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L’Occitane Divine Collection DEBUNKED!

Updated on March 23, 2016

L’Occitane’s Deceptive Marketing Acumen

After debunking L’Occitane Immortelle Precious Cream in my previous Hub, I’m back with debunking L’Occitane’s Immortelle Divine Collection. L’Occitane puts pressure on their salespersons to sell their Divine Range of products first. I’ve had the same experience. When I visited the L’Occitane store in South City Mall in Kolkata, the salesperson did not even ask me about my preference and started talking incessantly about the Immortelle Precious Serum, The Divine Range etc and then went a bit ahead into force selling tactics. Well, I’m quite sure you’ve had the same experience too if you’ve ever visited any L’Occitane store. In this Hub I will bring out the truth about L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Collection. It will be kind of you if you can share this information with your family, friends, colleagues so that nobody else makes such expensive mistake and end up paying a great amount for treating the damaged skin.

Now lets get into the topic

Paula's choice said:

"The only thing divine about this product is the price (at least from the company’s point of view), and that’s assuming that divinity is correlated somehow with a high price tag. Labeling this product as “complete regenerating skin care” is so far off the mark you can’t even see the target. More to the point, if this is a “complete regenerating” product, then what are all of the other Immortelle products for? Is this their best option for being “immortelle”? Also, because it doesn’t contain sunscreen, it assuredly is not a complete option for daytime!

Although this moisturizer has its share of impressive beneficial ingredients, the amount of synthetic and natural fragrance ingredients is cause for concern because they are irritants, as are some of the plant extracts and the myrtle oil. According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, myrtle oil used topically can cause “bronchial spasm, asthma-like attacks, or respiratory failure in infants and children.” Granted, this isn’t a product for kids, but why bother including such a problematic, unimpressive ingredient that doesn’t have any research showing it has any benefit for skin? The jar packaging issue isn’t even worth going into detail about because this is just a really bad, overly expensive product."

A current employee of L’Occitane wrote a review on Glassdoor’s website:

Overbearing leadership You only exist to sell a single product line (Divine) No regard for what skin care is actually beneficial to the customer. Just sell Divine creams! Expectation to harass customers Out of touch and very 80s approach to sales. Modern shoppers generally want to be left alone and will ask for help if needed Constant Role Playing.[i] (sic)

L’Occitane USA’s website claims:

These advanced formulas combine the organic Immortelle essential oil rich in active molecules that deliver unique anti-aging beauty results with a complex of plant derived active ingredients. This powerful combination helps to fight visible signs of aging, giving skin the youthful, radiant glow you've always wanted.[ii]

L’Occitane India’s website claims:

The new, advanced formulas combine the unique anti-aging properties of everlasting Immortelle flowers with the boosted effectiveness of 7 plant-derived active ingredients. The powerful combination helps to fight signs of aging better than ever before, giving skin the youthful, radiant glow you've always wanted.[iii]

Let’s dive in a bit to discover the depth of L’Occitane’s deceptive marketing acumen. The claim made by the said company on their Immortelle Divine Collection is absolutely false and has been designed to deceive the general public.

L’Occitane Immortelle New Divine Collection

L’Occitane Divine Collection Popular Products
Quantity in Fluid Ounces and Price in USD
Quantity in Millilitres and Price in INR
Divine Cream
1.7 fl.oz - $108
50 ml – Rs 6,990
Divine Extract
1 fl.oz - $116
30 ml – Rs 7,390
Divine Youth Oil
1 fl.oz - $106
30 ml – Rs 6,990
Divine Lotion
6.7 fl.oz - $58
200 ml – Rs 3,390
A list of L’Occitane products available under their New Divine Collection. This table lists the products, their quantity (in fluid ounces and millilitres) and price (in US Dollars and Indian Rupees) Source: L’Occitane USA Online Store[iv] and L’Occit

L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Collection

Read on and you’ll eventually realise that this collection of L’Occitane should be redressed to ‘L’Occitane Lethal Hellish Collection’. Image Source: ThisThatBeauty[vi]
Read on and you’ll eventually realise that this collection of L’Occitane should be redressed to ‘L’Occitane Lethal Hellish Collection’. Image Source: ThisThatBeauty[vi]

L’Occitane Divine Collection | Hazardous Ingredients

Ingredients
Ingredient Concern
EWG Score
Retinyl Palmitate
Known human reproductive toxicant. Produces excess reactive oxygen species that can interfere with cellular signaling, cause mutations, lead to cell death and may be implicated in cardiovascular disease.[vii]
9
Fragrance
Known human immune system toxicant or allergen. Possible human respiratory toxicant. Wildlife and environmental toxicity.[vii]
8
Benzyl Salicylate
Known human immune system toxicant or allergen. Associated with endocrine disruption. Suspected to be an environmental toxin.[ix]
7
Geraniol
Known human immune system toxicant or allergen. Suspected to be an environmental toxin.[x]
7
Citral
Known human immune system toxicant or allergen. Classified as irritant (skin, eyes or lungs).[xi]
7
Ingredients list has been derived from Paula’s Choice[xii][xiii] and Sephora[xiv][xv]. Ingredient Concern and EWG Score has been derived from the EWG SkinDeep Database.

Retinyl Palmitate

Retinyl Palmitate produces excess reactive oxygen species that interferes with cellular signalling, causes mutations, leads to cell deaths and it may be implicated in cardiovascular diseases.

Retinyl Palmitate converts to retinol in the skin. Retinol, along with tretinoin, can cause severe skin reactions like peeling, redness, scaling, itching and burning. Products that contain this ingredient (prescribed or OTC) can cause some irritation upon use but irritations should decrease after approximately two weeks of continued application. It also causes thinning of the skin therefore should never be used during/after hair waxing. Since retinol increases the risk of extreme sunburn, one should be cautious as to prevent skin from being overexposed to ultraviolet light.

The FDA scientists have concluded that retinyl palmitate breaks down sunlight to photomutagenic compounds which form free radicals in the presence of UVA and UVB radiation.[xvi]

Scientists say that Vitamin A can stimulate excessive skin growth (hyperplasia) and in sunlight retinyl palmitate can form free radicals which can damage DNA.

Too much pre-formed vitamin A (retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate and retinyl linoleate) can cause a multitude of health problems such as liver damage, brittle nails, hair loss, osteoporosis, hip fractures. Too much vitamin A can cause skeletal abnormalities in a developing foetus. For the reason mentioned herein, Norwegian health authorities have cautioned breastfeeding or pregnant women to avoid products with vitamin A. Children can also suffer many ill health effects due to excessive vitamin A in food and cosmetics.[xvii]

Please watch the following video where Tom talks about the research reports released by authorities like The Food and Drug Administration, National Toxicology Program (and many others) on the hazardous effects of Retinyl Palmitate.[xviii]

Retinyl Palmitate | Expert's Review

Fragrance | Parfum

The terms ‘fragrance’ and ‘parfum’ on cosmetic ingredients actually represents a mixture of dozens of chemicals. Around 3,000 chemicals are used as fragrances and many of these unlisted ingredients are irritants that can trigger allergies, migraines and asthma symptoms. Any individual might run a risk of skin irritation or runny eyes and nose on exposure to these chemicals. Laboratory experiments have shown that individual fragrance ingredients are associated with cancer and neurotoxicity. DEP or diethyl phthalate are used in cosmetic fragrances to make the scent linger. Phthalates are especially chosen because they are cheap and versatile. The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has listed DEP as Category 1 priority substance with the evidence that it interferes with hormone function. Phthalates cause early puberty in girls, reduced sperm count in men and reproductive defects in the developing male foetus (if the mother is exposed to it during pregnancy).[xix]

In the following video Dr. Gloria Gilbere talks about the harmful effects of fragrance in daily lives.[xx]

You’re Surrounded by Dangerous Scents

Retinyl Palmitate | Skin Tumour Catalyst

Retinyl Palmitate acts as a catalyst in promoting skin tumours. Image Source: RISK SENSE[xxi]
Retinyl Palmitate acts as a catalyst in promoting skin tumours. Image Source: RISK SENSE[xxi]

Geraniol

Presented below are a few hazardous effects of Geraniol[xxiii]:

1. It is a Toxic Material Causing Other Toxic Effects.

2. It causes skin irritation.

3. H317 It may cause an allergic skin reaction.

4. H318 It causes serious eye damage.

5. It may be harmful if inhaled.

6. It causes respiratory tract irritation.

7. It may be harmful if absorbed through skin.

Benzyl Salicylate

Mostly used as a fragrance additive and sometimes as an ultra violet light absorber. It has been found that this ingredient causes skin irritation. The International Fragrance Association has restricted its use in fragrance products because it has potential effects of sensitization and can cause allergic reactions. In Europe, this substance has been listed under ‘allergenic’ substances. Even if Benzyl Salicylate is present in a product is in a minute concentration of 0.001%, the European Cosmetics Directive requires OTC leave-on products to indicate its presence.[xxii]

Allergic Skin Reaction From Harmful Chemicals in Cosmetics

Beware of the cosmetics you use. Allergic skin reaction is one of the most common symptoms that arise due to the presence of hazardous chemicals in cosmetics. Image Source: Local World[xxiv]
Beware of the cosmetics you use. Allergic skin reaction is one of the most common symptoms that arise due to the presence of hazardous chemicals in cosmetics. Image Source: Local World[xxiv]

Citral

GHS Classification[xxv]

Signal: Wng

1. H315 - Causes skin irritation

2. H317 - May cause an allergic skin reaction

Signal: Warning Combustible liquid

1. May be harmful if swallowed

2. May be harmful in contact with skin

3. Causes skin irritation

4. May cause allergic skin reaction

5. Toxic to aquatic life

CLP Classification[xxv]

1. SYMPTOMS: Symptoms of exposure to this compound may include contact dermatitis.

2. Skin Hazard: Redness

3. Inhalation Hazard: Cough

4. Skin, eyes and respiratory irritation.

Immortelle Flower | Helichrysum angustifolium

L’Occitane fools the general public by making them believe that the natural adaptive trait of Immortelle Flowers can be transferred onto the human skin to make them look younger. Image Source: Organic Rituals[xxvi]
L’Occitane fools the general public by making them believe that the natural adaptive trait of Immortelle Flowers can be transferred onto the human skin to make them look younger. Image Source: Organic Rituals[xxvi]

Conclusion | Further Reading

After reading this hub I leave it totally up to you to decide on how misleading L’Occitane’s advertisement about their products is. I’m confident that your conclusion will be non-different than mine.

May I please request you to visit:

1. Please visit loccitaneprotest.blogspot.in and read the post 'How L'Occitane Treat Their Customers' wherein I’ve listed the details on how L’Occitane’s salesperson lied to me that their products are ‘97% Natural and 3% Organic’ and then sold to me a hazardous soap, using which I developed rashes on my skin. On complaining to the customer service about the soap, I had to go through a harassment where L’Occitane employees put the blame on my skin and never considered even for once that anything could be wrong with their soap. When I found out the truth through investigation of ingredients that L’Occitane uses to manufacture their products, I started writing about it so that n the future no other consumer should ever go through and experience what I’d experienced with L’Occitane. Although this blogpost's topic is not directly related to the contents of this Hub, I still request you to visit this blog and read how L'Occitane treats their customers after selling hazardous products to them.

...and...

2. My previous Hub 'Debunking L'Occitane Immortelle Precious Cream, where I've written about the Immortelle Flower and experts’ negative reviews on the said product. The Immortelle Flower has a natural adaptation where it does not wither even after being picked. L'Occitane wants customers to think that the oil of the Immortelle Flower can transfer this natural adaptation of the flower on to the human skin. Scientific literature does not approve of what L'Occitane is promoting via deceptive marketing.

I would like to thank you for taking out the time to read this Hub. Please feel free to leave a comment below if you would like to say something more on the topic discussed in this Hub.

Take care of your skin.

References

i. Glassdoor, 'L'occitane - Beautiful Products, Ugly Company', 2015 <https://www.glassdoor.co.in/Reviews/Employee-Review-L-Occitane-RVW5629887.htm> [accessed 8 December 2015]

ii. L'OCCITANE en Provence, 'Global Natural Anti-Aging Products | Divine Collection L’Occitane', 2015 <http://usa.loccitane.com/new-divine-collection,82,1,53640,0.htm> [accessed 7 December 2015]

iii. L'OCCITANE en Provence, 'Global Natural Anti-Aging Products | Divine Collection L’Occitane', 2015 <http://in.loccitane.com/divine-global-anti-aging,49,1,64812,0.htm> [accessed 7 December 2015]

iv. L'OCCITANE en Provence, 'Global Natural Anti-Aging Products | Divine Collection L’Occitane', 2015 <http://usa.loccitane.com/new-divine-collection,82,1,53640,0.htm> [accessed 7 December 2015]

v. L'OCCITANE en Provence, 'Global Natural Anti-Aging Products | Divine Collection L’Occitane', 2015 <http://in.loccitane.com/divine-global-anti-aging,49,1,64812,0.htm> [accessed 7 December 2015]

vi. ThisThatBeauty, Thisthatbeauty Reviews: L’Occitane Divine Collection, 2015 <http://thisthatbeauty.com/thisthatbeauty-reviews-loccitane-divine-collection/> [accessed 8 December 2015]

vii. EWG, 'RETINYL PALMITATE (VITAMIN A PALMITATE) || Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database | EWG', 2015 <http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/705545/RETINYL_PALMITATE_%28VITAMIN_A_PALMITATE%29/> [accessed 8 December 2015]

viii. EWG, 'FRAGRANCE || Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database | EWG', 2015 <http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/702512/FRAGRANCE/> [accessed 8 December 2015]

ix. EWG, 'BENZYL SALICYLATE || Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database | EWG', 2015 <http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/700701/BENZYL_SALICYLATE/> [accessed 8 December 2015]

x. EWG, 'GERANIOL || Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database | EWG', 2015 <http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/702568/GERANIOL/> [accessed 8 December 2015]

xi. EWG, 'CITRAL || Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database | EWG', 2015 <http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/701383/CITRAL/> [accessed 8 December 2015]

xii. Paula’s Choice, 'Divine Cream', 2015 <http://www.paulaschoice.com/beautypedia-skin-care-reviews/by-brand/loccitane/Immortelle/_/Immortelle-Divine-Cream> [accessed 9 October 2015]

xiii. Paula’s Choice, 'Divine Extract', 2015 <http://www.paulaschoice.com/beautypedia-skin-care-reviews/by-brand/loccitane/_/Divine-Extract> [accessed 9 October 2015]

xiv. Sephora, 'Sephora: L'occitane : Immortelle Divine Youth Oil : Cleansing-Oil-Face-Oil', 2015 <http://www.sephora.com/immortelle-divine-youth-oil-P392871> [accessed 9 October 2015]

xv. Sephora, 'Sephora: L'occitane : Divine Skincare Collection : Skin-Care-Sets-Travel-Value', 2015 <http://www.sephora.com/divine-skincare-collection-P402096?skuId=1755917> [accessed 9 October 2015]

xvi. Truth In Aging, 'Retinyl Palmitate', 2015 <https://www.truthinaging.com/ingredients/retinyl-palmitate> [accessed 11 October 2015]

xvii. EWG, 'The Problem With Vitamin A | EWG's 2015 Guide To Sunscreens', 2015 <http://www.ewg.org/2015sunscreen/report/the-problem-with-vitamin-a/> [accessed 11 October 2015]

xviii. Sisel International, LLC, Tom Retinyl Palmitate, 2015 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7MZKksGl44> [accessed 8 December 2015]

xix. David Suzuki Foundation, 'Fragrance And Parfum', 2015 <http://davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/fragrance-and-parfum/> [accessed 16 October 2015]

xx. iHealthTube.com, You're Surrounded By Dangerous Scents, 2015 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgWAItoRfmo> [accessed 8 December 2015]

xxi. RISK SENSE, Retinyl Palmitate And Light Cause Animals To Develop Skin Tumors Faster, 2012 <http://www.risksense.org/2012/05/24/more-on-sunscreen-and-cancer/> [accessed 8 December 2015]

xxii. Truth In Aging, 'Benzyl Salicylate', 2015 <https://www.truthinaging.com/ingredients/benzyl-salicylate> [accessed 16 October 2015]

xxiii. Sigma Aldrich, 'MSDS - 163333', 2015 <http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/MSDS/MSDS/DisplayMSDSPage.do?country=CA&language=en&productNumber=163333&brand=ALDRICH&PageToGoToURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sigmaaldrich.com%2Fcatalog%2Fsearch%3Finterface%3DAll%26term%3Dgeraniol%26N%3D0%26mode%3Dmatch%2520partialmax%26focus%3Dproduct%26lang%3Den%26region%3DCA> [accessed 16 October 2015]

xxiv. Local World, Call a ban to chemical in cosmetics, 2013 <http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/ban-chemical-cosmetics/story-19519990-detail/story.html#4> [accessed 8 December 2015]

xxv. National Center for Biotechnology Information, 'Citral | C10H16O - Pubchem', U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2015, <http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Citral#section=Safety-and-Hazards> [accessed 17 October 2015]

xxvi. Organicrituals, Immortelle: The Most Precious Essential Oil, 2011 <https://organicrituals.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/immortelle-the-most-precious-essential-oil/> [accessed 5 December 2015]

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