scent (use with a shower puff for maximum fragrance release!), but the cool-cred in this collection totally goes to the Ice Gel for Legs & Feet ($24 CAD). It’s actually a liquid, and has the coolest method of application — you roll the ball onto your skin while gently squeezing the tube to get just the right amount of product.

This is the only product I’ve ever owned with this type of packaging, and I love it. It’s easy to use, weirdly fun, and amounts to zero drips or drops. And the product inside is really good, too — while it doesn’t feel cooling on my feet (it does on my hands; I think my feet just aren’t sensitive enough), it’s surprisingly hydrating, and dries down quickly.

And yes, okay? Yes, I will admit to dabbing some of this onto my wrists as well. It just smells so good, you guys. I couldn’t help myself.

L'Occitane Ice Gel verveine review

The verdict?

L’Occitane’s fragrances outside of La Collection de Grasse don’t always wow me, but wow – this one did. The perfect aquatic-citrus for both men and women, Frisson de Verveine is as bright and watery as you could wish for on a hot summer day. 

But I’m going to recommend you don’t buy these two products, because I love the scent so much. Instead, I’m going to point you toward the line’s gorgeously bottled Frisson de Verveine Eau de Toilette ($56 CAD) and aerosolized Verbena Refreshing Mist ($12 CAD). This is a scent that deserves to be enjoyed both in and out of the shower.

Availability: The Frisson de Verveine range is available for a limited time at L’Occitane boutiques & online beginning this month.

Keep reading! »

Three to try: Body oils from L’Occitane, Clarins, and Osmia Organics

Friday, August 1, 2014

Body oil reviews

For something that sprays: L’Occitane Amande Supple Skin Oil ($ /3.4 oz)

With a formula containing over 50% sweet almond oil (and following up with fractionated coconut oil), the makeup of L’Occitane’s Amande Supple Skin Oil is pretty great. It hydrates well despite its lightweight texture, and comes in a gorgeous glass bottle with a spray dispenser — and while I don’t think it’ll make well-hydrated skin any more firm or supple (as it claims), any good body oil will do that for chronically dry skin!

L'Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil

However, despite the fact that I love the feel and presentation of this oil, I personally hate the scent. It opens with just a second of beautiful, nutty synthetic almond, but turns into something sharp and cloying once misted and rubbed in; something that sits in the back of my throat with painful honey-sweetness.

But, to each her own: I adore the idea of honey scents, but for some reason, I just can’t stand them in practice. If you love scents like Lise Watier’s Something Sweet or Marc Jacobs Dot (or anything with honey in it!), I bet the L’Occitane Amande body oil would work beautifully for you.

L’Occitane Supple Skin Oil ingredients:

Sweet Almond Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Fragrance, Oleyl Alcohol, Camelina Sativa Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Bergamot Fruit Oil, Carrot Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Dioleyl Tocopheryl Methylsilanol, Limonene, Coumarin, Linalool, Citral.

Clarins Shimmer Oil

For shine and shimmer: Clarins Shimmer Oil for Face & Body ($ /3.3 oz)

Of these three oils, Clarins’ is the only one I haven’t tested — and for good reason. This beautiful bi-phase oil (the shimmer separates out) has wonderful, chunky-chic packaging and a captivating amount of warm shimmer particles, but it’s actually a silicone-oil: the formula contains plenty of glittering minerals, but its liquid phase is based mainly on coconut oil fractions and cyclopentasiloxane.

For those of you who missed out last year, this is an exact copy of Clarins’ Splendours Body Oil, from the packaging to the ingredients; the packaging simply lost the “Splendours” label and picked up a “face & body” descriptor.

Clarins Shimmer Oil ingredients: 

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Isononyl Isononate, Hazel Seed Oil, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Bisabolol, Fragrance, Silica, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Tin Oxide, Sunflower Seed Oil, Coumarin, Linalool, Farnesol.

Osmia Organics body oil review

For a sexy scent: Osmia Organics Sunset Body Oil ($30 USD/2 oz)

I seriously need to try out some new Osmia oils, because Sunset still has me smitten – months after the first time I tried it. Their oils are all-natural and beautifully scented, with a luxurious fractionated coconut oil & jojoba base that delivers wonderful, completely lightweight moisture.

I’ve tested quite a few body oils since falling in love with this one, but Sunset is still my favourite by far. The delicate, feminine scent lasts all day long (it’s a super-sexy rendition of vanilla; slightly spicy and just barely floral), and though the price tag is a little high, it’s an easy compromise to make – it may be sold as a body oil, but it can definitely double as your perfume.

Osmia Organics Body Oil ingredients:

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Fractionated Coconut Oil), Jojoba Oil, Kukui Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Rosehip Seed Oil, Cannabis Sativa Hemp Seed Oil, Avocado Oil, Borage Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Sea Buckthorn Berry Co2 Extract, Rosemary Co2 Extract, And A Proprietary Blend Of Organic And Wild-Harvested Essential Oils And Co2 Extracts.

L’Occitane Vanille & Narcisse, Neroli & Orchidee, and Fleur d’Or & Acacia reviews, photos | La Collection de Grasse

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

L'Occitane Collection de Grasse

The products: L’Occitane en Provence La Collection de Grasse Eau de Toilettes in Vanille & Narcisse, Néroli & Orchidée, and Fleur d’Or & Acacia

Launched last May with just four scents, the L’Occitane La Collection de Grasse has since expanded to encompass eight beautiful scents for him & her. Packaged in the most exquisite glass flacons, each fragrance blends an ingredient from Grasse (a Mediterranean city in Provence) with one from afar.

L'Occitane La Collection de Grasse review

The nose of this collection is none other than parfumer Karine Dubreuil, who was born and raised in Grasse. I absolutely adore her work as the in-house perfumer at L’Occitane, as well as her approach to perfumery — she often describes her upbringing in Provence; a childhood surrounded by a garden of beautiful scents, her first spritz of cologne, and the memories that she now puts into olfactive form.

Fleur d’Or & Acacia Eau de Toilette ($75 CAD)

Perfume review - L'Occitane Fleur d'Or et Acacia

Described as “a sensual blend of floral notes,” Fleur d’Or et Acacia is my top pick for a spring scent this year. It’s bright, alluring, and sunny, drying down to a powdery finish without a hint of gourmand sweetness or floor-cleaner citrus in between.

I wish that this particular scent had better longevity and sillage, but it’s been my one big, unexpected love of the season. With top notes of lemon and bergamot, heart notes of mimosa and genet (a sweet-smelling shrub in the broom family), and base notes of white woods and musk, it encapsulates the feeling of spring without ever erring too mainstream or too obscure.

L'Occitane Fleur d'Or Acacia review

Fleur d’Or & Acacia takes La Collection de Grasse’s idea of “precious ingredients from France and afar” quite literally, with mimosa absolute from Grasse supported by Mediterranean acacia.

Though this scent was named (Fleur d’Or) for the yellow flowers of the broom and acacia plants, I also find it to be representative of the “yellow floral” scent family it belongs to — bright, springy perfumes; sometimes described as “sunshine in a bottle.” Fleur d’Or & Acacia is the only yellow floral I’ve ever owned and liked, but wow — do I ever like it a lot.

Vanille & Narcisse and Neroli & Orchidee »

L’Occitane Flowers of Love review, photos: Rose Tenderness, Subtle Violet, Passionate Jasmine

Monday, October 21, 2013

L'Occitane Flowers of Love collection shea 2013

The products: L’Occitane Shea “Flowers of Love” collection

   ↳ Shea Hand Cream in Subtle Violet, Lip Balm in Passionate Jasmine, and Ultra Rich Body Cream in Rose Tenderness

This year’s limited edition L’Occitane Shea Flowers of Love collection features three scents created to express love and care, each offered in all three formats reviewed in this post, as well as a collector’s edition of their cult-classic hand cream and a shea butter Solidarity Soap (details at the bottom of this post.)

The collection was created by L’Occitane’s founder, Olivier Baussan, who was inspired by beaded jewels, a token of love in Africa.

A quick “mini-verdict”

I always love the sentiment and charitable work behind L’Occitane’s shea butter collections, but I just wasn’t smitten with the scents in this collection. They’re all a little too sweet and sharp, in a way that feels uncharacteristic of the brand — I’m sure many will love them, but I was a little disappointed in the composition of the fragrances this time around.

L'Occitane lip balm review Passionate Jasmine

Passionate Jasmine Lip Balm ($18 CAD)

Like the Date Bouquet Lip Balm in last year’s Fortune Flowers collection, I’m not totally smitten with Passionate Jasmine, either. It’s scented with a lively floral (I was hoping for a passion fruit-jasmine blend with irrational optimism, so sue me), and contains much less shea butter than the rest of these products: only 10%.

With a formula based mainly on oils (vegetable, castor seed, and sunflower), and thickened with shea, beeswax, and hydrogenated oils, L’Occitane lip balms are a little too greasy for my tastes — they sort of slide around on top of my lips, never providing quite enough hydration. My vote is to skip the lip balms (again, like last year), and spend your money on the other two formulas instead!

L'Occitane shea Hand Cream review Subtle Violet

Subtle Violet Hand Cream ($12 CAD)

While I won’t personally be enjoying this violet-wrapped hand cream (it, like the Ultra Rich Body Cream, contains dimethicone), you can hardly throw a stone without hitting a fan of L’Occitane’s Shea Butter Hand Cream. Formulated with 20% shea butter, it’s designed to be richly hydrating, if a little heavy – a little goes a long way.

The Subtle Violet fragrance of this hand cream has an unexpectedly sweet edge to it, sitting close to the skin and smelling softly of candied violets. The cap, however, is the most notable thing about it: larger than usual and with more pronounced edges (“petals”), it’s exactly what we’ve all been praying to the L’Occitane packaging gods for.

L'Occitane shea ultra rich body cram review Rose Tenderness

Rose Tenderness Ultra Rich Body Cream ($28 CAD)

The Rose Tendress scent was my favourite of these three: soft and sweet, with an unexpectedly zesty edge, I think it’s worth a sniff if you love a really bright rose. I’m always careful when using L’Occitane Ultra Rich Body Creams, as they do contain silicone, but I’ve tested them in the past on my legs — I loved last year’s Mango Flower scent.

With a hydrating formula, the Ultra Rich Body Cream’s fragrances always have great throw and longevity. If you’re looking for a body product that will stay with you for a little while (and definitely hydrate for longer), I’d say give this one a sniff.

But the real star of the collection is… »

L’Occitane Verveine EdT Fresh Roll-on review, photos | Summer echoes

Friday, October 11, 2013

L'Occitane Verbena Fresh Roll On review

The product: L’Occitane Verveine (Verbena) Eau de Toilette Fresh Roll-on

Behind the collection: L’Occitane’s Verbena lineup contains organic verbena extract from Provence, and was created for use by both men and women. The Verbena Fresh Roll-on is a purse-friendly version of the original L’Occitane Verbena Eau de Toilette; the “Fresh” in the name is irrelevant (this is the same scent.)

L’Occitane has Mint and Citrus Verbena fragrances available as well this summer, in addition to the Eau Fraîche Collection of verbena-scented body products.

L'Occitane EdT review - verveine:verbena

The notes: A soft, delicate fragrance in the green citrus family, the L’Occitane Verbena Eau de Toilette lists top notes of orange and lemon, heart notes of verbena and petitgrain, and base notes of rose and geranium.

A few fun facts: Unlike most flowers used in perfumery, Verbena (also known as vervain — yes, all you Vampire Diaries fans, that vervain) can sometimes deliver a second harvest in October, weather allowing. Used  in everything from love potions to sleeping draughts, some plants in the Verbenaceae are odourless; others, delicately lemon scented.

L'Occitane Verveine Eau de Toilette review

My thoughts on the fragrance

I don’t love doing “verdicts” for perfumes, so I thought I’d change things up a little today.

I’m not entirely smitten with the Verbena fragrance, but it’s such an individual thing — I can easily think of half a dozen friends and family members who would absolutely love it. Very fresh, green, and lemony, Verveine opens as a freshly-zested lemon’s rind but sits a little too sharp and synthetic for my nose.

L'Occitane Verveine Eau de Toilette Fresh Roll-on review

The Verveine Eau de Toilette Fresh Roll-on fragrance is very light, with little sillage and a wear time similar to that of most lemony-fresh fragrances. Without any heavy or heady notes to “cling” to the skin, this summery verbena is gone within a few hours; perhaps due in part to its formulation, or perhaps due to its delivery method (roll-ons and EdTs tend to have less throw and tenacity than EdP and parfum sprays).

I would recommend this most to someone who wants to smell fresh and refined, and is alright with touching up throughout the day. I feel almost as if I love perfume too much for this perfume: it feels very much like a chic home fragrance, or a green bouquet sitting aside a bowl of lemons in the kitchen.

Availability: $22 CAD/10ml, limited edition and in-stores now.

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