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Why the L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Skincare Range is a Miracle Worker

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The immortelle flower’s Latin name, Helychrysum, translates to “golden sun,” a reference to the blossom’s sunny yellow petals. For years, now French skincare brand L’Occitane has been basking in the glow of the “golden sun,” touting the flower’s anti-aging benefits, the result of its high concentration of neryl acetate, an anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory with well-known wound-healing and scar-reducing properties that can be attributed to its high concentration of diketones which, in turn, stimulate the growth of new skin tissue. By promoting cellular regeneration, relieving existing inflammations, and protecting the skin against free radical damage, immortelle successfully protects the skin from premature aging, keeping it nourished, smooth, radiant, and taut. L’Occitane’s cosmetogenomics research found that, when applied to the skin, the Corsican immortelle flower successfully doubled the activity of the gene that protects dermal cells and codes the Speedy SPDYA protein, which controls cellular degradation. It also doubled the activity of the DDB2 skin cell gene, which codes the enzyme that repairs damaged fractions of DNA.

This lovely flower — dubbed “immortelle” because of its ability to retain its color even after being picked and dried — grows abundantly on the island of Corsica. This particular strain of the flower also has the highest concentration of neryl acetate (roughly 30%). Given its commitment to developing products incorporating immortelle, L’Occitane has developed an organic cultivation program for immortelle in Corsica, with 3 billion flowers harvested on a yearly basis within a 50-hectare stretch of land.

Immortelle is the main ingredient in L’Occitane’s Divine skincare line, which incorporates its Divine Cream, a long-standing customer favorite that has ranked in the top three within The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible for many a year. To ensure that this cream, and every product in this celebrated anti-aging range, retains that coveted  number one spot, L’Occitane recently reformulated this magical potion, along with its complementary products. The result was the L’Occitane Immortelle Divine skincare range, launched in late 2013.

The products in the L’Occitane Immortelle Divine range all incorporate immortelle extract, but this botanical extract is married with a new complex of seven past-based ingredients: marsh clover, rich in isoflavones that stimulate cellular growth, reduce collagen breakdown, and thereby diminish the appearance of wrinkles while preventing skin damage; Corsican myrtle, a gentle astringent that helps to control oil and prevent acne; Corsican honey, a powerful humectant that draws moisture to the skin and seals it in, while also functions as an antimicrobial and accelerates the healing of wounds (its high sugar content yields an osmotic effect that inhibits microbial growth and it actually releases a small amount of hydrogen peroxide, which is well-known for its cleansing and antibacterial properties); Bellis Perennis, a common European daisy that reduces melanin formation,inhibiting tyrosinase activity, thereby working to protect the skin from developing dark spots and to battle hyperpigmentation; evening primrose, which is rich in gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acids that helps to prevent moisture loss and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier; hyaluronic acid, which binds to water and creates a gelatinous fluid that surrounds the skin tissue, preventing collagen and moisture loss and thereby keeping the skin looking plump, healthy, and smooth; and camelina oil, which helps to improve skin elasticity and repair damaged skin cells thanks to its 50% polyunsaturated fatty acid content.

The L’Occitane Immortelle Divine range incorporates four products:  the L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Lotion ($54 at USA.LOccitane.com), the L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Eyes ($76 at USA.Loccitane.com), the L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Extract ($116 at USA.LOccitane.com), and the L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Creme Divine ($106 at USA.LOccitane.com). For months now, I’ve been testing out two products in the collection, the Divine Lotion and Divine Cream, and my skin has never looked better!

Despite its moniker, the L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Lotion is actually a toner that’s designed to soften the skin, balance moisture and oil levels, and accelerate exfoliation of the epidermis. Unlike most toners, which are watery and fluid, this one has more of a gelatinous, almost serum-like consistency, but it doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. It also doesn’t dry out the skin, an unfortunate consequence of many a toner. Ideally, you want to moisten a cotton pad with the lotion and then smooth it onto cleansed skin prior to applying the Divine Cream. The one caveat: the Divine Lotion has a very peculiar scent that’s not altogether pleasant. Whereas the Divine Cream has a fresh, meadow-worthy aroma, the Divine Lotion borders on malodorous. Still, the scent doesn’t linger after application and the softening effect is well worth a momentary period of aromatic unpleasantness.

As for the L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Creme Divine ($106 at USA.LOccitane.com), this product was sent from heaven. I’ve tried hundreds of anti-aging creams and few have left me as satisfied as this one. Thus far, I’d probably place this and Caudalie’s Premier Cru in the top spots. I’m not sure which of the two would emerge the winner but it would be a close battle! The new formula makes the cream even more indulgent than before, and it’s remarkably lightweight so that it can be used morning and night (the previous formula was a bit thicker, so that I would’ve used it solely in the evening).

As mentioned, the cream contains immortelle essential oil and a 7-plant derived complex that work together to hydrate skin, seal in moisture, boost collagen and elastin production, fortify the skin’s natural barrier, promote topical exfoliation, boost radiance, reduce inflammation, improve texture, battle hyperpigmentation, protect skin from harmful UV rays, and trigger activity at a genetic level.

The Divine Cream smells better than a fresh bouquet, with fresh floral and herbal notes that lead to a woody immortelle scent coated in sweet honey. And the texture is simply  superb: velvety soft yet far from heavy or balmy. My skin drinks up the cream almost immediately, leaving it feeling soft and looking luminous. Also remarkable is the fact that, even on the harshest winter day, my skin never felt parched — a morning application of this moisturizer was enough to keep my complexion feeling nourished and hydrated for the duration of the day. That said, you will need to apply a lightweight sunscreen over this cream to fully protect your skin from UV rays.

 I’d rarely advise someone to tamper with what was already so close to perfection but, in this case, it more than paid off as the L’Occitane Divine Immortelle range is nothing short of miraculous!

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