In The Arms Of An Angel — L’Occitane Expands Its Stellar Angelica Skincare Collection
To call the L’Occitane Angelica Skincare Collection “angelic” would not be a hyperbole. Incorporating angelica root extract and angelica root oil extracted from flowers hailing from the Drôme region of Provence, the L’Occitane Angelica Skincare Collection encompasses products that hydrate, replenish, cool, and soothe the skin. Initially, the L’Occitane Angelica range incorporated the following products: the Angelica Cleansing Gel, a delightfully lightweight, slightly foamy, ultra refreshing cleanser; the Angelica Hydration Creme (one of my go-to moisturizers, as touted in the recent “Facial Moisturizers For All Seasons” piece); the Angelica Eye Roll-On, a cooling, de-puffing gel to smooth under the eye area; the Angelica Face Toner, an alcohol-free liquid combining water and angelica oil; and the Angelica UV Shield SPF 40 (which I raved about in last July’s “Summer Skin Savers” piece). Now, the range has expanded to include the Angelica Instant Hydration Mask ($35 at USA.LOccitane.com), the Angelica Exfoliating Gel ($30 at USA.LOccitane.com), and the Angelica Hydration Face Mist ($22 at USA.LOccitane.com) shown above.
As you might have imagined, the angelica flower earned this moniker because it was once believe to boast magical healing properties. According to an ancient legend, the Archangel Michael gifted the plant to a monk in the 14th century, advising him to utilize it to protect himself and his parishioners from the Bubonic Plague sweeping through Europe. Nowadays, angelic root is chewed and used as an analgesic or brewed as a tea in order to fortify the immune system. Recent research has indicated that this perennial flowering plant (which is capable of surviving brutal Icelandic temperatures) can stimulate the synthesis of the skin’s aquaporins, proteins that regulate and facilitate the flow of water across skin membranes. By stimulating aquaporin synthesis, then, you can attain a greater osmotic equilibrium so that skin reaches its optimal level of hydration and appears youthful, supple, and dewy. Furthermore, since collagen is mostly composed of water, this hydration boost results in increased skin elasticity.
Since I’ve had such stellar experiences with the Angelica products thus far, I looked to the newest launches as the Three Magi of skincare, coming to round out this celestial collection — and, as high as my expectations were, the products did not disappoint.
Given the sizzling summer heat and the suffocating humidity level, which has me sweating minutes after emerging from the shower, I’ve been relying heavily on the Angelica Hydration Face Mist ($22 at USA.LOccitane.com), a pick-me-up in a bottle. This refreshing spray can be used at any time of day (I’ve even used it to help me set makeup) so it’s a brilliant addition to your beach bag (or to your purse!). In addition to water, angelica root extract, and angelica root oil, the Angelica Hydration Face Mist incorporates skin-calming aloe leaf juice; cooling peppermint oil; and hydrogenated castor oil, an anti-inflammatory an antibacterial ingredient. Not only will this face mist cool you off and perk your skin up, it will revitalize your spirits thanks to its lovely herbal fragrance. To apply, you just have to hold the bottle about 8″ from your face and press down on the atomizer, which will release a fine mist (important to note since other facial sprays can unleash a squirt rather than a mist).
Since exposure to the sun has left my skin feeling a bit rougher than usual, I’ve also been relying on the the Angelica Instant Hydration Mask ($35 at USA.LOccitane.com), which I use three times a week to keep my complexion feeling comfortable and looking vibrant and smooth. Formulated with angelica water, angelica oil, pure water, and hyaluronic acid, the mask has an almost gel-like consistency, much like the pulpy substance inside an aloe vera leaf, so that it doesn’t feel the least bit heavy or cake-y on the skin. As soon as you smooth it onto your skin, you’ll be overcome with a sense of relief as the skin cools, a feeling akin to sticking your head in the fridge after lingering in desert-like heat (though, thankfully, without the jarring surprise of the latter feat). The mask actually feels so comfortable on the skin, you’ll want to keep it on a bit longer, rather than counting the minutes to rinse off the product. Though you can remove the clear mask with a damp cotton pad or wash cloth, I personally like to rinse my face after a solid five minutes have elapsed. Once you rinse off the mask, your skin will continue feeling supple and will retain its glow.
Lastly, there’s the Angelica Exfoliating Gel ($30 at USA.LOccitane.com), a really gentle facial polish formulated with tiny microbeads made of natural gum. As someone with rather sensitive skin, I tend to regard exfoliating facial products with apprehension, but I found this scrub surprisingly gentle. Not only do the microbeads slough off dead layers of skin, but they work to boost the skin’s circulation, while the angelica water, rosemary leaf extract, sunflower seed oil, and peppermint oil in the formula effectively moisturize, soften, soothe, and protect your complexion.