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Discover Amazonian Water Lilies With The L’Occitane Au Brésil Vitória Régia Day Flower Collection


When L’Occitane founder Olivier Baussan travels to different destinations, he does so with an insatiable curiosity and a voracious appetite for knowledge but also with the utmost respect and humility, wanting to honor cultural traditions and to experience the sounds, scents, and flavors endemic to the region in question. He befriends musicians and artisans, chats with farmers and harvesters, and finds ways to collaborate with these parties in a form that’s beneficial to all parties and that pays homage to the country or region that inspired the project. Every October, for instance, the brand releases a new limited edition collection of shea butter products that celebrates the company’s commitment to the women in Burkina Faso harvesting the shea butter used in L’Occitane’s products; the tubes and tins in which these products are packaged, then, often incorporate artwork and graphics inspired by Burkina Faso artisans. In addition, the company established the L’Occitane Foundation in 2006 with the goal of helping these women in Burkina Faso by helping to advance their educational opportunities via literacy programs, giving them important entrepreneurial tools through microcredit programs and financial training, and promoting financial independence. L’Occitane, then, has a well-established history of finding the beauty in every geographical locale; of discovering the blossoms, seeds, herbs, nuts, and oils used by natives to soften and heal skin, tend to wounds and topical inflammations, to scent their bodies or even their homes.

So, it should come as no surprise, then, that when Baussan recently traveled to Brazil, he returned with a notebook filled with observations, ideas, sketches, lists of potential ingredients, and names of Brazilian musicians and artists. The result was the L’Occitane Au Brésil collection, a three-part range of suncare, fragrance, and body care products, each part distinguished by a specific aroma and/or star ingredient.

One part of the collection was inspired by the jenipapo fruit tree, while two distinct ranges were influenced by the vitória régia blossom. Why two collections inspired  by the same flower? Well, because the blossom goes through two different aromatic phases in accordance with its daily cycle, which involves sleeping during the day and then blooming at night. The two ranges, then, are the Vitória Régia Day Flower line and the Vitória Régia Night Flower line.

I was particularly intrigued by the Vitória Régia Day Flower line, which is meant to evoke the aroma of the vitória régia, a water lily indigenous to the Amazonian rainforest, but which interprets the flower’s aroma during the daytime, when its petals fold upwards and form a bud-like shape, almost as if the flower were shielding its insides from the sun’s rays.

The L’Occitane Au Brésil Vitória Régia Day Flower collection includes five products: an Eau de Cologne ($55 at USA.Loccitane.com), Shower Gel ($20 at USA.Loccitane.com), Body Lotion ($25 at USA.Loccitane.com), Hand Cream ($12 at USA.Loccitane.com), and Soap ($17 at USA.Loccitane.com). All of these products in feature a subtle, delightfully esoteric aroma with notes of gardenia, vitória régia (also known as Victoria Amazonica), and lily of the valley at its heart. Notes of musk, amber, and heliotrope surround this floral composition, giving it an aqueous quality.

For weeks, I’ve been using the L’Occitane Vitória Régia Day Flower Shower Gel and Body Lotion, and I’m obsessed with both products. I expected the scent to be rather floral, but it really isn’t — in fact, whenever I rub the shower gel onto my skin, the fragrance makes me think of fresh-cut grass, but there’s an aqueous quality that reminds me of the smell that wafts through woody areas and grassy expanses after a quick summertime rain shower, when leaves and flower petals are damp and any fragrance emitted is beyond delicate. There’s a very distinct lily aroma as well, but it’s noticeably different from the most common species of this blossom like the calla lily, the tiger lily, the stargazer lily,  and the Casablanca lily. Perhaps because the aroma is so green and fresh, it reminded me quite a bit of the fragrance associated with L’Occitane’s Angelica collection. Since there are floral notes in the aromatic composition, both products do have a feminine allure, but I appreciate their lightness since so many bloom-based scents can be overly heady and almost overwhelming. This one, instead, feels fresh and crisp, young and sparkling, in part due to the orange, lemon, and apple top notes, which add a mouth-watering, zesty touch,

The shower gel is the perfect consistency — not too thick and not too fluid — and it’s easy to smooth onto the skin and rinse off. It also leaves skin feeling clean but hydrated, so that you don’t have to worry about stripping moisture away from the skin. Just as important, it doesn’t leave any residue behind. The Vitória Régia Day Flower Body Lotion, meanwhile, is perfect for summer since it’s so light and milky, and the skin absorbs it as readily as a sponge soaks up water. Even on hot and humid days, then, you won’t feel greasy or balmy when you apply this lotion since it’s so incredibly fluid and so fast absorbing. Skin is left feeling soft, silky, and comfortable thanks to the glycerin and shea butter in the formula, and it literally glistens in the sun so that you feel like a bronzed goddess.

The lotion practically melts onto the skin and, while the scent is very subtle, it lingers on the skin for quite some time, which makes it all the more lovable — and all the more intriguing. For the remainder of the summer season, then, I hope to cover my skin with an aromatic cloak of Brazilian water lilies. Lindo maravilhoso!

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