L’Occitane’s 20% Shea butter hand cream is a brand classic and staple, adored by men and women and purchased more often than any other product the french skincare company offers. Dry hands are a concern for many, particularly those who work in certain fields (i.e. heavy labor, medical). But a lot of us just have naturally dry hands, and sometimes adding a cream after using a scrub or soap makes all the difference and feels like a special treat. Certain binding agents used in traditional bar soaps are highly drying to the skin, so it’s expected that an area washed so often is susceptible to dehydration, peeling and cracking.
Companies have introduced a bevy of treatment products and creams to treat dry skin on the face, and they haven’t forgotten to make and market products designed for specific areas of the body as well. While it’s challenging to select one product or brand when inundated with so many options, this hand cream is the most popular Amazon product of it’s category and has a cult following. The Provence-based company, whose main headquarters are stationed in France, offers naturally based products that are safe and effective for the face and body. We wondered if L’Occitanes Shea butter hand cream lived up to the hype and was worth it. Let’s review:
This rich hand cream is made of 20% Shea butter, an ingredient derived from an African tree nut. Shea supports hydration, acts as an anti-inflammatory and is rich in vitamins. It even acts as a natural SPF (of about 6), rare for an ingredient found in nature. It is used for a multitude of purposes and in this case it supports hydration to the hands and restoration of any dryness or damage present. It can be used by men and women of any age and is safe for all skin sensitivities and types.
While Shea butter is the main ingredient at 20%. the product also has other hydrating ingredients that work in tandem to support the highest quality formulation specific to the hands. Some of these include:
Coconut oil hydrates and repairs the skin. It is also naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal and antimicrobial, meaning using the product over time will not cause irritation (but rather mitigate it) as long as the product is kept clean. Coconut oil is believed to penetrate the skin and hair more effectively than many other oils used in commercial skincare products. Another popular use for coconut oil is as a hair mask, as it’s thought to promote shine and treat dandruff. Some even cook with coconut oil and subsequently wash the hands using the oil (perhaps after dishwashing).
Sweet Almond Fruit Extract
Almond extract is rich in Vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids, proteins, potassium and zinc, besides a number of other minerals and vitamins, which makes it a perfect choice for both healthcare and skincare concerns. It supports great internal health as well, and is hypoallergenic and so safe it can be used on children/babies. Regular application promotes hydration and protects the hands from oxidative stress and UV radiation damage, keeping them soft and supple.
Exploring the Benefits of Shea
Shea is often touted as a “skin superfood,” as it’s natural, rich texture provides a high degree of hydration and binds moisture to the surface of the skin. Derived from the West African Shea tree, Shea butter is turned into a fat after natural extraction and acts as an anti-inflammatory and healing agent (making this product great for redness as well). Shea butter has emollient properties and its semisolid nature helps the skin absorb product more effectively. When absorbed by the skin, this creates a smooth and soft barrier that seals in moisture to the hands. The benefits of Shea butter last for hours, meaning application is not needed very frequently. This also helps with product shelf life. Finally, Shea has been noted to contain natural anti-aging properties, making it a common staple ingredient in many facial products. Consistent daily use may even help prevent sun spots and wrinkles on the hands over a long period of time, though it is recommended to use a Vitamin C or brightening based product in conjunction with Shea to treat preexisting age signs on the hands.
L’Occitane offers a full refund for the product purchase if you are dissatisfied with the product in any way or have any concerns. Exchanges are also available. The product will always be refunded if any allergic reaction or irritation occurs. While this is a safe and natural product, those with specific allergies to nuts (shea, almond, etc.) should be cautious in product use. Allergic reaction is rare but possible.
Positives and Negatives:
- The hands are fully hydrated, soft and restored to their previous state if preexisting dryness or damage was present
- The product comes in different scents (including peony, cherry blossom, lemon verbena and lavender), these formulations have the added benefit of pleasant smells and lighter textures due to a 10% lower concentration of Shea
- Some customers enjoy the scent/scent of Shea butter
- Safe and natural product free of any added dyes, fragrance or parabens/sulfates
- Safe for sensitive skin types
- Can be used by men and women of any skin type or age
- Offers a solution for those who work in fields that cause dryness to the hands/skin
- Attractive packaging
- Longevity: this product lasts quite a long time even with heavy daily use
- Some customers feel the product is too thick/has a greasy texture (they may wish to supplement the product for a lower concentration of Shea scented cream option)
- Some customers don’t like the scent of Shea butter
Many of us neglect the skin on the hands in favor of facial cream and body moisturizer. We may even use specific serums and eye formulations as product must haves. But this specific Shea formulation and product supports the needs of the skin on the hands and offers a specific solution in treating dry hands. It is hydrating, gentle and suitable for daily use. It is suitable for sensitive skin barring there is no Shea allergy. It also offers a natural formulation free of any chemical ingredients, fragrances or dyes. L’Occitane’s Shea butter hand cream does seem to live up to the hype and definitely be worth it for soft hands and restoration. Skin is left “baby soft,” perhaps one of the most desirable concepts for adults with respect to skin and haircare. We expect the cult following to continue even as other brands emerge with products and competition. The loyal following and popularity of the product is not surprising, it’s certainly a staple product that can be shared amongst the entire household. Hype or not? It lives up to the hype and meets our “worth it” seal of approval.