I do like a good pampering session - it makes me feel like a princess, without the actual slaves. So when I got an e-invite to a facial consultation at L'Occitane I thought I could do with a bit of 'me time' and booked an appointment at the Westfield store. I wasn't that familiar with the brand so I was up for a bit of learning, a bit of experimenting and a lot of relaxing!
As soon as you walk into L'Occitane you're fully aware that you're stepping into a little bit of rural France - from the wood furnishings to the floral smells, this certainly aint Boots anymore. Being greeted by a cup of delicious honey tea is always going to start you off on the right foot, putting you in a place where you're ready for something different. (By the way, I want that recipe... mmm) My consultant, Anne Claire, did a fabulous job of putting me at ease, explaining the brand background and ethos before asking me about my skincare regime and general health.
Now normally, seeing I was in the middle of London's busiest shopping centre, I wouldn't dream of letting someone take off my slap; but I was intrigued to see what these concoctions could do! Anne Claire started by removing my eye make-up with Immortelle Eye Make-Up Remover, a dual-phased product that was so gentle my normally super-sensitive eyes didn't even notice. She then used Immortelle Milk Makeup Remover, which not only smelt delicious but was so gentle and refreshing I almost fell asleep while she massaged it over my face. The final stage was Immortelle Essential Water for the Face, again amazingly refreshing and didn't leave my face tight at all. This three-stage simple process was made into a true experience - every detail was thought of, every amount of care and attention given to remove my make-up in a gentle and relaxing way so I felt like I was getting a treatment rather than just removing the layer of war paint on my face.
Two drops of Very Precious Brightening Concentrate were then massaged into my skin. This serum claims to enhance the skin's radiance and reduce the appearance of blemishes, leaving you with a bright, radiant and even complexion. It contains the equivalent of 3,000 flowers in a single bottle (wowzer) to stimulate collagen and protect against free radicals. All good stuff then. It was light, smooth and addictive. I want some right now, but seeing as it's £39.00 a bottle it'll have to wait til payday!
Although you can use this as a night serum, you can also wear it under moisturisers or face masks to help enhance their effect. Anne Claire used it underneath Immortelle Cream Mask, which contains moisturising agents, Vitamins A and E as well as rice peptides (a new one on me!) for improved cellular nutrition and oxygenation. This all sounds very technical and good for you, but the most important thing was that it felt amazing. So refreshing and relaxing - bear in mind that I am now sitting in the middle of a shopping centre not only slap-free, but with a full face of facemask and a towel on my head! How many times can you say you've felt inclined to do that in your life?
While I was waiting for the mask to take action there were more treats to come - that's right ladies, she only bloody gave me a hand massage! Again, so delicate, thoughtful and exceptionally professional, I really wanted to take Anne Claire home and keep her in my cupboard for whenever I needed some pampering. So by this point I'm practically falling asleep, which isn't helped by the face massage I then receive after the mask has done its thing. Is this their aim... get them so relaxed and happy that they buy the whole shop in an attempt to re-create the feeling at home?! The final steps were to add a touch of Immortelle Eye Balm and Precious Cream, both light, fresh and moisturising. I could barely get out of the chair I was so chilled out.
The whole experience was one full of care and attention; you could tell every little thing had been thought through and perfected so L'Occitane customers get a truly fantastic and memorable consultation. This wasn't just a sales tool like you get on a lot of make-up or premium skincare counters, this was setting the scene for you to appreciate the brand and the products. You got to try out seven different gems, really feeling and experiencing them on your skin, which is something I've never had the opportunity to do elsewhere. To top this off, you even got a 'prescription' to take away with you with all your recommended products and three mini samples wrapped up in a delicious bag for you to try at home! This was definitely the cherry on the cake.
These consultations are totally free of charge and bookable by appointment at many L'Occitane stores throughout the country. My advice is to book one now before they get snapped up, but make sure you have nowhere to go after... you may fall asleep!