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LOCCITANEs star ingredient range: lavender, verbena, almond and immortelle

Nowadays, I think most of us are a lot more discerning about what our products contain, where they're coming from and what steps the company are taking to make commitments to more ethical and sustainable sourcing and practice. It's essential that our consumer habits change to support companies that are making meaningful alterations to every step of their business model to protect our environments and the people caring for them

L’OCCITANE has been using the key principles of phytotherapy and aromatherapy to develop formulas for more than 40 years. They have proven time and time again how committed they are to protecting the planet and to limiting their impact on the environment at every stage of the product life cycle.

Their newest products, the stunning ‘star ingredients’ collection brings together four of their key ingredients: lavender, verbena, almond and immortelle. Four unique treasures with their own history, each inspiring and mood-boosting in their own way. Each of these ingredients have a deep-rooted connection to the south of France and an emotional connection to the world; verbena with its invigorating citrus scent to boost energy, lavender with its stress-easing benefits to soothe and heal, almond with its impossibly rich and soft texture to smooth skin and immortelle, with its antioxidant and anti-ageing properties to replenish.

Because of their reliance and connection with nature L’OCCITANE is committed to protecting their producers and the biodiversity that allows their products to be made. They aim to have 100% fair-trade contracts with all their direct producers by 2025. Each year, these ingredients are harvested by their producers, who embody a commitment to nature; nurturing and growing these plants to allow them to thrive. The stories of the producers and the commitment to their lands demonstrate their passion for nature. They support family farms so that they can grow in a sustainable and lasting manner. This includes signing non-exclusive contracts that allow our producers to be independent, whilst continuing to provide technical support.

They have also committed to protecting 1,000 species and varieties of plants by 2025. The South of France is a region where this challenge makes perfect sense, as it is where the brand was born in 1976. The Mediterranean Basin is one of the richest ecosystems in the world, a “biodiversity hotspot”. Traceability is incredibly important for L’OCCITANE, as it enables them to ensure that the plants we use in our products are cultivated and harvested in ways that are not harmful to the environment or biodiversity. L’OCCITANE works with over 130 French farms and 10,000 pickers from the immortelle fields of Corsica to the lavender fields of Provence – to ensure the high quality and sustainability of the ingredients.

Since 2020, they have collaborated with PUR Project globally, to fight deforestation and climate change through planting trees locally. And locally here at home, they support HOMETREE Ireland to plant native trees in Ireland to ensure we can continue to enjoy our beautiful natural surroundings for years to come!

That natural world that they’re protecting is so vital to their star ingredients collection.

“At L’OCCITANE, we are inspired by Nature. In the end, Nature is the largest R&D laboratory on earth and the role of the science is to unravel its secrets to make them available to all, while respecting it.” - Pascal Portes, Innovation & Sustainable Sourcing Director

Almond Shower Oil 250ml (RRP €22) / Almond Milk Concentrate 200ml (RRP €46)

L’OCCITANE utilises the entire almond in their products as the individual elements have softening, tightening, firming and smoothing properties;

Oil - rich in fatty acids and omegas 9, nourishes, softens and protects the skin from dehydration.

Protein - helps to soften and hydrate the skin.

Seed Extract - helps to firm and smooth the skin.

Shell Powder - known for its exfoliating properties, gently removes impurities and dead cells.

Fruit Extract – helps to soften the skin.

Up until the last century, the Almond tree was a strong symbol of the Provençal landscape. Following World War II, other crops became more profitable, such as olives and grapes. Almond cultivation decreased to the point of almost disappearing from Provence in the 1950s. L’OCCITANE has worked with its producers to replenish the almond trees in the region and today they are thriving.

As part of their commitment to sustainability, L’OCCITANE support the local production of almonds and they not only purchase the nuts whole, but also the broken almonds to use in body scrubs for example. In France, their main producer is Jean-Pierre Jaubert, who has replanted over 22,000 almond trees with typical Provençal varieties of the Valensole region since 2002 on his 80 hectares. In 2015, he signed a multi-year contract with L’OCCITANE, thus assuring him of a long-term commitment to his investment.

Lavender Hand Cream 75ml (RRP €18) / Lavender Foaming Bath 500ml (RRP €29)

Also known as “blue gold”, lavender is synonymous with Provence. It first grew in the region over 2,000 years ago and soon became a defining element of both the landscape and the local economy. At L’OCCITANE, they use only fine lavender – Lavandula angustifolia – as it yields the very best essential oil. Since 1981, the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) label has guaranteed the quality and traceability of the essential oil, ensuring that the plant grows from certified seeds, which are genetically diverse and rich, making them more likely to resist climate change and disease.

Lavender is known for its purifying, soothing and relaxing properties, helping to calm skin and promote wellbeing.

Verbena Cooling Hand Cream 75ml (RRP €18) / Verbena EDT 100ml (RRP €55)

Verbena is a plant that is often associated with Provence, growing in gardens and sold in the markets. However, its cultivation in the region is now limited due to competition from other verbena producing countries. That’s why L’OCCITANE chose to source their verbena from Magalie and Philippe Mary in Provence, whose land was recognised as a ‘Green Oasis’ for endangered plants and animals by the independent consulting firm Naturalia Environment.

Their 100% organic production ensures cultivating without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilisers, contributing to the purity of the fields and respect for the surrounding biodiversity. They harvest it both in August and in October, as the Provençal summer heat enables it to grow back fully in just two months.

Verbena is known for its refreshing and uplifting citrus scent to invigorate mind and body. The verbena leaf extracts used within the products, refreshes the skin with a burst of tantalising citrus.

Immortelle Divine Cream 50ml (RRP €89) / Immortelle Overnight Reset Serum 30ml (RRP €60)

Overnight Reset Serum

Immortelle is the flower that never fades and once cut, preserves its beautiful golden yellow hue.

Immortelle is native to Corsica. In 2004, L’OCCITANE launched the first large-scale organic plantation program, aimed at securing supplies whilst preserving the wild Immortelle. Since then, 100% of of Immortelle sourcing has come from organic production. As this wild plant had never been domesticated before, L’OCCITANE’s sustainable sourcing makes sure they don’t put pressure on the plant’s natural environment.

Immortelle has many facets, each extracted from the bright yellow flower and each giving beauty benefits. Immortelle is soothing, youth-boosting, radiance- reviving and nourishing:

Essential Oil – This natural alternative to Vitamin E is a powerhouse antioxidant that protects the skin. L’OCCITANE discovered it also has anti-ageing properties, helping to fight the loss of firmness and reduce the visible signs of ageing.

Oily Extract – contains omegas 9 & 6, which are known for their nourishing properties.

Aqueous Extract – contains polyphenols, which are known for their antioxidant properties.

Super Aqueous Extract – When associated with Immortelle Essential Oil, it yields antioxidant benefits that help protect the skin against external aggressors such as blue light over exposure.

Super Extract - Unlocks similar skin volume benefits as synthetic retinol, which also evens out skin tone leaving the skin smoother, softer and more radiant.

Floral Water – known for its soothing properties.

As if sustainable practice and stunning, effective products weren’t enough, there’s more! Until 12th May 2021 customers can sign up to L’OCCITANE’s mailing list and be in with a chance to win a lovely floral prize. The prize includes two of L’OCCITANE’s products; a 500ml Shea Lavender Hands & Body Liquid Soap and a 50ml Immortelle Divine Face Cream plus The Happy Blossoms Dried Flowers Bouquet. The total prize worth €161, and to enter the competition, customers simply need to sign up on loccitane.com/thehappyblossoms and on Instagram @loccitane_uk_ire to double their chances to win!

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.

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