Excellent general-purpose balm, for use on any dry areas: use as you would any other all-purpose balm or Vaseline. Also: best eye cream I've used in quite a while.
This is an unscented refined shea butter, with a smooth creamy texture, white, packaged in a tin. There are two regular tin sizes (and occasional specials etc.): very small, and very large. I'd recommend the very small one for starters, then moving up to the big one (and decanting into the small one for carrying around during the day). L'Occitane also make tinted versions for lips and scented ones for hands and body, aside from the plethora of shea-based face, body, hand, foot, and hair products. The Mom & Baby balm is also strongly recommended, is slightly cheaper, and is easier to work with. Their shea butter is fair trade, and was--to the best of my knowledge--the first such cooperative / collaborative shea butter available in Europe, decades ago; around about the same time as The Body Shop started similar supply arrangements.
No, this is not the same stuff as unrefined all-natural virgin etc. shea butter, the kind that is a yellowy-browny colour, in blocks and slabs. And is much cheaper, and regularly available in health-food stores (Whole Foods etc.) and markets, often directly from suppliers in West Africa. There's a lot to be said for direct trade, and for that kind of shea butter.
But the two are not interchangeable: depends on your skin. I can use the unrefined variety on hands, feet, elbows, knees, and especially as a cuticle cream. It's absolutely brilliant there, even when my skin is very dry. But it's been a disaster on my face, especially around the eyes and on lips: irritation. It's also been no good on dry flaky eczema patches (insides of wrists and other joints, neck): there again, the refined one produces no reactions whereas the unrefined one exacerbates the red bumpy aspect of my eczema.
Now, I'm in my late 30s, and starting to get more laugh-lines, under-eye wrinkles, and general signs of expression and life (if not necessarily wisdom); as well as noticeably drier undereye. Some blueness underneath (thin skin) and some bagginess if not enough sleep (more sleep and applying frozen peas in the morning seem to sort that out!).
The other big plus about L'Occitane's refined shea butter is that it's nothing short of amazing around the eyes. Using it usually at night, sometimes also in the morning if the weather's dry/drying. It leaves that very fine thin skin lovely, smooth, moist the next morning; and it's the best thing I've used around my eyes so far. Application: on clean damp skin, I pat in a drop or two of rosehip seed oil, then a tiny amount of my regular face moisturiser, then a dab of the shea butter. Scooped out--very little is needed--and rubbed between finger-tips to warm it, then smoothed over skin and patted in. I just apply it n the under-eye area: from the inner corners by the nose, round to the temples, staying within the orbital bone / socket area: right up to the lash-line, but not down to the cheek-bones.
No irritation, no migratory breakouts on cheeks, no movement into eyes (or at least no blurry vision or other discernible traces). During the day, I'm not wearing much in the way of makeup: sunscreen on top, and no interference with mascara and undereye concealer to report.
I've also used it as a lip-balm, especially in dry cold weather.
I'm still using the unrefined shea butter too, but just on dry body parts; and L'Occitane's refined one for eyes and lips, and eczema patches. (NB my eczema isn't very bad right now, mainly under control, but can worsen fast; skin in general is fine/structurally thin, fragile, sensitive, irritable, slightly dry--basically the classic redhead state of affairs...)
Cruelty-free, fair trade, recyclable aluminium tin. Costs CAD10.00 / USD9.00 / EUR5.00 / GBP5.50 for 8 ml and CAD45.00 / USD39.00 / EUR27.50 / GBP 24.00 for 150 ml. I've found that one small tin, used daily on eyes and lips, lasts at least 6 months; this makes it a bargain buy compared to eye-creams of similar texture (and often based on shea butter anyway).
INGREDIENTS: shea butter continued >>
This always goes rancid in no time, so don't buy the big tub if you are not going to use it up fast. I like shea butter and just a bit would do. It's great on hands, cuticles, elbows and feet. I can't use it on my face or my body, it is too greasy.
It is overpriced but I think it's worth it. I apply it to the body, particularly legs, 3 times a week. Nothing has been so effective on dry skin, I have tried every moisturiser and this is far superior to all. It takes a bit of time to work it from the tin,which is handy to transport, I heat it with a hair dryer and apply it with a large powder puff-works like a dream! No more lizard legs with this stuff.
This product's packaging and scent is what grabbed my attention. I'm a sucker for the Apricot Flower scent, and the pretty tin was the sinker to the aforementioned hook and line!
The shea butter is easily absorbed by my skin, and I can tell it's moisturising because a) it feels like it (duh!) and b) when I apply it, the dry/white skin around my cuticles disappears. I also love that it's not greasy at all!
However, one small complaint: application of the the product itself will take some getting used to, just because pure shea butter takes quite a while to work into the skin. I have this product at work at the moment, and it's quite irritating to wash my hands and then moisturise with this product. I have to swipe my hand back and forth across the surface to remove some from the tin, and then place this either on the palm, or back of my hand, and then warm it up before I can spread it properly. Then repeat!
I think I'll switch this to a next to bed product. That way I can leisurely apply it.
I bought the little tin of this a while ago, and used it on my lips and cuticles (where it did a good, but not stunning, job). . .then it got pushed to the back of my drawer. But I just rediscovered it in the midst of an awful winter, and have fallen in love with it!
I was outside in the cold and wind for a while, and my skin looked really dry, with a lot of wrinkles around my eyes and on my upper cheeks (places where I don't usually have wrinkles). So, after I applied my makeup, I swiped a tiny bit of the shea butter on my finger and very lightly patted it onto the wrinkled spots. It didn't mess up my makeup (pat, don't rub), but it DID make the wrinkles disappear completely, and kept my skin looking fresh and hydrated all day.
I also have a scar on my cheek from surgery, and I patted some of the shea butter over it, too (again, on top of my makeup). Amazingly, the scar -- which can sometimes look noticeable if my skin gets dry -- looked much flatter and less conspicuous. I have been using this at night on the scar, too, and it looks quite a bit better.
This is now at the front of my drawer, and I plan to get the larger tin because it's going into regular rotation!
EDITED -- Yikes! This started out so promising, and it really was helping my scar to heal. But, a few weeks after I started using it, I broke out in terrible, cystic acne -- something I've never had in my life! I finally figured out that this was the culprit, and I stopped using it. It took weeks for my skin to clear up. I could probably use this on my hands or my feet or something, but it was such a negative experience that I haven't even opened the tin again!
At first this gave me great results on my skin. I used it as both a moisturizer and cleanser. For 2 weeks it did a great job at clearing my skin up. I started using it everywhere on my body after that. How wrong I was. Just after 4 weeks of using it my skin, mostly on my body, started breaking out like crazy. I never had body acne until I started this.
It took me an awful long while before I got that stuff out of my system. Never again.
I don't know why but my lips are extremely dry nowadays. Other times, even cheap and ordinary products helped me instantly. Although I used almost everything from Neutregena, Roc Enydral to Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream, nothing helped that much. I put it on my lips at night and when I woke up: Voila!
The pricing is near criminal... shea butter from Whole Foods (NOT known for its inexpensive products) is priced at much less, is great quality, organic, only has one ingredient, is fair-trade, etc, etc.
This is a review for the Shea Butter in the tin. I wish this was better, but it always goes rancid in no time. I think the packaging may not work to keep it fresh. I wish it was better b/c I like the company effort to provide jobs through this product development. The store has a terrible return policy and will not exchange or refund for a fresh tin. However, I still love their shea butter soap.
I have used shea butter for years. Similarly, I have liked L'Occitane products. You can get shea butter for cheaper, but this is very good quality shea butter that is organic and fair traded. I use this primarily on my skin for the harsh, cold dry winters. It's good on all the tough areas such as lips, face, hands, etc. I use it as a daily moisturizer in the nigh and my skin is soft and silky by morning. Shea butter also has built in SPF8 and it can be mixed in with other natural moisturizers. People with dry hair or scalp can use this as well. I'm not a huge fan of the tin. I actually like the look of it but mine can be rather difficult to open for some reason so I never fully close it. L'Occitane products are a treat for me and I only ever buy them in Europe because I can't justify the expense otherwise. I would buy this product again, but I still have so much of it left. It's a big tin and it will last awhile.