Monday, August 21, 2006

L'Occitane Shea Butter

I feel like I'm constantly passing L'Occitane stores when I walk around New York, and yet never going into them. No, that's not true. Once last year I did go into one (enticed by the be-smocked young lady handing out sprigs of dried lavendar to harried passersby) and I bought two bars of soap. That was so unusual that when I went into one again last week I was surprised when the saleslady informed me that I was on L'Occitane's VIP list. VIPs get free samples, apparently, and all you need to do to be one is give them all of your personal information. For a free packet of face moisturizer, you can have my firstborn.

I like L'Occitane products because for a brief moment they can make me think that I'm in the French countryside and not hovering over the absurdly tiny sink in my small, mouse-frequented apartment trying not to splash water into the trash can. But I know that somewhere in the French countryside some lovely young woman is tiring of her lavendar-infused, well-moisturized life and yearning for a life of urine-scented subway tunnels and overpriced fifth floor walkups. It all evens out.

Price: $10. I got it on sale, but that was still entirely too expensive for a stick of lip balm. I guess that's one dollar for every percent of shea butter.

Appearance: It's taller and fatter than a Chapstick (for the same amount of product) and, much like Labello, employs a lipstick-like cap and twist mechanism.

Glide: Worst. Glide. Ever. In fact, I'm not even sure if what it has can be described as a glide. Imagine slightly wetting an eraser and rubbing that back and forth over your lips. That's exactly what this feels like, especially if your lips are dry to begin with. The stick hard and granular; I can't tell if that's intentional, like maybe it's supposed to exfoliate while you apply, but it feels terrible. It takes about six or seven intense swipes to feel like you've put anything on, but luckily what does end up on your lips feels rather pleasant. The huge amount of shea butter in the stick saves the glide. Just barely.

L'O also has tinted finger-dip versions of its shea butter balm. They use the word "tinted" to mean "intensely colored". Just on my finger the stuff looked neon. I didn't try any on, so I can't comment much on them, but I can guess that their glide was much better.

Flavor/Smell: No real flavor to speak of. The scent is quite perfumy- flowery with hints of lemon. Very pleasant, with fragrances like linalool and geraniol. Overall the scent is not too strong, but and it's definitely a bit girly. The more I smell it, the more I love it. I want the eu de toilette version. Nice on your neck, but not on your lips.

Lasting Power: Pretty decent. Lots of shea butter and other oils (macadamia, sunflower) guarantee well-moisturized, happy lips for a while.

Product Plusses: Lots of shea butter and...made in France? No SPF.

Horrific glide on what would otherwise be a sublime stick. 3 out of 5 tubes.
2.5 out of 5.


Anonymous the glitterati said...

The hard granular-ness comes from using low-grade or unrefined shea butter, I've heard. One would expect more from L'Occitane... especially at that price! Thanks for the review... I've often wondered about their lip stuff, especially that super-bright tinted version.

5:02 PM  
Blogger javajive said...

I downgraded this after trying to give it another shot. I find that a lot of the fancier L'Occitane products (ie, not the basic soaps) tend to be a little too heavy on the fragrance and strange in texture.

10:45 PM  
Blogger stefan197 said...

Shea Butter Lotion Shampoo Conditioner

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got this balm as a gift, and am happy about that for two reasons: I didn't pay a cent for it, and I have nothing to lose by not really caring for it. It's an ok balm, but yea... it's almost painful. For the price range you're better off buying Fresh's Lip Repair or Aveda's Lip Saver.

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happen too use L'O's Lavender Shea Butter in the tiny tin can (not this stick one) as my regular lip balm. It actually works perfectly for me and I carry it around wherever I go. Though, at night, I prefer to smother my lips with the 100% shea version (also from L'O), super moisture retention.

7:51 PM  
Blogger caroline said...

I love this blog. Love it! It's wintertime right now in NYC and I am actually having great success with another lip balm from L'O - Creamy Honey Lip Balm. It has a little bit of a texture to slough off dead skin and leave you with protected lips. Of course, Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Skin Protectant is a true classic.

11:24 PM  
Blogger javajive said...

Good, I'm glad to know L'O makes another worthy balm. They've got good stuff. Haven't tried the Arden 8 Hour, but now I'll know to pick one up the next time I run across it. Thanks!

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this lip balm, I used a whole tube up because it was so addictive. The grannular texture can be caused when this type of chapstick gets older or when it gets very left in a hot car. L'O has great products, love them. And they are turning all of their lavender fields organic!

3:29 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

My L'O is smooth NOT GRAINY although I have one in the hot car also that is grainy. Guess it depends like any other pet how you care for the baby.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was able to get some of these from Delta in their first class dop kits. Nice-ish for being "free", but mine were unscented thank gawd. Kinda rough still and not enough glide for me either.

11:01 PM  

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