L'Occitane is a manufacturer of body, face, and home products founded in 1976 by 23-year-old Olivier Baussan, who used steam distillation to product essential oil from wild rosemary and sold it at open air markets in his native Provence.

Baussan opened the first L'Occitane boutique in 1980 in Volx  and then took over a disused soap factory in Manosque to manufacture vegetable-based soaps using traditional methods.

The meaning of L'Occitane is "the woman from Occitania," named after an ancient province that once covered the south of France, northeastern Spain, and northern Italy.

Founded with the intention to celebrate and preserve the traditions of his native Provence, L'Occitane's brand values are "authenticity & naturalness, effectiveness & pleasure, and respect & responsibility."

All of L'Occitane's products are developed and produced from the company base in Manosque. The sole exception is the L'Occitane Do Brasil sun range, which is produced in Brasil.

Company News/Recent Launches:

La Fondation d'Enterprise L'Occitane is a private organization founded in 2006 to preserve the knowledge of plants, to support the visually impaired, and to help the economic emancipation of women.

In 2008, L'Occitane bought Groupe M&A Developpement and its subsidiary, M&A Sante Beaute, which includes the organic cosmetic brand Melvita.

Key Ingredients:

Almond proteins in a patented firming complex.

Honey from the Valensole plateau where lavender is grown in summer.

Lavender- grown in the South of France and meets the standards of an A.O.C. label (controlled origin).

Shea butter- purchased from women's groups in Burkina Faso, Africa at a fair price.

TIA's Take:

L'Occitane's company takes an ethical, organic approach to production, preserving traditional cultivation methods and eschewing animal testing. With the exception of beehive byproducts (honey, propolis, and royal jelly), no animal products are used in the manufacturing process. Each touting a traceable origin, L'Occitane's products strive to be in line with the organic cosmetic specifications of Ecocert, which is unfortunately one of the most lax organic certification programs. The company seems genuinely committed to curbing the environmental impact of its actions and products. Limiting the use of silicones, mineral oils, chemical sunscreens, and paraben preservatives, L'Occitane's formulas rely on synthetic ingredients only when no natural alternative exists. Currently, 78% of its products are paraben-free, and 5% of its face care products contain silicones. It promises to reformulate should legitimate concerns arise concerning health (i.e. parabens, phthalates) or the environment (silicones, SLES), regardless of legal ramifications. L'Occitane's anti-aging products are backed by company-endorsed clinical studies, and complete lists of ingredients are absent from its website. Nonetheless, L'Occitane's ingredients glossary is useful in deciphering the actions of its natural components.