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L'Occitane

Aqua Reotier Ultra Thirst-Quenching Cream Moisturizer

1.70 fl. oz. for $ 29.00
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There isn't much to say about Aqua Reotier Ultra Thirst-Quenching Cream Moisturizer's rather lackluster formula. The sodium hyaluronate within can hydrate skin and increase suppleness, but ultimately this cream leaves skin wanting and needing much more.

Suitable for normal to dry skin, Aqua Reotier Ultra Thirst-Quenching Cream Moisturizer is packaged in a jar. Jars look nice, but when it comes to skincare products, they're problematic for two reasons: removing the lid causes reoccurring exposure to air and light, which causes sensitive anti-aging ingredients to lose effectiveness each time they're exposed, plus there's hygeine issues (dipping your fingers into a water-based formula introduces bacteria and germs each time). Because this formula lacks antioxidants and other effective anti-aging ingredients, we're mostly concerned with the hygiene issue for this product.

Also problematic is the inclusion of quite a bit of fragrance. Fragrance isn't skin care, and in fact can trigger irritation, as we explain in the More Info section. You'll find superior moisturizers on our list of top-rated hydrators.

One more comment: There's nothing special about the spring water mentioned in the claims for this product. The irony is that skin doesn't need special water, it needs ingredients to keep skin's natural water content in balance.

Pros:
  • Hydrates skin and increases a supple feel.
Cons:
  • Lacks a mix of proven anti-aging ingredients.
  • Contains fragrance which can irritate skin.
  • Water-based formula in jar packaging presents a hygiene risk.
More Info:

Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.

This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin's barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin's surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.

A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.

References for this information:

Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419

Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175

Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80

Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832

Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202

International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43

Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475

American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798

Jar Packaging: Yes
Tested on animals: Yes
Enriched with Rotier water and hyaluronic acid, this Ultra Thirst-Quenching Cream Moisturizer acts like a magnet to recharge skin with water, leaving it glowing with hydration and softness all day long. Softened by a silky veil, skin is refreshed and radiant with a plump feeling. Skin's natural moisture is improved, giving the complexion a revitalized look.
Water, Octyldodecanol, Glycerin, Propanediol, Coco-caprylate/Caprate, Corn Starch Modified, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Arachidyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Ethylhexylglycerin, Xylitol, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Sorbitan Isostearate, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance, Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamal, Citronellol, Geraniol, Citral, CI 42090/Blue 1.

L'Occitane At-A-Glance

Strenghts: Provides complete ingredient lists for some of its products on company website; a good cleanser.

Weaknesses: Expensive; many products are heavily fragranced or contain irritating fragrance chemicals; jar packaging is prevalent, which won't keep ingredients stable; the products are not all natural in the least.

There has been intense reader interest in the L'Occitane line, and we can only surmise it's because this French company's image and marketing campaign have been casting their intended spell on consumers looking for natural products. Reading information about the company and its earnest beginnings, we would be sucked in, too; that is, if we didn't know how full of holes and fabrication this line is (far more silliness than substance, that's for sure)! What is particularly guileful is how many unnatural ingredients they include in all their products. In fact, they use more of these in their products than most of the other product lines that claim to be natural.

L'Occitane is named for an ancient province that used to be in the south of France. It sprang from an idea by founder Olivier Baussan, a native of France, who wanted to re-create regional traditions of manufacturing products to enhance a person's well-being. With that goal in mind, he began selling distilled rosemary oil, then branched into soap-making, and eventually came across shea butter, the perennial staple emollient found in numerous products in numerous lines.

L'Occitane does include shea butter in many of its productsthey even offer a tin of 100% pure shea butter. Is this a good reason to seek out L'Occitane products? Is shea butter so special for skin? Not really. Shea butter does not have any remarkable qualities for skin that put it a notch above many other natural emollientsolive oil, among many others, cocoa butter, and a number of fatty acids (linoleic acid, triglycerides) come to mind. Shea butter is rich in fatty acids also and is a good ingredient for dry to very dry skin, but lots of products contain it and you can buy pure shea butter for $4 at the drugstore, so there's no need to set your sights on L'Occitane if you're curious to try it.

Getting back to the founder: it seems he believes that skin care involves a blend of research, aromatherapy, and phytotherapy. We don't know what, if any, research was done to determine what skin truly needs to look and feel its optimal best. However, it's evident by L'Occitane's formulas that Baussan and his team spent far more time making their products smell good, because overall these products contain plant extracts that, more often than not, either have no benefit, limited benefit, or compromised efficacy because of the irritation factor. The sense of getting back to nature to enhance well-being is pleasant to ponder, but it doesn't automatically make for great or even OK skin care. Not only do L'Occitane formulas fall flat, but they're also not all that natural.

Shopping this line for skin-care products is to wander into a world of fragrance excess. Aroma reigns supreme, while bona fide good-for-skin ingredients are either completely absent, comprise only a tiny amount of a product's formula, or will see their efficacy suffer due to jar packaging.

L'Occitane's skin-care routines consist of good cleansers but mostly problematic to average scrubs, there are no AHA or BHA products, and nothing to address the needs of acne-prone skin. The sunscreens are a mixed bag, with some containing the right UVA-protecting ingredients and others not listing any active ingredients, making them unreliable and astray of worldwide SPF regulations.

As usual, there are some good products to consider if you don't mind L'Occitane's higher price point. Overall, you're better off shopping this line for their gift sets and home fragrance products, which are great for your nose but not for skin care. Creating a skin-care routine exclusively from L'Occitane's selection is a guarantee that, in a best-case scenario, your skin will be left needing a lot more; worst-case scenario, your skin will be irritated, but your nose will be happy.

One more thing: L'Occitane loves to mention the natural ingredients and complexes it has patented for their products. Patents sound impressive, but as we have mentioned before, they are not proof of efficacy or superiority. The only thing a patent means is that the company has devised a means to show a formula or ingredient as unique in some way in relation to their claim, but again, that has nothing do with efficacy or, in the case of a cosmetics company, whether the ingredient is helpful or harmful to skin.

What's worth complimenting is the company's support of worthy charities and its encouragement of sustainable farming and of local farming throughout the regions where they obtain certain ingredients. All of that is commendable, but in light of the formulas, relatively hypocritical. You would be far better off donating to those causes directly than spending your beauty dollars on this line.

For more information about L'Occitane, call (888) 623-2880 or visit www.loccitane.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.