I have a slight obsession with French shave soaps. I dunno if my love of French soaps is due to the fact that they tend to be really great skin care wise, or because they are almost all veggie based soaps rather than animal tallow based, or maybe just because I had a thing for a French foreign exchange student in highschool. Whatever the reason, I really love French shave soaps and I am much more likely to buy a soap if it was manufactured in France than if it were manufactured anywhere else. This is what first drew me to the products of L’Occitane En Provence. This brand has a few stores within a relatively short distance of my home, so I made it a point to stop into their store when I happened to be wandering around The Shops at La Cantera, one of the malls where they are located.
The Shops at La Cantera, located right across from the main UTSA campus, is an outdoor mall that has more in common with a nice touristy down town than an actual mall. It has park like sitting areas, little mini playgrounds, and tons of cool shops. I like the place quite a lot and always enjoy a visit there. They have several places which sell shaving gear including: Bath & Body Works, The Body Shop, The Art of Shaving, and L’Occitane En Provence. On my first visit to The Shops I eagerly made a bee line for L’Occitane to check out their wares. I had been reading about L’Occitane’s products and could not wait to try some of it out. When I entered L’Occitane I found that the shop was laid out in a pleasant and easy to navigate way, and in spite of its small size its open and welcoming design created a space that did not feel crowded at all. The sales people were very helpful and offered several suggestions and even allowed me to test some of their products, they had the full line of shaving products in store and I enjoyed playing with them before deciding on my purchases. My wife ended up racking up quite a bill during our visit, so I took it upon myself to balance things out and stuck with a puck of the Cade shave soap (reasonably priced at $12) and the aluminum soap bowl (a little less reasonably priced at $28). The sales folks threw in a sample of their after shave balm, just to be nice.
Once I got home from my outing I tore into the plastic wrap keeping me from my new soap and was surprised by the sudden scent explosion. This plastic wrap is extremely good stuff, because I could smell nothing coming from this soap until I ripped it open. L’Occitane Cade is a juniper scented soap that is quite strong and very pleasant. It is a wonderful green scent that reminds me of evergreen forests in winter. I absolutely love it. The soap fits nicely in the aluminum bowl, which I am also a fan of. The bowl is often called the U.F.O. bowl because of its resemblance to a B-Movie flying saucer, but I think it looks really nice (my wife said it reminded her of an unpainted pop can…she can be so cruel sometimes).
I have used my L’Occitane Cade soap several times since buying it, but to do this review I decided to do a test lather just to remind me of its basic qualities. I used a Comoy/Vulfix 376S Super Badger brush and created a quick and easy lather. The lather smells just as strongly as the puck its self and lasts faintly, but persistently, following a shave. The soap creates a nicely protective and slick lather, but does lack some of the insane slickness that soaps with higher glycerin contents have. After I use this soap my skin feels soft, smooth, and has a pleasant talc like feeling. I never feel the need to add an after shave following the use of L’Occitane Cade. The amazing scent, the easy lather, and the overall great skin care that this soap provides all combine to make it one of my absolute favorite shave soaps and my number one French shave soap. At $12/puck this triple milled shave soap will last a long time and is well worth the price, I highly recommend it.
Ratings (1-10, 1 being the absolute lowest and 10 being the absolute best):
Scent Quality: 10
Scent Strength: 9
Lather Quality: 7
Skin Care: 9
L’Occitane Cade Ingredients List:
Potassium Palmate – Sodium Palmate – Potassium Palm Kernelate – Aqua/Water – Sodium Palm Kernelate – Glycerin – Parfum/Fragrance – Juniperus Oxycedrus Wood Oil – Fusanus Spicatus Wood Oil – Helichrysum Italicum (Flower) Oil – Cera Alba/Beeswax – Rosemarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract – Rosemarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil – Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil – Hordeum Vulgare Extract – Sodium Chloride – Octyldodecanol – Palm Kernel Acid – Cocoglycerides – Pentasodium Pentetate – Tetrasodium Etidronate – Polyglyceryl-2 Dipolyhydroxystearate – Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate – Tocopheryl Acetate – Magnesium Sulfate – Sodium Benzoate – CI77891/Titanium Dioxide