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Killing Them Softly — L’Occitane Wows With Its Shea Butter Ultra Soft Creams



As we transition from winter to spring, it’s vital to adjust our skin care routines accordingly. Keeping our skin hydrated is crucial in any, season but the products with which we accomplish this feat should vary depending on the climate. At the height of winter, when the air is almost unbearably dry (humidity levels can drop as low as 10 percent in the winter, making conditions as dry as the Sahara desert, which itself varies from 4% to 30% humidity), we tend to want richer, more indulgent, thicker creams that feel like they’re hugging our bodies, creating an invisible suit of armor so that we can better brave the cold outside. Come springtime, our needs begin to change. As temperatures rise and humidity level climbs, as we begin spending more time outdoors and the sun’s rays start feeling more potent, we long for moisturizes that can deliver long-lasting hydration but that will feel less dense and heavy. With all these factors in mind, then, L’Occitane has introduced three new shea butter-based creams that capture the spirit of spring and also address customers’ desire for airier formulations.

Introduced in late January, the L’Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Soft Cream ($24 at L’Occitane stores and USA.LOccitane.com) is yet another tour de force for the brand. Available in three lovely scents, each cream is packaged in a signature tin in a shade corresponding to its fragrance: a deep honeysuckle pink for the Rose Heart edition, a vivid lime green for the Zesty Lime version, and a charming marigold yellow for the Vanilla Bouquet cream. Until now, most shea-based L’Occitane body creams have featured a considerably higher concentration of shea butter (for instance, 25% for the Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Cream and 15% for the Shea Butter Body Lotion), making this the most lightweight cream to date within the shea butter range, with a concentration of 10% shea butter. Because shea butter melts at body temperature and because this formula has a considerably lower concentration of the formula, the cream feels markedly airier and is absorbed by the skin with unparalleled ease.

Texturally, the Shea Butter Ultra Soft Cream feels a bit more fluid than a scoop of Greek yogurt but a tad creamier than, say, whipped cream. When you apply it on the skin, the cream spreads with ease, melting onto the skin like a dollop of margarine on hot toast.

Made with shea butter from Burkina Faso, the result of a long-term sustainable harvesting and fair trade partnership with female producers from the region, the L’Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Soft Cream also features sunflower seed oil, which is also readily absorbed by the skin and is rich in vitamin A, known to promote cellular regeneration and hence lead to deeper exfoliation, as well as vitamin E, which protects the skin from UV ray damage; vitamin D, which combats inflammation and also boosts cellular activity; and linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that keeps skin supple and wrinkle-free. Another vital ingredient is rosemary leaf extract, a refreshing and energizing herb with anti-inflammatory benefits that has been shown to provide relief from topical conditions like dermatitis and psoriasis.

As far as the cream’s scents, each one relies on natural botanicals to achieve its pleasant aroma, so that the L’Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Soft Cream in Rose Heart  contains oils extracted from both the Damask rose and the Rose de Mai, the latter a fitting choice given that it grows primarily in the French city of Grasse. Whereas many rose-scented products can be overwhelmingly fragrant, this one’s aromatic presence is much more elusive and tender, more reminiscent of a few velvety rose petals than dozens of rose bouquets. 

But my absolute favorite is the L’Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Soft Cream in Vanilla Bouquet, which owes its irresistible scent to a vanilla orchid extract. The mouth-watering aroma is milky and creamy without leaving skin smelling like a bakery, striking a perfect balance between sweet and seductive.

And those tins are so adorable you’ll want to save them and store little trinkets in them — from tiny stud earrings to midi rings.

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